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NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab 2012: Ruchika Oberoi’s “Island City”

By Nandita Dutta • Published on September 3, 2012

Ruchika Oberoi

[D]earCinema 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.

Ruchika Oberoi answers five questions about her project “Island City”:

 Tell us more about your project.

‘Island City’ is a collection of three tenuously connected stories dealing with themes of industrialization, urbanization and alienation in Mumbai. The first is a black-comic tale of an office drone who wins the office ‘Fun Committee’ award which forces him to go on an absurd fun spree. The second is the story of how the domineering head of a family suddenly goes into a coma and how the family slowly begins to replace their oppressive son/husband/father with an extremely seductive TV soap opera character. The third talks about the impossibility of love in a mechanical world. The film seeks to grapple with issues of what it means to be human in a world that is built at an industrial scale.

At what stage of development is it?

The second draft of the script is ready and a couple of actors have been finalized.

Is a director/producer attached with the project?

There is no producer attached as yet and I plan to direct the film myself.

What are your expectations from Screenwriters’ Lab?

At the Screenwriters’ Lab, I expect to gain fresh perspectives from highly experienced film professionals. I look forward, not only to discussions on the style and structure of the script, but also to insights into the issues I am grappling with.  I am very keen to get an international outlook on my script as I am planning on approaching foreign funding/sales/distribution agencies. I’m also looking forward to meeting and sharing ideas and experiences with fellow writers.

Tell us about your background. 

I graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune with a specialization in Film Direction. My short film ‘Let’s Talk Awhile’ was screened at IFFI as well as the Busan Short Film Festival. I have worked as Associate Director on a children’s film which won a National Award. Of late, I’ve been concentrating on writing and now have three completed screenplays.

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