Interview with Radha Bharadwaj, screenwriter of “Closet Land”


We were very lucky to be able to interview Indian filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter Radha Bharadwaj about her screenwriting successes.  Radha’s feature script “Closet Land” won the 1989 Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship and released by Universal Pictures in 1991.  Read our interview below:

BlueCat: Do you feel that screenwriting competitions are useful? 

RB: There are lots of contests around these days.  I’d say it depends on the competition.  Some get attention because of the prestige, like the Nicholls which is sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  The Nicholls also works hard to introduce their winners to agents, managers, producers, etc.  And other competitions, which may not have Nicholls’ visibility, can make up for that by the lobbying they do for their winners.

BlueCat: What’s your advice for aspiring screenwriters? 

RB: Keep churning out new material.  If you can write in other media (books, for example) do that, too.  And networking is important, too.  Meet as many people in the film business as possible; target those who are doing work similar to yours.

BlueCat: What’s your process for character development? 

RB: Since I write plot-related scripts, this goes hand in hand with plot development.  Both plot and character are developed together; one serves the other and vice versa.  For example, VERTIGO’s plot is reliant on the detective’s inability to scale heights. I don’t have a process per se.  Usually I think of a story (which in turn starts from find a situation or issue interesting, with dramatic possibilities_, and the characters fall in place thereafter.

BlueCat: How do you defeat writer’s block? 

RB: Waiting it out.  Reading helps; I read a lot of fiction. Knowing block is part of the cyclical nature helps as well.  It will pass.

BlueCat:What was the inspiration for your Victorian gothic film, “Basil?” 

RB: It’s based on a book with the same title, written by Victorian author Wilkie Collins.  And the film gave me a chance to direct Jared Leto (he plays the title role in the film.)

BlueCat: Do you feel like females are underrepresented in the film industry? 

RB: Yes, indeed.  Behind the camera, especially as directors.  The statistics are terrible.

BlueCat: What projects are you currently working on? 

RB: I’m finishing a book (a literary mystery).  I just won the Writers Guild’s Feature Access Project honour for a screenplay of mine–an ensemble suspense; I am trying to set it up. 

If you want to learn more about Radha, check out her personal website here.