Posts Tagged ‘game’

And the “2011 Rewind” series continues. You can read our previous posts here (honest movie posters), here (Bollywood songs we looped), here (Non-bollywood hits of the year), here (exciting moments at the movies),  and here (films which dared to bend the rules). Also, we are scooping some of the best year-end lists here.

Like last year, in this post we have tried to dissect what we learnt at the movies  this year – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the questions that baffled us through out the year.

20 Things We Learnt At The Movies

1. Zoya Akhtar is a better filmmaker than Farhan Akhtar. 2/2 > 1.5/4. LBC + ZNMD > DCH + 1/2Lakshya

2. Nikhil Advani scored a dud hattrick and proved again that KHNH was indeed directed by Karan Johar. Patiala House.

3. Big B can’t sell tickets anymore. He is hit on the small screen but is a flop on the big screen.  KBC. BHTB. Even when he was in his best commercial avatar,  the excuses given were many – low budget, recovery before release, satellite rights.

4. Creative collaboration with spouses and family is not a bright idea. Dhobi Ghat. TGIYB. Mausam. Tere Mere Phere. Love Breakups Zindagi.

5. B for Bachchan. B for Bhagnani. B for Box Office. But you never know which way the last B will swing. Even Jackie B’s film can score better than Abhishek B’s film. Faltu. Game.

6. Tusshar Kapoor still can’t act. He was the odd man out even when the films scored – either critically acclaimed Shor In The City or commercial hit The Dirty Picture. His pillow dance in TDP can give nightmare to anyone.

Dear Ekta Kapoor, let him go. Even Aditya Chopra has given up on Uday Chopra.

7. You can’t calculate the target audience and then make films according to it. Otherwise Y Films’ Luv Ka The End and Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge would have been blockbusters. Pre-release claim – 60% (?) of theatre going audience is youth. Post-release – we recovered our costs.

8. Every filmmaker has one great film in him/her. Some people make their debut with that one. Tigmanshu Dhulia is done with it. Stop expecting. Shagird. Sahid Biwi Aur Gangster.

9. When it comes to Ramu, camera and dildo have the same purpose, interest and area of specialisation. NALS.

10. Prakash Jha creates political events but has no clue about political films now. Raajneeti was a joke,  and we are not sure how to describe the awful Aarakshan.

11. Imtiaz Ali will keep churning out films based on his single template of romance. He knows it but doesn’t  know what to do about it. Rockstar.

12. Himesh Reshammiya is not going to give up so soon. Let’s all pray. Damadamm! In 2012 he has more.

13. Dad + Sons > Mom + Daughter. Deols. Yamla Pagla Deewana. Tell Me O Kkhuda.

14. Remake is NOT a hit formula. Soundtrack was a mess.

15. We don’t need superheroes. Our heroes can do everything. Ra One. Zokkomon.

16. Bhai-porn is here to stay. We are still not bored. Ready. Bodyguard.

17. Indian Mens Are Hot. Courtesy Anil Kapoor. Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol.

18. Sex and Shah Rukh Khan still sells. Ra One. Murder 2. Don 2. The Dirty Picture.

19. When an actress gets into film production, it means her career is officially over. Lara Dutta. Dia Mirza, Ameesha Patel. Shilpa Shetty. 

20. We still haven’t lost A R Rahman to the west. When he delivers, he is the best. Rockstar.

10 Unanswered Questions

1. Will the real Abhinay Deo please stand up? Which one to trust – Game or Delhi Belly?

2. Who read the script of Game and approved it?

3. Who thought about changing Mimoh’s name to Mahakshay?

4. In which camera do you have the option of in-built subtitles? And for ghosts? Ragini MMS.

5. Who added extra ‘B’ in Bbuddah, extra ‘K’ In Tell Me O Kkhuda, extra ‘A’s in Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge and what purpose they served?

6. Is his name Bumpy? Just Bumpy? Really? Luv Ka The End.

7. In how many more films will we see Vinay Pathak in lead role and doing the same bumbling fool act? This year he had five releases. Yes, five!

8. Can G. One fly? If so, why does he need to travel in a plane? Ra One.

9. Always Kabhi Kabhi – Who is the brain behind the weirdest title of the year?

10. Who is Nagesh Kukunoor?

And what’s your list? What all you discovered or learnt at the movies this year? And what all remains unanswered? Do let us know in comments.

I Will Read Your Fucking Script!

Posted: September 24, 2011 by moifightclub in cinema, writing
Tags: , , , ,

Charlie Kaufman: There are no rules, Donald. And anyone who says there are is just, you know…

Donald Kaufman: Not rules, principles. McKee writes that a rule says you *must* do it this way. A principle says, this *works* and has through all remembered time.

The header is a homage to this brilliant post by screenwriter Josh Olson. If you haven’t read it yet, click here and do read.

So i was lucky to get the script of Mausam(don’t ask how), read it and wrote this post. (Should i have or shouldn’t, well, that’s a topic for another discussion. You can join the debate on John August’s blog) And what i wrote about Mausam, it seems the film turned out to be the same. I would have been happy to be proved wrong but then, i guess, i can at least read scripts. And this wasn’t the first time. I also managed to read the terrible scripts of Luck and Game much before the films released. Had put an open bet on Luck, and it turned out to be exactly the same. Did the same with Game but we had to remove the post on Game because the makers threatened us with legal notice and God knows what all! But heard that thing about shakti ka santoolan? Read Maqbool. Nothing could save the film. There you go! The point is I am not trying to boast about my great skills at reading scripts and predicting how shitty they are. Trust me, anyone with some serious interest in screenwriting can do so. The point is the complete disregard for the script and screenwriting. As if it just doesn’t matter. As if weekend is all we have, make something with stars and songs, package it well, sell it, and you are done. Shit can work at the box office and it will continue to do so but that’s no excuse to start making a film with just unadulterated shit.

Charlie Kaufman: I’ve written myself into my screenplay.

Donald Kaufman: That’s kind of weird, huh?

As i struggle with my script in this Bollylalaland, i have been trying to find out how scripts get selected and funded by producers and directors. And in this quest, i chanced upon these three film scripts. It left me wondering if anyone really reads the scripts here, and if so, who are these people? I haven’t been able to find the answer yet. If you have the answer, do let me know.

The easy route is to design “projects”. If you have access (say friends, relatives) to the stars (Salman, Shah Rukh, Akshay, Imran, Ranbir), make them agree to your “story idea”, and then quickly write a film and you get the funds easily. Strangely that’s the way most stars prefer to work here. That’s why you would rarely see a star coming out of his comfortable cocoon of friends/coterie and acting in a newcomer’s film. May be Aamir is the only exception. And it has worked wonders for him. SRK is the smartest guy in B-town but i don’t know why his choices are so bad. May be because he prefers to work only with friends.

Now, if this is the only way, then why do we shout out from roof top that we don’t have good scripts or screenwriters. Sometimes people like Akshat Varma get lucky after some nine years. Read here.

So coming back to Luck, Game and Mausam – who read those scripts? And if someone did, can they really, really read it? So how they got made? Let’s try.

Charlie Kaufman: You sound like your in a cult.

Donald Kaufman: No, it’s just good writing technique. Oh, I made you a copy of Mckee’s ten commandments, I posted it over both our work stations.

[Charlie tears the page from over his work area]

Donald Kaufman: [in threatening tone] You shouldn’t have done that.


Donald Kaufman: ‘Cause it’s extremely helpful.

Luck – directed by Soham Shah. Produced by Ashtavinayak and Studio18. Stars Imran Khan. That makes it a family affair. Easy to get funded.

Game – It seems one of the Excel guys were super impressed with the script written by air hostess-turned-screenwriter Althea Delmas Kaushan. Bingo! Farhan read it? Abhinay Deo read it too? Of course we all can go wrong in our judgement but to separate the shit from the rest, that doesn’t need much talent. I’m lost here.

Mausam – Pankaj Kapoor had a script. Pankaj Kapoor has a son called Shahid Kapoor. Pankaj Kapoor wants to direct a film. That’s simple.

Even with all the possible permutations and combinations it’s hard to believe that the producers are willing to spend Rs 30-50 crore on these scripts just on the basis of stars or “projects”. Let’s dissect Game.

Stars – Abhishek Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut, Shahana Goswami.

Director – Abhinay Deo. Debut film. But a well known name in advertising.

Banner – Excel Entertainment & Eros Entertainment. The producer and the financier. Excel : Well established banner known for making sleek and smart films catering to urban audience. Supposedly the coolest guys in B-town.

Budget – Rs 40 crore.

BO Collection – Rs 4.8 crore (1st week). Verdict – Disaster.

Not sure what kind of proposals Excel made to woo Eros with that script of Game. We got stars, we got hit music directors Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy. Let’s roll it baby? Or was there some black magic involved? Enlighten me please! If the starting point for making the “project” was the same script that we read, am not sure why would anyone like to go ahead with it.

[to Charlie]

Robert McKee: I’ll tell you a secret. The last act makes a film. Wow them in the end, and you got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit. Find an ending, but don’t cheat, and don’t you dare bring in a deus ex machina. Your characters must change, and the change must come from them. Do that, and you’ll be fine.

The other argument (and possibly the strongest) that has emerged this year is we don’t need anything. Fck scripts, we have Salman Khan. Agree. But not everyone is Salman. And not every film can be saved by Salman either. Remember Veer, London Dreams, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Yuvraj? The flop list is long too. Salman has to be that cinematic comfort food as Anupama Chopra points out in this esaay. Try anything else with him and you are not sure what will happen. And you are also not sure how long will people still enjoy that comfort food. That’s the reason why everyone is desperately looking down South to find the next movie in which Bhai can “act” and they can make money. It’s the Rajnikant-isation of Bhai.

And that’s a lazy ass logic. As Mark Kermode points out in this essay, blockbuster doesn’t have to be dumb. Why be Michael Bay when you could be Nolan? Or in desi context, why be Bazmee when you can be Hirani? Even in hindi mainstream films there are filmmakers like Mani Ratnam, RajKumar Hirani, Sriram Raghavan, Imtiaz Ali, Dibakar Bannerjee, Shimit Amin, Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Basu who always try to find that perfect balance. The result might not be satisfactory always, but you can’t blame them for not trying. We have turned the genre of “mainstream masala” as an excuse for making bad films. Slumdog Millionaire is bollywood mainstream masala and so is Main Hoona Na. And i enjoyed both (except that Indo-Pak bit in MHN). Masala done well is also cinema. We are not being purists when we dismiss the bad ones, the masala or the arty-farty. But let’s stop giggling every time someone farts onscreen and calls it “mainstream masala” that entertains.

Donald Kaufman: Hey, Charles. I pitched my script to mom.

Charlie Kaufman: Don’t say pitch.

I have realised that the biggest problem here is to make people read. 120 pages? Nobody has the patience. Narrate it to us. It’s a unique place where people don’t read but make films. Herzog surely would have committed suicide. And i used to think that this culture of narration is only for the stars. Because they are the “stars”. They don’t have the time and you can’t make films without them, so you don’t have a choice but to narrate. But now i have realised that even the producers and directors wants a narration. Nobody wants to read. Some big directors even glorify the way they narrate their films with all band-bajaa-baraat. I think that culture of “not reading” scripts led to the culture of “no readers” at any production house.

[first lines]

Charlie Kaufman: [voiceover] Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn’t be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There’s something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I’m way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn’t fat I would be happier. I wouldn’t have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time. Like that’s fooling anyone. Fat ass. I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more, improve myself. What if I learned Russian or something? Or took up an instrument? I could speak Chinese. I’d be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool. I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that? Just be real. Confident. Isn’t that what women are attracted to? Men don’t have to be attractive. But that’s not true. Especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days. Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it’s my brain chemistry. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. Bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that. But I’ll still be ugly though. Nothing’s gonna change that.

I don’t know any production house which has some sensible and professional readers whose job is to read and understand scripts and  to say why the film should be made or shouldn’t be. Forget sensible and professional, there is no system in place anyway. Black List? That’s Utopia! Plus, there are few more issues –

a) Almost every director wants to write.

b) Almost everyone feels that just directing is not creative enough. They want credits even for giving feedback on scripts.

c) Everyone has ten great ideas but writing 120 pages is too much work.

I also find it very strange the way most directors and writers are so secretive about their scripts as if it’s the next big thing. If it’s a high-concept film, it’s easy to understand the madness to keep it under wraps. But when was the last time someone made a concept film in Bollywood? Look at the films we are making every year, I find it’s a funny situation the way we want to hide these scripts. Feels like it’s more of an insecurity. Imagine if someone reads the scripts and tells that it sucks, the film will not get made then? Nobody takes the feedback in positive way – someone says it’s shit. Ok, let’s work on it. Make it better. What do you tell the producer who has spent money on films like Rakht Charitra, Rann, Jhootha Hi Sahi and Mausam? Hire someone who can read scripts!

Charlie Kaufman: To begin… To begin… How to start? I’m hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That’s a good muffin.

Look at QT. He leaked the script of Inglourious Basterds almost a year before he started shooting. Same with his latest one Django Unchained. When you are confident that it’s a good script, am not sure what’s the reason to hide. Think, people will read it, spread the good word and will eagerly wait for it to arrive. And if you are interested to read the script reviews of Hollywood films, click here.

Trying to source the  scripts post-release seems to be a difficult game too. And i ask for it so that the script can be shared here on the blog, and anyone who is interested in screenwriting, can read it. Thanks to Vikramaditya Motwane, have managed to put only Udaan’s script so far. I guess the rest loves tom-toming about their scripts going to Oscar library.

I have also been told that since the script reviews appeared on this blog, many production houses have become more strict with their scripts. No soft copies, no working from home, come to office and write. Someone even described a funny scene at one of the production house whose script we had got. But as long as you have disgruntled ADs in your team, i think we don’t need to worry. And knowing the way most people behave with their ADs, disgruntled is not a very hard emotion to achieve. And if not us, then someone else. I just hope that they devote more time working on the scripts rather then trying to save it from getting leaked.

We do get to read many scripts written by our friends who are writers and filmmakers. Believe it or not there are people who value our opinion. We don’t go to town tom-toming about it. Only when it is ridiculously bad and you get to know that someone is spending shitload of money on it, it’s difficult to control yourself and sit silent. You feel like shouting that it’s shit and you feel happy when you are proved right. Should we celebrate a Hattrick?! Just some cheap thrills. Nobody is paying us to do so. And you can do the same when you get our scripts. Dissect it the way you want. Till then it’s time to go back to a new draft of the script which nobody wants to read. Or to let’s see if we have got some new scripts.

Charlie Kaufman: [voice-over] I am pathetic, I am a loser…

Robert McKee: So what is the substance of writing?

Charlie Kaufman: [voice-over] I have failed, I am panicked. I’ve sold out, I am worthless, I… What the fuck am I doing here? What the fuck am I doing here? Fuck. It is my weakness, my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here. Easy answers used to shortcut yourself to success. And here I am because my jump into the abysmal well – isn’t that just a risk one takes when attempting something new? I should leave here right now. I’ll start over. I need to face this project head on and…

Robert McKee: …and God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you. That’s flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.

Delhi Belly was suppose to be his debut film. And now he is ready with his next one – Game. The trailer of Abhinay Deo’s debut feature Game is out. The film stars Abhishek Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut, Sarah Jane Dias, Jimmy Shergill, Shahana Goswami, Gauhar Khan, Boman Irani and Anupam Kher. Its pitched as a slick edge-of-the-seat whodunit thriller. It has been produced by Excel Entertainment.

Why ? For the promotion of his new film 3 Idiots. But still why ?

Because in the film also, Aamir Khan’s character suddenly vanishes one day and his two freinds, played by R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi, goes out to look for him! Welcome to the world of concept based film promotions! They are calling it Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG). Aha! Though the idea is not original, as it has been tried out successfully many times in the west but its first time in India! So play on.

Aamir will be travelling across the country and hints will be given out to locate him. And every time you spot him, you get one point. The person/group who gets all seven points will be declared winner. And the winner gets to spend the new year with Aamir Khan. Naah, we dont have any dreams of spending the new year with him but the game sounds exciting for sure!

The first clue will be given out today by Sachin Tendulkar. Our sources say he is in Delhi today!

Here’s the video about the game, everything in Aamir’s words…..

Check out the song promo of behti hawa sa tha to join the dots about this promotion…

Our bet – He is going to be in Leh/Ladakh or wherever he goes in the film! They cant go beyond the concept of the film. Lets see.

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