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Ritesh Sidhwani signs up as Screenwriters Association puts down plan for fair pay

The plan includes minimum rates for scripts, as well as separate credits for dialogue, screenplay, and story writers. 

Our Correspondent

With the struggle for writing credits reaching new highs, or lows, in recent years, the Screenwriters Association (SWA) has formulated a new contract based and minimum pay guarantee plan to ensure better treatment of writers in the film industry. The formulated plan will look at the payment for writers on the basis of the scale of the production. 

Anjum Rajabali, screenwriter and executive committee member at SWA, said in a statement, "If there is no script, there is no film and no job in the industry. It’s the blueprint on which the entire project is based, and therefore there has to be a certain value to the script, which will encourage people to write better." 

The plan has already received the thumbs up from one producer, Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment. He stated, "I am not a writer, but I know it is a demanding job. We already have a system in place wherein writers, over the last  few years, have had the option of entering into a profit sharing agreement with us. An individual can decide if he/she wants a higher base fee or a lower amount, and coupled with 2 percent shares on the profit. Fukrey (2013) writers got around Rs70 - 80 lakhs, and they had a profit-sharing agreement with us." 

Sidhwani added that the plan will also help to reduce the stigma attached to the profession of writing. Sidhwani said, "This is a reasonably good amount of money and the slabs ensure that after spending five to six months on a script, the writers will be paid a decent amount, which can be taken higher based on merits." 

In addition to the pay, the formulated plan also ensures in clearing the grey area around the credits for screenplay writing, dialogue writing, and story. 

Speaking on the issue, Rajabali clarified, "The minimum basic contract guarantees credit for script, screenplay, dialogue and story separately." 

The association also plans to approach the Producers Guild of India to ensure a mandatory application of the plan into future contracts. As the first producer on board, Sidhwani said, "This is the basic criterion that everyone should adhere to."