Sunday, December 28, 2008

Will see you there

New times. New looks. This blog has been shifted to 'Who wrote my screenplay?'

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Script progress

Its said that writing is rewriting. In that case I havent even started writing. I am working at an average of 45- 60 minutes per day on this script tentatively titled 'three' for the last 1 year. I did outlining for about 4 months. When I had an rough order of events from beginning to end I started writing the scenes. I would rough write (in my dictionary, a more thorough kind of outlining of scenes including dialogue) on some days and write the scenes on some other days. Now 60% of scenes are also over. I am not having much of the dreaded '2nd act jitteriness' may be because I have outlined well.
Hoping to finish the first draft by end of january 2009. I am not comfortable with brainstorming a first draft and then doing 10 rewrites. I plan a lot before putting anything on paper and consolidate as I move on. So I don’t think I will have to sweat much in terms of rewrites. May be one or two drafts that’s all. That too the main objective will be to cut down the length and compress it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is terrorism reversible?

Salman Rushdie responded to the article by Arundhathi Roy here .

His argument regarding the issues paraded by terrorists is this:
''Ask yourself the question that if the Kashmir problem were resolve tomorrow, if Israel-Palestine reached a lasting peace, do we believe that al-Qaeda would disband? Do we believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad would put their guns down and beat them into plough-shears and say we would now be farmers because our job is done.
I mean the point about is that is laughable, right? And the point about that is that that is not their project. Their project is power. This is a power grab by the most obscurantist, revanchist, old-fashioned, medievalist idea of modern culture that attempts to drag the world back into the middle ages at the point of modern weaponry ...''

There is a problem here. Of course the terrorist outfits will not disband because these are solved. But the terrorism will lose its impetus once the Palestine- Kashmir- Iraq- Iran issues are solved. These outfits are headed by madmen who dream about ruling the world. But they are successful in convincing people. As long as these issues are bleeding actively, there will be people ready to be convinced to become suicide bombers. Because its not very difficult to show that some unfair things are happening in these places.
There are hundreds of cults in the world. Many of them advocate mass murder or ethnic cleansing.(Remember the infamous cult in Japan which released poisonous gas in a subway?)
Why suddenly the current terror outfits enjoy a popularity and power that none of these are able to procure? Its because terrorists are able to capitalise on some genuine suffering that has been going on. Even If you are able to remove that, the leaders will go on preaching. But they wont be enjoying the same following any more.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My writing routine

If you really want to have a body of work to show, you need to really write. Its obvious. Every one likes to talk. Browse. Take part in discussions. Comment. Get worked about the lack of quality in our scripts. The real tough thing is to sit and write. There will be lot of ideas. The tricky part is not to lose faith in them while trying to write them. The real problem is our own insecurity whether we can write. I guess we don’t want to face that insecurity. At any cost.
Expert advise for writers is 'write everyday.' regardless of inspiration. But how do you do that? The day job. Friends. Family. Other hobbies. Going out. Late nights. How do one do it?
My answer is 'wake up early.' Early morning you cant bring yourself to waste your time browsing or watching movies. Put an hour to write in the morning. Gradually the habit will be ingrained. And slowly but steadily you will have some work to show the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quality difference in film scripts in different languages

Originally published
here on

I have heard repeated comparison in Kerala that tamil movies are much ahead of malayalam in terms of script quality. What is the real difference between those two? And how do they compare with current Hindi and Indian english movies?

I think the strength of tamil movies is in their treatment. When you examine theme wise there is not much variation. Most of them (we are talking about main stream movies) deal with criminal heros or a love story told in an unique way. Even if you take a movie like ‘Subramanyapuram’ which was recently acclaimed for its realistic portrayal of 80s you see ‘gone wrong’ criminal heros and a love story. Same with Selvaraghavan- one of my favourite directors. What makes them different is the courage for unconventional endings and unsuspected twists. The protagonists of these movies does not represent the life and concerns of majority of middle class Tamil population. Setting may be close to life but story is not.

When you come to Malayalam first thing you notice is the dearth of classy directors. There is no one now who has a signature in their visual style. As once John Abraham said every director is doing the ’supervising job’ for the script writer. Malayalam has its share of ‘commercial exercises’ like the recent Twenty 20. But in the last month there was another hit movie in Kerala called ‘veruthe oru bhaarya.’ (Roughly translates as ‘a wife of no utility’). Its about a wife who is stuck in menial jobs with no time for herself. So she informs her inconsiderate husband that she is resigning from the ‘house wife’ job (not a divorce - mind you). Movie is about her husband trying to prove that doing house hold jobs is not such a big deal. Needless to say he fails miserably. Such a movie cannot be generalized for presenting the status of scripts in Malayalam. But still theme wise Malayalam movies remain closer to life though in patches and stripes. They fail when they get into desperate comic situations. Of course tailor made stories for the mega stars doesn’t help either.

But I think currently the best scripts are coming out in Hindi. I am not talking about the movies in which you throw in a star and starlet with beautiful locations and 50 crores and you hope to get a blockbuster. I am talking about the so called ‘multiplex’ movies. Movies like Bheja fry, A wednesday, Amir etc has carved out a niche for themselves. They rely on a smarter script rather than star faces. Some times story situations go over the top but usually they get away with taut treatment. The reason these movies are good is that they understand the importance of a good script. You don’t have to cut your story to size to incorporate the image of the star.

I think that’s the message for the regional movies also- especially malayalam. Avoid stars and your writer is free to write a better story.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Is Mumbai attack India's Sept.11?

Following the Mumbai attack I am seeing a blind fury against politicians in blogs. If any reaction is too extreme I am skeptical about the utility of the response. Because its going to be short lasting. Before Mumbai attack was everything going fine in India? Terrorist attacks occurred before also. So why we were not in a blogging frenzy in the intervening period?

Blasts in Assam were around 1 month back. Death toll of 66 or more. Why it didn’t evoke such a reaction as now? Because it was local factions so that it doesn’t threaten us? Or because north east has been always a far off frontier for us? May be we are not sure such a place even exists in India.

What all makes Mumbai attack different from previous terrorist attacks? Definitely the scope and organisation. But do we need it to realise that we are not safe ? We know it for decades! Does this ear mark a new era of our intelligence agency like it did for US? I don’t think so. It cant happen just overnight because politicians are very worked up today. Because good intelligence requires painstaking patience and time. It would take years to infiltrate an organisation. In the scenario of hundreds of parallel cells for every 100 attempts you deflect there will be one successful attempt.
Then why doesn’t it happen in US? Definitely at the cost of privacy and human rights. And fat money also. I know I know you are ready to give all that up. But thank god its not going to happen in India just because you are all worked up. Because its going to be a Faustian bargain.
So what can we really do at this juncture? The greatest thing will be not to have knee jerk reactions. Think about it. Did the terrorists really think that after this attack India will abdicate Kashmir? They need to make the moderate muslim population in India feel vulnerable.What they need is some sharp reactions from the right wing so that the recruitment queues to their cells will fatten. So that they don’t have to come in boats from Pakistan to do what they need to do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Do you have a script?

If you are genuinely interested in writing screenplays and have a completed one, check this out.
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