Stories Are More Real Now, Asserts Vani Tripathi Tikoo
Vani Tripathi Tikoo was speaking at a session on screenwriters at FICCI FRAMES 2019.
The unambiguous success of well-scripted films – Andhadhun, Stree, Badhaai Ho, October, Mulk, Raazi – despite the absence of big stars, yet again underscores the power of good writing. No matter the genre or type of cinema, an interestingly told story always works. So, is the entertainment industry doing enough to encourage and nurture this resource? Are screenwriters finally beginning to get their due? What are the roadblocks that still need to be negotiated? A session titledScreenwriters: The Creative Force Powering Indian Cinema’s new Surge was held at the 3rd day of 20th edition of FICCI FRAMES. The session was to celebrate the screenwriters, but more importantly explored what still needs to be done to facilitate great writing so that the industry continues to churn out more successful films. Moderated by Screenwriter Anjum Rajabali, the panelists included filmmakers of few successful films known for the success of their content. Ms. Juhi Chaturvedi, Writer, October, Mr. Sriram Raghavan, Writer, Andhadhun, Mr. Akshat Ghildial, Writer, Badhaai Ho, Mr. Raj Nidimoru, Writer, Stree, Ms. Priti Shahani, Chief Executive Officer, Junglee Pictures and Ms. Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Actress, Filmmaker, Member, CBFC discussed how content comes first when it comes to filmmaking.
Juhi Chaturvedi spoke about coming together of a writer director and a producer on board who is ready to back the film financially and importantly, also has the same vision that the writer and the director have because the film ultimately needs to reach people.
On asking if the pressure of writing the same kind of story comes after a certain kind of script does well, Akshat Ghildial responded saying, “Yes, after Badhaai Ho, many people came to me saying we want another comedy or another small town film set in north written etc,”
Juhi Chaturvedi also showed her concern over trends being set after a certain kind of films do well.
“After few biopics have done well, people are taking rights of almost everyone to make a film”, said Chaturvedi.
“The problem is that once a certain kind of film does well, it becomes trendsetter. When few biopics did well, I know there are 6-7 biopics are ready to be directed and released. But I don’t think that is a rule. The markers from audiences have been very encouraging. There have been eclectic number of stories that were very well received.” Said Priti Shahani.
“Last year was like a watershed moment as far as new storytelling and narratives are concerned. There is courage and confidence that you are finding in young filmmakers who are not embalmed by the perceptive elitism of the film industry. The stories are more real. Also, literature is finding its way into the mainstream of story telling narrative. This is a very exciting journey” added Vani Tripathi Tikoo.
What is the way forward or what is it that the industry should do to encourage scriptwriters? On this question, Juhi Chaturvedi said, “Writing process takes a lot of time. Purely for financial reasons, writers sign multiple projects taking the signing amounts to run their houses. The dagger is then on their head. In the process, the quality suffers. It would be great if a good lump sum is given for those 1 or 2 projects that a writer signs in one year.”
On asking what should the screenwriters do to pitch their stories, Sriram Raghavan said, “We get a lot of scripts but one doesn’t find time easily to read multiple scripts entirely. Also sometime there may be a terrific story but that can be hidden in the script that is going all over the place. So one should first approach a director with the story or synopsis. Apparently legendary Raj Kapoor always saw three things in a script, is it a good story? Is there scope for good music? and is there a scope for actors to perform on that story?.”
To that Priti Shahani added, “A good writer cannot be necessarily a good narrator. As a producer it is impossible to read all the scripts that are submitted to you as it is really time consuming. So the writers should try and tell their stories in 15-20 pages. If we see merit in that, then we are very happy to go through the entire development process with a writer. I also think that 15-20 pages are enough to attract director because it is combination of a writer director coming together, that makes a feature film.”
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