Filmmaker Kabir Khan says despite having access to rich literature, the industry fails to have good scripts because not enough writers are nurtured. Kabir, who adapted Hussain Zaidi’s book Mumbai Avengers for his 2015 Saif Ali Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer Phantom, believes there are not enough adaptations happening in the industry.
In an interview with PTI, Kabir says “We are still depending on the original scripts written by the writers we have. We have a huge dearth of scripts, dearth of material that can go on screen. “In Hollywood an A-list director is usually confused between ten scripts, as to which film he should do in a year. Here, we are dying to get that one script that excites us.” He further adds, the industry is not picking up enough from our history and that is something we really need to start doing.
Having dearth of scripts mirrors an irony of the Indian film industry, touted to produce the most number of films in a year all over the world. This irony, Kabir says, has to be looked in context. “We also have to look into the quality in most of those films. The story is not really the backbone in most of those films. Most of the times a lot of those films are just proposals. Some actors come in together with a director trying to make a spectacle out of it.”
The Bajrangi Bhaijaan director said the team is doing a great job by getting filmmakers and authors together but it is time the industry step forward and take charge in converting books into films.
“The process of taking it from the book and bringing it on screen is the responsibility of the industry. The industry needs to devote resources and finances in developing screenplay writers who have the ability to convert a book into a screenplay.” Kabir says adapting a book into a film is a “huge process” and one needs specialised skills to do the task, which is where Hollywood excels.
“The conversion of a book into a screenplay is a huge process. One has to make sure it moves you on screen as it did while reading it on paper. The reason why Hollywood is able to do it so well is that they have a pool of screenplay writers who have that skill. “It’s a huge skill set. We can’t just pick up a book and say ‘this can be easily done for the screen.’ We, unfortunately, don’t have a large pool of screenplay writers. As an industry, we have not nurtured screenplay writers over the years. Now we need to do that.”