Here’s an exclusive interview with the author of Calling Sehmat- the book which is adapted into the movie Raazi, Starring Alia Bhatt.
Short details about the author-
Harinder Sikka is the group director of Strategic Business in Piramal Group.
After graduation from DU, he joined the Indian Navy. He was commissioned in January 1981 and took premature retirement in 1993 as a Lt. Commander.
He has produced the film ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ which won 3 national awards including the Nargis Dutt award for the best feature film in national integration. The film also earned praise at various international awards including Cannes.
He lives in Delhi with his family.
A short note about the Interview-
First of all, I would like to thank the author Harinder Sikka for giving me his few precious minutes and for answering my few questions. He is very busy these days due to the release of the new edition of his book ‘Calling Sehmat as well as the movie Raazi. He is also the group Director in a big company with huge responsibility and workload. That is why the answers are short but to-the-point and straight.
Some Personal Questions-
Q. Did you like writing stories from childhood?
No. Not very much.
Q. Do you like reading a lot of books?
No. I can’t get enough time to read a lot of books as I have a very busy schedule.
Q. Who was your favourite childhood author?
No one. I could not read much. But still remember few lines of a poem, ‘ Ek khat bichha lo aangan mein, leto, baitho, aaram karo…..’
Q.What are you reading in present?
Ravinder (Singh) from Penguin (Publications) just presented me ‘I too had a love story’ but it takes me time to read.
Q.Do you watch a lot of movies or only some?
Only some. Do not like Hindi Movies.
Questions about the book-
Q.What inspired you to write this book?
Q. What was the reaction of your family members and friends when you told them about your project?
They opposed me.
Q.Did you get the required support?
No! But the more I face hurdles, the more I focussed.
Q.Did you travel a lot for writing this book?
Yes! I have to do a lot of travelling for writing this book. I even made two trips to Pakistan. I took lots of risks for this book.
Q.How did you feel while writing this book? Did you enjoy it or it puzzled you a little?
It shattered the bubble within that I am a brave man. But a sea of emotional strength erupted within also.
Q.How would you like to describe the Character of Sehmat?
I would say that she is a normal, but enormously beautiful (physically) girl. She is a determined soldier, ready to risk everything for the country. She is a MOST beautiful saint.
Q.As a reader how many points will you give your book out of 10?
Let the people decide this.
Questions about the movie-
Q.What would you say about the character of Sehmat being played by Alia? Are you satisfied with her acting?
Yes! I am satisfied. I saw Alia and felt Sehmat’s presence. I liked the innocence in her eyes.
Q. What will you choose to recommend? The book or the movie?
People should 1st watch film and then read the book. They’ll connect to Sehmat in some way.
Q. What would you say at the success of the book as well as the movie? Did you expect this or it is a surprise for you?
Yes, I have expected this. I had told this to Alia at the very beginning. No one believed me. But Bit deep within, I knew it.
Q.What message you would like to give to the readers?
One Hindustan. Those with bloated egos,
Ye nashaaye daulat,
Kirayedar hein sab,
Ghar badalte rehte hein ‘
Thank you very much, Sir!