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Qalam runs full house second day in a row

Qalam, a three day television scriptwriter's workshop conducted at Time & Again Banquets in Mumbai's Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri ran to a packed house on the second day too. The event backed by Sony Entertainment Television and Multimedia Company UTV saw veteran scriptwriters and directors guiding the participants on how to write and present an actual script .

The keynote of the day was obviously the much awaited writer's pitch assignment . The participants were given a brief sketch of a story to ponder on.

Act: 2... day: 2... scene: 1

Eminent actor, director, dialogue and scriptwriter Ishan Trivedi jump-started the day with a discussion on the practical aspects of being a writer. "Keep the episode to a minimal as most of the time it is usually dictated by economic considerations," said the scriptwriter of shows like Mr. Yogi, Mrignayani, Ek Kahani, Darshan, Samay and the award winning Justujoo. Some very interesting points came out during the course of discussion.

Ishan offered some rather shocking observations of the television industry. His talk about screenplay was revealing - "There is no such thing as script and what is often termed as script is screenplay and story idea bound together." The screenwriter managed to keep the participants - professionals and students' alike - curious and intrigued by offering a few of his trade secrets.

Ishan offered tips on screenplay and story writing. "It creates an impact if you play with the structure," he said. When asked how to create an interesting screenplay, he said, "Always have two-three parallel lines, obviously related, running along the story line". Later he added that unlike the common notion 'flashback or nostalgia is a good tool to make the story look interesting. As an endnote to his discussion, he offered a practical perspective and very interestingly even discussed the economic realities.

The creative director of Siddhant Cinevision and well known scriptwriter of popular television soaps like Swabhiman, Sukanya, Kittie Party, Itihaas, Kartavya and Lekin Vinod Ranganath, picked up from where Ishan left off. He offered a practical tutorial on the nitty-gritties of writing dailies.

While charting the journey from ideation to story to screenplay he said that it is important to have a perspective but what is most important is the opening scene of a story. According to him, "it helps if the writer has a back story ready for a few of the characters".

While offering his views on writing a daily, he said that there were three sure shot methods a writer can adopt to help stay put - firstly a back story, secondly, identifiable characters and thirdly, an archetype. He offered some practical tips on how to co-ordinate in a multiple-writer scenario. "A writer should understand the importance of both break point and the hook point," he said. Concluding his energy-packed interactive session, Ranganathan disclosed his best-kept secret, 'to ensure that the story is gripping structure minimum of three hook points'.

"Let's face the reality, the writer in the television industry is assisted by everybody," joked the next speaker for the day, Rajesh Joshi. A noted regional theater actor-director, Joshi came into the limelight a few years ago as screenwriter of serials with phenomenal mass appeal like Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi, Kasautii Zindagi Kay, Koshish ....Ek Asha and Smriti. Continuing in the same vein as the speakers before him, he fielded a variety of questions. He narrated the difficulties a writer faces when writing for a daily and also explained different methods to counter them. He also candidly admitted that a daily writer usually adopts a trial and error method, by playing with the character according to the audiences' demand.

Award-winning scriptwriter Ashwini Dhir was joined by Vinod Ranganath for a Q&A session. The multifaceted Dhir, who began his career in television as technical director of Thoda Sa Aasmaan, answered all the audience queries on how to write sitcoms and comedies.

Act: 2 ....Day:2 ....Scene: 2

Continuing the comedy vein, highly acclaimed king of one-liners, Sanjay Chhel elaborated the nuances of writing sitcom scripts. Citing examples from his personal life he discussed 'how writing comedy is a serious business with hard work, creativity, willingness to look at the flip side of life and the ability to spring a surprise as essential requisites'.

The writer who is best known for works like Nukkad, Filmi Chakkar, Philips Top Ten, and Dekh Tamaasha Dekh, warned the budding writers against usage of cliché characters and dialogues. "Sitcom is the art of presenting daily life in a precise yet funny manner with the ingredients to provide wholesome entertainment to viewers who primarily constitute the middle class," said Chhel offering the entire craft of writing sitcoms in a nutshell.

Speaking on the thriller genre, Anurag Kashyap, the celebrated writer of blockbuster movies like Kaun, Satya and Shool accentuated the need to 'let one's imagination run wild'. Sharing his trade secrets with the audience, he elaborated on the need to constantly update oneself by reading related news, books etc. and the necessity to write continuously.

Sameer Modi, writer of select episodes of X-zone, Thriller at 10, Saturday Suspense and serials like Deewar ,Rahat, Captain House and Yehi Hai Zindagi discussed the crucial elements required to write supernatural , horror and thriller shows. By showing an episode from one of the thrillers as an example, he highlighted the importance of camera angles, visuals and dialogues in creating the desired suspense in the minds of the discerning viewers.

The workshop concluded with a talk on the 'essence of an idea' and the importance of characterisation by renowned scriptwriter Atul Tiwari. The screenwriter who has serials like Kab Tak Pukaroo, Kadam and the much awaited Kashmeer to his credit, emphasised on the need to be well read . Elaborating on it he said " getting an idea is easy but developing a plot is not if one runs out of ideas ". According to him, " Ideas can come from history, classics, mythology and even day to day issues".

Come tommorow and the participants, guided and tutored so far, will have to deliver a story woven around the brief outline given to them by Vinod Ranganath followed by the screenplay of an episode. The lucky 10 shortlisted participants will get the golden opportunity to present their scripts to the panel comprising Star Plus' Shailja, Siddhanth Cinevision's Manish Goswami, Sony's Saurabh Vanzara and Anupama Mondloi, Cinevistas' Prem Kishen Malhotra, UTV's Zarina Mehta and Doordarshan's Mukesh Sharma to name a few.

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