Milap Zaveri: Critics Thought Grand Masti Was Cheap & Vulgar!

Milap is a specialist in creating laugh riots. He just knows what strikes a chord with the masses. His dialogues have placed movies in the 100 crore bracket.

Milap is a specialist in creating laugh riots.

He just knows what strikes a chord with the masses.

His dialogues have placed movies in the 100 crore bracket. And after years of hard work, Milap has earned the title of a writer who has magic in his scripts. After winning accolades for Grand Masti, Milap’s next Main Tera Hero didn’t go unnoticed either. But he kinda disappeared in between from the writing scene, ask him why, and this is what he has to say. “After I failed at my first attempt as a director, I didn’t take up writing for almost 2 years. Some directors also thought I had lost the pulse of the audience. The only people who showed trust in me were Ekta Kapoor, Sanjay Gupta, Indra Kapoor and David Dhawan; they gave me work when I wasn’t at my best.”

But the failure hasn’t deterred him from taking up direction again. He’s all set with his second film Ooh la la. “This film is something on the lines of Housefull and Hey Baby – now this is one genre I am really good at,” he says.  

Milap also wrote the script for Anil Kapoor’s 24 and won rave reviews for his work. The dialogue dude talks about his journey and his new ventures, read on…

Scriptwriters play an integral role in the making of a film. Just like actors, do you guys also get affected by criticism?

To me, it doesn’t matter, who likes or who dislikes a project. 90% of people like my films, so I only care about the 90%. When a film is a super hit, like a Grand Masti or a Main Tera Hero, you don’t care when the critics call it vulgar and cheap. Grand Masti did a business of more than 100 crores, my producers had a blast. So that’s what matters to me. For me the audience is the biggest critic. If the audience dismisses my film, only then I will accept that as criticism, otherwise I won’t.

A lot of people say that you play to the gallery?

A sweet maker makes the kind of sweets his customers like. It’s the same with dialogue writers. Our job is to make the audience whistle, clap, applaud and laugh. I think it’s my biggest USP to entertain people. Even David Dhawan keeps saying me, ‘tu front foot type ka writer hai.’ So why should I change my formula just because people think I play to the gallery.

Any fun anecdotes while working with David Dhawan for Main Tera Hero…

The Dhawans are family to me. I have grown up with Rohit and Varun. Before starting the film, Davidji told me, ‘mera beta saup raha hoon tujhe (I am handing over my son to you).’ He would constantly tell me that if anything goes wrong; his son’s career will be destroyed. Davidji is so energetic. He would call me at 8.00 in the morning and ask me to wake up and start working. The whole idea of making Anupam Kher talk in a weird way in MTH – making his last word echo because he’s from the hills, was a huge super hit. He’s great fun to work with. He’s an energiser for everybody around.

Looks like you have quite a sense of humour in personal life too, no wonder you are an expert in the ‘comedy’ genre!

I’ve always been a fun-loving person, I always smile and I always love cracking jokes and doing mad things. I am constantly yapping. I always had an innate sense of humour. I won’t say I am a funny person, but I do have a certain wit. I think people can easily cry, but it’s the toughest job in the world to make people laugh. In real life, my wife Gouri and my family, they think I am quite funny…so yes, if they are saying it, then it must be true.

How did script writing happen?

I was always a huge movie buff. I was obsessed with Bollywood. If by some stroke of coincidence, there was a Stardust or a Filmfare at my place, I would go mad skimming through them. As I grew up I started watching more of Hollywood and world cinema. Later I joined my dad’s business. I didn’t enjoy that. When I told my dad I wanted to write, he was totally shocked. I met Sujoy Ghosh in the process, assisted him with Jhankaar Beats, and then later Kaante trailed behind. So everything just happened at the right time.

How do you get rid of the mental blocks while writing?

There’s a lot of work that I am not proud of, of course. There’s Naksha, Pyaare Mohan which turned out to be disasters. Maybe I was just doing too much work; I don’t know what was going wrong. That was one bad phase. Finally with the love and encouragement of family and friends, I got back on track. At times even deadlines bring out the best in you. I remember while writing for Shootout at wadala, there was so much pressure that I ended up doing a very good job.

Last but not the least, what would your dream assignment be?

I already got a chance to work on my dream assignment with Ek Villain. I have written innumerable drafts for the film. Mohit Suri pushed me so much. We debated, we argued, we analysed each and every scene. I have given my blood, sweat and tears to this film. Mohit believed I could write Ek Villain way before I could believe that I could do justice to the project.  

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