“The offer came as a delightful surprise, tinged with a hint of disbelief”: Laapata Ladies’ screenwriter Sneha Desai

“The offer came as a delightful surprise, tinged with a hint of disbelief”: Laapata Ladies’ screenwriter Sneha Desai

My next release, YRF’s 'Maharaj' is set to grace the screens on Netflix.

Sneha Desai

Mumbai: As the latest Kiran Rao-directed movie "Laapata Ladies" continues to make waves since its release on 1 March 2024, let us applaud the lady behind the screenplay, Sneha Desai.

A prominent figure in film, television, and theatre, Desai has crafted compelling narratives not only for the silver screen but also for hit shows like ‘Pushpa Impossible’ and ‘Wagle Ki Duniya’. With over 1200 shows to her credit on stage, Desai is not just a prolific writer but also an actor, gracing both stage and screen with her talent, enriching the world of entertainment with her diverse skills and contributions.

Indiantelevision.com in conversation with Sneha Desai discussed her journey in the entertainment industry, about portraying strong female characters, on being multifaceted and more…

Edited Excerpts:

On your journey into entertainment, and could you share some memorable moments along the way

Transitioning from the world of stage performances to the dynamic realm of screen productions felt like a natural progression. The sheer love and admiration poured in by audiences have been the driving force behind my pursuit in this industry. Not to mention, the humbling experience of receiving critical acclaim and prestigious awards has only fuelled my passion further. Over time, I found myself delving into the art of writing almost instinctively, realising that audiences don’t just watch but truly absorb and resonate with the content. It’s these moments of connection and resonance that continually inspire me to push boundaries and delve deeper into the world of storytelling.

On writing for “Laapataa Ladies,” and your reaction to Aamir Khan’s offer during lockdown

My journey with “Laapataa Ladies” began unexpectedly during the unprecedented times of the COVID lockdown. It all started with a casual narration session for a different project, but fate had other plans. Months later, I received a call from none other than Aamir Khan himself, presenting me with the opportunity to bring life to a story they had in mind. The offer came as a delightful surprise, tinged with a hint of disbelief. Who wouldn’t be awe-struck when approached by a personality of Mr Khan’s calibre? However, amidst the surrealism, there was an underlying sense of responsibility and pressure to deliver nothing short of excellence.

On your preference in writing for a specific genre

With my journey still in its early stages, I’ve consciously avoided confining myself to a particular genre. Instead, I’m eager to explore through the diverse landscape of storytelling, embracing various styles and narratives along the way. After all, the beauty of storytelling lies not in the limitations of genres but in the boundless possibilities of expression and creativity.

Your works feature strong female characters; what drives crafting such empowered perspectives

Crafting strong and empowered female characters has always been an organic process for me, rooted in my firm belief in individual rights and freedom. Whether male or female, I strive to infuse my characters with depth, agency, and relatable flaws, allowing them to evolve and resonate with audiences on a profound level. It’s this commitment to authenticity and complexity that breathes life into my characters, making them not just figures on a screen but embodiments of resilience and empowerment.

On the challenges that you have faced in the industry and how did you overcome them

Navigating through the legalities, contracts, and rights can often be a daunting task, especially for someone relatively new to the industry. However, with the guidance of experienced mentors and the support of a professional network, I’ve learned to tackle these challenges head-on while keeping my focus firmly grounded in my passion for storytelling. Additionally, in an era where audience attention spans are fleeting and competition is fierce, capturing and retaining viewers’ interest presents its own set of hurdles. Nevertheless, by staying true to my creative vision and adapting to changing landscapes, I’ve managed to navigate through these challenges with resilience and determination.

On the industry evolution in terms of women’s representation, and the changes you hope to see

While the entertainment industry has made significant strides towards inclusivity and gender representation, there’s still ample room for growth and improvement, particularly concerning women’s roles and opportunities. Beyond just representation on screen, I believe in creating a conducive environment that prioritises the safety, security, and well-being of women behind the scenes as well. This entails measures such as flexible working hours, pay parity, and job security, ensuring that women have the support and resources they need to thrive in their respective roles. Ultimately, by fostering a culture of empowerment and equality, we can pave the way for a more diverse and inclusive industry for future generations.

On challenging yourself creatively as a writer wearing multiple hats

Juggling various roles within the creative sphere, from writing scripts to penning lyrics and stepping into the shoes of diverse characters on screen, presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for growth. Each project serves as a canvas for exploration and self-discovery, allowing me to push beyond my comfort zone and tap into different facets of my creativity. Whether it’s experimenting with new storytelling techniques or delving into uncharted territories of expression, I constantly challenge myself to evolve and innovate, keeping the spark of creativity alive and thriving.

On the upcoming projects or aspirations that you have for the future

Exciting ventures lie on the horizon, with YRF’s ‘Maharaj’ set to grace screens on Netflix as my next release. Additionally, a long-awaited Gujarati play is in the pipeline, alongside discussions for intriguing film projects that hold promise. With optimism and enthusiasm, I eagerly await the next chapter of my creative journey, embracing the unknown with open arms and a heart full of aspirations.