Jyoti Kapoor is an Indian story, screenplay and dialogue writer, working in the Hindi Film Industry.Her recent works include Good Newwz, starring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor & Badhaai Ho, starring Ayushmann Khurana. She has also written for the famous Indian TV series Left Right Left, the 2011 feature film Kaccha Limboo and Daawat-e- Ishq (2014).
Q.You started your career with a very successful TV series ‘Left Right Left’, followed by ‘Kaccha Limboo’, ‘Daawate Ishq’, ‘Badhaai Ho’ and the recent blockbuster ‘Good Newwz’. How has your journey been so far?
It has been a 14 years long journey. Difficult, but gratifying and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q.Everyone goes though dry spells. After ‘Left Right Left’, it took you few years before ‘Daawate Ishq’ happened?
That’s the nature of our job. Not every script you write sees the light of day. You just have to be patient and continue writing.
Q.A creative person like you, also had to fight a Copyright battle when your script was plagiarised in 2015 and later faced unfair practices when your name was removed from the Filmfare Nomination despite being credited for the story in the film ‘Badhaai Ho’ last year. How did you cope through the same?
I just continued to write. If your work is good, you’ll stay, irrespective of what’s thrown at you.
Q.You are also an active member and chairperson of Dispute Settlement Committee (DSC) of Screen Writers Association (SWA). Was it the legal battle that motivated you to be part of voice against exploitation?
I have always been an active member of SWA, from as long as I can remember. But yes, that year-long backbreaking court battle motivated me to take a lead. I strongly feel that if you have to change the system, you have to be a part of it.
Q.Today, if you look back, how do you feel? What is your biggest take away from life?
I am full of gratitude to the universe for always having my back. My biggest take away is that there’s no substitute for hard-work.
Q. How do you see the content industry has evolved over last few years and what does the future holds?
A big churning is happening in the industry, as we speak. Digital platforms have created a revolution, for both the audiences and writers. Because the audiences have an easier access to the best content from all over the world, the content creators can no longer afford to be lazy. This is the best time to be a writer.
Q. ’Good Newz’ has actually emerged as a strong pillar to counter your critics. How do you see it. What is next from You?
I must have done something right if I have managed to gather critics in this industry. I think it’s time to get back to the blank page and start all over again.
Q.Any incident of struggle, which has moved you and made you stronger?
Every single day of the last 14 years.
Q.At SWA, how do you see the challenges of screenwriters. How the organisation is taking the concerns and addressing the same?
Writers are at the bottom of the pecking order in our industry which is still very unorganised. Whether it’s the ridiculous pay packets, unfair distribution of credits or the exploitative contracts, they find themselves at the receiving end very often.
Apart from handling credit and payment disputes, SWA has been relentlessly working towards creating a better work environment for writers. Our aim is to get them their basic rights, like- Basic Minimum Wages, Royalties, Fair Contracts and proper Credits among other things. We now have a legal officer at SWA who gives a free consultation on the writers’ contracts. We have also started a Legal Aid Programme recently, where we intend to help the writers (who have to take the legal route to seek justice) with a part of the legal fee, after we have done the due diligence. The first ever SWA Screenwriting Awards have been announced recently.
We still have a long way to go but one step at a time.
Q.What advice would you like to give to budding content creators.
Listen to your gut. Don’t aim for perfection. Just finish what you started. An average finished script is much better than an unfinished masterpiece.
Q.Any message to our readers for the new year 2020
Don’t waste any opportunity to be happy. Forget and forgive. Life is short.