Mukul Dev: Omar Sheikh turned me into a writer
'90s star Mukul Dev talks about starting a new career with Rajkummar Rao's upcoming film Omerta
Mukul Dev has director Hansal Mehta to credit for helping him understand the nuances of writing a film script. "As a writer, you want to say everything. But he taught me when to say what," says Dev, who marks his debut as a writer with Mehta's Omerta.
Dev had pitched the story of the Rajkummar Rao starrer to Mehta, who he has "known for ages", after the story of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh caught his fancy. The British terrorist of Pakistani descent, who inspired Mehta's film, was associated with a number of terrorist organisations, and served prison time for the 1994 kidnappings of western tourists in India.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
"I used to read up about him. His story was intriguing. I started putting together facts and felt that a story on him would make for an ideal espionage thriller," says Dev. However, churning facts into a script was no mean feat for Dev. "Hansal gave the story a structure, and improved it. He taught me the finer nuances of writing a film. I would follow a linear approach, but he taught me how to add layers to the story."
The director also caught Dev off-guard when the latter saw the final product. "When I saw the film, I was spellbound. No one could have dealt with the subject like he did. I knew he was the best to turn to if this story had to be brought to the big screen. Hansal and Rajkummar have worked hard. In fact, the title was Hansal's brainchild too," says Dev, who has been penning scripts for a while.
While acting remains his first love — he is currently seen on 21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897 — he finds writing a creatively fulfilling process. "I am keen to share my stories with likeminded filmmakers."
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