How did I get the courage to give it all up? I just did. maybe it had something to do with the realisation that half my life was over (figuratively speaking and not literally, I hope).
Has it been worthwhile? The simple answer is yes, yes, oh yes! I have a decent bank balance, so that’s the financial consideration taken care of; and I have a film script under production and a book, Kkrishnaa’s Konfessions that’s getting published so that’s creative satisfaction taken care of.
I would like to say that it has been a piece of cake but the reality is that it was tough going initially. I didn’t get many writing assignments. Just the odd pilot here and there with no guarantee that it would ever be produced or that I would ever get paid. Nonetheless, I persevered. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I didn’t restrict myself just to screenwriting. I wrote for anything that paid – newspapers, magazines, in-house magazines, corporate brochures. But then I am lucky that I’m equally fluent in both English and Hindi. Many of you may not have that option.
The bottomline is only do it you are very sure that that is that you want to do. No matter how much writers say otherwise, it is true that self – doubt, financial constraints and frustration are the constant companions of every novice writer. But there upsides as well. You get to work on your own time, you get to take a vacation whenever you want and the money, well, if you are a little smart, the light monetary drizzle (or the drought, as the case may be) soon turns into a downpour. And even if you don’t actually put a pen to paper or boot your laptop, you’re always working. Whether you goof off to the movies, get drunk, go shopping, it’s all work, or if you prefer, research. You never know what you may get out of watching Aap ka Suroor.
Plus writers, especially screenwriters get to say cool things like I’m a film and TV writer. This is invariably followed by oohs and aahs and the inevitable ‘do you write for Kyunki?’ I consider my response. If I’m feeling mischievous, I answer in the affirmative and embellish my hellish working experience with Ekta. I tell them how she works only at night and sleeps through the day, how she has an uncontrollable itch in her hand and can’t desist from slapping people.
Is it true? If I were in America I would plead the Fifth Amendment here! But true or not, you have to agree it is entertaining. As the doctor tells Billy Crudup in Big Fish: “You were born a week early, but there were no complications. It was a perfect delivery. Not very exciting, is it? And I suppose if I had to choose between the true version and an elaborate one involving a fish and a wedding ring, I might choose the fancy version. But, then that’s just me.” (see now, watching Big Fish was research, wasn’t it?)