Screenwriter duo Siddharth-Garima who are known for their work in films like Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani, and Kabir Singh want to write and tell stories that impact the society at large. In a recent interview with Bollywood Hungama, Siddharth Singh and Garima Wahal spoke about creative freedom in today’s time, remakes and the popular phrase, ‘content is king’.
From the past few years, the phrase ‘content is king’ has been used the most, especially with the advent of OTT platforms. While Siddharth-Garima agree that there is a change, we are still very star driven. “There’s definitely a sea of change. But having said that we (Hindi film industry) are not like the west or say like the south Indian industry also for that matter. We are still very star driven. We are not yet fully “content driven”. But the audience is paving the way by rejecting films that are low on content and are so called big films. With the invasion of OTT we would soon be saying proudly that content is king. As of now it’s still uttered in hushed tones,” they said.
With content getting an edge and makers trying to explore on different platforms, it also at times lands them in legal trouble. The words ban and boycott are more and more commonly used on social media especially for films and web series. In such an environment, when we asked Siddharth-Garima if this has restricted creative freedom, they said, “Creative freedom exists only in high society ‘off the record’ discussions and high-tea conversations. The censor ghost stands behind every creator. Neither do the people in power have a heart for taking criticism nor do they have a sense of humour. Intolerance has become a second nature. With legal cases more or less on all our films one can say freedom of expression is not a fundamental right but a fundamental fight.”
Another trend that has seen a rise in the recent past is the culture of remakes. Siddharth-Garima has penned dialogues for Kabir Singh and the upcoming film Jersey, which are remakes of a Telugu film. With a large number of remakes being made in the hindi film industry, it has been criticized for its lack of originality. When Asked if there is a dearth of original scripts the duo said, “Luckily for us, most of our scripts have been original ideas. We feel the audience is more open and accepting of any genre of ideas and storytelling but it’s the risk that the producer runs that determines the quality of content. A producer would feel ‘its safe’ to mount a film that’s already a hit in some other state/language. Though remakes are better than ‘free’makes! We completely believe in original content and all our future directorial ventures are original ideas, rooted in reality.”
Currently, they are looking forward to the Ranbir Kapoor starrer Animal. This will be their second collaboration with filmmaker Sandeep Reddy Vanga. They are also directing two films-Dukaan, a quirky character driven film based in the real world of commercial surrogacy in Gujarat, and Saale Aashiq, an action packed romance that questions a very prominent issue faced by the youth of the country. “Apart from these, we’ve also written a quirky family comedy on a real life bizarre incident that would be announced shortly, a Hollywood crossover film (based on some incidents that occurred in Elvis Presley’s life) that’s in the casting stages. Then there’s a very edgy film for an OTT platform that’s under development, which we would also be directing,” they concluded.