After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, Indian films have gained worldwide appeal, says Hollywood script guru Chadwick Clough, who is set to popularise Indian themes in international movies by partnering with a scriptwriting workshop.
"In recent years, Bollywood or even films set in or about India have become more accepted in the US mainstream media. What is great about the majority of Indian filmmaking is that most audiences worldwide can relate to their stories, regardless of the fact that there is a language and cultural barrier between America and India. But good storytelling is good storytelling and through films those barriers can be crossed," Clough said in an email interview.
Clough is the founder and CEO of California-based Script PIMP (Pipeline Into Motion Pictures) - a screenplay analysis and resource hub designed for writers and producers. And he has now collaborated with ScriptWalla workshop, founded by Hollywood filmmaker Ben Rekhi and Bollywood scriptwriter Kamlesh Pandey.
"As our success in the US grew, I always kept a keen eye on Mumbai, which I think is the other powerhouse of filmmaking. Over the past few years, I have researched the Indian screen-writing industry and have been contacted by over 100 Indian companies looking for scripts," Clough said.
"I knew that screen-writing in India is maturing to the quality and discipline of international films... so the timing was perfect to come to India and explore what could be done between PIMP and ScriptWalla," he explained.
Clough, who was in India in June to bridge the gap between Hollywood and Bollywood, says that his company and ScriptWalla have collaborated for a script-writing competition.
"It is an open call for worldwide entries for Indian-themed related scripts and the categories include (but are not limited to) best comedy, best thriller, best action movie and best romantic comedy," said Clough.
"Though I have researched the Indian film market extensively, this was my first time travel to India... there is an opportunity here to collaborate in new ways and I met with a few companies... (but) nothing has been finalised yet," he said.
So will there be another Slumdog Millionaire in the future?
"The idea of doing another Slumdog... is outdated, I'm looking at what is 10 steps ahead of that. Ben Rekhi and I are exploring the best way to leverage what PIMP does in the US to ScriptWalla in India," he said.
Talking about the script-writing workshops and its benefits, he said: "This is the first workshop of its kind to train writers in the professional craft of screen-writing. Moreover, since Kamlesh and Ben are working screenwriters, who have contacts high up in both Bollywood and Hollywood, each student will benefit," he said.
"I have been running a successful script writing competition called Script PIMP in the US for the past nine years that has grown into one of the largest story banks for screenplays in Los Angeles."
Asked about PIMP's tie-ups with Hollywood studios and filmmakers back home, Clough said: "PIMP has built relationships with over 200 industry professionals, managers, agents and production companies searching for new material.
Clough studied screen-writing and film at Santa Clara University and ventured into development and production. Working as a script reader for two production firms and an independent producer, he was taken aback at the number of unreviewed Hollywood scripts and founded PIMP with a friend.
Apart from collecting scripts, PIMP has also produced movies like The Living Wake (2007) followed by Equal Opportunity in the same year. Its next outing is action-thriller Rogue's Gallery set for a 2010 release.