We are all dark and capable of doing worse: ‘Andhadhun’ writer Pooja Ladha Surti

Shubha Dubey

Panaji, Nov 25 (PTI) As positive as she is in real life, it’s unimaginable that the twisted characters she creates for Sriram Raghavan’s dark tales manage to fit the bill, but writer-editor Pooja Ladha Surti believes every person has a grey side and she only tries to capture that.

Ladha Surti, who has collaborated with Raghavan on critically-acclaimed thrillers “Ek Hasina Thi”, “Johnny Gaddar”, “Badlapur” and National Award-winning “Andhadhun”, said as a writer the concept of black and white was never something she enjoyed dealing with. “I remember when we were working on ‘Ek Hasina Thi’, producer Ramu ji (Ram Gopal Varma) told me ‘you look like an intellectual but you are too dark.’ I used to wonder what he meant. I believe we are all dark and are capable of doing worse.

“I don’t create these twisted characters intentionally. It is very organic for me because I get invested and interested in people solving their problems the way they want to. I always end up going that way,” the writer told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

The beauty of the these films, on which Ladha Surti also serves as an associate director, is that they make these morally corrupt characters look believable.

Ladha Surti said when they work on these parts they keep two things in mind -- 'creative aspect' and 'what I'm trying to say through them'.

Raghavan is known for his open endings, and according to Ladha Surti, most of the times the climax of their films evolve during the making.

“The endings we have in our films, most of the times it is not on paper. We discuss a lot about it. Everybody throws in their ideas and then we decide what to do with our characters. It’s never like one right idea happened just one fine day,” she added.

She said actors take her creations a notch higher by conveying the right emotion.

“I am associate director on most of the films and I’m on set. When actors bring the characters to life that I have written, it always comes as surprise.

“I have had the opportunity to work with some really wonderful actors, be it Dharam ji (Dharmendra) in ‘Johnny Gaddar’ or Tabu in ‘Andhadhun’ or Radhika Apte in ‘Phobia’. All these amazing actors add a new dimension to our creations. I’ve always felt they make these characters better and real, which is why we love these actors so much. They are the painting on the canvas.” However, Ladha Surti is still not used to the kind of attention and fandom both she and Raghavan are experiencing post “Andhadhun” success and award run.

“I believe because of social media a lot of cinema enthusiasts are interested in what goes behind the scenes. They are more curious about it now. There is a lot of fandom going on, imagine Sriram gets mobbed. I always feel surprised. It feels nice that people like our work.” Praising Raghavan for giving her the space to do what she believes in, Ladha Surti said the director has a phenomenal worth ethic and ensures everyone gives their best.

“We understand each other a lot more without explaining too much. The understanding has got better over the years. Whether on the set or on the writer’s table, we still have our fights, we are humans, but it’s never down and dirty. There is a basic respect. I look up to him. We don’t have noisy sets.” The writer is currently working on the Arun Khetrapal biopic, featuring Varun Dhawan in the lead. The movie marks Varun and Raghavan’s second collaboration after “Badlapur”.

“It’s a real story and it’s important to get the elements right. We are still writing and it will take another two-three months to complete it.” The 50th IFFI concludes on November 28. PTI SHD RDS RDS