Shalini Usha Nair – National Film award winning screenwriter of ‘Soorarai Pottru’ fame
Shalini Usha Nair is a National award winning screenwriter associated with south Indian cinema. She won the Best Screenplay Award at the 68th National Film Awards in 2022 for her acclaimed work in Tamil – Soorarai Pottru. She marked her debut as a screenwriter and director with Malayalam movie starring Fahadh Fasil – Akam, released in 2013. The movie was screened at several international film festivals including Shanghai International Film Festival in World Panorama section.
It was not pre-planned to join film industry
Shalini Usha Nair, born as a Malayali, spent her early days in Chennai, where she studied all her 14 years of schooling at St. Thomas Residential Public School. Later she graduated in English literature from Stella Mary’s College, Chennai, followed by broadcast journalism from Asian School of Journalism.
At that time she participated in a documentary film workshop, which became the turning point of her life. She got drawn towards cinema and movie making, and joined Prague Film School at Czech Republic, where she took film direction course. She returned back with dreams to pursue a career as film director.
Shalini Usha Nair made her directorial debut with Akam in 2011
Akam – A psychological thriller was a screen adaption of Malayattoor’s acclaimed novel, Yakshi, which was once made in 1960s. The movie got critical acclaim and was screened in many film festivals before theatre release. She also scripted the film.
Apart from cinema, she has been associated with documentaries, ad industry and television industry too. She has worked as assistant in ad industry and as co-producer in non-fiction programs too. She also served as creative consultant for a few feature films.
Soorarai Pottru – The landmark movie of Shalini’s career
It took 2 years of hard work and corrections to complete the script of Soorarai Pottru. She was busy with a web series in Hindi, when she was approached for this project. Already the story was written after detailed research by the director Sudha Kongara, and it helped her to turn more creative. As it was based on a business theme which is quite boring, the real challenge was to write the script in a commercial way and entertaining. Both worked together for scripting the film.
In fact she finished the work 2-3 years ago, though National award announcement got delayed due to Covid pandemic. Winning the national award was so unexpected, and when she came to know about it, she was Covid Positive.
Her upcoming releases include – True Crime for Netflix where she wrote script, a film which she wrote for another writer and one Bollywood film, which marks her debut as film director.
Shalini Usha Nair – Some interesting and less-known facts
1. After final edit, when she watched Soorarai Pottru for first time, she was emotionally touched with many of its iconic scenes.
2. She wrote the script of Hindi crime series, True Crime for Netflix.
3. Since young she is attracted to storytelling. Her grandmother used to tell her stories, which influenced her a lot.
4. She loves reading novels, articles and stories, and loves storytelling too. She also loves adaption.
5. She has written many works, in dream to publish in future.