It started with this post. And then the arguments continued in the comments box. Then the coincidence happened – details about Charlie Kaufman’s latest film Frank Or Francis appeared and it seems it has little bit of all of us. Here’s Anurag Kashyap on what we are doing and what we should be doing instead…
Quoting “Gandhi” here seems the only relevant argument i can make now. This post is in response to all the acid i have been seeing flowing on the blogs and social networking sites from those very people who have it in them to change the state of things.
I know i have become the system and i am not the same anymore and the endless “what happened to me argument” .. but this is not about me, this is about all you people who are constantly frustrated with the system, and vitriolic and angry. If you are waiting for an Anna Hazare to come and save the cinema, well the system knows how to work even around an Anna Hazare. And Anna spoke of an issue that was closer to the masses, the change that all of you want in Cinema is not closer to masses, its closer to you, because masses have the cinema they want. Fight is not to end one kind of cinema, Fight is to co exist, Fight is to be allowed to make the cinema one believes in. Fight is for the survival of that cinema one believes in. A Francis can go on abusing and cribbing but he will affect only those who allow themselves to be affected by him, once they are affected by him, that Frank also becomes a vestigial organ to the system, which the system amputates.
I have fought too. Fought while working in the system. And do not expect me to carry on the fight. I fought for myself and made my space and now i am doing what i wanted to do. And helping those who can help themselves to do it. I have done my bit, A lot of us have done our bit and now its your turn.
This specifically to that one person i have always had lots of hopes from, someone who still lives a dual identity – @moifightclub. Its been years that you have been complaining (wishing) if i may say so for things to be the way you want. Well stop wishing, its been long. Step up to the challenge and take it on and write .
I don’t say this to people who are the critics and are film buffs and cinema lovers, who are often disappointed and criticise. They have every right to criticise and be vitriolic. Its up to us (criticised) to decide whose criticism we want to pay heed to. I write this for the ones who want to write and create cinema and complain about no one reading their script or understanding what they bring to the table. ref (i will read your fucking script).
No one, (read NO-ONE) is obligated to read your script, no one is obligated to understand your need to create, its your need and you have to fullfill it. You have to get in there and do it. A producer is a businessman and he is there to do business, he will make films which are star driven and will not care about the content till those films start to do the business for him. The day content starts bringing in the audience and, IF he starts to understand content, he will start to make your films. That IF is a very big IF. He is not you , like you are not him, because if you were him, you will not understand the content either and if you, you will make a bad businessman who is sure to shut down (Ramu). In order to have the freedom a director often becomes a producer, and the day he becomes a producer, a sort of slow creative decline begins, because he starts to understand the requirements of a producer. Be it a Yashraj, or a Ramu or a Mani Ratnam or a Ketan Mehta or even a small-timer like me. Which is why we become better producers than directors and yes, we struggle a hell of a lot to make our way in the system and try and keep our creative honesty intact. Its a lot of struggle. You have to be both a whore and a virgin, because here only a whore can create space for the virgin and not for all of them, its tougher trying to be both. So a whore (me) goes about choosing her virgins, Virgins who work hard at remaining one. Who toil and slog and sweat and go hungry, and often alone, and focused. I will not choose some one who does not have the courage to stick to it so will not the others.
Change will be brought by people who are at it and not AT THEM. Change will be a Q who goes out and does what he wants to and, yes, his GANDU might never be allowed by the system to come out and yes, i don’t completely feel comfortable with a GANDU in its entirety but then there is an uncompromising vision and that vision allows him to make his next film. and he goes on to make that rather than sit and complain about GANDU not releasing. Change will be a Vasan Bala who does not care about my approval of his script or even yours @fightclub. He puts his neck on line and not under a pseudonym. He will learn some and also teach us some. Change will be a Sandeep Mohan who went ahead and raised his money and convinced enough number of people to allow him to and participate in and finished his movie. Yes, he learnt some things and he also taught us something. He taught us that it is possible and you don’t need an Excel or UTV or me to read a script. He also learnt about things he shouldn’t have done and he is ready with two more scripts. Change will be a Shlok Sharma, who is not articulate enough to be on a blog or a social networking site, whose every answer to any questions asked in English at the festivals, where his shorts won awards for, was “Yes Yes No”. Change will be a Ghaywan, who goes and borrows money and does it despite of no faith put in him. Change will be @chillicrabmovie, who is going on raising money on the net to make what he believes in and not waiting for the “Existing” to understand him. Stop revelling in what other writers have to say about the state of the Studios and their creativity. At least those who say it have been through it and came out flying and deal with it on a daily basis and teach you how to deal with them. They are not vitriolic. Be grateful for what they say and don’t use what they say to justify your unemployment or your not yet being there. Ever since the world was here, wisdom has been gained by experience and its passed on. The ball has been passed to you and you are in the game, and you are not invited, no body wants you here, but your being here will bring change and your bring here will bring a new wisdom which will have to be passed on. When you (Fightclub & Manu Warrier) justify having the right to have read a script of an unreleased film like Game, then you also can not use the non release of your existing film that you have done to not write about how was the experience and how what you envisaged didn’t turn out to be and do not fucking use the excuse that we only wrote to the directors expectation. Because if you have that excuse then bloody well stop complaining. To bring change you need BALLS and you don’t need balls to fight them, you need most balls to be bloody honest about yourself first, to be able to look at your own selves and analyse and understand it before looking at others. And here you can not play that congress game,”but he is corrupt too”. When you guys can do that you can have that change. Be the Change you seek. If you want to be Frank, then do not hide behind Francis. If you don’t want to be Frank, then being a Francis is fine and great and i will listen to you.
Frankly i am slowly getting weary. I am weary of all those from the days of PFC who do not participate. I admire a Katrthik Krishnan who retains his anger and struggles to find balance between what he expects from others and what he needs to do. He understands when one fails and why one fails and has his remarks about it and then also tries to find objectivity vis a vis his bad experiences and try not to repeat them, all that along with trying to survive and be on his own. It is not a clear cut path made out for anyone. Some chose to step in. How you come out of it is another matter? But atleast you tried. I will always listen to and would want to look at the man who is in the arena than be one from the sides. It does not mean that people can not chose to be on the sides. You can, but then you don’t know anything about the fight. You just like the idea of winning and you know how to cheer and how to be disappointed. You have never known the pleasure of fighting. You might as well pick up the flowers and wear the tights and start dancing to the beats like they do at the IPL games, when a boundary has been scored and sit and yawn when nothing happens then cheer again when one is bowled out.
Cinema is dear to me, and if i can say so, more dear than it is to anyone. I am a bigger filmbuff than anyone and i go and watch a film to see “what someone has done” than going to see “whether they have done what i expected them to do or not”. I have earned a lot of money in life, enough to build me whatever one wishes to but i haven’t after being 19 years in this industry. Because all of it was spent watching and acquiring cinema. I never had access to internet and never understood it like you do and before i did discover it, i had developed a habit of watching it like the filmmaker intended his audience to watch it in, one of HIS chosen formats. You guys today have more access to it, and you can do what you seek from others to do. If others (Producers) understood you, or what you have to offer, your struggle would have been four times than it is now because there expectations would have been much higher than what you have from them now. Because then it would have been a different cinema atmosphere and you would be one of many thousands and you really would have to be “the Charlie Kaufman” or “the John August” for them to give you an audience. And if you think a Charlie Kaufman is there because someone up there understood what he had to say and why the fuck there is no body like that here than really go back home. Because he also found his way in and because even a Michel Gondry struggles more than you to have his film green lit, because an ANG LEE waited three years after BrokeBack Mountain to get a greenlight on “Life of Pi”. Because even a Slumdog Millionaire was going straight to DVD and a Hurt Locker was ignored by all. Each of these individuals and there story is about self belief and determination and focus and the overwhelming desire to do it. A desire thats far more stronger and forceful than the frustration you have. Having been around the world and being friends with some of the greatest directors of today, you will be shocked to know that a Danis Tanovich (No Man’s Land) is having a tough time getting his film funded, Fatih Akin came to india last year to find funding , and he had the balls to say no to big hollywood studio (that did not understand him and is actually the biggest alternate label in hollywood) that pretended to get him. You will be shocked to know that whatever little resources I have, i am in a better position than most of the filmmakers that i admire to keep making films, in a country like India that they sometimes seek me to raise money. I say this because, whether you believe me or not you are blessed to be in a country like India which is so film obsessed that you can actually go out and make your own film. Your struggle starts after having made it.
And here everyone wants to finance films and be part of it, most of the films from Europe and South America and UK and Africa and China (not HongKong) are institution funded films. They come with their own set of artistic restrictions. Barring India, Hollywood, Japan, HongKong, Italy, France most countries don’t have the crew quoting fees. They have fixed percentage based on the budget. You would be very happy , if your film just go made in those countries. Take advantage of being in this country. Something i have learnt the hard way. DO IT.
And for the last time stop quoting Charlie Kaufman to justify yourself or defend your argument, because Charlie Kaufman not just writes for himself but he also has the patience and perseverance to find the right director to collaborate with. He did not just write it and gave it to anyone who wanted to take it and then blame it on him. He is never in a hurry to get it made. Unlike most of you who will give your script to anyone or write to the director’s requirement. If you do then find someone else to quote and put forth your argument for not having tried enough. Film is a director’s medium yes, but writer is also the part of the creation, he creates before the director comes in and uses his material, his job is also to inspire the director enough to use his imagination, to live up to the writing or just go and do dialogues and be a hack like i was in all those 7 years writing to what was expected of me and then not bother about it and stay out of the process of shooting and really do something to bring a change where you can stop being a hack.
I write this because i do not want to fight any of you anymore, because i am not your enemy. And it worries me that it all might just amount to nothing. I want the change as much as you want but i feel disheartened seeing all you forming a coterie only complaining. Complaining is fine for sometime, but when the same set of people go on about it, forever and for beyond the time they should have then something else is wrong. You need to find courage to quit the security of your job and if you can’t, then you need to find a way to work along with having a job, and that can only happen with little bit of constructivism, and it can not happen with identifying your misery with what other bonafide people have to say from their experiences because they are not haing the same experiences in the same world that you are trying to be part of.
I think i have tried to explain and asked you to see what i really want to say and hope that it did mean something. Baki ..
Jo Bhi main Kehna Chaahoon, Barbaad karein alfaaz mere…
(PS – The Motorcycle Diaries pic is added by us. Not sure if AK endorses it. Apologies if he doesn’t)