Abbas Tyrewala who directed one of 2008’s biggest successes is also a writer of great repute, having written among other things, the prophetic dialogues of Munnabhai MBBS and the screenplay of Maqbool.
Abbas went to see the latest Yashraj production Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year not only as a writer and director but also as an eager fan of the films that the banner comes out of.
“I love Jaideep Sahni’s writing and Shimit Amin’s direction. But what were they thinking while doing Rocket Singh? Where is the payoff in the screenplay? Where is the hero? Ranbir plays a timid Sardar who steals phone lines and computer hardware from his work-place to start his own business. And we are supposed to accept him as a man of integrity! Would he be able to start his own business if it wasn’t for the nefarious support he gets from his work-place? In other words the ‘hero’ resorts to those very underhand tactics that he claims to abhor and takes the help of that very organization which has disgraced him!”
Most damaging of all, Abbas couldn’t see a hero in Ranbir’s character. “The boss (Manish Chowdhary) is so over-the-top he belongs to another sensibility altogether, calls Ranbir a ‘bastard’ several times, humiliates and disgraces him publicly. We wait for our hero to have his revenge on the boorish boss. I completely believe in the old-fashioned Hindi film formula where the hero gives his tormentor tit for tat. But Boss, where’s the comeuppance for the villain? In fact the story comes across more as the boss’ redemption story as the hero’s.”
Abbas is now more than sure what he wants to do with his own hero John Abraham in 1-800-Love at the end. “I want my hero to either win or die at the end. Not a hero whose fight for the right simply peters out to a dead-end.”
In fact Abbas’s disappointment with Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year has given him a renewed creative strength. “I now know exactly how my hero’s journey to end. I’m an old-fashioned storyteller. And we’ve at heart a very traditional audience. They want to see the hero triumph at the end, not walk away from the villain as he makes an apology speech.”