Nothing filmy about filmmaking

“I want to make a film” – the moment one utters this line, he’s touted the next wannabe. Another brick in the wall, you could say, destined to live with moony eyes inebriated with dreams of becoming the next Satyajit Ray, Kurosawa, Guru Dutt, Shekhar Kapur, or Ram Gopal Varma. It also means making digs at Karan Johars and Yash Chopras and hailing Fellinis, Nolans, Martin Scorches and Oliver Stones as the gods of cinema, and proclaiming to have an ability to teach our desi filmmakers a thing or two on making films. Furthermore, one is bound to receive free advices like “Is line mein kisi ka kuch nahin hota”, who go on to tell you that there are better people than you out there, who are waiting at posh cafes and hotels just to get noticed by a director or music composer and get a break as an actor, assistant director or cinematographer.

Mercifully, times have changed. Films have no longer remained filmy as they used to be. We have wonderful examples like Udaan (the only film, according to me, which can match scales with world cinema). Films like Udaan inspire one to tell their stories in its purest and raw form, stripped off from the glitters of self-pity and melodrama. (Speaking of melodrama, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is melodrama personified. Rent a DVD of The Sea Inside and then watch Guzaarish or still if you feel I am biased watch his Devdas and then Dev D, and you’ll know what I mean).

So the idea is to tell stories you’ve always wanted to share. And since films are the best medium to express creativity, why not make a film? After all, even MF Hussain needs a Gajgaamini or Minaxi to portray shades on silver screen which his palette could possibly not create on canvass. And so did Gulzar need a Parichay, Kitaab, Koshish or Achaanak to explore a world beyond words. You’d say – every creative person has a story to tell, and everyone thinks it’s worth sharing. My boss at ad agency I work with once told me there’s a film script lying in the drawer of almost every person in the creative department of ad agencies in Mumbai. So does that mean one should give it all up and chase film directors in Mumbai? Maybe you’ll end up quitting your high-paying job only to become a glorified spot boy wearing a tag of Assistant Director at a film studio, following instructions of an exhausted director, enduring tantrums of insecure big stars and being audience to diatribes by frustrated writers. Well, it works for some who’ve been at it and were mentally prepared, but for someone who thinks he can change the way films are made might be in for a rude shock.

By no means am I being pessimist, but realist. Why mess up our lives to make a film which we could even make on our own? All you’ve got to do is just pick up that cellphone with camera, handycam or even a digital camera and tell your story. You don’t need a Santosh Sivan to shoot your film, do it yourself – the trial and error way, nor do you need an AR Rahman to compose the background score – pick up any film soundtrack and use it (Don’t worry about being accused of plagiarism, our filmmakers have been shamelessly doing that since ages) or if you want to stay original, ask any local musician to compose a track for you. Shoot on Sundays if you don’t find time on weekdays, after all there’s no deadline so enjoy the luxury.

If that sounds too much for you, just buy a script of 3 Idiots or A Beautiful Mind from Crossword, learn the craft of screenplay writing and type your own film in a word document. Keep making films or writing scripts and share them with your friends until you get either the best bouquet or the worst brickbat of your life from them (either way, you have no option but to go on). This way you can start making a collection of your own films and upload them on our good ol’ youtube or even your own blog. Enjoy the celebrity status while it lasts. Who knows your vocation could turn out to be the next Paranormal Activity? Sounds filmy? Well, it isn’t.

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