Paan Singh Tomar is the best movie of the year, feels Kahaani writer

By Hindustan Times

The film Kahaani, for which she wrote the story, grossed Rs. 54.55 crore. Advaita Kala, also considered a pioneer of India's chick lit genre, says women are also heroes and need better representation in Bollywood.

"A woman cannot be used as a commodity and cast in a certain mould. The hero needs to acknowledge the heroine because the women are also heroes. The gender-sensitive mindsets in Indian cinema will have to go," Kala told IANS in an interview citing Kahaani as an example.

It isn't surprising that she struck the right chord with the story of a pregnant Vidya Bagchi looking for her husband on the streets of Kolkata in Kahaani as she had wowed readers with her maiden novel Almost Single in 2009. It had reportedly sold more than 100,000 copies.

Kala, whose novel speaks for the power of 30-something single working women in India through the genre of "chick lit", says "women must have better representation in Bollywood. A perfect heroine is one who can express her sexuality."

Now she is set woo television audiences and says the script of her serial is unusual.

"It was a great experience conceiving the story of Kahaani, but now I am looking forward to a script for a new television serial that I am writing. I hate looking back," Kala told IANS.

"The concept of the television script I am working on is very unusual. The producers are backing the right kind of script. It is creeping in - the ability to think out of the box," she added.

The young writer rates the new movie scripts in Bollywood high on the creative scale and said, "The scripts now are very interesting."

Although director Sujoy Ghosh's movie Kahaani turned the economics of the box office by running to packed houses for more than four weeks and earning Rs.54.55 crore, the writer votes Paan Singh Tomar as "the best movie of the year".

As far as Kahaani is concerned, she said: "I had met Sujoy Ghosh around 2009 and he encouraged me to conceive the movie." But now she slams the lid firmly back on the Kahaani experience saying the future was more important and wants to put Kahaani behind.

"Kahaani is past for me," she added with a trace of wistfulness.

Kala does not find travelling across genres difficult, including "participatory journalism".

"I do the same things. I create characters and dialogues in scripts. My books have a lot of dialogue as well. It is basically how it reaches the audience. The genres are pretty much the same. I am a storyteller," she said.

The writer "almost completed work " on her new novel, which is not chick lit.

She has set up a book club for power women, which will meet this week to "discuss a gamut of issues from literature to gender".

As an author, issues of copyright occupy Kala more than anything else.

"The copyright laws for writers in this country needs to change. Writers need to be empowered and contracts need to be looked into. I know government lawyers are working on it," Kala, who is in her early 30s, said.

The fact that writers are often at the receiving end of the publishing chain has a lot to do with the literary culture, the writer-scriptwriter said.

"The writer and the content creator has to be looked upon in a more favourable light. Lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar's campaign for change in the copyright structure to protect authors and performers needs to be applauded," added .

She, however, refused to comment on whether she had faced any copyright-related issues.

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