The Screenwriter Association (SWA) has announced an initiative under which a writer will be paid remuneration depending on the scale of a film's production.
Anjum Rajabali, writer-activist, said the new plan will ensure fair pay to writers, who are most of the time underpaid in the industry for their services. "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," Rajabali said in a statement. "Today, the industry needs a good script, and to get that you must give incentives to the writers," he added.
He revealed that Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar's Excel Entertainment will be the first banner to implement the proposed plan. "I am grateful that somebody like Ritesh, who makes truly interesting films, has agreed to this. These are minimum rates, which have been decided by the screen writer association," Rajabali said.
Sidhwani acknowledged that the job of a writer is quite "demanding". "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 per cent shares on the profit. "'Fukrey' writers got around Rs 70 to 80 lakhs, and they had a profit-sharing agreement with us," the producer said.
The filmmaker believes the SWA plan will remove the stigma attached to the profession. "This is a reasonably good amount of money and the slabs ensure that after spending 5 to 6 months on a script, the writers will be paid a decent amount, which can be taken higher based on merits," Sidhwani added. Rajabali said the new plan will also ensure a writer credit for "script, screenplay, dialogue and story separately".