Posts Tagged ‘Luck’

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.

[smiles]

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 moifightclub@gmail.com 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.

PrinceWhat else do you expect if its a Vivek Oberoi film. Its got to be the ROFLOL title of the year! WTF is ITS  SHOWTIME! And Prince!! Kahan ka bhai ? Kidhar hai mere laal ? And if thats not enough, check out what the producer of the film Tips have been upto!

Here’s a video uploaded by the makers of the film that gives us audience reaction to the trailer/promo/first look of the film, and if they are going to watch the film or not, based on what they saw!

We are ROFLOL watching this video. Why ? Read on.

1. Who edited the video ? Why do we need to hear the invisible man’s voice some 50 times asking the same question – what do you think of the trailer ? Just once and it would have been perfectly fine. Then put all the answers together.Its simple.

2. Do check out the way the invisible man asks the second question, in authoritative voice – So, you are going to watch the film, for sure ?

He doesnt look for options. He doesnt ask the question – Are you going to watch the film ? He already knows the answer. He is just re-confirming it. And he adds “for sure” too.

3. And where is the promo ? What trailer have they seen that has impressed them so much! Except one, there is no more bad, or even not-so-good reaction.

4. Why is the voice so concerned about asking who the producer of the film is ? Brand recall ? We seriously doubt. Or is it because Tauranijis would sign the cheques and they would love to hear their names. And from what we know about them, they surely love their name and face on every possible place!

5. If its about making the right buzz by getting audience’s reaction, then check out how the Paranormal Activity guys used the test screening for their promo. The film made on 15,000$ has made close to 100 million$! As the rulebook says, show it, dont say it!

Yes, we are waking up to Hollywood’s mantra of test screenings and all that jazz. But its still what we want to hear. The last film which got fantabulous response at test screenings was Imran Khan’s Luck. And we all know the result. Well, we said and wrote much more just by reading the script. And even put out an open bet, its all here. So, Dear Mr Filmmaker, do mail us the script if you really want some honest feedback ? We are not in any entourage party!

Also, the problem is we dont get the right feedback from the viewers always as there is a sense of gratitude for making you the chosen one to have a sneak peek. There is always sugar coating as nobody wants to say it as it is. Much like what happens at a premiere of any film. Nobody hates the film, everyone congratulates the director and every member of the film is made to feel that its the best that they have done. Once out of the theatre, the smses starts.

LuckWe are not too fond of shouting “we told you so” from the rooftop again n again but then, we really don’t have a choice. When we read the script of Luck and posted our thoughts on it (click here & here ), many raised their eyebrows as high as Eiffel Tower. As if we were faking it! And if the early reviews are any indication, all you guys with raised eyebrows can suck your towers!

The film stars Imran Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Shruti Hassan, Danny Denzongpa, and Mithun Chakraborty. Its directed by Soham Shah.

Raja Sen ( Rediff ) – What the luck is this ? –  1/5 

Gaurav Malani (Indiatimes) – Director Soham Shah rubs too hard on luck but at the same time stresses on the adage that ‘the only thing certain about luck is it’s going to change’. On that thought here’s wishing him better luck next time – 2 /5

Rajeev Masand ( CNN IBN ) – Luck, neither smart nor spectacular – 2/5

Khalid Mohamed ( Aslibaat) – Luck kiya jaaye ? No way – 1/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, LUCK rides on star power, adrenaline-pumping thrills and a concept that’s novel for the Indian screens. Despite some loose ends, these three factors primarily would ensure a Lucky journey at the box-office – 3 /5

Minty Tejpal ( Mumbai Mirror) – Yuck! – 1/5

Anand Vaishnav (Buzz18) – Despite a solid start, by the time it ends you might say…Is Luck Se Mujhe Bachao – 1.5 / 5

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – It might be unintentionally funny entertainment on a slow night when you have nothing else going on. So I’m going with two out of five stars and recommending that you wait for the DVD – 2/5

And surprisingly, some of the reviewers seems to share the exact thoughts as we put in our previous posts. Raja Sen felt it was like boring Khatroon Ke Khiladi episodes and Anupama Chopra mentions 13 Tzameti and Intacto sequences in her review.

Dear Imran, here is our next red alert for you!

LuckOne was “tremendous” and the other “stupendous”.

Test screenings are not common in bollywood. We are all about hiding, too scared, if its bad, then ? Things are slowly changing, better safe than sorry.

But can someone tell the makers of both the films, Luck & Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hain, that test screenings are done to gauge audiences reaction and not for press release or create buzz or any kind of publicity. Its to make the film better and not the film’s publicity better. Also, we wonder what can one/two screenings reveal when the target audience is huge and so diverse.

Luck is produced by Ashtavinayak Films, directed by Soham Shah and stars Imran Khan, Shruti Hassan, Mithun Chakraborty and Danny Dangzongpa. According to this report, the test screening report was “tremendous”. Click here to read our post on the script of Luck. May be we are not the correct target audience for Luck!

Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai is proudced by Nikhil Advani/Mukesh Talreja/Warner Brothers and its the directorial debut of writer Milap Jhaveri (Hey Baby, Naksha, Pyare Mohan, Home Delivery, Lucky, Musafir, Masti, Kaante) and stars Ritesh Deshmukh,  Jacqueline Fernandes & Ruslaan Mumtaz. According to Milap, the reponse was “fantastic” and “stupendous”.

With “tremendous” and “stupendous” reports, hope we will get to see two good films soon. You can read the Indiafm and Mumbai Mirror news reports here & here. Btw, if Nikhil Advani is really giving out his script of Patiala House to readers to get feedback as mentioned in this report, someone please do mail it to us moifightclub@gmail.com . We will make sure that he gets the most honest feedback!

imran khanLot of rumours and speculations have been doing the rounds regarding Imran Khan’s new films. And if the industry buzz is to believed, he is the next big thing! With Kidnap, Luck ( to be released soon) and 7 Days in Paris in the making, we will not be surprised if he goes back to Mamujaan to get his ass saved.

In an interview to Sunday Mid Day, Imran has clarified the status of his upcoming films. We can’t find the online link but have put it all here. Put an end to all those rumours and read on.

Zoya Akhtar’s film – It’s not true that I have signed on Zoya Akhtar’s film. Zoya has called me but I have not read or heard the narration. I am not saying whether it’s with Ranbir Kapoor or Farhan Akhtar yet.

Dibakar Banerjee’s film – He has told me a story but hasn’t written a screenplay yet. The cast he wants is with Abhay Deol and Katrina Kaif. It has no gay angle, Abhay isn’t playing a gay guy.

Puneet Malhotra’s film – Its a fuzzy, popcorn, date movie romcom that will start middle of october. With Sonam Kapoor, I have a feeling we will be good together. Its produced by Karan Johar and is titled I hate love stories.

Delhi Belly – Easily the most exciting film I have worked on. It also involved great deal of suffering with that damned beard and long hair. I dont know if the movie will make money or people will watch it. There is a fair chance that there will be protests and theatres will be burned (???). But it’s going to be awesome. I saw the first cut, its really a cool film.

Hmm. What he is saying about Delhi Belly, if its true, we are damn excited. Bring on the controversies. Let the theatres burn! Because other films are dull and boring. Click here and here to read our posts on his other films Luck & 7 Days in Paris.

Sanjay Dutt LuckBut filmmakers ko mangta hai toh mangta hai! Sanju Baba or Sanjay Dutt. The old haggard actor, the beefy body which has turned into a booby body now is still here. The style n tantrum quotient is still high. Or he likes to believe so. But we dont see that turning into ticket sales. Not sure why the producers and directors still queue up for him. So what was his last hit film ? Hmmm…ahhh…nooooo….leave it!

Coming back to the topic. Check out the three promotional videos featuring Sanjay Dutt. From Soham Shah’s Luck (aazma song), EMI and C KKompany. Tells us whats common in all three videos.

Got it ? Its Sanjay Dutt’s dance steps. The great footwork of Sanjay Dutt is the same in all three videos. 

He doesn’t move. Its the chair or the king size sofa! Imagine this. The choregrapher has to choreograph a song with Sanjay Dutt. The poor soul must be trying to figure out how to move the chair/sofa, in which direction to move it, to make Dutt look cool. Since Baba can’t dance, he sits on the chair/sofa, stares into the camera & just poses. The chair/sofa is put on a moving stage and is moved with the overweight Baba on it. And he charges a bomb for this. Plus the tantrums. Sitting and posing on a chair was never so expensive.

To make sure that it doesnt look boring, throw in some foreign extras in skimpy clothes and its done. Enjoy the videos.

 

LuckIts DOOMED.

The weather was cloudy. But still no signs of rain. We went to Juhu beach to have some chana zor garam. Ripley’s Believe It or Not ! As we unwrapped the pack, we discovered that its the first page from Luck’s script. Imran Khan’s new film directed by Soham Shah. It also stars Sanjay Dutt, Mithun Chakraborty, Danny Denzongpa and Ravi Kishan.

We ran back to the chana-wala and asked him for some more chana. And as chewed more chana, the complete script came out, page by page.

We first wrote about it here and now we got the proof.

The script seems to be one of the earlier drafts. But in terms of story/plot/synopsis, there is lot of similarity (read plagiarism) between Luck and the two films 13 Tzameti and Intacto. Yes, Soham can take credit for killing 13 Tzameti.  The screenplay is credited to Rensil D’ Silva and felt like reading five episodes of reality tv show Khatroon Ke Khiladi back to back. And a boring one.

If  the hero and heroine are participants in a game where you can survive only by winning, you don’t need brains to figure out who will win the game in the end. Its hindi phillum.

Last time when we wrote about the script of Guzaarish and put up this post ( read here & here) , it made headlines and lot of readers questioned us. So this time, here is a scene of Luck from the script. Need we say more! We don’t lie.

The scene summarises the film. We are guessing Ram is Imran Khan and Khan is Sanjay Dutt.

Ram

You know about…

Khan

I told you. Khan knows everything. (He takes some notes and shoves them into Ram’s hand.)Luck is a crazy thing Ram. Not many people have it. It’s more valuable than all that money you’re holding in your hands. Because, luck is what makes money for people. For you. For me.

Ram

Who are you?

Khan

You could say I’m an invester.

Ram

Invester… like in the stock market?

Khan

No.

Ram

Property…real estate?

Khan

Not really. You see I invest in something far better (leaning close to Ram now). I invest in luck. People’s luck.

Dear Imran,

After all those big talks, you signed this film ( read this shit)!  Aapka to bad Luck hi kharab hai unless it turns out to be one more surprise hit like Race or Ghajini. You can never figure out the audiences IQ. So hope for the best that the dumbs turn out in hordes.

As we read the script while chewing chana garam which seemed more interesting than the script, we could hear only one dialogue. Remember Kidnap. Imran & Sanjay Dutt.

Sanjay Dutt – Go to hell.

Imran Khan – Hell is right here Raina!

(This one is no different. And yey like Minisha Lamba in bikini, this one got Shruti Hassan in swimming pool.)

We surely arent buying the tickets. Give us 13 Tzameti anyday anywhere!

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