Writing stories is a lonely and thankless job: Ritesh Shah

Vastavam web: Writer Ritesh Shah says writing stories is a lonely and thankless vocation and finds it difficult to detach himself from the arduous process even in his sleep as he feels inspiration can strike any time. The 42-year-old scribe has been behind some of the biggest and critically-acclaimed films of recent times, including “Pink”, “Airlift”, “Kahaani” and the latest, “Raid” in various capacities — story writer, screenplay or dialogue writer.”There is no escape from it. It troubles you in sleep also. Sometimes, you think you have solved it. Sometimes a scene comes, or the full film comes, and then you realise in the morning, it was all nonsense,” Shah told PTI in an interview.

The scribe says he would be doing “disservice” if he glamourises writing.”It is a terrible job. It’s hard to write and very hard to write commercial Hindi films. It doesn’t come easily,” he says, who has a loyal listener to all his story ideas – Roger, his dog.Mainstream films have been Shah’s forte and he attributes his love for it to movies penned by veteran writer duo Salim-Javed, which fuelled his appetite in his growing up years and it ended up having the biggest influence on him.Born in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and raised in Srinagar, the writer remembers his 15-year-old self living in the conflict-hit state. He recalls there was not only a threat to life but the education system was also in shambles.

“The education got badly affected in the ’90s and the middle-class Kashmiris went to different parts in the country to study,” says Shah, who migrated to Delhi in the summer of 1990.He pursued English Literature at the Hindu College and later opted to do mass communication from Jamia Milia Islamia. Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali and TV personality Roshan Abbas were his seniors and “Udta Punjab” director Abhishek Choubey was his junior.His calling to Mumbai happened somewhere around 1998 when he adapted Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek’s play “The Police”, which a lot of people from the film fraternity saw and liked.