India Today - - LEISURE -

—Suhani Singh

Kanika Dhillon’s par­ents thought she’d lost her mind when she set out to be­come a Bol­ly­wood screen­writer. It’s not ex­actly the de­fault ca­reer choice for a woman with de­grees from St Stephen’s Col­lege and the London School of Eco­nom­ics. “They thought I’d get over it,” says Dhillon, who worked at Shah Rukh Khan’s pro­duc­tion com­pany Red Chill­ies for four years and has writ­ten three books. She never did.

In­stead, her first Hindi solo credit for story, screen­play and di­a­logues re­leases on Septem­ber 14. Called Man­marziyaan, it’s a love tri­an­gle set in Amritsar. More than the writ­ing, Dhillon’s par­tic­u­larly proud of the ad­di­tional credit of cre­ative pro­ducer. She was in­volved in ev­ery stage of the film from prepa­ra­tion to shoot­ing—and it wasn’t easy.

Di­rected by Anurag Kashyap and star­ring Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal and Ab­hishek Bachchan, the film al­most didn’t ma­te­ri­alise after Sameer Sharma was re­placed as di­rec­tor and ac­tors Bhumi Ped­nekar and Ayush­mann Khur­rana dropped out. The un­cer­tainty was “up­set­ting”, she says. How­ever, Aanand L. Rai’s “rock solid” be­lief in her work kept her go­ing. Film­mak­ers are now queu­ing up for Dhillon’s words. Her next re­lease is a ro­mance set around the Kedar­nath floods of 2013 fol­lowed by Men­tal Hai Kya in 2019, a psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller di­rected by her hus­band Prakash Kove­la­mudi.

Kanika In­dian cin­ema has a wide rep­re­sen­ta­tion at the up­com­ing Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val with a screen­writer and ac­tor mak­ing their de­buts

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