Movies hold a special place in the hearts of us Indians. Fridays are auspicious days and we look forward to each Friday for the release of new movies. Some watch for the stars, the music, the fun and some for the escape that they provide from our mundane lives. While the actors do bring the characters to life on the silver screen, it would be hard to imagine how they would do so without those dialogues. While the actors who speak them are mortals, the dialogues have the power to become immortal. Discovering Mumbai features the personality behind those dialogues, Ishita Moitra, a talented and successful script writer and dialog writer.
As a child Ishita travelled across the country owing to her father’s employment in the army. “I went to 10 different schools, made 100s of close friends, learnt many languages and I guess all of that helps me now as a writer,” says Ishita. She completed her Journalism Hons from Delhi University and then further pursued an MA in Mass Communication from Jamia in Delhi. She has written for various Bollywood movies like Kambakkht Ishq and Always Kabhi Kabhi as well popular Televison shows like Bade Acche Lagte Hain and Dekha Ek Khwaab.
Ishita, though a qualified journalist, soon realised that more than journalism it was scrip writing which she liked more. The world of fiction attracted her more than the world of non-fiction. She decided to follow her instincts and got enrolled for an internship with Abbas Tyrewala, famous Bollywood screenwriter and director. The internship got converted into a job and soon she had her first Bollywood assignment on hand.
Ishita’s career as a screenwriter and dialog writer in Bollywood started out with the movie Kambakkt Ishq, starring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor. “It was an overwhelming experience, to be working with such an established production house on such a big budget film, traveling all over the world,” says Ishita. What excites her about dialog writing is the fact that good scripts can actually be a record of our times. “50 years later when people see a film from this decade, they'll know how people thought, behaved, spoke, felt in this era,” she says.
Apart from the numerous films that she was written for Ishita also writes for famous Television shows like Bade Acche Lagte Hai and Dekha Ek Khwaab. The world of small screen is a different world altogether and comes with its own set of unique challenges that a writer has to face. The writer needs to ensure that the dialogs have to be quite realistic, unlike in the movies where you have a certain degree of creative freedom. “Very different, yet equally challenging; TV is about deadlines, about instant gratification, while films need "itminaan,” says Ishita.
Bollywood itself, being the one of a kind industry that it is, presents a whole lot of challenges for people wanting to make a career here. It was no different for Ishita and she too has been through that roller coaster ride. “The most challenging part is to understand that unlike other fields of work, here success and failure are part of a cycle. No matter who you are, you will see a good phase followed by a bad phase followed by a good phase,” says Ishita. To survive here one needs to be level headed, while still being passionate and enthusiastic about your work. That said, the journey had its many shining moments too, “There have been many, but one I remember the most is the day I met Mr. Aditya Chopra for the first time,” she says.
So what advice does Ishita have for people thinking about getting into writing for Bollywood? “Don't think about it. Dive right in. Write every day. Work with somebody. Hone your skills. The only way to learn is on the job,” says Ishita. And for the city of Mumbai, home to Bollywood, this is what she has to say, “The best city for a girl to live in, in India. For what it lacks in physical space it makes up in intellectual space and freedom. Absolutely love it.”
Ishita has interesting projects to look forward to. She has written for Mere Dad Ki Maruti by Y Films, the Youth division of Yashraj Films, which will be out on March 15. She is also working on Ragini MMS 2 which will be released later this year. We hope that both the projects turn out to be successful.
You can follow Ishita on Twitter