Writing in the time of pandemic

It's a blessing in disguise for writers who unleash their creativity

MUMBAI: The outbreak of Covid2019 has transformed life in a way that we have never imagined. Everything is at standstill; we’re confined to our homes and the future seems very uncertain. So how does it feel to be a writer at a time like this?

We at spoke to a few scriptwriters belonging to the film and television industry and found out that almost every writer is in a way overwhelmed with assignments and deadlines. While film and TV producers are waiting to start the production, writers are busy creating content to meet the consumption demand once the lockdown is lifted.

According to them, production houses will need scripts more than ever. It is a kind of blessing in a disguise for writers.

Screen Writer Association member Satyam Tripathi said: “I am currently busy working on pending projects. Another good thing that has happened is I don’t have to travel; so a lot of time is saved there. Most of the meetings are happening over Zoom calls and other apps.”

Tripathi believes a writer's experience is not something very different; the only thing is we are locked in our own houses without our will which sometimes creates anxiety. However, pandemic has turned out to be a good opportunity to work on new skills, research new topics.

Asked if the current situation affects their way of writing, Tripathi said as humans we are affected by this crisis. Sometimes it is very difficult to focus.

Tripathi is currently busy working on a project for Disney+ Hotstar and is also a helping hand for members of SWA. He is trying to help them financially and emotionally. During this period he is also doing events on mental health. There is also a line-up of events in the coming month where writers can talk about their challenges, experiences and much more.

About the content lineup post lockdown, he added, “There is going to be an altogether different expectation from audiences once lockdown is lifted. So it would be really difficult to understand their mood and create content. It cannot be predicted now.”

However stressful or anxious this period is, it is a good opportunity for writers to refresh their creative energies.

Writer of Chhapaak and Guilty Atika Chohan said: “Today I am in the eighth week of the lockdown. My initial few weeks were very disturbing. It was not a wilful isolation which generally writers enjoy. In the beginning it challenged everything that I knew as a human being. I was guilty for not doing enough for people around me. Because I was grappling with all the issues; my productivity was not that great. I couldn’t write for a few days.”

Chohan considers herself privileged for getting work during these testing times. She mentioned that there was a lot of work commissioned to her much before the lockdown. She adds: “I have my deadlines and my goals pretty clear. So, currently I am not worried about what consequences with respect to my work. In that term, you can definitely say I am privileged. But after constantly fighting with my thoughts I decided that I need to get myself off from tracking the news. Because it is not helpful.”

Chohan is utilising this time to get better and learn more which otherwise was not possible. This lockdown gave her the time to reflect on new ideas. She says it is a great time for her to get inside her den and come up with new stories.

Once the lockdown is lifted the economy will need massive push and Chohan wants to be ready in order to contribute to it. Instead of being a liability she believes in becoming an asset.

As to whether this lockdown will have an influence on her writing in the upcoming future, she said: “It definitely will, I think all my new stories and subjects that have interested me in the past will change to adapt to this world. Cognizant is the new normal. In both situations as a writer and a writer who works in a certain market with a certain business model. I think I am cognizant of both of these aspects. Now, I definitely want to discuss more about the subjects that deal with the environment, human consumption and human greed.”

Atika Chohan is currently writing an Indo-Pak war film. The writer said the project is in the development stage.

The writer of Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigyaa, Rishton Se Badi Pratha, and Ishq Ka Rang Safed Shanti Bhushan feels that just like any other person this pandemic has equally affected writers. The only advantage is they have a certain time in hand to introspect new story ideas. He mentioned that generally writers don’t have enough time to do their homework.

Sharad Tripathi is busy creating episodic banks of 10 to 15 episodes for his shows like Shakti, Nati Pinky Ki Lambi Love Story and Santoshi Maa. He is also working on a new project for Jay Mehta productions. He is trying his hand at writing  the lyrics for a new rap single. It is for an LA-based production company named Sharad and Sapra production which Tripathi co-owns.

Elaborating more on the impact of pandemic Sharad says: “Being a writer you go through so many emotions and situations; such things don’t affect you to that extent. But you might get inspired to write different stories on different scenarios. During this Covid2019 there are so many heart-wrenching as well as heart-warming stories. It depends on what scenario you are going to get inspired from.

According to Sharad, writer is not someone who just creates story; a writer derives inspiration from every form which exists.

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