A few months ago, a panel of leading Bollywood screenwriters began their hunt for six writers and their scripts that they would mentor and help finish. Last week, the finalists were declared — Gaurav Asri (Kaithal,Haryana), Vijay Borade (Aurangabad, Maharashtra), Chitra Iyer (New Delhi), Payal Sethi (Bangalore), Pooja Varma (Kolkata) and Dr Pravin Yadav (Mumbai).
And soon after, the workshops to assist them in their writing and brainstorming process began. The panel of mentors includes Sriram Raghavan, Jaideep Sahani, Anjum Rajabali and Nandita Das among others. Within a matter of a year, audiences may just get to watch these six stories translate into full-length feature films.Giving a brief about the six stories that are now being worked upon, Rajabali says, "One is about a working class family’s challenge of having to raise Rs 5 lakh to resolve a problem caused by 25 paise. Another deals with the fantasies of the most unimaginative person you could think of. There is one is about a self-absorbed adolescent being unexpectedly influenced by a freedom fighter’s biography, and no, it’s not Rang De Basanti!"
Though the professional writers may not be able to dedicate time to meet the writers beyond the eight stipulated sittings, Rajabali insists “the mentors will be able to interact more frequently via e-mail or skype.” He adds, “Essentially each mentor is fully responsible for two writers. During the feedback-workshop in March, all of them will read every script.” These writers, who have been chosen for the New Voices Fellowship For Screenwriters organised by Asia Society India Centre and Time Warner, will have access to the writers for a period of nine months.
The other three scripts include one about a loner’s battle for a cause for which no cost is too high. Another is about how the uncontrollable desire of a cabbie for elusive gratification sets off a chain of unrelated events that eventually collide. And the last one is a dramatic story about how guilt of a corrupt official presents himself with a life and death situation.