Scriptwriting classes for Bollywood now

May 26th, 2009 - 8:58 am ICT by IANS  

By Ruchika Kher
New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) After Jaideep Sahni and Abbas Tyrewala captivated audiences by penning super-successful scripts for hits like “Chak De! India” and “Munnabhai M.B.B.S.”, the art of scriptwriting has come into the spotlight with film schools and experts organising workshops to train wannabe writers.

Kamlesh Pandey, who scripted hits like “Tezaab”, “Saudagar”, “Khalnayak” and “Rang De Basanti” among others in his two-decade long career, has teamed up with American writer-director-producer Ben Rekhi to teach scriptwriting at a workshop that aims at training budding writers and providing them with the right tools which will help them succeed in the profession.

“Even though the Indian film industry is now world renowned, writing is still the weakest link in Bollywood. In the country, there is no formal education, no regular workshop where one can learn the basic nuances of scriptwriting unlike in the West where there are many such workshops,” Pandey told IANS on phone.

“Also filmmakers and corporate houses are realising the importance of making films only upon the foundation of a strong screenplay. That’s why we decided to provide a platform where I can share my experience and upcoming writers can learn the art of good scriptwriting,” he added.

The workshop, which will commence June 2, will be conducted at filmmaker Subhash Ghai’s film and media school Whistling Woods International and will teach 12-15 aspiring candidates and their scripts will be presented to production houses on completion.

Pandey says entry in the industry for a writer is extremely difficult. So through such workshops they are trying to make it easier for talents to get recognition.

“It’s difficult for new writers to enter the industry because there are hardly any takers. Even people like me who have spent so many years here sometimes face problems. For example, it took a film like ‘Rang De Basanti’ five years to find a producer. That’s why we want to make sure that good scripts get recognition by producers,” he said.

The fee for the 10-week workshop is Rs.50,000.

The National Film Development Corporation Ltd (NFDC) also plans to conduct Screenwriters’ Lab 2009, a two-part workshop to be held in association with Binger Filmlab at the Locarno International Film Festival in August and the International Film Festival of India in Goa in November.

“This workshop aims at providing exposure for writers to write scripts for international films,” said Aliya Curmally, consultant to NFDC.

“People know how to write but not everyone knows how to convert that into a film for the international market. This workshop aims at training people in doing that. With this, writers will get a lot of international exposure,” she added.

Aspirants will be selected through an intensive and well-documented procedure by the evaluation committee of NFDC.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at

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