Interview with Swaroop Kanchi

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We interviewed acclaimed Indian screenwriter/director/producer Swaroop Kanchi (Bengaloored, Hong Kong Dreaming) about his experience as a working screenwriter.

BlueCat: Tell us a little about your background: how did you get interested in screenwriting, what did you study, etc.

SK: As a Kid I always was good with the pen, even during my school exams, I completed my papers in about half the time it took others to write, somehow I’ve always had a fascination for the pen and writing, so I guess it was a natural progression to write more and more as I grew up, it started with poems during college and small essays and stories. It became a way to express myself, my fears, my desires, a way of knowing myself, I was a student of Art, Advertising & Design, but more than tag lines I was interested in telling stories & that paved the way to writing screenplays when I decided I wanted to make films.

BlueCat: How do you defeat writer’s block?

SK: The trick is to not force yourself to write, there are times when you just cannot bring yourself to write, I always try to ease into it, take it slow. Writing is like love making, you have to be romantic about it, not technical. You have to court the paper, you have to create the mood, then the writing takes care of itself.

BlueCat: Where did you get the inspiration for “Bengaloored”?

SK: I came back to Bangalore after traveling extensively for a few years and found the city was changing rapidly, what I called home was going through expansion & change like never before. Things were just not the same, so this was the crux of the story.

BlueCat: What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring writers?

SK: Be yourself. It takes courage to be yourself, it’s easier to ape the Screenwriting Gods, it’s good to be inspired by them, but you need to have your own voice, you have to express yourself, you have to tell the stories you want to tell, the way you want to tell them. Every writer is unique in the way he sees the world and that’s his USP. Do not give that individuality away for anything. Also what I have learned is that we have to take our time, not hurry through writing. It’s the soul of every film. Make sure there are no blind spots & most importantly read your script aloud to yourself and others, that really gives you a deeper insight into your own work.

BlueCat: Your films have a lot of social commentary written in them.  Does this come as a result of an existing idea you have for a screenplay, or do you write films based on social commentary?

SK: My only intention when making a film is to make a honest one and tell a story worth telling. I guess I draw ideas from the world around us, the good, the bad & the ugly. A film is a great medium for expressing our anguish and a great instrument for social critique. So I very much cherish the opportunity to talk to a larger audience about things fundamentally wrong in the way we live today.

BlueCat: What’s the hardest part about writing a film for you?

SK: Every film I make, ever screenplay I write, I have to live with it for the rest of my life. so making it worth it, believing in it and having the same disciple and enthusiasm for it while writing over many months, sometimes years can be quite challenging. But the single biggest challenge is overcoming fear. Will my audience like it? will they get it?

BlueCat: What projects are you working on next?

SK: This year I released a film called “Yeh Dil Ramt Jogi” , story of a Indian Taxi Driver who is looking for love. Right now I have started work on a Untitled Drama set in the 1800s in the Himalayas. The writing is in progress & I must say I am having as much fun as a writer could have.

If you are interested in checking out Swaroop’s work, please check out his website here.

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