‘Story is the thing’! That’s the only thought which has inspired me through and through to tell what I want to tell which are stories born out of me, Jyoti Nisha the scriptwriter. But honestly to go through that process of growing your idea from scratch to evolving it through several stages of writing, re-writing, meditating and sleeping over it over and over again one rarely feels satisfied with the end result. Because what you want to tell and how you want to tell with clarity, vision and insight; is the toughest job of all. And frankly a writer’s day mostly begins and ends like that, filled with insecurities, self-doubts and loads of disappointment! That’s where ‘screenwriting lab’ comes to rescue to their dwindling world. First and foremost they help one restore faith in their abilities, which is essential for creating and eventually helping one hone and grow the art and craft of telling the story and here the medium I am talking about is cinema.
My story, Kahani Chami aur Cheeku ki, is about a 12-year-old Chamki who has just lost both her and her brother Cheeku’s school fees-Rs 200. If they don’t deposit it in the next three days, they will be thrown out of the school. Being poor, they have no visible means of getting the money without their parents finding out. The untimely accident of their father worsens the situation. Set in the village of UP, this is the story of the struggle and tenacity of these two spirited kids to earn the money on their own, against all odds.
Now I had everything going for the story per se, but I was constantly struggling to write the screenplay for sometime now and luckily to my rescue came my story ‘Kahani Chami aur Cheeku ki’ which got selected for the International Green Screen lab 2012 organized by Eleeanora Images Pvt Ltd (India) in collaboration with the Performing Arts Lab, UK focused on developing screenplays for quality Children’s cinema rooted in India.
Held at the plush green campus of KIIT University in Bhubaneshwar, International Green Screen Lab for Children films’2012 has selected 18 unique stories from writers/film-makers across the country to help them develop a quality screenplay in a grueling and disciplined ten-day workshop under the guidance of three mentors (German fikmmaker Arend Agthe, Indian director-producer Onir and scriptwriter Sanjay Chauhaan. The place is bustling with energy and various creative processes involving the telling and realizing of a dream that each one of us has in the form of our stories. Right from pitching your stories in three minutes to learning the art of narrating your stories in the most dramatic and interesting way to getting exposed to various perspectives from not only participants but also these mentors is not just helpful and constructive but also enriching. Mentors like Sanjay Chauhaan’s patience, calmness and endearing touch reiterates one’s faith in telling the story that you want to tell and explore possibilities of developing it into a great script.
Frankly it has just been three days and the way the workshop has been designed it has left me thinking that these people probably have solutions to everything. You name it and they have it. From getting a privilege of having one on one session with each one of these mentors on a daily basis to learning from their experiences and mistakes which they have gone through to clearing that self-doubt and doing the obvious the possibilities here have been many and I am looking forward to more. And if you are facing the dreadful writer block, you have acting mentor Tanishtha Chattergi who is there to help you create situations and scenes right in front of your eyes through improvisations with fellow actor participants.
The environment here is friendly as well as disciplined where one can see even the not so trained writers express themselves among professionals with a lot zeal, passion and dignity, after all the DNA of this thinking is same, cinema, which is a part of my existence as well. Stories told through cinema!