Last year, as part of its two-part screenwriters workshop, Screenwriters Lab 2009 and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), picked six screenplays from the 92 applications received. The selection committee included writer-director Sooni Taraporevala, author- critic Aruna Vasudev, Binger Filmlab artistic director Marten Rabarts, and Binger Filmlab Director, Ido Abram. The screenplays included Gangoobai by Priya Krishnaswamy, Pratim Gupta’s Vanish, Synchronicity by Sidharth Singh and Lalit Ajgaonkar, Aparna Pednekar’s F 20, Adigaram 79 by Vinod Veera and Somen Mishra’s The Prompter’s Son.
Mishra’s The Prompter’s Son is a story about a father and son and their memories, with a little bit of magic realism thrown in. “I’d been working on it for two months but it was only in the last week, that the screenplay actually took shape and I just managed to make the deadlines,” reminisces Mishra.
The screenplay sparked the interest of Chetan Motiwalla, the co-producer of Welcome To Sajjanpur (2008) who recommended it to Shyam Benegal. The veteran director was impressed. “It is an extremely promising script and I’m keen to make a film on it. It just requires some more work and Somen and I have been ideating on it,” says Benegal.
Mishra who’s been working on the changes for the past three months is hopeful that Benegal will translate his story on screen. “Just the fact that he liked it is a big kick,” he exults, adding that he has also written the additional screenplay and dialogue for MF Hussain’s son, Owaiss’s film and another of his scripts, Sachi Muchi, is lying is with Mahindra’s Lab.
NFDC conducts the workshop for writing and selling original Indian screenplays, in association with Binger Filmlab and Locarno International Film Festival. This year, the first session was held during the Locarno International Film Festival, in Switzerland between August 7 and 9. The second session will be at the Film Bazaar, in Goa from November 23 to 26. The workshop will be conducted by Marten Rabarts, artistic director, Binger Filmlab, aided by experienced international guest mentors.