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Archive for June, 2013

23
Jun

“I’m in Love”

Remember the moment when you were in your teens and your friend came up to you with a wide grin on his/her face and broke out this beautiful news – “I’m in love!” You then wanted to know everything that happened before those three golden words “I love you” were spoken – when they met first, how was the first impression, have they touched each other, kissed each other yet, is the person hot, caring, lovable, talkative, well behaved etc. Your friend is so much in ecstasy that you too are engulfed by that happy zone. All the romantic films come to your mind and you start seeing them always together. I don’t know about others but when my best friend had told me about his affair, apart from the similar questions, I was also very seriously concerned about what problems might arise in their marriage. I strongly believed that if you say “I love you” to someone, you just need to get married, that’s it, period! I was in my early teens but that’s the way I thought, thanks to the values imbibed in me by classic Hindi movies. Point to be noted is that they don’t tell you what happened after the hero-heroine gets  married.

I don’t even need to tell you what happened to both of them. Obviously they did not get married to each other. My filmy values which matter-ed so much to me started breaking into molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, neutrons and then to quarks. Rarely saw people getting married to their first love or first ‘serious’ love if you want me to put it that way. No, I’m saying there are no love marriages. I’m just saying that people ‘generally’ get married to their (n)th love which exists when they are at a marriageable age rather than being with their 1st serious love till the marriageable age and then getting married. What’s wrong in that? Nothing man, absolutely nothing. It’s just something I noticed. Initially I felt this to be morally (or filmy) wrong but with time, I completely stopped judging people based on this. Now come on, you’ll have to include almost the entire Universe if you judge on this topic of getting married to the 1st serious love!

Nonetheless, the filmy love values still exist and few of my very close friends have actually just married their first serious love. DDLJ zindabad!

So over the years, this one thing has changed in me so much that I really dread any friend telling me – “You know what, I’m in love.” What was once an exciting moment has become a cynical one. While he/she praises the lover with all the heart – hot, lovable, caring – I only hear words – ugly, moron, selfish – coming out from my friend’s mouth after a few months affair. Also the typical line from both the parties – “I gave so much selfless love. That is my problem. I’m so much into a relationship that I forget to care about myself but only selflessly care about the other person. But that a#@@#le, ras##@, moron/bi@#h, did not deserve my love at all.” After the break-up, most friends would console you by saying that the other person did not deserve you, you deserve better and you shouldn’t have been so nice and all. However, it is difficult for me to tell these lies (in most cases these are lies and on top of that you don’t know the other parties’ version of the break-up at all) because even before knowing that person, I knew this is what is going to happen and this is what my friend would tell me. Whatever be the case, he/she is my friend who is truly in great pain and I need to console in some way but in what way which is truthful and also useful. Difficult to decipher the code, really.

In the US, over 50% of the marriages end in divorce (over 5% in India – don’t even dare to think it’s not an awesome thing about our country, it’s exceptional and praise worthy irrespective of good or bad reasons for it). There was a research where newly wed brides and grooms in the US were asked as to what they think is their probability of divorce. You guessed it right, EVERYONE said zero percent. However, obviously over 50% of them got divorced. Stats speaketh for all but we believe we are different but those researched via which the data was deduced also believed the same. Similarly almost every “I’m in love” ends in “I hate that bas@@#d/b@#$h”.

All this brings me to the moral dilemma when my friend tells me that he/she is in love – should I ask him/her not to go ahead in love because eventually it won’t work and break-up is certain? My realistic data analyzing IIT engineer mind tells me to go ahead and stop him/her from falling more in love. However, then my positive mind asks me to stop because there are a few people who are different. What should be done? What is my responsibility because I know that heart break for my friend would be utterly painful and may be too devastating for him/her to handle? But what if there isn’t a break-up? Stats say there is a high probability. But what if?

Earlier I was extremely protective about my loved ones, my sisters, parents, girlfriend, my younger cousin brothers and sisters, close friends so much so that I used to get over-protective which would sometimes even result in fights. Can’t go into much detail but lately I’ve realized that everybody has their share of failures, pain and struggles which I can’t take away from them. Or may be I shouldn’t take away the pain which is a great teacher. And love, above all, is the greatest teacher. What if it’s only for a few months, during those months at least, it will be pure love. Why can’t love be only for a few moments, why does it have to last a lifetime to be called true love? I don’t have answers to these questions but the one answer I’ve got can be again summarized in a filmy dialogue which my friend Nitin Sharma used to frequently repeat – “Insaan ko zindagi mein kam se kam ek baar pyaar zaroor karna chahiye. Pyaar insaan ko achcha bana deta hai.” So go ahead, fall in love, love the journey, who the hell knows the destination, cheers!

With ‘Love’,

Red!

19
Jun

Ever Heard This Before – “I’ve many great story ideas”

One of my acquaintances long time back said – “I’ve an awesome idea for a film, it’ll be a huge blockbuster for sure but people just don’t value real talent. They’re just making crap movies, huh.” He actually narrated me the idea and it was really good. He also described to me a couple of scenes based on that idea and they were also superb. I was impressed. After that, I kept on meeting several people in my life who shared the same view point that they were potentially great writers because they had great ideas. At one point I actually believed that almost the entire world thinks that they’ve great story ideas, at least each one of them around me. And without a speck of doubt, most of them actually had great ideas which they thought, and so did I back then, that those great ideas could me made into great movie scripts, novels or full length play scripts. However, I was so wrong.

In 2009, I read  a book on writing Screenplay by a master teacher. I learnt there how having one great idea is not sufficient to write a movie script. I actually sat with 2 of my creative friends Matte and Nikhil for several weeks, more than 8hrs daily to come up with about 15 good ideas. We finally chose one good idea and then developed it so that it could be made into a screenplay. After setting some ground rules of creative insights,discussions and conflicts, we actually made it like it like a celebration by cutting a red ribbon, having meetha and all that before starting off. After that, the weeks were really tiresome and sometimes frustrating but the entire exercise worked really well. Below is a picture of three of us cutting the ribbon before entering the room in which we were to sit for several weeks till we finalized upon a really great idea and then developed it into a proper story which could be then developed into a screenplay. This pic makes me nostalgic, really!

2009 Idea Generating Session

I finally went on write the screenplay and dialogues of that film (Time Nahin Hai). Last year I completed the final (from my side) draft of the script. It went through full fledged changes some 15 times, though the primary plot , the main idea, remained the same. No, I do not intend to say that I worked for 3 long years to complete it because there was a long period when I did not touch it and was working on another movie (www.withlovedelhi.com) which happened just after I had written probably the 6th draft of the screenplay. It is fashionable and sounds intriguing to know that a film has been written in 3 years or 10 years but trust me, if you count the hours and divide it by 8 (for one working day), you would be shocked to know the actual time spent. However, yes, I did spend some 12-13 months in total when I was actually engrossed in researching, writing, correcting, getting feedback, then again correcting and finally deciding that this is it. You have to decide otherwise there’s no end to improvement. I finally completed the script last October and in December managed to give it (the entire screenplay) to a huge filmstar (plus a great actor – sad that I need to add this in Bollywood) to have a read. To my delight, the feedback on the script was very good. Coming from a seasoned and an exceptional actor, I was floating like a balloon in the air. However, somehow the things didn’t work out on other aspects and he could not work as an actor on the project. So the film now is in a hanging state till it gets another filmstar ready to give a green signal not just to the script but also to acting in it. That’s how it works here, scripts rarely decide whether a film will be made, but a filmstar does. That’s another story altogether though.

Anyways, coming back to the topic. Now that I’ve written a full length feature film and over 15 feature films’ stories, I realize one thing about that ‘I’ve a great idea’ kind of thought. In most of the cases when people claim to have a great idea, they actually do have a great idea. However, in almost all the cases, that great idea would be interesting for the audience or the reader only for about 10-20% of the total time. For example, people who have a great idea for a film, can use that idea to make about 10-20min of the 2hrs film, rest of the film can’t even be written with that one great idea. If a person hasn’t ever written a full length and detailed novel, film screenplay or play script, it will be very difficult for him to understand that it’s an illusion that his great idea can help him write a great script or novel.

People may argue that every great film or novel can be summarized in 2-3 simple lines, sometimes only one. Yes, that’s true but they cannot be written with only those 2-3 lines. You need to make a structure of the script, imagine all important plot points and key scenes and then start writing the script. That involves, not one great idea, but at least 15-20 good ideas as well to keep the novel or script interesting. Not that a good idea is useless but it’s not enough if you’re not making a short film or an advertisement. So if are really serious about being a good writer which you think you are, go ahead and actually write a full length and detailed novel or script, not just one idea. Till the time you’ve done that, it’s just arrogance and plain stupidity to think that you’re even a potential writer (forget the adjective ‘good’ or ‘great’) or to ridicule writers who actually write instead of just intellectualizing. As someone said “One idea on paper is worth a million in the head.” It’s high time you wear Nike shoes and “Just Do it”. I always say this and will repeat again “Be a good writer on the paper, not in your head.”

Writing is blissful and if proper effort is put, I firmly believe that anybody, yes anybody, can be a good writer with time. As parents used to say till late 90s – “Chitthi likhte rehna beta“, so keep writing till the end!

With Love,

Red!

17
Jun

Weather Cribbers

I’ve met several ‘Weather Cribbers’ so to say:
– In summer, their main topic of cribbing would be heat and sweat and will wait for rains
– In rainy season, it would be water logging, dampness and road blocks and will wait for winter
– In winter, it would be about such low temperature, sardi-khansi, fog and no sun and will wait for clear weather in summer again

Weather is not a problem, our attitudes are. Reminds me of the parable of a poor stonecutter who was fed up of cutting stones under the hot and powerful sun. He prayed to God to make him the splendid ruler, the Sun itself. God granted him his wish. While he was enjoying being the Sun, vaporizing even the seas and the oceans, one day clouds came all over the skies and blocked Sun’s entry to the Earth. It kept pouring on the Earth and brought back all oceans and seas alive. Sun wished he be made cloud and his wish was granted. Pouring rain all over the Earth and creating floods, it realized that it cannot do anything to the majestic rocks of the mountains which stood as they were. He wished to be turned into a huge and strong rocky mountain which he did turn into. While everything was going fine, one day a stonecutter came to the mountain and started hammering away at the rocks. You guessed it right, he finally wished to become a stonecutter and became one!

Cribbers and thankless people will always crib irrespective of situations. I’ve believed in some people nobody believed in at that time. Even after giving them something really substantial enough for a lifetime, which nobody had ever given or might give in many years to come, these thankless individuals just hates, hurts and talks bad. And they are skilled at rationalizing why doing that is completely justified. On the other hand, there are people to whom I’ve given just a little love or helped them on not so substantial issue, but they’ve so much gratitude, not just to express but to actually feel. Just like cribbers, people who have gratitude will always express gratefulness even during very painful circumstances. You also must have met people in your life who belong to these two categories but we all obviously would want to be like the latter and be with the latter.

So when you see Mumbai roads blocked due to heavy downpour today, you know what to wish for – not for summer or winter – but for the fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables. We can be so much thankful for the rain because eventually that’s where the eternal nectar water come from, that’s what is responsible for all we eat and that is the prime necessity of those who feed all of us – the farmers! Let’s be thankful for all the rain and we’ll have enough reason to be thankful for the heat in summers and the cold in the winters, because then we will learn to be thankful, a characteristic which is totally independent of situations. Situations are rarely responsible for our pain or happiness, we definitely are! Stay blessed!

With Love,

Red!

15
Jun

Writing Blog in the ishtyle of Amitabh Bachchan, my Guru Dronacharya

Do you know that probably Mr. Amitabh Bachchan is the only man who has been writing his blog every single day, without exception, for last 1886 days. I know you’re dividing that by 365 so let me do the maths for you. It’s about 5 years and 2 months! I always believe that anybody who does something other than what he has to do for survival or basic well being, and does it regularly for years and years, has an amazing amount of self-discipline. I’m talking about self-discipline, not discipline. Most of those who go to a job are fairly disciplined – they wake up on time, reach office on time, work those 8 or 12 or sometimes 24hrs and then go to office again whether they like it or not for almost 35-40 years! That requires a remarkable amount of discipline but that is something one ‘has’ to do, there’s no option. Among these, there are men and women who apart from their core job, go on a jog every morning, play a musical instrument daily, dance everyday, paint frequently, write something regularly or do something healthy or creative or something passionate for decades without having to do it for survival. That shows extreme levels of self-discipline. And without exception, they have discipline as well and are more disciplined than most others.

Amit ji is one of them. This writing blog thing daily is not even needed to prove how he’s ‘self-discipline personified’. Somebody said that the way you’re in one thing, you’re in most. And if you follow him closely, you’ll find that in every aspect of his life, he’s disciplined from the d to the d! He should be called The Big DD :).

I’m a huge fan of Amit ji. Before coming to Mumbai, for years, his pictures were pasted on the Deewar just in front of my computer/working table so that subconsciously I could get inspired. The day before we were shifting permanently to Mumbai to dedicate my life entirely and unconditionally to acting and films, I asked my eldest sister Seema to click the pictures and my pic with my Dronacharya and she obliged (press Ctrl+Left Click to open the enlarged version of the pictures in a new tab).

Yes, there are pictures of Arnold and Filmfare award winners too but my Bachchan sahab, who I refer to as my Guru Dronacharya, simply stands out!

What makes me write about him today are the emotions that surfaced after watching an interview of his on turning 70. It is such a privilege to be able to listen to such a legend about his journey. Thank you so much Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai. Here you go if you want to watch this video too.

There’s so much you can learn from just this interview. In his chat, he talks about his blogs as well. I thought I also like writing. In fact, I’ve stayed almost 6 months alone, writing almost all the time. Sometimes weeks would pass by with myself not even opening my mouth more than a few times. I’m an introvert though not totally (don’t know who is) and find it as my basic strength. While many would have succumbed to such a ‘maun-vrat‘ type situation, I was happy writing and re-writing a screenplay. Apart from writing stories and scripts, I love writing my blog too. However, when I checked I was appalled at my frequency. I have written 5 posts in 2010 (when I started writing), 5 in 2011, 3 in 2012 and none in 2013 till 15th June! No, I’m not planning to copy Big B from now on (not that it is easy, it’s a humungous task but that apart) because there’s a huge difference between copying and getting inspired. I believe one should never ever copy anybody, not even the greatest but obviously get inspired to make the best out of who he or she is.

So I have decided to write here more frequently. Hence, instead of procrastinating, I just went ahead and wrote my blog today itself. Many more to come, stay tuned to the Red Blog!

With Love,

Red!

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