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‘Screenplay is the seed of cinema’

The Masterclass conducted by screenplay writer Atul Tiwari, gave audiences an insight into the foundation of any cinema – its script and story. Said Tiwari: “For screenplay writing rules are temporary, but the basic principals remain the same.” Tiwari was speaking on the topic ‘The Art of Screenplay Writing’ during the Masterclass conducted by him on the seventh day of the 45th International Film Festival of India.

He busted many myths about screenplay writing. For starters he said that screenplay writing is not the same as writing a story. “Screenplay is the seed of cinema. It is a special coded document, read by those who know how to read it. It is like a legal document or a doctor’s prescription. It is an intermediate documentation that contains the blue print of the cinema”, Tiwari said.

He also said that a script is synonymous with screenplay. “Script is an actable text, which also includes the screenplay.”

Tiwari also revealed that it is only in India that the screenplay and dialogue are written by two different persons, given that both of these creative processes are interlinked. He said: “It is chiefly in India that screenplay writer and dialogue writer are not the same. This could be because of our oral tradition of storytelling. Additionally, earlier, literacy rates were low, which developed a gap between storytelling  and dialogue writing, and this has remained.”

Tiwari cited the example of Aristotle, who more than 2500 years ago wrote down the principals of drama, which are relevant even today. “These principals are theme, plot, character, diction, music and spectacle. Theme is the central idea and the plot is path that the theme has to take. It is important to make this route interesting. There are also sub-plots, which are not integral to the story, but they add layers to the story. There are there just to give an added flavour to the story, which is needed.” He also said that characters of a movie should be unique and at the same time universal.

Tiwari has worked with well known filmmakers and has written some successful films like Mission Kashmir (2000), Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose – The Forgotten Hero (2005), Dasavathaaram (2008) and Yeh Faasley (2011). However, in his talk he said that he has even written the script for some lesser known movies like ‘Shor’, ‘Rajjo’. “I have had my fair share of failure and failures are better schools to learn from”, said Tiwari.

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