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'Girls go on crash diets to get into a party dress'

By Radhika Rajamani
November 26, 2015 10:57 IST
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Kanika Dhilon KovelamudiKanika Dhillon Kovelamudi talks about her inspiration to write Size Zero.

After scripting Shah Rukh Khan's Ra.One, Kanika Dhillon Kovelamudi moved on to Size Zero, starring Anushka Shetty and Arya.

The film has been directed by Kanika's husband Prakash Kovelamudi.

A passion for cinema and books -- Kanika has authored two books, and the third one, My Tangerine Sky, will release in January -- led her to quit a job with a multinational company to pursue writing screenplays and books.

The idea for the story of Size Zero germinated from instances in society.

"It deals with weight issues, body and image issues primarily," says Kanika. "Girls go on crash diets to find a groom or even to get into a party dress. There was a sense of wanting to conform and feel approved. Billboards and western media show how imperfect women are here. So there is a psychological role, a thought process -- a light and dark side to the whole thing. I used all these overlapping things in a love triangle backdrop."

Though Kanika scripted this initially for a Hindi film, it was adapted to a bilingual in Telugu and Tamil. She felt the subject would face challenges in finding a director in Bollywood, who would be sensitive to the issue or even getting an actor to play the lead role.

Fortunately, her husband Prakash Kovelamudi connected to the script.

Then began the challenges of adapting it to suit the Telugu and Tamil audience, keeping in mind the different cultural nuances down south, as Kanika grew up in Amritsar, studied in Delhi and lived in Mumbai.

"It was absolutely challenging," she says. "Yes, the cultural nuances are different. However, the relationships between mother and daughter, a girl searching for a soulmate or brother-sister relationships are universal. The differences arise only in the context of language, clothes and culture. Kiran wrote the dialogues in Telugu, while Prasanna did so for Tamil. It is very realistic in story telling depicting emotions and the tone is real. I fictionalised events to get the story telling. The journey of the characters is fun."

The highlights, according to Kanika, are the "beautiful way the film is shot by Prakash, Anushka as the overweight girl and the fun and emotional journey which people will connect to."

Writing Size Zero was a "happy experience and not different from the Hindi film industry," she says.

Kanika is busy with three films in the pre-production stage. "My scripts for UTV and Aanand Rai are ready while I am scripting one for Yash Raj films," she says.

Kanika is ready to write scripts for Tamil and Telugu cinema. "I have a lot of dreams. This is just the beginning. I want to reach out to the maximum audience!" she exclaims.

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad