Shagufta Rafique’s journey from a bar dancer to a script writer

“When people throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones” — Sachin Tendulkar

If there is an individual whose journey best fits this quote, it is scriptwriter-director Shagufta Rafique. Shagufta began her tumultuous journey when she “performed” at a private party in Mumbai at the tender age of 11 years. But today this 53-year-old is a strong woman and a well-known scriptwriter in Bollywood. She recently added another feather to her cap, as she debuted as a director with the Bengali film Mon Jaane Na. 
Here’s a peek into a woman’s life that defines rock bottom and yet inspires you to soar for the highs.

Shagufta gained initial success when she joined Vishesh Films — Mahesh Bhatt’s production company. She scripted the next 11 films for that film house, including Woh Lamhe, Awarapan and Jism 2, among others. But before reaching this rosy stage, she treaded her share of thorny roads. At the tender age of 11 years, she made her “debut performance” at a private party in Mumbai. This was an all-men party, most of them drunk, and all of them throwing money at her as she danced. At a very early age, Shagufta realised how vulnerable women were and how powerful money made one feel. 

Shagufta Rafique with Mahesh Bhatt
Image Courtesy:
Mahesh Bhatt Twitter

She had her encounters with abuse and poverty, and it was no doubt a difficult and unpleasant journey. After years of living an unhappy life, she even turned to prostitution for a stable income. And it was during these heart-breaking, sad times she discovered her love for storytelling. Her first instinct was to turn to Bollywood, but she was a complete outsider. After numerous failed attempts, Shagufta somehow managed to secure a meeting with Mahesh Bhatt. After a wait that felt like an eternity, she finally got a chance to work with Bhatt’s production house. Her work was liked and then there was no looking back. She went on to write her first film for Vishesh Films, 2006’s Woh Lamhe. Since then she has collaborated with some of the top talents from Bollywood to carve her own niche. 

Shagufta Rafique
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