20Q: Akshat Verma

Writer and filmmaker Akshat Verma identifies himself with a sloth, crossbred with a tiger, and gives advise to wannabe screenwriters.
Posted 2 Sep 12 By Design Indaba Film & Animation Interviews / Q&A Comments

1. What would you like to have written in your obituary?

It was fun while it lasted.

2. How do you deal with failure?

By ignoring it. Tomorrow is always a new day.

3. What would you save from your burning house?

The family. Myself. The rest is just stuff, but even so, back-up hard drive. People often say they’d save photographs – but I think the truly memorable moments in our lives are etched in our minds. Whatever we don’t remember probably didn’t deserve the space it was taking.

4. Who in the world, dead or alive, would you most like to have dinner with?

Pheidippides, the courier who delivered news of the Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Spent from all the frantic running, he arrived, promptly collapsed and died. If the Greeks had already won, what was the rush? Couldn’t he have ambled? People will do just about anything to get into the history books.

5. What's one thing that you haven't done that you would still really like to do?

Unfortunately, it isn’t just one thing - but to be on the Indian Olympic curling team, now that would be something, wouldn’t it?

6. What advice would you give wannabe screenwriters?

I wish I had advice here that wasn’t so self-evident and obvious, but it is – read, write, watch. Daily. That’s all there is to it. Don’t be boring. Don’t be a wannabe. And live a little, while you’re at it.

7. What always makes you laugh out loud?

The misfortune, pain and despair of others.

8. What's the one gadget that you can't live without?

Even though I write long-hand first, I’d say my laptop. I think it’s really the only gadget I have. My cellphone, of course, although I’m more inclined to not being always reachable. Hair-clippers, need to buzz the head weekly. That’s three, isn’t it? Also, my electric kettle, considering I consume copious amounts of tea. This is threatening to get severely out of hand, sorry. iPod Shuffle, fantastic for long runs. Washing machine. Dryer, because no one likes wearing mouldy underwear. This is a very difficult question, damnit.

9. Winter or summer?

Spring, actually, but since I don’t have that option, summer. Why isn’t spring an option? Who wouldn’t choose spring if it was an option? You’d have to be some kind of morbid, depressed soul to not choose spring. Whoever made up this question, are you that person? And while we’re on it, rain is pretty good too.

10. What items would you put in a time capsule?

Whiskey. What better way to celebrate the future than with a 500 year old single malt?

11. What is the question you ask yourself the most?

Are they laughing with me or at me?

12. Which animal do you most identify with?

A sloth, crossbred with a tiger.

13. What's your favourite film?

This question is futile, almost as futile as the annual Miss Universe pageant. You cannot pick one favourite book, song, movie or beautiful woman. There isn’t one, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, and on a good day, maybe even millions. And thank god for that, because otherwise, boredom-crazed, we’d spend our days clubbing neighbours with blunt objects. And soon enough that would get pretty boring too.

14. What is your present state of mind?

Present and always: discombobulated.

15. What is something you know you do differently to most people?

I have been consistently complimented on my rather remarkable cunnilingus technique. However, I cannot reveal how it differs from the ministrations of the vast majority of fellow practitioners. That would be akin to surrendering my competitive advantage and would most certainly be not good.

16. Which superhero do you most identify with?

Superheroes are figments of imagination, okay? Made up. Not real. And there’s no Santa Claus either, you poor, deluded people. Or the Easter Bunny. Thank god for Hanuman though – the world always needs someone who can lift mountains with one finger.

17. What qualities do you most admire in others?

Jaw-dropping, traffic-stopping, heart-quickening beauty. Intelligence is amazing too, but beauty leads to quicker erections.

18. Are you a morning person?

Light hurts my eyes.

19. What does water taste like?

Like hydrogen and oxygen thrown together.

20. What's the most adventurous thing you've ever done?

Induced orgasm in an aisle seat, at 35 000 feet, on a full flight. And not a personal one either – that would be masturbation, not adventure, okay?

Watch the Talk with Akshat Verma