Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 20:
Can you talk about the journey that led you to realize your goal to become a writer?
I have had many moments where it felt like this is a sign that I must pursue writing. I won a High School Musical VCD when I was 10 years old because of an essay I wrote for a teen publication contest. I had wanted to buy the VCD for a long time and knowing I had the skill to do it for myself was very encouraging and led to me trying to write more and more. Before I knew it, I had found the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life, all I had to do was get the right skill set to pursue these dreams. I graduated from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University with a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing after my Bachelor’s in Mass Media from Mumbai University. In addition to that, working in the Indian film industry as well as transitioning to working in the American TV industry has led to a lot of revelations about what kind of stories I want to tell, which are written with the goal of being as inclusive and authentic as it can be to the people I am writing about.
Can you elaborate more on your Master’s at NYU? What was that experience like?
I worked in the Indian film industry before I made the decision to move to New York and upskill myself in writing. I was granted two scholarships which allowed me to pursue my MFA program at NYU Tisch. I am glad and proud to have had this opportunity, I made sure I made the most out of the grad school years and forged lifelong relationships with mentors and my cohort. During my time at NYU, I had the privilege of attending classes run by writers like Sabrina Dhawan and Charlie Rubin who helped me strengthen my voice so that I can tell my stories better. I also had the pleasure of working alongside peers during play productions, class workshops, and film labs. My grad school experience shaped the writer in me and made me braver in the stories I tell and envision to keep telling the world.
Where do you draw your inspiration to keep writing? Do you get motivated by other writers or people in your life?
Most of my stories are deeply personal, inspired by a truth in life that I have learned over time. Be it my feature script that deals with my female protagonist’s journey of dealing with grief in a conservative society, or the TV pilot that follows a family in the Hindi film industry and has everyone going for blood over money. It is also a good thing that I am living in an age of golden TV, where I see creators being fearless with their choices. Writers like Michaela Coel with I May Destroy You, Phoebe Waller-Bridge with Fleabag, Quinta Brunson with Abbott Elementary, all coexist in the same timeline and have found success because they’re telling the stories that matter to them. This further encourages me to be braver in my own writing.
What are you currently working on? What’s next for you?
Although I can’t reveal much, I have been working on a preschool animated show that is in development and is scheduled to be on air sometime soon. It has been an enriching experience to see how much research goes into making stories that kids watch and also to be part of such a talented team of creatives.
As for my future goal, it is to keep growing more and more as a writer as I don’t want to limit the worlds I create on pages. I want to make sure I never become complacent and keep pushing myself forward. I am young and excited, with a lot of stories to tell so I will keep working hard and keep getting inspired by the absolute joy I get when I get to tell my stories to the world.