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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 January 2019

The Vigil Idiot – a.k.a. Sahil Rizwan – talks about his first book: 42 Things I Learnt from Bollywood

The Mumbai-based 27-year-old, who is a staff writer at Buzzfeed India, tells us about the popularity of his comic strips, The Vigil Idiot, his stick figures and future plans.
Sahil Rizwan prefers to review films with holes in the plot. Courtesy HarperCollins Publishers India
Sahil Rizwan prefers to review films with holes in the plot. Courtesy HarperCollins Publishers India

Sahil Rizwan, creator of The Vigil Idiot series of webcomic film reviews, is celebrating the successful release of his debut book 42 Lessons I Learnt from Bollywood. A snarky take on Hindi films from the 90s, it is No 3 on Amazon India’s list of best-selling humour books.

The Mumbai-based 27-year-old, who is a staff writer at Buzzfeed India, tells us about the popularity of his comic strips and his undying love of masala films.

How did the book come about?

When HarperCollins India approached me, I had already scripted 42 webcomics. To add a bit of nostalgia to the mix, we decided to peg each review to my experiences growing up in the 1990s. The entire thing took me a year and a half, since I watched every film before creating its comic. When I prepared my list, I honestly didn’t think I would find much that’s wrong with the films I loved as a kid. I also imagined it wouldn’t be difficult watching them as an adult. I was wrong on both counts.

What kind of movies does The Vigil Idiot like to review?

Ones with holes in the plot. And the kind of film that takes itself seriously. I try to stay away from comedies, because you can’t make fun of something that’s already laughing at itself. But dramas are fair game, such as Awwal Number [1990 cricket drama starring Aamir Khan]. It was right for the book because it’s hilarious.

Which movie did you enjoy reviewing the most in your book?

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai [1998 film starring Shah Rukh Khan], because a lot of my friends love it and I wanted them to realise it’s not all that worthy.

Who is your favourite actor? And who do you think is the worst in Bollywood?

My favourite is SRK, easily, since his movies get me the most hits. The basic rule of thumb is that the more popular the movie, the more page views its comic gets. I don’t think I hate anyone passionately enough to call him the worst – anyone can be awful, given the right script.

Why did you choose to draw stick figures?

Because I can’t draw anything else. I never studied anything artsy. So stick figures were my only option if I wanted to go the comic way.

Does your family enjoy your comics?

Yes, I think so. My mum is the first person to ask if I’m going to be reviewing the week’s latest release. I don’t know what my family thinks of the colourful language, but no one has ever asked me to stop.

Who is your biggest fan? What’s been your favourite response to your webcomics?

I don’t know who my biggest fan is, but my friends are definitely my biggest critics. They are brutal when it comes to telling me when a comic isn’t funny. My favourite response is a tweet by Shah Rukh Khan – he said my review of his film Ra.One was “nastily funny”.

Would you consider writing a film script or directing a film?

No. I’m sure any film I made would be under a lot of scrutiny for all the fun I’ve made of others’ movies. The best I think I can do is become a script consultant and point out flaws in the story.

So, what’s up next for The Vigil Idiot?

The Vigil Idiot will keep griping about new films. And I have a contract for a book on The Vigil Idiot’s most popular posts. I would also like to review the movies of 2000 to 2010 for a book.

• Check out Sahil Rizwan’s work at www.thevigilidiot.com

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: April 26, 2015 04:00 AM

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