Script is King

With big banners scouting for good scripts,the industry may soon accord talented writers the prominence they deserve

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published: April 4, 2012 3:46:22 am

With big banners scouting for good scripts,the industry may soon accord talented writers the prominence they deserve

Ever since Ashutosh Gowariker started making films,he has been writing them too. Perhaps,that’s the reason he ends up taking long breaks between projects. Soon,that may change as Gowariker,along with his wife Sunita,has started scouting for writers for their production house. “Our aim is to form a bank of writers and good scripts for Ashutosh’s assistants to work on. As a production house,we want to make more films in the interim,” says Sunita,who is meeting with writers for the same.

The script is often considered to be the backbone of the film. But in Bollywood,writers have often been neglected and underpaid. With Hindi film writing coming under criticism at regular intervals,producers and directors are now looking for more writers. The emergence of studios and corporate houses too,has contributed to the urgency of such an exercise.

“Unlike 10 years ago,even the actors today want to read bound scripts and not plots that are sketchy. There is an effort to put a system into place,” says screenwriter Anjum Rajaballi.

Apart from the Gowarikers,there are many other production houses scouting for writers. Vipul Shah launched a writing talent hunt some time ago,and is,currently,going through a number of shortlisted scripts. Shatrughan Sinha plans to revive his production house Shotgun Films,for which writers have been called on to send in scripts.

Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani,founders of Excel Entertainment,are believed to be making an annual investment of Rs 1 crore for their writing division. Sidhwani is hopeful of churning out good writers through this endeavour. “Excel has set up a team of four people to go through the scripts with a finetooth comb. Their task is to analyse the scripts and decide whether it should be forwarded to the next level. Javed Akhtar will also go through the scripts. Finally,it will come to Farhan and me for selection,” he says.

For budding writers,it is an opportunity to see their work transform into a movie. But are there enough talented writers? “There isn’t a dearth of writers in the industry,but it’s not easy to be in the right place at the right time,or to reach out to production houses. So,we decided to make use of social networking sites to call for scripts,” says a spokesperson of Shotgun Films.

The demand for fresh writing has also ensured that film schools pay more attention to writing courses. Whistling Woods,Mumbai,and FTII,Pune,have scripting as part of their curriculum. “The story is the hero of a film. Writing is as important as the star cast or the direction. So introducing writing courses was the most sensible thing to do,” says filmmaker Subhash Ghai,owner of Whistling Woods.

The initiatives taken by production houses will certainly help writers get a stronghold in the industry,feels Rajabali. He has a word of caution for aspiring writers. “Writers are often paid on the basis of their experience. But I would say the script should decide the remuneration,” says Rajabali.

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