"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Friday, August 27, 2010

Watched a Movie Lately?

posted by Ayesha

Well-written scripts should be given a well-deserved round of applause. But how rare it is to come across a script that meets expectations, let alone exceeds them.

Most times when I am watching a movie, I am pleasantly surprised if the script manages to add texture to the plot. More than often, the interaction between characters is either overly done or is way too cliched.

As I watched an Indian movie only recently (Once Upon a Time in Mumbai) I realized how thoroughly disgusting over-the-top lines spoken in intense situations can become - especially when you have the likes of Devgan and Imran Hashmi delivering them. In addition to the experience being quite ridiculous, I could not help but marvel at the loss of common sense on the part of the director when he had decided on this match between the screenplay and his super-star cast.

It is a rare situation when the script is exactly the way it should be: defining the story, tapering the edges and moving it along. A good script, while focusing on the story, challenges the skill of acting just enough. The right words simply add some spice; they do not steal the limelight from anywhere else. Most importantly, it is evidence of a worthy story when the screenplay can provide more than one dimension to its viewers.

A screenplay that I found quite amusing and rather original was of the much celebrated Peepli [Live], which I managed to watch over the weekend. With a pint of sarcasm and shadowed treatment that borders on comedy, the movie is not mainstream to say the least. A thorough bashing of the media made for an interesting watch and definitely a fresh POV for an audience that is deprived of originality and the right kind of film making.

In a day and time when bizarre technologies, special effects and twisted psyches have rendered us insensitive to story plots and screenplays, it is a relief to watch a movie with a fresh perspective, whether it is the director who has visualized the concept with a real lens or the writer who has managed to take the time to write an original story line.

In a country where we have hardly any recreational activities, a handful of cinema screens feed my appetite for the love of this art. Only recently have I realized how thoroughly disappointing all the movies I have seen in the past few months have been. I wonder then about how these movies are chosen to be put up on the big screen; are there any criteria at all? Do we realize the impact this media has on our culture/the audience? Who is to be accountable for the disappointment we take home?

This brings me sadly to the conclusion that our audiences don't really give a crap about what goes up, as long as it has some tasteless nudity, at least a few scenes full of senseless action and at most the hint of a story. We have been watching the art for many decades but our sensibilities have not really seasoned.

Perhaps we can't really complain, as who do we know who would want to write for a film? Literature as it is, suffers from a lack of quality writers - script writing is a long shot.


Blue Wit said...

"Our sensibilities have not really seasoned". Quite the opposite, imho. Truly, if audiences don't mature, why would script writers?

Hussain said...

I second 'our (collective) sensibilities have not really seasoned'; there is little else to explain why inception isn't playing in the cinemas. And countless Indian movies are.