Huge Salim-Javed fan, ‘Sholay’ is huge inspiration: ‘RRR’ V writer Vijayendra Prasad : The Tribune India

Panjim, November 22

As someone who didn’t learn screenwriting, ‘RRR’ V screenwriter Vijayendra Prasad says he admires former writing duo Salim-Javed and still watches their 1975 masterpiece ‘Sholay’ to overcome a creative block.

The 80-year-old Telugu film veteran who has become one of the most bankable scribes in the Indian film industry today, began his writing journey in his late 40s.

“I started writing in 1988-1989. I was in my 40s and didn’t have time to learn to write scripts or go to school. I had to find shortcuts,” said Prasad, who is also known for blockbusters “Magadheera”, “Mersal”, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and “Baahubali” series.

In the late 80s, Prasad came across Ramesh Sippy’s ‘Sholay’, written by Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. Since then, the Hindi multistar action drama has served as his go-to book for screenwriting.

“I’m a huge Salim-Javed fan. I saw ‘Sholay’. I borrowed tapes and watched the movie over and over again.

“I learned how they wrote the characters and interconnected them with the emotions…Even today when I write and face a creative block, I only watch two or three scenes from ‘Sholay ‘”, he added.

Prasad was speaking during the Masterclass session “The Master’s Writing Process” here at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) on Monday.

“Mayabazaar,” the 1957 Telugu classic starring NT Rama Rao, Gemini Ganesan, Savitri and SV Ranga Rao, also influenced his filmography, the writer said. “In this film, everything is perfect. Not even a single shot is wasted,” he added.

Asked about the secret to his success, Prasad said that as a screenwriter he thinks it’s important to meet the needs of the film crew as well as the audience.

“I don’t write, I dictate stories. I have everything in mind – the flow of the story, the characters and the plot twists.

“A good writer has to meet the needs of the director, the producer, the main protagonist and the audience…I always try to create in the audience the hunger for my story and my characters. And that pushes me to create something unique and attractive,” he said.

According to the screenwriter, there are no new stories, and a storyteller must draw new narratives from real-life history, culture, and incidents.

“I don’t write stories, I steal stories,” he joked.

“The stories are around you. Be it epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana or real incidents. There are stories everywhere. You just need to portray it in your unique style. Calling himself a “successful failure”, the writer said he tried his hand at a lot of things before making his mark in the film industry.

“I managed to fail in so many things before I started writing. I did farming, trading fertilizers and started a factory, but it didn’t work out,” a- he declared.

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