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Read when you can’t write

As Californication’s next season goes on air, Bollywood’s own reveal how they deal with what Hank Moody fights everyday — writer’s block.

tv Updated: Jul 17, 2011 15:02 IST
Serena Menon

Sex, drugs and alcohol may not suit all writers facing a block, but followers of the TV show Californication know it works wonders for Hank Moody. And according to some Bollywood screenwriters, who regularly write to meet deadlines, taking a walk and reading a book might also do the trick.

“Discussing the script with a fellow writer helps me because I face writer’s block regularly,” says Neeraj Udhwani, who recently wrote Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji (2011).

Blocks are known to last from a few hours to years, if not tackled. Even though there is no sure-shot method, Arun Sukumar, a co-writer and associate director on the film My Friend Pinto, prefers distancing himself from his work for days at a stretch.

However, since he also teaches scriptwriting at St Xavier’s College, he realises there isn’t any particular way of dealing with it. “I take 10 days off and come back to the writing with a fresh perspective and more objectivity. This is why I sometimes work on two scripts at a time, alternating between two different moods, usually a comedy and a dark film,” says Sukumar, who is currently scripting an untitled murder mystery.

When it happens Usually, screen-writers working towards a deadline find themselves unable to innovate around the crucial third act of the film, at which stage they are required to culminate the story and the characters. But there are other writers who believe creating a new story is not a task that can be achieved when facing a deadline. “As far as deadlines go, it is set by the employer and whoever sets it is not worth working with. Only television writing can happen on deadlines, where all you have to do is fill the page and leave rest to the editor and background score,” says Pranav V Dhivar, who edited the Salman Khan-starrer Dabangg (2010) and also contributed to the story.

Though writing isn’t his primary profession, Dhivar is currently working on Atul Agnihotri’s Bodyguard. But when asked what he does when he faces a writer’s block, he adds, “I personally avoid meeting depressing people. Instead, be in the company of people who would not let you think about your script. Start writing another story and save the earlier one for the future.” But if none of this helps, try taking time off your text and watch David Duchovny live out the dream life in the fourth season of his popular series that premieres in India on Channel FX on July 18.