Sheeja Jose, Creative Producer on TV pens book that gets Sriram Raghavan’s attention
Tv Talks Networks, 11 February 201611 February 2016
What kind of TV shows have your worked in prior to setting out to write your book?
I mainly worked on thrillers as I loved that space and somewhere. I wasn't fulfilled with the saas- bahu's cat and mouse games. I used to set up a show which normally takes 4-5 months and then I used to take a break for 3 months. I used this time and money to travel, sleep, eat and write my movie scripts. So in comparison, I haven't done too many shows. I started working on Mano Ya Na Mano as an EP but later directed and wrote the same. Maniben.com was a comedy serious I had set up as a creative director and Adalat for Sony.
How did your television journey pan out for you? Did it give you financial freedom to do other things?
I had come to Mumbai to pursue my higher studies after my 12th in Kerala, Calicut.It's not for the lack of colleges that I moved to Mumbai. If I ever asked myself what I wanted to do with my life it was always to make movies, even before I knew the term Director. We were not very fond of movie outings as a family, infact, we hardly even watch TV. So I figured Mumbai is the best place for my dreams. I started work as an assistant director in movies not even informing my family except my sister. The project was constantly delayed and eventually, all the assistants left that movie to figure out something else. I had become an EP accidently for the same movie production house as their existing EP left. Though I had no idea about TV shows at that point of time I took up the challenge and started by career as an EP for another show. Then I started to direct some episodes and write as well. Soon I settled into being a creative director as it had more creative control, challenges and it paid really well. However I hadn't leave my movie-making dream and I used to keep on writing movie scripts. So I left TV to pursue it a bit more seriously and I saw some good progress. But my movie got stuck and, instead of sitting and sulking, I started to write to use the time I had. That's Goodbye Girl. But yes TV pays well if you have the patience to work in it and it gives a sense of security.
What is your recent novel Gone with the Bullet about? There's talk of it being made into a film. Would you like to convert it into a TV series?
Sriram Raghavan is one of the rare thriller movie directors who has his army of fan followers for his twisted and unusual movies. We both love not so common stories. He keeps on digging stories which makes him excited. I keep on working on stories which excites me first and then others. So I wasn't amused hearing when he said it's a movie script and might as well he would consider making one. I have already got movie offers for this book even before I published it as a book. I have the best team in Mumbai to look into the movie proposals coming my way. They are great at their job while I am bad at cracking deals. So we are taking it a bit slow, as we want to assure the content and its reach.
Gone with the Bullet is my tribute to people who write thrillers. Girls are strong, intelligent and a tad more observant than the rest. Unfortunately, society doesn't allow them to fully shine. Some, however, find a way to fight to the top. My protagonists are the celebrations of their will power, their never dying spirit and their determination to stand up for themselves even after the world dismisses them. Gone with the bullet is a unique relationship between a heartless assassin and a teenage girl. It's their journey to find a reason to be alive. But their journey unfolds in a way that leads us to question everything we see and believe. Because every story has an untold truth. Gone with the Bullet is that, exploring the untold truth.
Since I am also the publisher, I am open to movie and TV deals. Lets see how all that works out.
Your novel has a rich thriller experience. How did you research to write about characters based on RAW, agencies and intricate detective plots? Did working on TV thrillers help you in this?
Though my stories starts with normal characters you can see in your own home or around you, my journey of that characters becomes complex as the story progresses. They grow in terms of action and their own believes, much like people in real life. The RAW I explored in Gone with the Bullet comes with a disclaimer it's a fictitious story. But as you know most of the fictitious stories are based on truth. We talk about the freedom of speech but we know we lack it in many way. But people who understand the deeper layers of secret services of any countries know that it's a web. People get lost and fail to understand the complexity of how it works. I am sure every country has its own secrets. That is the way they survive in this competitive world where one country is spending billions to sabotage another. I had to dig in fairly deep for research. That helped me to write in detail. Above all, it helps me believe in my own story. If I don't believe in what I am saying, how I can expect readers to believe it?
Offcourse every experience in life adds to what we set out to do later. So yes, I learnt from my TV experience as well.