Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chennai International Screenwriting Workshop

Sudhish Kamath sent me this info and I thought some of you might be interested in signing up. So here goes the press release!

Chennai International Screenwriting Workshop

Do you want to be one of the chosen 250 to attend a week-long masterclass by some of the best screenwriting teachers in the country?

Kamal Haasan, in association with Indian Institute of Technology, Madras presents a first-of-its-kind international workshop and seminar on screenwriting in South India. “It’s a strictly instructional event. Basic education is compulsory and candidates need to demonstrate their seriousness to get selected,” says the writer-filmmaker-actor.

The Chennai International Screenwriting Workshop to be held at the IIT-M campus between May 29 to June 3, 2009 will feature few of the best screenwriters and filmmakers from around the world.

Veteran writer Jean Claude Carriere has confirmed his participation via video conference.

Mr. Kamal Haasan himself will join the discussions and don the role of faculty during the workshop and seminar. “Students will be able to pick up copies of my scripts and get their doubts clarified,” he adds.

The screenwriting workshop will be conducted by K.Hariharan, Director of the L.V. Prasad Film and TV Academy, Anjum Rajabali, Professional screenwriter and head of departments of screenwriting at Film and TV Institute, Pune and Whistling Woods, Mumbai and Atul Tiwari, Professional screenwriter and well known playwright.

“We will be approaching screenwriting from two angles”, says Mr.Hariharan. “How to turn words into images that you see on screen and also how to do the opposite – putting in words what you see as images in your mind. Every day, we will have two sessions of guest lectures by reputed writer-filmmakers from the industry.”

For long, screenwriting has been a neglected discipline even in film schools. “While all good writing is essentially intuitive, it is essential to understand the basic principles of storytelling and the form of the screenplay to be a competent screenwriter”, says Mr. Anjum Rajabali, who founded the screenwriting department at FTII and at Whistling Woods.

“We all agree that it is impossible to make even a half decent film with a bad script and that a good script is the first and foremost requisite to make a good film. But even then we have seen that pedagogy of the screenwriting has not taken roots in India,” adds Mr. Atul Tiwari, who has who has conducted similar workshops in New Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Manipal and Pune.

The workshop will culminate with a seminar, which will be open to industry professionals. The event is an initiative of Raajkamal Films International to bring screenwriting to the forefront.

To apply, students must send a copy of their resume, a passport-size photograph along with a 200-word synopsis on their favourite film and a list of their five favourite films to before May 5, 2009.

More details are available on For further queries, email

My observations:

250 students seems to be a large number for such a workshop. I suppose if that many register, they will be broken up into smaller groups.

I hope Kamal Haasan really is able to put his ego aside and don the role of faculty. He's giving students an opportunity to 'pick up his scripts and get their doubts clarified'. Considering that some of his recent films like Dashavataram are very doubtful, I hope he is prepared for some serious interrogation!

The output at the end of it all is unclear. I hope it's something tangible and practical - as a good workshop should be! There could be a follow up 3-6 months later where participants come with their screenplays and get feedback from the experts and peer group.

Here's to more kickass scriptwriters coming into Bollywood, Kollywood or even... Hollywood!


  1. very interesting..

  2. I would love to be a part of such seminar.

  3. And should the favourite movies be in Hindi???

  4. Hello Editor Ma'm,
    Thank you very much for the link. The workshop will be conducted by Mr.Hariharan, Mr. Anjum Rajabali and Mr.Atul Tiwari but there will also be sessions with Mr. Kamal Haasan himself. He has written some riveting screenplays in Tamil and a Hindi translation may not be the finest example. :)

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  7. Kamal is the best person to organize such workshops..and does he have more ego than the over hyped khans?????????????????????

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