Boman Irani: People have found a weapon in writing

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How do you know whether you’re a writer unless you give it a chance,” asks Boman Irani. It was this thought — coupled with the firm belief that a good script is the foundation of every powerful film — that made the senior actor start Spiral Bound, his screenwriting workshops. When he launched his banner Irani Movietone in 2019, Irani simultaneously began the screenwriting programme with Oscar-winning screenwriter-friend Alexander Dinelaris. “The idea was to fly down a [reputed] writer once a year, and have a workshop for the film industry. About 300 film folk attended Alex’s workshop in 2019. Amitabh Bachchan inaugurated the session,” recounts Irani.

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After the inaugural session, the workshops soon hit a roadblock due to the pandemic. But the veteran actor didn’t lose heart. As the world moved online, so did Spiral Bound. “Four boys [who had enrolled] suggested I do it on Zoom. They roped in their friends, and for the first session, we had 30 people.” Since then, it has been a steady rise with Irani holding 90-minute workshops almost every day, free of cost, for its 750-plus students. “[When students enrol online], I don’t ask them to write a scene or try to gauge their potential. If you are interested in writing, please attend. We have people from all over the world in our classes — from FTII [Film & Television Institute of India] students to those studying at New York University. People who didn’t know what to do with their lives have now found a weapon in writing,” he beams. As part of the programme, he has also arranged master-classes with prolific filmmakers, including Rajkumar Hirani, Shakun Batra, and Shyam Benegal.

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