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On a creative high

Kanika Dhillon  

Amritsar born Kanika Dhillon comes across as a very simple, pleasant and warm person. This newest writer in Telugu film industry, had actually written the story of Size Zero to be made into a Hindi film but her husband Prakash liked it so much that he is now directing it in Telugu.

The shoot (starring Anushka Shetty) is currently on at an upmarket hotel in Hyderabad. Married for less than a year and shuttling between two cities, Kanika is a master at multi tasking. As she oversees her film being shot, she talks of her third story — of a god woman — and how much she enjoys writing books for children. “I’ve written The Bombay Duck Is A Fish and Shiva And The Rise Of Shadows, the third one is on. Size Zero had been written as a Hindi film script but my folks wanted to do it. I am happy writing and being a producer not a director. As a director you have to live and breathe that one story for 8 months completely. I like variety, if I write extensively I get a writer’s block so I do something else to beat the boredom and then get back to something I’ve already done”, she reveals .

Kanika avers that Size Zero is a contemporary subject and is set against a backdrop of slimming industry. She adds, “All of us, whatever age strata we may be in, suffer from body issues; the story is about how one should look. We are living in a world where image is important and we feel the need to confirm to a standard of what beauty is and how beauty should look like. We look at the billboard, and feel something is lacking in us. Everyone should actually think about it and start a conversation at least. Wouldn’t it be boring if the world is filled with people all of the same size? I don’t want to say too much right now.”

Armed with a masters degree from London School Of Economics, Kanika says, “I came here and realised the audience is different but it is important to respect all and relate to them. I am keeping my fingers crossed, I am more than happy to write more stories for the Telugu audience.”

Kanika began writing in school and remembers being a voracious reader, thanks to the influence of her mother, a professor in English Literature. . Kanika quips, “It was a nice environment to grow up in and it was a natural extension of me wanting to write. It was my favourite escape and I have fond memories of having a hot cup of coffee and reading. It just extended into wanting to tell my story and wanting to write. I was 17 when I wrote a collection of short stories and wanted it published but it didn’t happen. A lot of publishing houses don’t allow young authors to enter into writing segments. Then the novels happened and when you are working on a movie set, there are ideas all around and hundreds of trigger points floating..the life experience is where true stories come from.”

It was when Kanika was working for Shahrukh Khan’s Red Chilli Entertainment, that the idea of writing a book happened. She had written for Ra One and Billoo Barber. “Before my first film came out, my first book released. A movie set is full of stories, actors, to the underbelly of the industry. The creative energy is huge and I wanted to capture it and put it in a book. I really loved the fact of wearing different hats, working in a visual medium and thinking of brevity when it came to writing. The level of satisfaction that each brings is different but I love it. I learnt film making for five years I went to Balaji Telefilms and I became a content creator and did Ishaan for Disney which became a big hit and we did a second season for children. Writing for children is simplistic, reading scripts, green lighting them and to see if at that budget will make sense.”

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 7:11:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/kanika-dhillon-on-a-creative-high/article7194383.ece

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