Mumbai, Dec 23 (IANS) "I'm very busy now", "Call me after three years" or "Who are your references?" - these are some of the common replies that budding scriptwriters get from filmmakers when they attempt to gain an entry into Bollywood.
Those looking for a launch platform accuse producers and directors of double standards when they complain about the dearth of new talent.
"They say one thing in public and say something else when we approach them. They are no better than politicians," Rajesh Kumar, a budding scriptwriter, told IANS.
Kumar said he had approached various directors, but none of them even agreed to listen to his script's synopsis.
At a recent conference organised by the Screenwriters' Association and attended by many wannabe writers, one of the main topics for discussion was the dearth of good writers and original scripts. But many delegates who attended the conference complained that the biggies who spoke of originality and providing a platform to newcomers, were not open to giving fresh talent a chance.
The meet was attended by established directors, producers and writers including Kamal Haasan, Govind Nihalani, Rajkumar Hirani, Abbas Tyrewala, Amol Palekar and Sriram Raghavan.
When this IANS correspondent pretended to be a writer and approached directors at the meet with a script, there was not a single positive response. Some of the replies were:
Tyrewala: "Oh! not now. I was looking for scripts some time back, but now I have 22 scripts and there is no chance of getting something more for at least a couple of years."
Bharadwaj: "I'm very busy with my film now. So please call me at my office some time after February."
Hirani: "I can't think of anything beyond my film 'Three Idiots'. Once I'm through with my film, I can give you time. Call my office after two-three months."
Sanjay Gadhvi: "I am not doing anything now. But I have my scripts. So I don't think there is a fair chance. We entertain new writers if there is some sort of reference. It's very difficult to entertain one and all and so if there is any writer who comes with a reference we take him seriously."
Palekar: "I am so busy with my work that I cannot look right or left for at least three years. Please call me after three years."
Prathamesh Sharma, who has just started his career in scriptwriting and has written a few short plays, got similar replies from filmmakers.
"It's very difficult to make them hear our concepts and ideas as they don't know us personally. I have tried to explain my concept to them, but they cite different excuses and avoid me."
Pradtyoth Pandit had the same experience.
"I have many original ideas and concepts, which I am confident they will like if they listen. But I don't know how to make them listen," Pandit said.
"They always ask me to e-mail my concept, which I did several times, but there was no response from their end. I'm really frustrated by their double standards," he added.
Abhijaat Joshi, who writes for Raj Kumar Hirani, suggested at the conference: "The best way to make an entry for a budding writer is to take part in contests which provide a decent platform."
But one of the delegates dismissed his suggestion. "I have participated in several contests and won a few too. But nothing really happened. It's all about the contacts one has in the industry," he remarked.
(Devapriyo Bhattacharjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)