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Cinestaan script contest fourth winner Anubhav Chopra: Writing allows my mind to wander into spaces I wouldn't be able to otherwise

Chopra, originally from Punjab, won the fourth prize with a cash award of Rs5 lakh for his script titled Phurrr..

Photo: Courtesy Anubhav Chopra

Sonal Pandya

The fourth prize winner at the second edition of the Cinestaan India’s Storytellers Contest was Anubhav Chopra, who is originally from Jalandhar in Punjab but now resides in Mumbai in Maharashtra.

Chopra won a cash award of Rs5 lakh for his script titled Phurrr... He has worked as an assistant director for over a decade on films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) and The Sky Is Pink (2019), and hopes to make his own directorial debut one day.

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Asked his thoughts about winning, Chopra replied, “Writing is such a lonely process that we tend to isolate ourselves from the world, completely losing perspective. And to have the best in the business give you an encouraging nod — it's the most wonderful feeling. I feel privileged to be amongst [the] top 5 and I am really grateful to Cinestaan for providing this platform.”

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Chopra, who hails from a family of bankers, first heard about the contest through social media and entering it was an easy decision for him. “I participated because who wouldn't want Anjum Rajabali, Aamir Khan, Rajkumar Hirani and Juhi Chaturvedi to read their script? It was a no-brainer,” he said.

His script follows three troubled individuals from different parts of Punjab who embark on an illegal journey to pursue their American dream. Chopra’s inspiration was the various stories he had heard over the years.

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“Where I come from [Punjab], America is not a country — it's symbolic of 'a good life'. Many people leave behind their lives in search of their happily ever after. My friend showed me a news article which propelled the idea and it somehow became a story,” he said.

The writer, a fan of Indian mythology, is looking forward to doing some more drafts on Phurrr... before taking it ahead to pitch it to producers. “With the stamp of this contest, it might be taken seriously due to the credibility of the jury," he pointed out.

For the future, Chopra hopes to continue writing. “Not only is it therapeutic, but it also allows my mind to wander into spaces I wouldn't be able to otherwise," he explained. "Winning this contest has given me encouragement to keep writing and, hopefully, get some of them made for the world to see!”