Content evolves, but the heart of storytelling remains the same: Boman Irani

Content evolves, but the heart of storytelling remains the same: Boman Irani

Talks about his writing aspirations and his new initiative – ‘Spiral Bound’

Boman Irani

New Delhi: Almost two decades after making his debut in the Hindi film industry, renowned actor Boman Irani is now all set to don the writer’s cap for his first movie as writer-director. “Writing is the way to go,” says Irani emphatically, as he begins to share his vision of filmmaking on the first day of the Content Hub 2021.

The three-day mega event being organised by began on Wednesday, with a series of insightful sessions with producers, writers and directors, and brand representatives, who shared their thoughts on the evolving media and entertainment industry.

In a fireside chat with Indiantelevision Group founder and CEO, Anil Wanvari, Irani shared his thoughts on the new-age of content, and how it has influenced the craft of film-making. “We are on the threshold of a big bang of OTT. There has been an evolution. However, the storytelling, the heart of it, kind of remains the same, with a certain amount of originality,” says the noted actor, who won the audiences’ hearts with his portrayal of Viru Sahastrbuddhe in 3 Idiots.

According to Irani, the content may evolve, but it will continue to be created by the same age-old principles of writing. “It will always boil down to good writing,” he smiles.

Irani forayed into films in 2003 after spending years doing theatre – from where he drew most of his knowledge as an actor. Unlike movies, where actors are mostly focussed on their scenes, a theatre teaches one to look at the entire visual piece. “You can only make an impact as an actor, if you know the piece that you are working on. What is it saying? If you don’t empathise with the entire piece, then by the time your scene comes, you realise nobody is really paying attention. That’s what theatre does. It teaches you to be there for all the scenes,” he adds.

After delivering some of the finest performances in movies like Munnabhai MBBS, 3 Idiots, Main Hoon Na, the noted actor is now also devoting a lot of his time to honing his skills as a writer, and helping other budding writers. He is also gearing up to debut as a writer-director with his first script that has been in the making for the last eight years.

“It looked beautiful in the first 24 hours, but then I realised something was missing. I had met a playwright in New York, who made me realise that I had got a whole bunch of lovely scenes together, but needed a structure. I needed to weave all those scenes together in the form of a necklace and present it to the audience. I made him my guru,” shares Irani. The playwright he was referring to was Alexander Dinelaris, one of the four screenwriters who won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the 2014 film Birdman.

The lockdown provided an opportunity to share his learnings gained over the years, with budding writers through virtual sessions, and that led to his special initiative- Spiral Bound. A series of virtual webinars and workshops, where he engages with budding writers and together, they dissect scenes and movies to understand the art of writing a perfect script.

The initiative that started with four members is now running into its second year, and the team of 400-500 has already completed as many as 375 sessions. Apart from budding writers, there are cinematographers, and production designers who have also expressed keen interest and joined the sessions.

According to Irani, it takes a robust technique to be a good writer. “It has taken me eight years to understand the power of technique and science. We write with the heart. But everybody has a heart, and a mind, and many people can come up with concepts. But how can you take that concept to a producer and narrate it for two hours. That requires technique. It frees you to think better,” he shares.

The new age of content has already made content creators realise the tremendous need to evolve. But that transformation hinges on the most crucial element – a well-written script!

“Now, the scripts will have to be written with a certain amount of momentum, and the entire onus is on the writer. So, if you really want to create content, you need to have writers who have technique in their DNA, who are writing from their heart. Writing is the way to go!” the actor signs off.

The Content Hub 2021 is co-presented by IN10 Media Network and ZEE5, and co-powered by Applause Entertainment and Tipping Point, the digital content unit of Viacom18 Studios. PTC Network is the supporting partner.

Centred on the theme – ‘The New Dynamic’, the three-day event will witness insightful sessions with industry stakeholders deliberating on how the new forces are transforming the way content is created and stories are told. It will also delve upon the impact of these changes on the business models for the world of films, TV and OTT.

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