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Sulemani Keeda is meta

A writer uses his writer friends to make a film about struggling Bollywood writers

By Vatsala Chhibber  December 4th, 2014

A screenplay writer loses out to fate
“At the time of writing the film, I was in anguish,” says 32-year-old television and film writer, Amit Masurkar, who makes his directorial debut with Sulemani Keeda. After five script signings with renowned directors fell through, Masurkar began writing another film to counter his “anger and frustration”.

He writes a tell-all
Sulemani Keeda is a slacker comedy about two screenplay writers with polar opposite personalities, circling around their big Bollywood break. The film was inspired by Masurkar’s own days spent “hustling screenplays” and his lead characters were modelled on writer friends – “Mayank (Tewari) was a crime journalist who later wrote Ragini MMS (2011), Naveen (Kasturia) was an AD (LSD, 2010) who wanted to be a screenwriter.”

Enter friends and Mahesh Bhatt
Most of the intimate crew (there were never more than 10 people on set) was made up of friends and favours; even Mahesh Bhatt, whom Masurkar co-wrote Murder 3 with, was roped in for a cameo.

The crew gatecrashes a poetry slam
To tell his story with greater authenticity, Masurkar made his protagonists perform at a poetry slam with cameras placed clandestinely around the pub. “The audience had no idea we were shooting, so all the reactions you see are genuine. We’ve done things like this many times.” 

Farhan Akhtar makes a special appearance
The film’s premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival last year had the audience in splits, Zoya Akhtar included. “She put us in touch with [her brother] Farhan, and he sent us a text saying this was contemporary film-making at its best,” says Masurkar.

Sulemani Keeda releases on December 5.