[D] earCinema profiles the six screenwriters who are participating in NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab at the ongoing Toronto International 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.
Ashish Aryan answers five questions about his project “T se TajMahal”:
Tell us about your project.
T se Tajmahal is a story which touches upon the lives of illiterate people in India. The story is fictitious and based in a village far off from Agra city. When an illiterate person mocks himself/herself saying “Kala Akshar Bhains barabar”, there is a pain in it, a disability which is more painful than a physical one. The irony is that people like us don’t care much about it.
This story is about a victim of illiteracy and his mind boggling idea to change the fate of his fellow villagers. His idea is the soul of this film. Having said that, I don’t intend to make a film which only finds audiences at festivals. It is important that it reaches people right from a Basti to Bombay.
At what stage of development is it?
It is at the writing stage. The first draft is ready upon which selection was made.
Is a director/producer attached with the project? Or do you plan to direct it yourself?
A producer is like a Godfather. Those who find producers easily are lucky. So I am hoping to meet my Godfather at Film Bazaar, Goa in November.
As far as direction is concerned, I don’t think I’ll be donning the director’s hat as I’ll be acting in it. I want to focus on writing and acting as of now. An experienced director who understands this kind of cinema will come on board at a later stage.
What are your expectations from Screenwriters’ Lab?
Well, it looks quite interesting with the kind of exposure we’ll get at Toronto and Goa. All our mentors are industry experts with international achievements which means we and our stories will be in the right hands for coming months. Also it would be great to share the same platform with other five writers and learn from their experiences as they have done some excellent work in past. While attending the lab, my motto will be to bring this story as close to perfection as possible.
Tell us about your background.
I started my career in Bombay 3 years back making self financed ad-films for festivals/competitions and few of them have won awards. I have worked as a writer for a few reality shows. Currently I am writing two feature films with my friend Sachin Ladia and this will be our third project together.