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3-min read

Creative differences with Suhrita Sengupta? Never. Her complaint was that I never interfered, says 'All That Could Have Been' author Mahesh Bhatt

Based on the screenplay of Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi starrer, the novel revolves around the life of a new age woman Vasudha.

Divya Pal | http://divyapal2013

Updated:April 7, 2015, 11:31 AM IST
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Creative differences with Suhrita Sengupta? Never. Her complaint was that I never interfered, says 'All That Could Have Been' author Mahesh Bhatt
Based on the screenplay of Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi starrer, the novel revolves around the life of a new age woman Vasudha.

With just a few months left for the release of his most awaited films 'Hamaari Adhuri Kahaani', filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt speaks exclusively to IBNLive.com about his debut novel 'All That Could Have Been'. Based on the screenplay of Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi starrer, the novel revolves around the life of a new age woman Vasudha.

As Mahesh tells us, his book draws from personal life, but it is the story of the female protagonist that remains pivotal to the book. "I haven't put the chronological replay of my life into 'All That Could Have Been'. I've said the emotional truth which is the heartbeat of this book. 'All That Could Have Been' comes from my understanding of my mother, my childhood and my life. It looks at larger issue of the Indian woman in the 21st century. It is about the traditional woman who isn't influenced by the narrative of the West. But she has to understand and interpret her life through her own mythological icons like Sita, Rahdha and Durga. Only when you interpret life through your own mythological constructs will it start entering your consciousness," he explains.

Mahesh feels the predicament that Vasudha faces in real life brings forth the different aspects of her personality. "So while it has a resonance of my own life, but at the heart if it is the story of a woman, who is out of choice in a tricky situation. It is about how she goes through that upheaval and how she wakes up to various dimensions of herself - the Radha (the sacrifical woman, the woman who has desires and pines for love and has an appetite for love) and the flowering of Maa Durga (the final expression of woman and the universe). It is about her perspective on her marriage, her husband's absence and her falling in love with a man," he says.

The popular filmmaker also feel roping in Suhrita Sengupta to write the book with him played a key role in creating the right impact. "What hit me about Suhrita was what she told me in the first meeting. She told me, 'I'm a writer. I cut hair with my left hand and write with my right hand.' So she has worked with women for a long time and know their intimate secrets. She is a housewife and that's the kind of reference that Bollywood doesn't have anymore. We are so removed. It was refreshing to connect with someone from Kolkata."

Such has been the impact of Suhrita's writing that Mahesh can't stop lauding her efforts. "Suhrita has helped me write the book. For the first time, the screenplay has been put in a book form. Normally, what we see is a screenplay being carved out of a book. I met Suhrita during the Durga Puja and asked her to help me construct the ambience of Durga Puja, and how the protagonist expresses her stance. Suhrita wrote a stunning chapter. It had the fire that came from her own veins and I asked her why not write it in a book form and that's when the idea originated. Then she took my screenplay and wove it into a novel."

While creative differences are expected to arise when two skilled people work on the same book, Mahesh says the two never had any clash of opinions. "Her complaint was that I don't interfere. In fact that it was looked upon as indifference. I was clear that this had to be written in a particular form. I also knew that she is a master at it and I'm just a screenwriter. She was clear that I shouldn't be over her shoulders. So whatever you read in the book ought to be applauded for her efforts."

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