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It's the golden age of content: Sooni Taraporevala

There’s never been a better time for content creators

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MUMBAI: Sooni Taraporevala, an Indian screenwriter, photographer and filmmaker best known for her work in Mississippi Masala, spoke on ‘The Golden Age of Content’ at The Content Hub 2020 organised by indiantelevision.com.

Taraporevala was the screenwriter for the movie Namesake and Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay, both directed by Meera Nair. Speaking on her friendship with Nair and her most difficult movie she said: “Meera and I wanted to work together for the longest time. Seven years after we graduated, she had several acclaimed documentaries under her belt and wanted to make her first feature. We embarked on what was to become Salaam Bombay.”

Yeh Ballet, currently on Netflix, proved to be a game-changer for the filmmaker. A Harvard University student, Taraporevala came to movies both by chance and destiny. Her biggest lesson, ‘Never hear the naysayers and never give up’, made her successful and relevant in the industry.

She said, “Like in screenplays real life does have turning points and this was mine. At Harvard, I discovered two things - photography and films. I initially felt I don’t have the personality to be a filmmaker. I was happy with my crew of one person and a camera. I returned to India and started working as a professional photographer.”

Taraporevala has progressed a lot since those initial days. “I remember when I wrote the Salaam Bombay script I didn’t know what ad structures are. My script was research mixed with imagination. Everything I have learned helped me in writing. From literature, I moved to narrative, character, point of view, plots and sub-plots. Certain stories didn’t work out well. Later, I moved to Bombay. That time I was also writing Mississippi Masala, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, directed by Dr Jabbar Patel and later started Namesake. Dr Ambedkar with Jabbar Patel took ten years. It was one of the most difficult movies I did.”

While addressing the audience, Tarporevala spoke at length about her foray into filmmaking. In 2005, the writer, after completing her shoot for Namesake, was all set to take a big leap in her life. “Now I had time for myself because before that I was writing for other people. So I wrote Little Zizou in ten days. It was a story that took place in my backyard. The main locations were the lane where I grew up as a kid.”

Taraporevala made her directorial debut with Little Zizou. The movie had an ensemble star cast of Boman Irani and John Abraham in the main lead.

Taraporevala believes it is the golden age of content because content providers, writers and producers are in demand. “There’s a lot of work for everybody. There is diversity of storytelling and scale. There’s never been a better time for medium-sized stories and web series to be in the business,” she concluded.

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