National Film Development Corporation, India announces its selection of six projects for its second edition of the Romance Screenwriters’ Lab 2015.

The Romance Screenwriters’ Lab is part of NFDC Labs’ ongoing initiative to develop original voices and stories from India. The selected participants work with mentors to explore their stories in one-on-one as well as group sessions and master classes. The participants will also get a chance to pitch their scripts to producers and investors in a specially designed session during Film Bazaar 2015.

Aimed at domestic as well as international markets, these projects will be mentored by the industry’s top talent. This year’s mentors, known for their path breaking work, are Girish Joshi, Habib Faisal and Sharat Katariya.

The selection this year includes projects with interesting and varied perspectives on the themes of love and romance.

1. Chitrangada: Body, Speech and Mind – Abhyuday Khaitan

2. Fly Me to the Moon – Vivek Raju

3. Matsyagandha – Pooja Gupta

4. Tatevik – Samimitra Das

5. The List – Varun Oberoi

6. You’ve Been Pinged – Smita Kapoor Das

Abhyuday Khaitan is a writer, director and cinematographer who has been making short films since his school days. ‘Untitled’, his second short film, was screened at Digital Talkies International Film Festival in Delhi (2001) and at Cine Nova, Brussels. Endoscopy, a one-minute film, was selected for screening at the European Media Arts Festival, Germany. ‘The Shop That Sold Everything’, co-written by him, won the Gold Award for Best Short Fiction at the Indian Documentary Producers Association Awards. As a cinematographer, Khaitan has shot two feature films: ‘The Luckiest Girl on the Lower East Side’ (USA), and ‘Guru’ (Hungary/India).

Vivek Raju is a self-taught filmmaker who dropped out of engineering school to explore his talent for cinematic storytelling. He has shot and directed a documentary for the Defence Research and Development Organization and has also worked in various capacities for feature films and documentaries. His first screenplay, ‘Big Bad Wolf’ is a Tamil film that is still in development.

Pooja Gupta is a young writer who is close to finishing her academic training as a screenwriter. She holds a Masters Degree in Communication from the University of Pune and a diploma in cinematography. As a student, Gupta has been a prolific writer. ‘Matsyagandha’ would be her debut feature as a screenwriter.

Samimitra Das learnt the ropes of screenwriting and direction at the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute. He has worked as an assistant director on ‘Lootera’ and an associate director on the Bengali film, ‘Buno Haansh’., Das has also written and directed short films and documentaries such as “Between the Rains”, ‘My Armenian Neighbourhood’ and ‘Yari Road’ which have been screened at various Indian film festivals.

Varun Oberoi used to be a mechanical engineer who worked as the Service Head at Orion Motors Pvt. Ltd. He has decided to forego his primary profession in order to pursue his passion for cinema. ‘The List’ would be his debut feature as a screenwriter.

Smita Kapoor Das is a writer with 15 years of experience in the film and television industry. Apart from assisting on TV shows, commercials and feature films, she has also written and directed a number of non-fiction television shows. She has also donned the director’s cap for four short films that have been screened at Indian film festivals.