- Yash Thakur
- 28 February 2018
Anurag transformed Mukkabaaz into a fearless script! - K D Satyam
SWA Exclusive interview of writer of Mukkabaaz and Gattu
Just like the protagonist of the latest released film he's written (along with Ranjan Chandel, Anurag Kashyap, Prasoon Mishra, Mukti Singh Srinet and Vineet Kumar Singh), Mukkabaaz, K. D. Satyam is insuppressible. Along with being the writer-director of two shorts and two feature films (Admissions Open, Bollywood Diaires), he has been one of the writers for Gattu (which had a Special Mention at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival) and the latest Anurag Kashyap directed film Mukkabaaz. K.D. Satyam has been in the Indian film industry for more than 10 years now. Slowly and steadily, he has proved his mettle as a skilful writer.
In the quick interview below, Satyam opens up about his patient journey in Bollywood, his process of writing and his views on film schools and direction. Have a read.
Tell us a little a bit about your beginnings in the film industry; from the short films to your first major project.
Well, I come from a film school (Master's in Film Direction from Zee Institute of Media Arts) where I got an opportunity to explore cinema in every possible form; whether it was through books or movies, or by interacting with industry professionals. Post film school it was not that easy to go out and make a film. You step out of your imagination and face the real world where nobody is interested in you, you are completely on your own. Yet somehow I didn’t get demotivated by that and took some unconventional decisions. I did not assist anybody. I straightaway started making short films, learning everything on my own. Then I wrote Gattu and other feature films and started looking for producers. I did not wait for the opportunity to come, I just somehow managed to keep creating one for myself. Probably that could be a reason that I am still hanging around!
Did you also study screenwriting, formally? How important do you think is film school training, compared to gaining first hand experience by sweating it out?
As I was a direction student, our syllabus had an overview of all the departments including screenwriting. I had a keen interest in writing, so I started exploring writing quite seriously, where apart from reading authors like Syd Field, Robert Mckee, I started understanding cinema from the writers’ perspective. I strongly believe that film schools are very important, because apart from theory film school gives you an opportunity to explore your creative calling, where before stepping out into the film world you discover your creative strength as well as the weakness, which I think is extremely important for any creative person. Only once you start working, you know who you are and what you can or can’t do.
How did Gattu happen? Did it become easy for you after it got recognition?
Nobody was willing to produce Gattu, as it was a not commercial children film. So I had to wait quite a long for it. But as they, say once you connect to right person, then everything fall in place. In the this case the right person was Nandita Das; she was the chairperson of CFSI (Children’s Film Society of India) at that time. As she heard the script, she instantly understood the potential of the film and said yes to the film. she was the backbone of the film. Gattu reached to the silver screen because of her. Post Gattu, it didn’t become that easy, but yes my confidence went up and I started believing more in myself.
From the PoV of the film industry, how important are other aspects other than writing a good script? (Context: Bollywood Diaries got good reviews but still couldn’t get noticed. So, what went wrong? Was it not marketed well?)
To be honest, if I ask any film professional or non-professional that what are key ingredients to make a great film, he/she will definitely put across few important points. But when you will ask the same person what not to do to make a great film, he/she will not have the answers. You can’t really answer this unless and until you don’t make a bad film. In my case I have once gone through it. So I can only say that, out of my own first hand experience, that you can not underestimate any department of a film, each and every aspect of a feature film is equally important. Whether it’s writing, acting, cinematography, editing, costume, production; everything is important. It’s basically teamwork, where the entire team is trying their level best to achieve a singular ‘vision’, not many. With Bollywood Diaries, we just couldn’t manage to get the right marketing and distribution for the film, that’s it. Otherwise it was a very good film..
Tell us about the writing process of Mukkabaaz - How different is the final film from Vineet Singh’s initial script? How did you get involve and what changes did you make to the story? What was Anurag Kashyap’s biggest contribution to the Script?
With Mukkabaaz, I wrote the first draft of the film. Then Vineet took it forward and then Anurag took it to another level. The biggest contribution of Anurag to the script was that he transformed that script into a fearless script, which I found highly commendable.
Continuing with Mukkabaaz - How did you research for it? How does the outcome of the research add to or change the story which one initially had in mind?
Of course as writer, I work on our real life experiences or observations. I had closely encountered the situations of Mukkabaaz in my real life, since I myself was a boxer during my school days. I have witnessed the exploitation in sports, in the name of Sports Quota and few other aspects to it which was always there at the back of my mind and I incorporated all of it in my first draft.
Gattu and Mukkabaaz both saw you working with other writers and the respective directors. Tell us about this process of collaboration and how do you approach it?
Working with other film professionals is always very interesting, it’s very interactive. You exchange, you learn, welcome new ideas. It’s like brushing up your creative skills. It’s a great place to be, where you are always pushed yourself to deliver better.
The internet is giving many a talented artists to flex their writing and directorial skills. What are your views on the Indian web content?
It’s not the best. But it’s definitely growing. Still if, instead of following the trend, we look out to be the trendsetters then probably we may change the game.
Tell us one film, released in 2017, which stood out for you because of its writing.
What is next in the pipeline for you?
I am working on one a Coming-of-Age drama. Hope it will come out as a great script.