Mumbai: After biggies misfired at the box office and economical movies hit the bull`s eye, Bollywood has woken up to the importance of a well-written script. Suddenly everyone is asking for original screenplays.
Those expressing this need include Abhishek Bachchan who wants to explore plays written by youngsters in the interiors of India as well as Subhash Ghai who says lack of scripts forced him to take a sabbatical "from directing movies".
The drought of original ideas is obvious from the remakes and sequels that hit the screen. This year the box office has already seen four remakes in two months – ‘Players’, ‘Agneepath’, ‘Ek Main Aur Ek Tu’ and ‘Ek Deewana Tha’.
Ghai said: "When we are remaking, it means there is a dearth of ideas. It is not the right situation; our children should come up with new ideas."
‘Dhobi Ghat’, ‘Peepli Live’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, ‘Dabangg’ and ‘Chak De! India’ were among the movies that boasted of a sound script, but such stories are few and far between.
A script is the soul of a film, says Onir, who won accolades for strong narratives in ‘My Brother Nikhil’ and ‘I AM’.
"I prefer seeing original films. At times remakes also have not worked. We tend to forget that the script is the backbone of a film. But many producers are not willing to put in money, unless you have huge stars in it," Onir told reporters.
He added: "The story, which is the essence, has not been emphasised and I have personally experienced it. I think slowly things are changing."
In the thriving Hindi film industry, which churns out more than 100 films in a year, the script gets a stepmotherly treatment. Everything revolves around stars.
"Story has to be the king, but script has to be the leader. One should know that you need a solid script first and it should be the backbone of the films," Anjum Rajabali, who scripted the hit political thriller ‘Raajneeti’, told reporters.
The filmmakers and actors may have come out of slumber, but independent writers are still running from pillar to post to convince stars and producers to support their projects.
Scriptwriters also do not get their due when it comes to payment.
Actor-producer Anil Kapoor said: "I agree, they deserve much more. Slowly and steadily the actors and directors are understanding and giving them their due. But they deserve much more."
Ghai, who has stopped directing due to the dearth of good scripts, urges everyone to give credit to filmdom`s unsung heroes - the writers.
"While promoting a film, please mention writers` names. The solution is to encourage the new breed of writers and make them understand how to become writers, why to become writers. They are scared because they don`t get money and recognition," he told reporters.
What about those directors who prefer to write their own scripts? Aren`t they a threat to writers who are already fighting for their space?
"Not necessarily. Sometimes it is also a question of economics. For instance, an independent scriptwriter like me who does not have money to hire a scriptwriter prefers to write his own script," Onir said.
Rajabali feels things are changing for the better.
"Now the industry is waking up. Change is coming. It will take time. There is some comfort zone that the film industry has. Now gradually that comfort is saying even if I have Akshay Kumar or Aamir Khan, one still needs a good script," he added.