The hairstylist-turned-scriptwriter talks about her obsession with hair and Bollywood
Reema Gehi (MUMBAI MIRROR; February 5, 2012)
She’s a hairstylist by profession, and a scriptwriter by passion. At a sea-facing club in Bandra, 29-year-old Ayesha Devitre cowriter for the upcoming romcom Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, keeps you engrossed as she animatedly narrates her Bollywood escapades. Devitre, who comes from a family of doctors, says, “I groomed their hair, but killed their pride.”
The Dadar-Parsi Colony resident says, “From the beginning, I was crazy about Hindi films. While my family danced to La Bamba, I performed to Ek, Do, Teen. My mother thought I was picked up from the road. They never understood where the filmy keeda came from.”
She confesses she has butterflies in her stomach. “That the film is ready for release still feels unreal — every time I see the poster, I scream in excitement. Shakun (director and co-writer), on the other hand, gets nervous and wants to kill himself and me.”
Both hair-styling and scriptwriting happened to her serendipitously. “Soon after I graduated,” she says, “I joined Nalini and Yasmin. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take it up as a profession, but it seemed fun.” Actor Imran Khan and his wife Avantika Malik were her guinea pigs. “Avantika is my best friend; we met Imran at the same time. After hectic party nights we’d come home and experiment with our hair,” she says.
When Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na happened, Khan convinced Devitre to style his hair. Before she knew it she was signed for the entire film. As Khan bagged more films, she became the house hairstylist. “On the sets of Jaane Tu… Shakun and I became close friends. He felt I told interesting stories and asked if I’d write with him,” she says. “It was really frightening. We were like two children trying to do a project that was really out there.”
Her family never thought the film would see the light of day. She says, “When my mother read the first draft, she thought it was shit. I was in tears, and told her she’s the most unsupportive person ever. Now she’s more nervous for Shakun than me. She says, I’ll go back to being a hajaam, but what about Shakun?”
After several drafts, they went to Imran with the script, who took it to Karan Johar. “Karan said he would read it with a microscope because Shakun isn’t a ‘Dharma boy’, and I ‘an inexperienced writer’,” she says. “Besides, the draft was in English, and he was apprehensive about how it would turn out in Hindi. Both of us — me in broken Hindi and he in chaste Delhi-Hindi — translated the script.”
The synopsis of the film reads suspiciously like the 2008-Hollywood flick What Happens in Vegas, “But when you watch the film, you’ll realise that the wedding is just one incident. There are so many weddings that happen in Las Vegas, it’s a story of one of those,” she says. “This is a character-based film, and doesn’t revolve around a particular plot.”
Most of the characters seem inspired from real life. Kareena Kapoor’s character is a free-spirited hairstylist. “And Imran’s character is just like the real him — sometimes uptight, awkward and obsessive. He could drive you crazy if your shoelaces are tied incorrectly, and will stare at it for 40 minutes till he makes sure you retie them. But it’s great because I am as particular as him. If I want to fix his hair 85 times, he lets me do it.”
On the sets, she’s earned a name for halting shoots to fix actors’ hair. “While shooting for Jaane Tu…, there was a strand of hair of some actor standing out. Abbas (Tyerwala) warned me that he’d tie my hands if I interrupt him, but I kept telling him, it will look horrible on the big screen. I am really obsessive about hair.”
As she is about her debut film — she has watched the film “8,000 times”, and has lost all sense of objectivity. “Friday will determine its fate,” she says, with her fingers firmly crossed.