I met Aniket while I was reviewing one of his plays staged in Pune. I kept in touch with him and knew that he was reaching out to people so that he could get that one opportunity to make it big as a writer.
Ani wrote a play ‘Hey there Delilah’ and it was a regular story about college romance. But, what struck me is that with humour punched in, the topic was handled with maturity. I felt eager to know more about his writings. So I kept in touch with him, secretly wishing he would make a place for himself in the competitive world. Now that he has jumpstarted his career I wanted to know more about his passion for writing.
“My professor from college once blasted at me in front of the whole class, “You are a failure, all you can do is pick up nuts and bolts in some workshops” I guess I have an answer for him now!”
“If you want to earn a lot of quick money, writing should be the last job on your list. I think, every screenwriting institute should also teach their students to live in the worst financial situations.”
“A population of 125 crores and people are lonely only because they can’t express.”
I haven’t written a lot yet but to mention some, my only released film is ‘Bhatukali’, which was directed by Rohit Joshi and produced by Sagar Ballary. It got really nice reviews. I never expected that to happen this early. It is free to view on Hotstar right now. Currently I have three films in pipeline. ‘Backlog’, which will be directed by Tejas Kulkarni will be the first one to come out. And the other two projects are still untitled but, have extremely interesting plots. I can’t call any one of them as my favorite project even though each one of them is really close to my heart. May be I’ll save that word for one of my future assignments.
Me: I guess you always wanted to be a writer?
Ani: Actually I started writing by accident. I was pursuing engineering at Sinhgad College of Engineering and I used to participate in those two prestigious intercollegiate drama competitions viz Purushottam Karandak and Firodiya Karandak. I was just an actor then until one of our seniors, who wrote plays, graduated. I gave a try at writing and eventually won a prize for it. That was the start I guess.
But, entering into professional writing was a tough choice. After engineering I didn’t opt for a job, I ran away from my internship company, and I found myself a job in writing a Marathi feature film. I think that was enough for me to convince myself to switch to writing forever. My professor from college once blasted at me in front of the whole class, “You are a failure, all you can do is pick up nuts and bolts in some workshops” I guess I have an answer for him now!
Me: Obviously you love writing but, what is so great about it that keeps you going?
Ani: Frankly speaking, I don’t know what’s so great about being a writer. I mean, they are just people who can put right words in the right places. Moreover, they possess thoughts which every other person possess, but they have the ability to sort those complex thoughts and express them in a presentable manner. I don’t know why few writers were considered so great? Why their writings still affect us so much? We still get excited whenever there is a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. We can relate to Vijay Tendulkar’s plays. We love reading great writers, be it G.A. Kulkarni, Va. Pu., or Pu. La. Deshpande. But still, I can’t figure out what is so great about it? May be this is the reason, which keeps me going; To understand the fascination for writing.
Me: After writing for plays you turned to films. What is the difference between writing a play and a movie? Is writing for serials a drab?
Ani: Technically, there is a lot of difference. Structure, grammar, format; everything is different. Both have their own advantages and limitations. But, when it comes to pouring out your thoughts, I don’t think there is much of a difference. The best thing about plays is that you can work on your script as long as you want. You can continue to improve it after each show. A positive thing about writing a film is that you know you’ve got one shot at it. So you give the best that you can and that is real fun!
Me: Do you think in India it is easy to survive as a full time writer with no financial support? You need to wait for assignments, till then how do you think a writer can survive. How do you manage the challenge?
Ani: Money creates all the problems in the world and money resolves them too. If you want to earn a lot of quick money, writing should be the last job on your list. I think, every screenwriting institute should also teach their students to live in the worst financial situations. Every struggling writer has to go through a tough patch . But, it is not as difficult as it is usually portrayed. Opting writing as a full time career is just like beginning a start-up. Right decisions, Right people and Right Timing… and you’ll never run out of money. Luck plays a large part which should always be ignored. There are times when you have to do any kind of job just to earn some cash and that is not bad at all. Because, financial stability gives mental stability, and mental stability gives patience to work on long lasting projects such as films. Surely, I am not going to become a billionaire just by writing films but, it is the ‘purpose’ which matters. Nobody becomes a writer to become rich!
Me: Whom do you write for; audience or yourself?
Ani: Neither. If I start writing for myself then may be I’ll get bored while writing films. So, there is always a bit of me in all the characters I write. That way, writing becomes fun. Knowingly or unknowingly, whenever you travel, read books, meet new people, talk to babies or pets who can’t talk back to you, something interesting happens. You discover new things about yourselves. Same happens while writing.