By Aditya Savnal. Posted on November 20, 2014
Breaking into the big, bad world of Bollywood is a difficult task. Stories of 'struggle' to make a mark in the industry are legendary and enough to break the resolve of even the most passionate newcomers.
'Sulemani Keeda' is one such film that narrates the story of two writers trying to peddle their script in Bollywood, with hopes of becoming the next Salim-Javed. The film which also includes cameos by industry insiders including Mahesh Bhatt and Amrita Rao, won a lot of applause when it screened at last year's Mumbai Film Festival. After completing the festival circuit, the film is set to release in theatres next month (Dec 5th). You can watch the trailer here.
This is director Amit Masurkar's first feature film. He's a screenwriter in Bollywood and has probably used his experiences in the tinsel town as an inspiration for this script. We sought him out recently and asked him about the 'things a writer should do to break into bollywood'. This is what he had to say;
Assuming that you already have a crackling screenplay that you have painstakingly worked on (and have got it registered with the Film Writers Association) which you wish to shop around in the Hindi film industry, I dispense the following suggestions that worked for me.
Bollywood doesn't read. Bollywood likes narrations. So you have to mould yourself. Prepare a perfect pitch which is under 2 minutes. Only when you feel that the other side is genuinely interested, proceed with the narration. Also, train yourself to do a full narration without referring to the script. Eye contact is very important while you tell your story. Many writers read out their entire script in a dreary way without lifting their eyes from the pages and this is not a good idea on any afternoon in an air-conditioned studio office.
Do not share incomplete scripts, half-baked ideas, plagiarized stories with anyone. Do not SMS your logline or send scripts to anyone without their approval. Most studios and production houses have story departments which are pretty much accessible. So fix appointments with them. If you don't respect your story, no one else will. Do not undervalue yourself!
Take up writing assignments for TV and the web space, which are comparatively easier assignments to bag. One must work with a wide variety of people as that is another great way to expand your network.
If you smell something fishy or you get a sense of discomfort with the person you are working for or the idea you are working on, make a dignified exit.
So keep these in mind as you embark on your screenwriting career. And your fingers crossed :-).