Being a man, I understand that I might never be able to understand what a woman feels and go through completely, thus when it comes to cinema as well, I like seeing female characters that are written by women. Although, there are a very few female screenwriters in Bollywood, there is one whose work I admire a lot, and that is Kanika Dhillon. Be it Manmarziyaan, Kedarnath, Guilty or Haseen Dillruba, her women never shy away from standing their grounds and that’s what I love about her stories.

But being a writer in a majorly male-dominated field must not have been easy. However today, Kanika is a brand in herself. Her projects are known for her and not vice versa. She has paved a new way for female screenwriters in the Hindi film industry. Mention that to her, and she traces back her journey.

She says,

“As a female screenwriter, initially there was a sort of an extra effort that was put in by me to be taken seriously. From being one of the voices in the room to be the voice that should and can be heard, it has been a long journey. Of course, you have to prove yourself over and over again to reach a place where you don’t have to try so hard or put in so much effort to be heard.”

Kanika Dhillon (Source: Instagram | @kanika.d)

Kanika adds,

“On the professional front, you have to give it all you have to your stories and most importantly, it is about your conviction for the kind of stories you want to tell. Since my stories have always been a little different, hence there is a different voice that is attributed to my work. That was also a reason why my work was not being accepted initially to be made. It would have been very easy for me to have fallen in the trap of changing my stories to fit into the palette of the director, producer or the actor as by then, I had no work to show for myself whereas they had a lot. But I had a lot of conviction and I wanted to protect that.

Kanika confides that it took a long time to get the recognition and respect she deserved but standing true to herself was the best thing she did. And it all reflected in the journey of Manmarziyaan, which she accepts to be a special film for her.

Kanika Dhillon (Source: Instagram | @kanika.d)

She shares,

“If Manmarziyaan had to be told, it had to be told in a certain way. If my female lead had to be cheating on her husband, then she would have to do that. I wouldn’t change that. Thus getting the film made was a long and emotionally distraught journey. It started manier times, got shut down, the cast, characters and directors changed, but the story remained the same. It was a very tough journey for me to live through professionally and emotionally. But after its release, Manmarziyaan was the film that put me on the map. It was three years of not giving up and believing in my story despite a lot of very successful professionals telling me that the film will never be made. So, you need to have that conviction and the courage to take risks.”

Today Kanika stands for getting the writers and storytellers the recognition and credit they deserve and she led by the front to establish that during the promotions of Haseen Dillruba. It’s her dedication and belief in herself that actually makes me admire her, and it is what also reflects in her female characters as well.