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In a Chat with Jyoti Kapoor

Jyoti Kapoor is a Mumbai based screenwriter and former journalist. She was born and brought up in Karnal. After completing her Masters in Mass Communication from Punjab University, she went on to work as a correspondent with publications like ‘The Indian Express’ and ‘Mid-Day’ before she crossed over to fiction. She also taught screenwriting at Whistling Woods International, a film school based in Mumbai, before starting out as a full time writer. An alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India, Jyoti has co-written scripts for films like ‘Badhai Ho’, ‘Dawat-e-Ishq’ & ‘Kaccha Limboo’ and is the writer of upcoming film ‘Good News’.

Jyoti has been actively involved in writers’ rights initiatives and is the Vice President of the Screenwriters’ Association (SWA).

Jyoti’s IMDB link is here.

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema? Art, literature, graphics, photography?
Mostly what I got to watch on Doordarshan. But I do remember gravitating most towards the films of Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Govind Nihlani, Satyajit Ray, Basu Chatterjee, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, to name a few.
Also, I was lucky to have witnessed the golden age of Indian TV. Buniyaad, Nukkad, Malgudi Days, Hum Log, Pachpan Khambe Laal Deewaarein, Bharat Ek Khoj – were some of my favorite shows on TV.

Have always admired Raghu Rai’s photography.

I have grown up on a staple diet of Munshi Premchand, Sharad Joshi, R.K.Narayanan, Mahadevi Verma, Manohar Shyam Joshi, Mulkh Raj Anand, Ruskin Bond and of course, stories told by my grandmother, who was one of the biggest influences on me while growing up. My bedtime stories, on most days, were a mix of tales woven around partition, Ramayana and Mahabharata. I also remember her telling me the desi version of Snow White among other stories. It’s amazing how fairytales and folklores travel across continents, generations, and how they transcend age, religion, and geography.
After having worked in the business of storytelling for more than a decade, I can say this with confidence, that my grandmother was one of the best storytellers I have come across. I wonder if she would have liked to collaborate with me if she were alive today. Maybe in a different universe!

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