The fact that the script of Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj has been chosen by the Academy of Motion Pictures Library (Oscar) says much about its first time writer Prashant Pandey.
He was researching on the notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan for RGV when the latter asked him to write the script of Sarkar Raj. “People loved the script of Sarkar because this kind of free writing is a departure from what the audience is trained to see in formulaic films. Some found it jarring, some literary, most of them smiled so it’s high time I thanked Salim-Javed and Satre for inspiring me,” says the English literature graduate from Hansraj College, Delhi.
When asked if it’s difficult to work with someone like RGV, Prashant says, “It’s difficult to work with RGV because it’s difficult to match his intellect and intensity. He was not only my director but my teacher. Through the screenplay of Sarkar Raj, I’ve tried to capture RGV’s brooding intensity and cinematic philosophy.”
The 27-year-old was also taken aback by Amitabh Bachchan’s reactions. “Amitji appreciated my style and used to jokingly call me krantikari lekhak (revolutionary writer). He can make any mundane writing great because of the weight he puts in the dialogues. When Amitji speaks time becomes elastic.”
Prashant has now been given the mantle of directing RGV’s long delayed but ambitious project- Veerappan. Considering most of RGV’s films have crashed at the box office off late, Prashant’s lazy gaze shows no sign of pressure. “The script is ready but I want to make it the best. So, I’m spending some more time on it,” says Prashant. Will he continue to stick to RGV’s favourite ‘crime’ genre? “Gangster or any genre is as good or as bad as the so-called family films. Godfather is the best family film I’ve seen while Satya is a great love story. Romantic comedies give birth to family values, family dramas nurture them while gangsters test them and make them stronger,” ends Prashant.