Skip to main content

The Invaluable Value of the Pen - Salaam Salim Saab (Episode #3)




“There will come a day when a writer will be paid as much money as the hero.” Those were the famous words uttered by Master Writer Salim Khan to a professional associate. His words were proved wrong—but in a good way—years later when he and his writing partner, Javed Akhtar Saab actually drew a fee not equal to but more than what the hero was paid for a film that they scripted.  
 
How did this miracle happen in an industry that is notorious for undervaluing the writer? According to Salim Saab, “consistency” was the secret to their success. The duo went on writing one hit after another and proved to the world that quality of content was the key to the success of their films. 

In my opinion, the only contemporary Indian film to have ever matched form to its content is the Masterpiece Sholay and there too, the content has been penned by Salim Saab and Javed Saab.

The hallmark of Salim Saab-Javed Saab’s writing is that all their films were not merely successful in terms of box-office earnings but were perceived to be socially relevant and that’s what earned them the respect of the film fraternity. Salim Saab always says, what’s a film if its content does not leave behind any emotional residue on its viewers?

And precisely because of the impact that their powerful writing had on the audience, the fearless warriors of the pen demanded their pound of flesh and made sure they were given the respect they were so worthy of.

Though Salim Saab is purely a devotee of knowledge and literature, it’s an undeniable fact that money is the measure of man’s achievement in this materialistic world. And the Duo’s unmatchable contribution to Indian cinema could be compensated with not only respect but the highest fee to be paid. What’s more, this deserved recognition ensured that writers and quality content began to be more appreciated within the industry. 

Salim Saab went a step further and even staked a claim in the profits of the films that they were part of and in a most rational manner proved his point when it was established without doubt that the films they wrote actually got picked up for a premium by buyers purely on the basis of one credit scroll:  Written by Salim-Javed.

The contribution of the Pen is actually priceless in spirit but in reality, we ought to doff our hats to Salim Saab who along with his partner has given priceless gems to the Indian film audience. Gems that can will forever retain their sparkle because of the Invaluable Value of the Pen.

 Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling.

Links to earlier episodes in this series:



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Understanding the Business of Writing

Welcome to Week U of Authors' Tips - A to Z of Writing.  If this is the first time you're visiting this series, here's a quick recap: Authors share their tips on writing fiction and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week, I focus on Understanding the Business of Writing. Read on... and don't forget to share your thoughts in the comment box. Get this straight all you aspiring writers. Writing is a business. For those who think it's your passion that fuels your writing and will do so for the next 5,10 or 15 years... here's a little reality check. Two years after you have poured your blood, sweat and tears into your debut fiction novel and found no publisher wanting to publish it, the passion will shrivel up and die very soon. Sure, you might be the one-in-a-million breakthrough writer to find a publisher who is willing to sign you up for a three-series book deal and a six figure advance. A second scenario, and a more li

Niche Markets in Romance Writing

Welcome to Week N of Authors' Tips: A to Z of Writing. If this is the first time you are visiting this series, here's a quick recap. Authors share their tips on writing fiction - and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week it's time to take a closer look at Niche Markets  A few weeks ago I'd posted about the importance of knowing your Genre as it helps readers to discover your books. A genre like Romance -- which incidentally is the top selling category -- has more than 100-plus sub-categories. These are often called 'niches', a marketing jargon for specialist sub-categories. While some of the more popular ones like romantic suspense, chicklit, paranormal romance, historical romance, etc. are evergreen favourites, as reading preferences evolve, new niches emerge from time to time. For instance, a few years back the super-duper success of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey sparked off a new niche of BDSM within the sub-genre

#7Lives is now streaming on Amazon Prime US and UK

  If I'm absolutely honest I'm often discouraged by just how difficult the screenwriting journey is. Staying positive over months and years, slogging away at scripts, pitching producers and agents and dealing with rejections can be exhausting. I have often been tempted to throw in the towel. What has stopped me from doing it?  Well, the sheer compulsion of writing a story that's visual and visceral. 7 Lives was one such script. It is based on the true story of a young girl whose parents want to overcome the pain of losing their most precious daughter by remembering her in a way that would give meaning to her life and theirs. They wanted to donate her organs but alas their wish was never to be fulfilled.  When Runjiv J Kapur, my filmmaker friend, approached me to write the script based on this story for a short film, I was excited but also a bit scared. Would I be able to do justice to the story? For me, 7 Lives will always be special. Not only because it was a subject that