Features & Opinion

NFDC Screenwriter’s Lab 2012: Anupam Barvé’s “The Shadow Lines”

By Nandita Dutta • Published on September 5, 2012

DearCinema profiles the screenwriters who are participating in the NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab from September 1-3 at the ongoing Venice Film Festival.

Screenwriters’ Lab, a 2-part workshop conducted by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is designed to prepare screenwriters with original Indian stories for working with the international filmmaking community. The participants will be mentored by Marten Rabarts, Olivia Stewart, Urmi Juvekar and Bianca Taal.

Anupam Barvé answers five questions about his project “The Shadow Lines”:


 Tell us more about your project.

‘The Shadow Lines’, a critically acclaimed novel by award-winning writer Amitav Ghosh is one of the most respected works in Indian-English literary fiction. To adapt the novel for the screen has been my dream for a long time. Last year, I acquired a formal option on the novel. This option entails that I will have the claim for cinematic adaptation of the book over the next few months. Amitav Ghosh himself has been very supportive of the project and his encouragement through our continued correspondence over the past year has proved to be a great inspiration for me in completing the first draft of the screenplay.

This screenplay is a cinematic interpretation and re-telling of ‘The Shadow Lines’ through the story of our protagonist, a young Indian filmmaker based in present day London. It attempts to respond to and interpret the novel, written in late 1980s, from a contemporary vantage point, exploring how spaces, memories and imagination connect people across times, and in the process, touching upon the complex relationship between the so called East and the West and it’s manifestation in international filmmaking and collaboration practices.


At what stage of development is it?

First draft of the screenplay has been completed.


Is a director/producer attached with the project? Or do you plan to direct it yourself?

I plan to direct the film myself.


What are your expectations from Screenwriters’ Lab?

The critical mentoring and feedback received during the interactions with fellow participants and mentors from different corners of the world at the Screenwriters’ Lab can prove to be immensely valuable and enriching in
broadening and deepening my understanding of this ‘contemporary’ situation. It is a wonderful opportunity for further evolution of such a screenplay and an excellent forum to share this work-in-progress with a diverse cross section of the national and international film community.  This exposure shall definitely help me re-examine the present draft with objectivity and help enhance it in the process.

In an age in which Indian Cinema is extending its reach beyond newer global frontiers and in which we see increasing worldwide interest in India, Indian talent and content, the Lab seems like a fitting place for the
grooming of this project.

While working on further drafts of the screenplay at the Lab, I also hope to seek possible opportunities of pitching the project to potential local and international producers. I firmly believe that the Screenwriters’ Lab shall prove to be the catalyst that I need in realizing my dream film project.

Tell us about your background.

Hailing from Pune I have a background in theatre and have been making films since 2007-08. My first project was a 40-minute documentary on Pune’s Ganesh festival for a social research organisation, and then came a documentary titled Dhoosar. In 2009, I moved to London to pursue an MA in Film Direction. My recent short film Fresh Suicide and The Hunt has won several awards at international film festivals. The Shadow Lines is my first feature length film project.

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