Lucknow lad Himanshu Sharma has firmly established his place in the film industry as a writer. With both his previous films, Tanu Weds Manu and Raanjhana doing well at the box office, the young writer couldn't have asked for more. On a visit to the city, Himanshu talks about writing a sequel to Tanu Weds Manu and his plans to turn director soon.
How have you built the connect between the sequel and Tanu Weds Manu, as it's been four years since the first part released?
Two characters are new in this film. The major one is Datto or Kusum Sangwan. She's the character which made me write this film. She's very unlike Tanu, who I would say is very anarchic. Tanu's rather self-centred, she would do what she wants to do. But anarchy comes with a price and that's what happens to Tanu. For Datto, what came to my mind was that there is a whole section of women in this country who are not fighting for their liberation. They are fighting for their freedom. They say don't beat us, let there be no domestic violence, etc. What the urban woman is talking is far more liberal and far more advanced than what a rural woman or a semi-urban woman is thinking. That's the difference between Tanu and Datto.
I thought it was an interesting idea to juxtapose these two women against each other. I feel that it is perhaps only in this country where you have Dolce & Gabbana and saat somvaar ka vratexisting together. Nowhere in the world would you find a phenomenon like this. Either there are very conservative countries, or very liberal.
As far as the connect is concerned, it's remarkable that people still remember Tanu Weds Manu, so to maintain that continuity wasn't all that tough. People will know where we left off in the last one and where we begin in this one.
Is there going to be a sequel to Tanu Weds Manu Returns?
I don't know. Even when I wrote part one, I never thought I would write a part two but it happened. So God knows!"
Does it upset you that till date Raanjhanaa is cited as a film which glorified stalking and obsessive love?
It doesn't upset me. And I also don't feel bad because once your work is out in the public domain, then you have no control over it. Then people are there to react to it, to interpret it in their own ways, which has always been the case. So I can't be upset about it. But I often feel why people are so stringent about this one film? Why not other films? In Dhoom 3, there's this scene where Katrina Kaif tells Aamir that hire me in your circus and Aamir says 'I will, but do something ki meri nazar tumse paanch minute tak hatey nahi' and she starts to strip and dance. Don't you think it's sexual harassment in a workplace? What about that? Why are you so insensitive towards that and suddenly so sensitive when Kundan says 'humaare Uttar Pradesh mein ladkiyan do tarah se pataayi jati hain'.
My point is that what other language could I have given to a boy who hails from Banaras? I'm not saying he's right, but then you must understand the sensibility he's coming with - that of a semi-urban place where women are treated this way. It doesn't actually upset me, but then why single out my film? Why so emotional about this and so insensitive about the others?
What about your own directorial debut?
There are two other stories that I am working on. One of them is for Aanand sir. So I have to figure which to write first. As of now, I'm just waiting for Tanu Weds Manu Returns to release. But as far as my directorial debut is concerned, I have had the story with me for two and a half years. I just need a couple of clean months with no work to concentrate and pen it down. Anyway, I'm a lazy guy so I just need to get down to it and hopefully begin work on it by next year