Aug 26,2012: ‘Aata majhi satakli’. An English translation of these three Marathi words can get nowhere close to conveying the emotion. Would you prefer ‘now my brain has shifted’ (?!) or ‘now I have lost it’? But this one-liner from Ajay Devgn-starrer Singham became so popular with the masses that director Rohit Shetty repeated it as a spoof in his recently released film Bol Bachchan.
It also found its way onto T-shirts and everyday lingo. The creators of this line? Farhad-Sajid, brothers-in-arms, partners-in-crime, writers-on-the-loose.
Farhad and Sajid, popularly known as Laurel-Hardy in the Hindi film industry because of their body structures, are today among the most sought-after writers in Bollywood. The brothers have written for five Rs. 100 crore grossers (Golmaal 3, Singham, Ready, Housefull 2 and Bol Bachchan) in a short span of 18 months. “We thrive on punch lines and that’s what audiences like too,” says Sajid. “Moreover we aren’t among those writers who get cooped up in Lonavala or five-star suites to get inspired to write. Give us our potty seat and we’ll do a good enough job,” claims Farhad. “Toilets are really the best — flush down the bad ideas and retain the good ones. We like to function in a lively environment; our kids howling, cars honking. That’s how we manage to get our punches bang on.”
Farhad says that the two of them could qualify as the world’s most uneducated writers.
“We were brought up in Bandra (Mumbai) with the ‘Bandra boys’ culture. Our education has been films,” says Farhad. Sajid pipes in, “We have seen movies and more movies by buying tickets in black in Gaiety, Galaxy and Gemini (single-screen theatres in Bandra) and even taking lathis on our body when caught.
The brothers who had moved to Bangalore in the 1990s started a restaurant there called The Party, inspired by the Peter Sellers movie. Farhad then started writing songs for family occasions and that’s how they formed their team. They participated in local contests. Encouraged by the response their lyrics were getting, the brothers moved back to Mumbai in search of work. They got instant recognition for their street slang songs such as ‘Munna Mobile Pappu Pager’ (Hum Kissise Kum Nahi) and ‘M Bole Toh’ which they co-wrote with Rahat Indori (Munnabhai MBBS).
But the transit to dialogue writing and screenplay happened soon enough and now, the brothers don’t shy away from saying that there is a line of producers waiting to sign them on. “When we had started off work here, we visited studio after studio and nobody considered us. Salman Khan is our guardian angel who got us our first break. Now, I can happily say that we have 17 fathers and 23 mothers in Bollywood. I can come up with another line — ‘Hit hai toh fit hai’,” says Sajid, laughing hysterically.
Ask them if they would like to continue in the comedy space or would want to do serious writing too and Farhad says they were asked this question even when working on Singham. “People kept asking us whether we would be able to pull it off. Now it’s for everyone to see. We think that writing does not have any limits. Also there is nothing called ‘different’ cinema. One has to make films that leave the cine-goer satisfied that his Rs. 250 ticket and Rs. 250 worth of eats per person were worth coming to the theatre for. We will never stop entertaining,” says Farhad.
The brothers work together on every project and react to each other’s lines like the audience would. We’ve seen front benchers react to dialogues. We react to our lines similarly — either by clapping or whistling or by hurling the choicest abuses. We even fight a lot but after work we make up, usually over ice cream,” says Sajid.
While in the early part of their career, they have executed scripts and dialogues in a month; their present turnaround time is two to four months. They wish to work with Rajkumar Hirani. “He is a magician. He can make you laugh and he can make you cry within the same frame. We are waiting for the day, when our mobile will flash Raju’s number.”