The 5th edition of the Indian Screenwriters Conference (ISC) was inaugurated today by Chief Guest Aamir Khan. The eagerly awaited biennial which is organised by the Screenwriters Association (SWA) is being held from August 1-3 at St. Andrews Auditorium, Bandra. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Where Mind Is Without Fear’ that focuses on the challenges facing Indian screenwriters today.
Present at the opening ceremony were Mr. Sanjay Chouhan – SWA Executive Committee member and Convenor of the 5th ISC. Also present were Mr. Sunil Salgia – SWA Executive Committee member and Co-convenor of the 5th ISC, Mr. Zama Habib – General Secretary of the SWA and Preeti Mamgain – President of the SWA.
The conference started with a 2-minute silence that was observed in memory of deceased SWA members.
In the course of the conversation, Khan also shared interesting anecdotes on how he ended up producing ‘Lagaan’ (2001) after rejecting it initially and why he takes a share in the profits. The actor-producer also remarked that he was glad to be finally attending the Indian Screenwriters Conference after several unsuccessful attempts in the past.
Khan also said that he believes in giving writers their due respect and rights and considers them an extremely important part of the filmmaking process. Having worked on the scripts of his films namely ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ (1988), ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’ (1992) and ‘Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke’ (1993) has also helped him to understand the scriptwriting process and a writer’s psyche in a much better way, the actor confided.
He also added that a script undergoes an instrumental journey from the idea to the execution stage and can play a big role in altering one’s opinion about the same.
Khan cited the example of ‘Lagaan’ and admitted that he found the initial idea of the film bizarre when Ashutosh Gowarikar narrated it. But after Gowarikar came to him with a full-fledged script and screenplay, Khan by his own admission was blown off and agreed to act and produce in it.
The Indian Screenwriters Conference was started with the idea of addressing issues concerning Indian screenwriters and lyricists, while also encouraging a dialogue on the surrounding social realities, within and outside the film and TV industries.
The first Indian Screenwriters Conference, held at FTII, Pune, in August 2006, was attended by 275 writers. The second, at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, next to Film City, Mumbai, in December 2008; saw 575 screenwriters and writer-directors attending it. 3ISC at St. Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra, in February 2013, had the participation of 700 screenwriters. ISC, held in August 2016, was the biggest with over 900 screenwriters and industry professionals attending it.