Zoya Akhtar happy about scripts getting more weightage in filmmaking process

Mumbai: The filmmaking community has witnessed a change in mindset, believes Zoya Akhtar, as producers have started chasing new and refreshing scripts for making money.

The filmmaker says earlier, a project was bankrolled only if it had a star name attached to it and then the scripting phase would follow. But it is no longer the case now.

"Suddenly, money is chasing content. Earlier we used to write a script, begging, and if you attach an actor, you will get money from a producer. Today, there are so many platforms where you can show content. People are saying here is the money, give us something good. This has never happened before.

"People in between had forgotten that script writing is important. You are giving weightage to it and I am very happy about it. The story is the core part of a film," Zoya told PTI.

She was talking on the sidelines of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival's fourth edition of the 'Word to Screen Market' initiative, where the literary world engages directly with content creators for film, TV and digital.

Zoya believes the initiative brings together two distinctive forms of storytelling since book adaptations is an important source of content for both the makers and the audiences.

"There are about 550 titles being pitched and there are filmmakers coming here. There is this marriage happening. There will be better stories coming out and it is fantastic.

"As a storyteller, beyond a point, how many ideas would one person have? It will come from various places and this (book adaptations) is a great way. The core thing is the story."

Though Zoya has never tried her hand at adapting a book for screen, she hopes to follow the style of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick some day.

"Both are a completely different format. What you take from a book is the essence and the story but the craft is different. Writing a book is a very different craft from making a feature film. It has to interest, engage and excite you in different ways.

"For me, one filmmaker, who has adapted difficult books is Stanley Kubrick. 'Lolita', '2001: A Space Odyssey', 'A Clockwork Orange' and 'The Shining' are very difficult books. When you watch the film, you will see they have changed it but the essence is the same."

Zoya says she is hopes to adapt a book, but the idea is currently in early stages.

"I was pitched one story as I liked it. It is political but a satire. I can't tell you in detail otherwise someone else will take it."

The director is currently working on her short film for Netflix anthology "Ghost Stories", which will see her reunite with Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap after "Lust Stories" and "Bombay Talkies".

"The whole point of this anthology is to keep doing genres that we normally don't do. It is a very exciting space. It is a very nice club to be a part of - Karan, Anurag and Dibakar. You can't replace them with anyone. Each one is unique."

Actors Jahnvi Kapoor and Vjay Varma are playing the lead in Zoya's short.

Talking about working with Jahnvi, Zoya says, "She was such a treat to work with. She is so young. She has done something very interesting with the film but I can't talk about it. It was a lovely experience to have her. Her energy is infectious."

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