It’s rare for mainstream Bollywood to venture beyond foreign locales and mushy love stories to fix its spotlight on the problems plaguing indigenous society every day. However, writer Gaurav Solanki and director Anubhav Sinha decided to take on the problems nobody wanted to talk about in Article 15. The film went upfront about the ills of the social order and impacted the audience and critics alike.
Solanki, an IIT Roorkee graduate, says things have changed for him post Article 15. Post the film, he wants to take in its success slowly and keep himself grounded. “I am getting a lot of love from the audience and industry. But all this while I am only trying not to take this to my head. I don't want to go fast, I just want to concentrate on narrating stories that I so badly wanted to tell,” he told News18.
Solanki left his job as an engineer to peruse a career in films. He moved to Mumbai at the age of 25 and was discovered by Anurag Kashyap who offered him to write songs for his film Ugly (2014).
In 2018, his next big shot was Balaji Motion Pictures's Veere Di Wedding song Bhangra Ta Sajda and a year later he wrote Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Article 15.
Recently, on International Men's Day, he wrote a poem 'Gentleman Kise Kehte Hain', for The Man Company. Narrated by Ayushmann Khurrana, the poem take references from day to day lives and catalogues gender stereotypes that men face. It also calls out patriarchy and social norms that have affected men in general.
The video went viral in no time and people noticed Solanki’s work and couldn't stop talking about it. "After the emergence of social media, we have become desensitised to pertinent issues. I think, we need to step back and look around become more compassionate towards each other," says Solanki.
He adds, “We did not expect such kind of response, our only aim was to start a conversation because in India nobody talks about the pain and emotions men feel.”
As the poem stirred a conversation about men and empathy, Ayushmann was at the receiving end of appreciation. “The audience wants to believe that the actor who's speaking those dialogues or reciting those lines has written that. Also because the credits come by the end one doesn't pay attention to it and closes the video. Sometimes it feels bad because you feel very close to the words you’ve written and they are your part, you want to own them and be known by your work," says Solanki.
Solanki feels that unless people behind the camera, like scriptwriters, technicians and lyricist are not celebrated, valuable content will be difficult to produce.
“With constant conversation around this, things will change and with the celebration of good content more good content will be produced," he concludes.
As of now, Solanki has finished writing a series for Amazon Prime and is working on a film with Dibakar Banerjee.
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