‘Alia is in­ter­ested in the novel’s se­quel’

As he pens sec­ond part of Call­ing Sehmat that in­spired Raazi, Sikka hints that Bhatt is keen to take the story ahead on the big screen

Mid Day - - Hitlist - MOHAR BASU [email protected]

MONTHS after the phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess of Alia Bhatt’s Raazi, Harinder Sikka — au­thor of Call­ing Sehmat, the book that was adapted by direc­tor Meghna Gulzar for the big screen — re­veals that he is work­ing on the se­quel, Re­mem­ber­ing Sehmat. While many may be­lieve that the novel — that told the true story of a young Kash­miri girl who was sent as a spy to Pak­istan in 1971 — doesn’t lend it­self to a sec­ond part, the au­thor in­sists the pro­tag­o­nist’s jour­ney has enough fod­der to war­rant a se­quel. “After I wrote Call­ing Sehmat in 2008, I spent an­other 10 years with her, on and off, depend­ing on the lit­tle time she gave me. [The book will fo­cus on] how she went into de­pres­sion after the mis­sion but fought her way out of it. It will re­flect her per­sonal jour­ney since her re­turn from Pak­istan — how she never ac­cepted her son as her own, and de­nounced pub­lic life. Dr Man­mo­han Singh of­fered her the Padma Shri, but she turned it down. The mys­ter­ies around her will be de­coded in Re­mem­ber­ing Sehmat. A por­tion will also in­clude why she made me take two trips to Pak­istan, dur­ing the decade that I knew her,” re­veals Sikka.

Raazi made for a grip­ping big screen ex­pe­ri­ence. It not only gave the au­di­ence an un­likely hero in the pro­tag­o­nist, but also gave Bhatt one of the most de­fin­i­tive films of her ca­reer. It’s not sur­pris­ing then as Sikka says that he has dis­cussed the se­quel with her. “Mul­ti­ple pro­duc­ers are in­ter­ested to adapt the se­quel into a movie. But as far as the cast­ing goes, Sehmat her­self had cho­sen Alia. I met Alia at the Am­bani wed­ding, and did dis­cuss this. She was def­i­nitely in­ter­ested.” The book, he re­veals, is likely to be backed by Pen­guin and may hit the shelves later this year.

‘The book will re­flect Sehmat’s jour­ney after the mis­sion’

PIC/IN­STA­GRAM

Harinder Sikka A still from Raazi

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