Jyoti Kapoor is one among India’s rather low number of female screenplay writers (yes, the industry is lopsided) and a member of the Screenwriters Association India. She has been credited as original story writer of popular as well as path breaking film ‘Badhaai Ho.’
In a recent interview to Firstpost, Jyoti spoke of how when Badhaai Ho was nominated for the Filmfare Awards for the ‘Best Original Story.’ her name was first included, but unceremoniously dropped the next day, while retaining the names of the other two co-writers. Shocked and angry, Jyoti spoke up.
When we feel sidelined, we often internalize the hurt and anger. We worry that if we make a noise, we might ruffle feathers and compromise our chances of future success. Recently however, when I came across Jyoti Kapoor’s stance on this issue, I felt that this was a live example of a woman who is battling a situation and dealing with it, by speaking up.
Once Jyoti shared her point of view on Facebook, what began was a period of quiet, followed by an outpouring of solidarity by screenwriters and friends, and then finally, an explanation by Junglee Pictures that many people are finding hard to digest. The production house and the director claim that while Jyoti was credited for the story because she had been working on a similar idea at the time, she was not involved with the script itself.
The two other screenwriters involved, Shantanu Srivastava and Akshat Ghildial have subsequently withdrawn their nominations in protest, saying, “Akshat and I have decided to withdraw our names from Filmfare Best Original Story nomination regardless of Jyoti Kapoor’s name being reinstated or not, as we believe it is better to lose a possible award than to share it with someone who has not written the story of Badhaai Ho.”
While this is a developing story and more updates are awaited, isn’t it a familiar pattern that we’ve seen on multiple occasions in different work environments? All of us have or currently work in and with various organizations. Most of us have certainly experienced cases where, whether its career progression, opportunities, credits, recognition, or remuneration, we only receive our dues when we battle it out. That is why I strongly believe that a struggle like Jyoti’s is so relatable to all of us.
Let’s also appreciate that it’s immensely courageous and painfully exhausting to go through a battle of this kind. The reason why a person comes out in the open to share the story of injustice is only after the system has failed you.
Meanwhile, even as we wait for Junglee Pictures to reinstate her name as a nominee, Jyoti’s next film ‘Good News’ is slated for release in September this year. After watching her work on Badhaai Ho, I cannot wait for it!
This article was published at Women’s Web.