Doing the write thing
With over 30 years of experience in advertising, films and television, writer Kamlesh Pandey who has films like Rang De Basanti, Delhi 6 and the recently concluded television show Kuch Toh Log Kahenge under his belt is currently busy with his stint as General Secretary of the Film Writers Association (FWA)
In an interview with CS, he talks about his new venture and scriptwriting in general.
As part of a recent media and entertainment business conclave, I held a scriptwriting workshop in Bangalore recently. We tried to understand why when we talk about memorable films, we rewind back to the ’50’s and ’60’s. Of course, our films are making good money these days but are they worth being remembered for years to come?
Out of the 800 odd films made every year, how many can we recollect as memorable in the past decade? Instead of scripts, we are getting obsessed with factors like the star cast, director, music or locales. Writers are the most exploited lot in the industry. Barring a few big names, most of the writers don’t even get credit or money for their scripts. At the association, we receive several complaints from writers against big producers and directors who force them to sign contracts where the writers have to sell their copyright on the film, so that filmmakers can pass them as their own work.
Scriptwriting is a very unpredictable profession. If you click, themoney and popularity is immense. That’s why I always advise aspiring writers to have a safety net for themselves. He should have a job or a small business that will take care of his daily expenses. Making a career in script-writing should be taken care of on the sidelines. I was working for an advertising agency, so I could afford to say no to writing nonsensical stuff suggested by producers and channels. Likewise, young writers should be in a position to say ‘no’.
When I was writing Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, I was lucky not to be dictated by the channel. But it’s a trend that most channelstoday dictate writers to pander to their whims and fancies, thepoor writer has no creative liberty at all.