Screenplay writer Niranjan Iyengar’s Bandra house is currently under renovations. But sitting amidst the cacophony created by the heavy equipments around him, Niranjan’s mind is in a far-off place. Recently having written dialogues for Madhur Bhandarkar and Karan Johar’s respective upcoming films, the writer-lyricists talks about his journey in Bollywood and more...
Is it true that your career in Bollywood happened by chance?
I started working as a journalist post, which my friend Manish Malhotra offered me a position in his design studio. I designed wedding dresses as well as costumes for stage shows. After writing a book on Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushie Kabhi Gham, Nikhil Advani asked me to write the dialogues for Kal Ho Naa Ho. Then Jism happened, post which I ended up writing the lyrics for My Name Is Khan.
You have also written for some rather rabble-rousing dialogues for Kareena Kapoor in her next film.
Explosive dialogues are integral part of Madhur’s grammar. Because the film industry is under constant scrutiny, our ‘flaws’ are written about. But when the same things happen outside, no one bothers! The dialogues are a part of the character’s journey and were necessary for the storyline.
How was it working with your friend Karan for his next?
Karan and I have a very long-standing relationship. This was the first time Karan was working with newcomers. He was dealing with subjects concerning an age group that he passed 20 years back. I was nervous as hell. I would tell Karan that we couldn’t sound like 40-year-olds trying to sound like 20-year-olds. However, I think we have both done good jobs.
What is your next assignment?
I’m writing a film for Nikhil Advani. It’s been 10 years since we worked in Kal Ho Naa Ho.
Do you feel you have got the credit you deserve?
I never had to fight for my money or for credit. Karan Johar and Pooja Bhatt are dear friends. Today I share a comfort level with actors unlike many other writers. I can walk up to Kareena or Karisma and reprimand them for not saying their lines correctly!