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Saturday, 9 April 2016

HIndie Awards 2016: Best Screenplay [Drama]

Best Screenplay [Drama]

It's all about the screenplay. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Writer that makes the script. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Director that visualizes this script. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Producer that approves that script. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Actor that translate this script. 

Without the script there is no film, or to put it better there's no good film at the least. Though yes a bad script can also make a bad film no doubt. 

Screenplay writing is it. 

Still don't believe me? then even watch these honorable mentions and see what the scripts can do...

Sudip Sharma for NH10: While it's "inspiration" becomes a bit to questionable, there's a lot of flavor that Sharma extracts from this screenplay by literally putting the target audience into the shoes of the protagonist in presenting both a hellish genre film but also a poignant reflection on regressive patriarchal traditions. 

Upendra Sidhaye for Drishyam: Destroyed by Nishikant's treatment of overblowing a very subtle and powerful film, it's buried by the screenplay itself of course but even amidst the butchering done by Sidhaye and his director sometimes the moral complexities of Jeetu Joseph's work shines through. 

C.P Surendran for Gour Hari Dastaan: Slowed down by some of the dry plotting of the film, that character exploration in Gour Hari Dastaan is however an interesting subject piece that is handled with dexterity and reverence for the subject. 

And now the five nominees for the HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Drama]...

Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas and Pooja Ladha Surti for Badlapur

With Badlapur, Raghavan and team take control of a typical revenge narrative and turn it around into a deep exploration of the broken human psyche of it's protagonist and a meditation on the futility as well as all consuming act of vengeance. 

This is in essence the anti-revenge film. As much as Badla is about revenge, Badla is also about change. There's a stellar rumination on forgiveness and divine intervention that plays into Badlapur specifically in the event that occur for its antagonist Liak [Siddiqui] that work well in deep contrast to Raghu [Dhawan] heart breaking mindless pursuit. 

There are flaws in the script, particularly the plotting of events however the characters pull their weight far more than they could have and craft a thrilling and haunting film without ever having to slip into nonsensical violence. 

Badlapur's most talked about moment is its shift of our emotional sympathies between the "hero" and "villain" of the piece, this masterful twist is only possible and plausible when the characters in question have dynamism attached to them as well as the narrative having a well intended flow. 

Shonali Bose for Margarita With A Straw

Bose gains appaluse on the simple fact that how she balances her complex narrative with such mastery. It's a difficult task as she has to present a real and so called normal narrative feel to the coming of age story while never deterring from the harsh but true and eventually normal fact that yes; Laila isn't like other growing girls, she does have an ailment that reigns taboo on who she wants to be. 

The definitive brilliance of Bose's efforts is in charting a story that is centered very much within her own sphere of experiences and melding them into a humanized and sensitive but never saccharine understanding of people and character. 

In Laila she finds the ultimate protagonist, a young girl afflicted with Cerebral Palsy and having to face the embarrassment of realizing she cannot in an essence have the kind of life most girls want but rather allowing her to evolve into an individual who understands and accepts herself which makes broaching this taboo topic worth it. 

The inclusion of romantic interludes and a parallel character in Laila's mother breaking down due to cancer adds much weight to the surprisingly breezy dramatic character study making for a well rounded script. 

Varun Grover for Masaan

While its ending may seem contrived to some, the meeting of the holy rivers draws a nice distinction to the meeting of our two protagonists who have so far held their own separate narratives that speak of greater issues plaguing our land in the most holiest of places; Varanasi. 

Grover greatest quality as a writer is his assessment of the poetry of words and the characters that spout them, even when he's not providing lyrics to music. It then makes sense that no other writer or film maker could have thought of something as simple as the release of balloons signifying the beginning of romance. It's a sweet touch that remains with you because the writer crafts it with conviction. 

He balances the two sides of the narratives with great deft, giving both a time to shine in highlighting not only the deeper issues rooted in our flawed cultural space but also making statements on it without being overt. His main agenda is getting across character and what these false perceptions and labels identified to them can do to them and from where they can evolve due to the purification of their own souls outside of the confines of their identities. 

It helps that Grover understands young romance in a specific setting, he is able extract a reality of the turmoils and tribulations his two protagonists go through as well as rounding out the characters around him with neat detailing to boot. 

Sharat Katariya and Kanu Behl for Titli

The fact that Kanu Behl has experiences the middle class by lanes of a violent Delhi and the drudging life of misery that a dysfunctional family in this world goes through creates an interesting echo on his own film. 

The great thing Behl does is not allowing his judgement of his own experiences cloud a film that is grey as hell and relies on some dynamic characters with great complexities of their own as well as codes. The center piece is the protagonist Titli [Arora] who wishes to escape the hell of his family but also is due no fault of his own sadly misguided in his loyalty to this word. 

In stark contrast his eldest violent brother is able to still retain a sense of sympathy because the character is well fleshed out, when he beats Titli for trying to escape questioning what family means to him; the character is elevated and surprisingly gets the audiences understanding. Then there's the middle brother with his own secrets that also presents the de facto requirements of a tender 'feminine' presence in a patriarchal setting along with the hovering presence of the silent father who is the real demon. Each of the outer female characters round it out from strength to strength. 

With a raw and real feel, Titli is a script full of grey that's just great.

Vishal Bhardwaj for Talvar

Can this man do any wrong? On the back of one of his finest films, Bhardwaj lends his striking pen to a hard hitting subject and turns into a masterstroke of a screenplay. 

The highlight of course is his dark humor filled 'Grand Meeting' that centers the films harsher truths. However this would not have been possible if Bhardwaj in his infinite wisdom had not constructed a film with great levity and intelligent insight into the case he was basing it on. 

It's Meghna Gulzar's baby no doubt, but the non committal element of Bhardwaj allows the writing to bring a truthful objectivity to the film despite the results. That coldness is well balanced against the much more emotional breakdown that his protagonists faces. It makes for a slight jerk in the narrative but the plotting also then adds much needed investment carrying the audience through a riveting plot. 

Bhardwaj proves once again that no matter his involvement in the film, he will be the best at what he does. The auteur's script is not only worth watching translated on film, but worth reading as a screenplay as well. 

And the Winner is...

Sharat Katariya and Kanu Behl for Titli!

With Masaan and Talvar carrying big wins forward, the score for Titli means the Drama category just got a major shake up...what will that change in the coming awards?!!!

Up Next: Five comedies or romantic films that were made solid because their screenplays were solid, to the writers that made it possible...HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Comedy/Romantic]

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

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