You don't catch them at Page 3 Parties. They are rarely invited to the premieres of their own shows. Outside their fraternity, few know what they do, and how they do it.
Venita Coelho, who has been part of the Indian Television industry for over 15 years, now bridges that gap by documenting the writer's craft, and reaching out to aspiring writers in her new book Soap! Writing and Surviving Television in India.
Venita, who began her career with UTV in the DD era, has worked as a producer, writer and director. She wrote the award-winning daily soap Trikaal and has recently wrapped up the script for Dharma Productions' We are Family.
She says she "ran away" from Television when she decided she could no longer be a slave to the "saas-bahu" soaps.
Sony Entertainment Television lured her back with Jassi Jaisa Koi Nahin in 2003. But after, Jassi got a makeover and became your regular soap heroine, Venita moved to Goa to the life of a "beach-bum" with her daughter, five dogs and two cats.
A life away from Television, she says, has helped her paint, write fiction and turn activist.
In an exclusive interview to Sify.com, Venita opens up about the great Indian attraction for family dramas, the early days of UTV and her favourite soaps. Excerpts:
What drove you to write Soap?
I decided to write the book the day I decided to quit TV. I had earned my experience the very hard way and it seemed such a pity to let it all go to waste. Especially when around me I saw young writers having to learn the very same lessons all over again.
The book is an attempt to save them the grind. To provide a 'mentor in a book'. It is also an attempt to formalise the industry. For an industry that has been around for over 40 years it is shocking that we don't have a single teaching tool.
Images courtesy: Venita Coelho/Sify.com. Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited