Posts Tagged ‘Screeny’

As far as my limited cinema knowledge goes, I think there is a big difference between a trailer and a montage. And as the trailer of Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told (Who thought about this title?) was out, it was a perfect #Facepalm (for lack of better expression) moment. It even forced Screeny to come out of his slumber and puke out this rambling post. Read on…

Respected Sir,

I’m a Big fan of Mr India, Masoom & Bandit Queen. Have been following your blog on and off. Untill today when I saw the trailer of the documentary which has been produced by you and co, and directed by the “acclaimed director” (have seen him at conferences and am sure he regards himself as one, for having gifted the people of this country THE seminal film – Rang De Basanti) Mr Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra.

Needless to say, I was thoroughly, thoroughly disappointed.

Why? Because the trailer (so is the film I’m sure) is- as usual- selling Bollywood exotica la-la land to the west. The incestous, celebratory, mutual admiration society which regards Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif as ‘icons’ who will talk about Hindi Cinema to the “goras” and tell them in effect – “One billion people are enjoying this. See, this is so special. This is India! This is Indian Cinema! Come, Watch it. And fall in Love. NAMASTE. Achcha Lagta Hai.”

The first half is virtual showreel for the Bachchans, another attempt to sell Aishwarya to the west. The same song and dance routine which we are (in)famous for. The DDLJ clip, the rain, the matrix style shots, the same ghisa-pita bakwaas.

And of course, it contains generous footage from the magnum opus Rang De Basanti. After all Rakeysh (Is the spelling correct? Am a bit confused) Omprakash Mehra is the co-director & UTV is the producer. And the exact same clip when people land up at the India Gate with candles in their hands (the prophetic subtitle below is “This country will change. We will change it”). Yes sir, we will.

I wish you had produced a 2 hour documentary on Kerala or Goa Tourism instead.

Or helped produce any of the films from the “new wave” of Indian cinema, which I’m sure you must be more aware of than me.

At a time when Indian Cinema is taking baby steps towards maturity, and managing to gain a foothold in the international arena, slowly changing “their” perception of “our films” by coming up with IN COMPETITION FILMS like Udaan, Peepli Live, Dhobi Ghat, Harud, Gandu, Shor in the City, Gabhricha Paus, Aranya Kandam, Paruthiveeran, Subramanipuram, the new Wave Tamil & Marathi Cinema; this self congratulatory AV on Bollywood films actually is taking us two steps back, reinforcing the stereotypes. Forcing us to be still perceived as the audience which enjoys 3 hour long musicals embellished with the garangutan setpieces, laughable action sequences & antics, titillating item numbers and melodramatic rejoice.

I was hoping to find some echo in the comments section of this post but clearly, I’m the minority here.

I shudder to think how I would react if I would ever meet a “gora” who sees this film and recognises by my skin tone, that I’m an Indian. Will he be overjoyed at what I’m embarassed at ? Will he be like the Japanese tourists from Munnabhai who only want to shoot “dirty, hungry, poor Indians” ? Will I be asked to dance at the Visa interview if (and when) I travel to Europe ?

My nightmarish thoughts aside, I request you to read a post written by you, Sir. Your blogpost on Black Friday and why it is the film which should have gone for Oscars submission instead of Paheli.

Yours disappointed,


(PS1 –  Have you heard about a documentary film called Videokaaran? Watch it.)

(PS2 – Screeny forgot to mention that if the film turns out to be any good, he will be the first person to say it and will apologise for the post.)

(PS3 – Screeny’s previous posts can be read here, here and here. )

Our mailbox gets flooded with all kind of mails. Raves, rants, goss from unexpected quarters and threats by star-fuckers. This one also came as a surprise. Screeny – a new member in the Fight Club.  His master The Creative Terrorist says it’s time  to have some new recruits, ideas and plans. So, here it is…read on. All first hand experience involving the names and faces that you know for sure.

One rainy night at run down Mukesh Mills, we had a new visitor called Screeny. He was visiting us for the first time. He wanted to join sort of club where Tyler Durden, John Nash, Karthik etc hung out, and I said you were at the right place. He was beaten, bruised and thin in appearance, but spoke aggressively of his reasons to be there.

Screeny was a frustrated screenwriter who wanted to vent his frustration at the fight club. He had made multiple rounds of Film Directors’ offices and realised in the process that sometimes their great films might have been accidents. As he spoke, I dragged and pushed him inside the arena, everybody was waiting to just pounce on him.

Screeny’s issues started with the creative process. The names of directors were something he wanted to keep confidential. Most directors did not know the importance of a one-liner and genre. Screeny’s approach was to develop a one liner; most directors looked for finished scripts, which Screeny refused to give since finished scripts reflect the writer’s vision and not the director’s. Screeny started with asking the directors what sort of film he saw. While most of them were clear of the genre, few of them knew why that particular genre worked.

When a commercial maverick director, finally decided he wanted to revisit one of his own genres, Screeny was hired, after months of messages. He showed great involvement in the plot level for the first two weeks much to Screeny’s delight. He made Screeny rewrite three versions of the same plot, till he was satisfied. Screeny was thrilled with the way the director was working, moulding the plot the way he wanted, while Screeny offered arguments and counter arguments, the eventual choices lead to somewhat a good plot. The Director did have some wild sense of imagination – the process was mutual – sometimes Screeny pushed the director in a thought, while other times, the director offered his argument.

Finally when the director made his choice, it was evident there would be issues in the screenplay which needs to be addressed separately. Screeny vociferously established that the screenplay needs to be worked in a similar style. The director laughed when Screeny said this because for him the screenplay did not matter.

Then the bang – “start the one line order”. A one line order for Screeny was only the index of scenes with no dialogues, just an outline of events; but the director was ready to shoot with it. In a conversation, he mentioned he never worked with a bound script, which scared Screeny. He had to argue strong in asking time for developing the entire screenplay, maybe a month. Reluctantly the director agreed, Screeny went to work, every time a doubt cropped up. “You figure it out, you are the writer”.  Screeny had to break his head, without any direction from the Director.

Eventually a month later a half baked screenplay evolved with issues which had to be fixed in the subsequent drafts. Meanwhile the director had lost interest in the plot and moved on to working on other plots with other writers. Screeny was asked to continue, but his screenplay was never picked up for reading after rewriting three drafts.

A year passed and the director started coming out with other films. Screeny started spotting the trends of half baked attempts at writing in the subsequent releases that followed. The screenplay never mattered for him, only his ideas needed to be fleshed right for him.  Screeny started worrying – if the director had made great films at some point of his time, were all of them accidents? When the director was questioned, he maintained his stand that all of his films were instinctive and took pride in the fact that his writers wrote on sets, including films which considered cult. Today those writers are famous.

Screeny’s school of thought was scripts were locked and then shot, while the director in question never bothered about the script. He plainly maintained everything as being his instinctive vision. Screeny fell into self-doubt – what was the point of banging out a screenplay when he does not plan to read it?  Eventually he will be told write the scenes on the sets. So why the talk about scripts in the first place, was Screeny even needed to write those three plots, or were the plots clear in the directors head, including the great films he had done ? If they are not accidents why is there no consistency in his films? What remains Screeny’s role with such directors?

Screeny went home that night confused, when a friend visited him that night with an invitation to the Fightclub.

Screeny wanted to talk more about other directors for whom visual play was important. The creative process was different there. I stopped him, because now inside Fightclub we had to deal with Screeny’s first issue. So throwing Screeny inside the Fightclub, make sure he returns two weeks later..

– The Creative Terrorist.