Unscripted Stories

It all started with Slumdog Millionaire. Well, not quite. But let’s just say, what came before was the backstory.

So the Danny Boyle blockbuster had not yet hit the movie theatres in India. But the Internet was deluged with stories about a Hollywood movie that was set in India and had an all-Indian cast. So what kind of movie was that? Hollywood, Bollywood, or crossover? Never mind the definitions, as soon as the movie released in India, there was intense debate over the word “Slumdog”. Even as the movie found favour with a huge section of Indian movie buffs, another equally large and vocal group was engaged in SM-bashing. ‘Hollywood is selling India’s poverty”, shouted the bashers while the movie’s fans shot back: ‘It showcases the never-say-die spirit of India’.

All the heated arguments translated into even more ticket sales and even more furious debates, both online and offline. Somewhere in the flurry of blogs and opinion forums, I came across a screenwriting site that asked readers to send in questions to Simon Beaufoy, the screenwriter who wrote the compelling script based on the novel Q&A by Indian author Vikas Swarup. On a whim, I shot off a question to Mr. Beaufoy. A couple of weeks later, Mr. Beaufoy had answered mine along with a bunch of others sent in by other wannabe screenwriters like me. So here was I sitting in India asking a craft question to Mr. Beaufoy in Los Angeles and both the question and the answer were being read by, among others, one person in Dar-es-Salam in Tanzania.

Enter Runjiv Kapur, Indian filmmaker based in Tanzania, on the lookout for a screenwriter to turn the “idea in my head” into a powerful, compelling script. Would I be interested in taking up the assignment? A few emails are exchanged, a few Skype meetings are held and before I know it, here am I, signing a contract to pen the screenplay for a Bollywood film that would be based on a true-life story.

Serendipity? Or a sign of the global times that we live in? Where ideas reign supreme. Where Hollywood sculpts the tale of a down-and-out Indian slumboy and meets Bollywood more than half-way with an energetic song-and-dance routine. Often times, the twists and turns in a screenwriter’s journey cannot be scripted… And that’s what makes the journey so exciting.

About Adite

Author & Screenwriter
This entry was posted in Screenwriting Adventures. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Unscripted Stories

  1. Hello, Adite.
    What a wonderful overview of the your home country’s reaction to ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Like all peoples, they agree and disagree with conviction. As do you in the simple decision to start a conversation far from home about your craft. It is great to see that first step that brought you to where you are now.

    Orlanda Szabo


  2. Indro says:

    The world has indeed becoming an amazing place. It gets curioser and curioser, as Alice would say. Looking forward to many more snippets, anecdotes and reviews from this blog. Pleasure to read.


  3. Raj Cherla says:

    Great stuff Adite. Keep it coming


  4. jOE sMITH says:

    Fellow scribe and PS writer!
    Congrats. Glad you posted this link.
    I look forward to hearing your adventures.


  5. Nothing succeeds like success.. this has been proven once again by the box office success of Dabangg.
    It is not that Hindi masala movies had gone out of fashion. One is made and cooked every day, it is just that this one struck gold. Call it the right ingredients, right casting or that extra ‘g’ in the title to be numerologically correct or what you will… lets not forget most of the Hindi films are made on a song and a prayer…. script gayee bhaad mein!!! (Screw the script)


    • The masala movie’s fall from grace is exactly because of the reasons that you have mentioned, Runjiv. The script comes way down on the priority list of B’wood filmmakers and that’s the reason why 90% of movies tank at the box-office.


  6. Vijay Srinivas says:

    Congrats..Hope your blog becomes a micro workshop where wannabe screen writers can exchange notes with one another, and take a leap forward in the learning curve..


  7. Dear Adite,

    What interesting articles on Indian moviemaking, screenwriting, and your journey in screenwriting!

    Tina Kumley Barnes


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