DATE : 15TH OF DECEMBER 2020
Sudip Sharma is a Hindi film screenwriter. He’s co-written NH10 and Udta Punjab. The Movie Culture interviewed Mr. Sharma over Paatal Lok, the hit Amazon Prime Series which closely tells a story about modern day India.
Greetings Mr. Sharma, we at The Movie Culture are thrilled to have you. We certainly hope that during times like these you and your family are doing well.
Q. I want to start the interview with you by a show which has been on everyone’s mind, Paatal Lok. As the show creator what attracted you to the story?
Sudip Sharma: Trying to understand the country and the world I live in is a big part of my writing agenda. This story had the potential to explore this land and some of the big socio-political themes that are important for it. That’s what attracted me to it.
Q. When Pataal Lok was in production, did you ever anticipated of overwhelming response you have received for it? How was has the experience been before and after?
Sudip Sharma: Not at all. We were all always confident that we had something good on our hands, but we all felt that it’s going to be a niche show. Maybe it was the pandemic that boosted its reception to such a degree, but I was genuinely surprised by how the very “mainstream” audiences took to it.
Q. Your bollywood career having written films like NH 10, Sonchidya doesn’t scream Cliche Bollywood Films and with Paatal Lok on your filmography now further proves the point. What’s your writing process like? And your work reflects social commentary in every sense, how important is that?
Sudip Sharma: Like I said above, my writing ambition is to explore and understand the larger world that I live in. And it’s very important to me that my work tries and explore socio-political themes. It’s me just trying to understand myself in this moment through the prism of the ever-changing world.
Q. Paatal Lok is based on Story of My Assassins however has some spine chilling moments which reflects the current state of our nation. How much research went into adapting and at the same time setting the story to our current time?
Sudip Sharma: We had a source material in the form of the very excellent book which carried with it a great understanding and a nuancd POV of the country. Apart from that, of course a lot of research went into understanding this material through my own personal worldview. But this research was not something specific to the project. It’s something that I’ve experienced and witnessed first hand as part of living life, travelling, reading in the last few years. This show is the nishkarsh of all that I’ve done and read in the last few years.
Q. Paatal Lok has an amazing ensemble, how was it like working with them? And also if you could share what was it like working with Jaydeep Ahlawat?
Sudip Sharma: We were lucky to land up a great cast. Jaideep particularly was amazing to work with – very sorted in his process, very involved with the entire story and not just his part and a great company even at a personal level.
Q. Amazon Prime Video is where Paatal Lok debuted, so how important does OTT platforms such as Prime come in handy while making a show which has something to say? Also, do you have any opinions on the recent decision to monitor the content on Streaming Platforms?
Sudip Sharma: Very important. They’re the gatekeepers and we artists are only as good as the platform would let us be. A lot of the sharpness of Paatal Lok comes from the freedom that Prime Video provided us with. The decision to monitor content on streaming platforms is ridiculous but doesn’t surprise me at all. You just have to look at it alongside everything else that has been happening and it all fits perfectly into a grand narrative.
Q. If I May Segway into Fan Service, are you guys planning a Season 2 for Paatal Lok? If not continue the same story, how would you like the idea of making an Anthology entry into the same World of the show? Ping us if you agree!
Sudip Sharma: I’m not at a freedom to discuss the second season. It’s Prime Video’s prerogative to make the necessary announcements as and when.
Q. As a Writer yourself working in the film business, did you credit a Film for making you fall in love witg Writing for Screen?
Sudip Sharma: So many of them. Satya, American Beauty, Pulp Fiction, Ardh Satya.
Q. The Movie Culture is situated in India but we review International Films too, we’d like to know whether there’s an International Film or Series which you love? Have you had a binge watch of anything during the lockdown?
Sudip Sharma: The Wire is my all time favorite series. It’s the gold standard of long form writing. The series that I really enjoyed watching the last one year are ‘I know this much is true’, ‘I may destroy you’ and ‘Zerozerozero’.
Q. Do you have any future projects lined up which you’d like to share with us and your fans?
Sudip Sharma: Like my friend Akshat Verma says, it’s bad juju to talk about future projects J
Q. As a successful writer, is there a key advice which you give to Writers in general trying to make it big?
Sudip Sharma: Write. Just write. Write a lot. Don’t write one or two scripts and assume that the world owes you these films now. You’ve to write a dozen scripts before you can genuinely call yourself a screenwriter. Unless you are a genius. And in that case, you wouldn’t need the advice of a hack like me.
With this I’d like to wrap up with the interview questions.
The Movie Culture would indeed like to thank you for agreeing to this wonderful interview.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
We couldn’t agree more with Sudip Sharma. Indian Television has grown over the years due to the rise of OTT platforms and makers such as Mr. Sharma who are largely behind the camera deserves more recognition.
We hope to have achieved that with this Interview. And if any writer of Indian Origin stumbles upon this said interview we hope you find what you need.
Paatal Lok is available on Amazon Prime Video.