Filmmakers as talented as Vishal Bhardwaj, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Vikramaditya Motwane, Shridhar Raghavan and Sriram Raghavan, came under one roof here Friday to discuss whether the country's entertainment industry lacks creative scriptwriters. However, aspiring writers in the audience pointed out that there are few 'good readers' whom they can approach.
The discussion, which kicked off the second phase of the Mumbai Mantra-CineRise Screenwriting Programme: 100 Storytellers A Year, took place as part of the ongoing 16th Mumbai Film Festival here. It was moderated by Anjum Rajabali, credited with writing acclaimed films like Raajneeti and Satyagraha.
During the discussion, Sriram Raghavan said that he reads around 60 scripts a year, and he feels that a few writers don't know what they are writing about. "Some of them are not even aware of many films," he said. But he also agreed with an audience member, saying: "There is also one viable point said by one of the writers here -- that there is lack of good readers. I feel it is a valid point."
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Scriptwriters in the audience feel their scripts are not being read by writers who know cinema well. A writer who attended the session told the panelists that they are not able to approach them directly and that 'random people', who are mediators, are reading their works.
"I don't feel there is a dearth of script writers. There is lack of good readers. When we come up with our scripts, the scripts are being read by some random people who don't know about writing. It gets difficult for us to get through you (filmmakers) directly," the writer said.
Mehra of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag fame said: "I think one has to be patient and keep trying that's the only way out. Please don't get frustrated."
Also, Bhardwaj, who is riding high on the success of Haider, feels writers need to be paid well for encouragement.
"I think we have to pay our writers well. Only then will their parents and family encourage them to become writers. If we pay them well, then they will stick to writing and enjoy the whole process," he said.