Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ichchha, We Ignored You.

Sorry we ignored you.

All the time we are busy in developing jealousy between you and your friend. But we conveniently ignored you. We gave you tears only.
Neither your mother wants you to be happy nor us.
Your unhappiness is our success.
Do you know the man you are in awe of is hiding the biggest secret of your life..?
When you went to request Jogi to give Tapasya a new cycle, you were late by few seconds. Jogi was telling his wife that I am the one who is responsible for the death of Ichchha’s father. You missed it. The art of story telling allowed you to enter …. But little late!!!

Jogi: But it was an accident. I didn’t kill him deliberately.

So what Mr Jogi? Are you not avoiding to take the responsibility?

Jogi: I am doing everything for them.. Got Ichchha admitted in the best of the school... Giving her everything that my daughter gets.

Yes America always does so. First it kills and then sends the aids on humanitarian ground.

Dear Papu alias Jogi ji

You are doing just that..

And let me ask you one thing, why are not allowing me to talk to Ichchha.

Listen, I am sympathetic towards you.. to all of you including Nani when I write. But give me at least some space here.

I am talking to Ichchha you know!!


You are being fooled by everybody.

The gifts, the education, the comfort… all because of your father’s body found it's death beneath the wheels of car of Jogi Thakur.

Your mother will never tell you this because we don’t write any such scene
It does not fit into the scheme of things you know..
Your mother has been brought up in an environment where she cannot fight with her master. She doesn’t know how to fight. For generations Daminis have lived like that.
So we cannot write a scene where she will come to you and tell you everything about Jogi and Divya.

We want you to grow up by the time IPL ends..

So grow up baby… fast… fast…. Time is running out.

You have 8 years of growing between a Thursday and a Monday or may be just one day!!

The mould is set. You just melt your soul and fit yourself into it.

Ever smiling and never doubting Ichchha is waiting in the wings…

Please welcome young, charming, vivacious Ichchha.

And good bye to Ichki…

Tumhari hichkiyaan sunai nahin dengi Ichki!!

Papa Aap Jhooth bolte Hain!!!

In Utaran Tapasya is going through a phase of turmoil.
She feels insecure because her parents are showering love on Ichchha. She is jealous, so to speak.
The parents (Jogi and Divya) notice it and they decide to talk to her.
They want her to know that they truly love her. And there is no question of dividing their love between Tapasya and Ichchha. They say that they are really concerned and want to change her behaviour.

So they sit with her. They express their love and concern and assure her that they really mean what they say.


“Papa bhi jhooth bolte hain

Mummy bhi..”

What do they really want?

To understand the hurt and pain of daughter?....... I doubt. Their actions don’t match their words.
To correct her behaviour?..... Yes, but…
To convince her to do what they want her to do? Be a PAPA-MUMMY’s good girl. A big yes and no but!!

On the surface they appear to be transparent and honest and really talking from heart. But even they don’t know why their subconscious is making them to do certain things.
So we have Tapasya convinced and the next morning papa gives her an award for her good behaviour.

And what is this so called good behaviour?

She apologizes Damini Ammu and Ichchha for her bad behaviour and asks them to stay in haveli !! This is what good girls do. Behave as their parents want them to!!

“So here is gift for you baby…one for you and one for Ichchha. But today you can pick up the best.” Says Jogi. Tapasya does not feel happy or convinced. She reluctantly picks up one.. any one.

Kids do read the faces. That’s how they learn to imitate, live and survive. And they are not always convinced by the truth told by parents. They listen to the text and decode the subtext. How it happens I don’t know. But kids are more intelligent than we imagine them to be.

If parents are really sincere in addressing the problems of the children then they need to talk to themselves first.

Let’s look at what is happening in the minds of parents.

Jogi is hurt because his image of a good daughter is shattered.

And Divya is hurt because she sees her reflection in Tapasya.

But Jogi doesn’t tell himself…

“Image is just an image- a static dead thing! Daughter is a living entity. She will change.”

It happens in love also. We fall in love and fall out of it when we find the person and the image are 2 different things. We don’t correct our image. We start blaming the person….

“You have changed!!”

Divya also does not look inside. Probably she does not have it in her… the insight to introspect. I am convinced that Divya we see now is just a mask. The real old Divya is still there… Only her outer shell is crippled.

Text and subtext are two different things. And the responsibility of actors and directors is to give life to the subtext. I would love to see both the Jogis and Divyas in one scene. Then the complexity and drama will reach to a different level.

I have read about Amrish Puri having done it successfully in a Hindi play, Raktpushp. It’s a small role if one counts the number of lines. (And I have heard stories of actors refusing roles by counting the lines.) The play is about conflict of a growing up daughter and a mother going through menopause. Father is just a witness… But when the playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar saw Late Amrish Puri’s performance, he was amazed to see the way Amrish had brought life into the subtext of the play. The character of father suddenly became much more important than what it appeared in the script.

To sum it up…

Story is a skeleton for the screenplay..
Screenplay is a skeleton for the dialogue script.
And the final script is again a skeleton for the actors.
Going beyond the lines can bring depth to the scene.

Coming back to what I was writing about.

When we write such scenes we should have the truth of the character in mind.

When Jogi and Divya talk to their daughter honestly and straight from the heart, I see the lies in their truth. And I am sure Tapasya also sees it clearly. Politics is not the bapauti of adults. Children are also political animals without voting rights.

So Tapasya is right when she says

“Papa aap jhooth bolte hain…
Mummy aap jhooth bolti hain..”

P. S.

When I shared this post with my first reader, Pratishtha Durga from colors, she wrote:

Anil, I am reminded of this line from the old show Khandaan... It was spoken by the Late Jalal Agha. "Wohh mat karo jo bade karte hain, woh karo, jo bade kehte hain."

I loved that show. It acknowledged the dark realms of the human psyche. It acknowledged that we lie. That there are two selves. That's what Jogi and Divya need to understand. And then they will be able to address the truth and win back the trust of their daughter. Or else...

Tapasya won't grow up into a Divya or a Jogi. She will grow up into another complex entity, the dark realm being fed on the real and perceived lies of her parents and all those around her. And what life would she be equipped for? A life of manipulation and deciet, perhaps. Can we blame her? In an older post, you discussed how our parents mould us, make us who we are. And Tapasya's mould is ready. It doesn't look pretty, does it?

Friday, May 8, 2009



You won’t understand it now but it is true that PARENTS SCRIPT US.

Many times I feel..
We are repeating our parents..

History repeats itself, as they say.
Unhappy couples have children who rarely have happy married life.

It’s a constant struggle to undo your parents at times.
What parents do is unintentional and they rarely want to hurt their children.
But their understanding of life is limited to their experience..

In Utaran, now Damini is on a road to sacrifice everything for Divya.

Sacrifice is a virtue, a value to be taught to children.

Tapasya needs a little bit of it.

And Ichchha needs to sacrifice the habit of sacrificing .. !!!

But her mother is scripting her, teaching her a value that a child won’t understand. Child might just imitate parent without understanding the implications.

But values need to be taught with a pinch of salt.

If Ichchha keeps sacrificing for Tapasya, then a day will come when she would have sacrificed everything for her friend and she will still find her friend is unhappy. No one can make the other happy by just giving. The other has to find his/ her happiness in life.
Tapasya now is on a path, where she is seeking disapproval, rejection and dejection. No one can make her happy because she has stopped being happy.

Where did it come from?

Jogi doesn’t seem like this.
It must have come from Divya.
Why does Divya not look within to find why Tapasya is behaving in a certain way?
She cannot. That’s her limitation. She is not analytical. She is impulsive and her child is also impulsive. Since Divya cannot analyse, she cannot correct behaviour of her child.

She can just substitute gifts for true love.

“Buy my child a new cycle and she will be happy.”

Many parents do it. They feel they love their children by giving, but probably they are just dealing with their own guilt.

And since Jogi is on a guilt trip he has lost his ability to analyse.
He cannot touch the tip of the nose of his daughter and say…
“Let’s ring up the sun “
Like the father in Arvi Siig’s poem does..

May be there are a lot of people who are of the opinion that Damini is an ideal mother. But I feel she is a weak mother. Otherwise she would have left haveli by now. She has been scripted to go on self-pity. Such parents ruin children’s lives.

And I am sure Damini will ruin Ichchha’s questioning and ambition both.

Dear Damini

You are a looser.
And “I’ m not ok” mother.
Ichchha will be just like you in a decade or so.
Sorry for being harsh.




I shared theve view with one of my friend, Dr Lakshmi Rao, who has been teaching and practising Transactional Analysis for more than a decade. Here’s what she wrote.

“Our scripting takes place when we are not able to ask the question "WHY". The value of sacrifice is instilled in us at an age when we cannot question them. Moreover the values of good and bad are as "OUR PARENTS THOGUHT THEM TO BE. IT IS WHAT THEY THINK IS RIGHT AND WRONG".
The not OKness of damini is visible in every frame. Even the moments when ichchha is examining her mother's reactions, there is this overpowering force of sacrifice from Damini which is thrust on Ichchha. That’s what happens to all of us.

Our adult is systematically contaminated by these strong parent recordings and our script takes a turn to be a loser---NOT OKNESS written all over.
Let me know about this. Lakshmi.

So the story will move in a direction decided by the character of Damini and we cannot stop or change it.

“So be it..!!”


Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Jogi, father of Tapasya and husband of Divya.
The name has a meaning.
Don’t know who named this character Jogi. But it’s apt.
The synonyms for Jogi in Samantar Kosha (a Hindi thesaurus) are


Naming a character is a strange process…
A conscious decision .. or… and unconscious one…. Mohan Rakesh named protagonist of Adhe Adhure as savitri, who unlike mythological savitri, is eager to get rid of her husband.

In popular movies, Deewar has Vijay and Jaychand. Vijay stands for victory and Jaychand for betrayal.

Then we have interesting names of characters in Sholey.*
The name Gabbar Singh was taken from a real-life dacoit. Salim’s father was a DIG in Indore and he heard stories of Gabbar who plundered around villages around Gwalior in the ‘50s.

Soorma bhopali was someone Javed knew from Bhopal.

Veeru and Jai were the names of Salim’s college friends and Thakur Baldev Singh was his Father-in-law.

So we have Jogi in Utaran, and I don’t know who did the namkaran.
But I like the name and the character.

Before I write about Jogi Thakur of Utaran, let me share with you a small poem written by some Arvi sagii.

I tired to find about him on internet, but could not find much. He was an Estonian poet.

In one of the episode yet to be aired, there’s a poem recital competition. In the screenplay, Ichchha got a famous poem of Wordsworth, “Daffodils.”

The other unimportant characters had none.

(When I say unimportant, please don’t misunderstand me.. In my opinion every character in a play, TV series or a film is equally important.
Or else it will have no space in the screenplay.)

So …. I had to give 2 more poems to other kids…Not so important characters, so to speak. One poem was an obvious choice… Shakespeare’s sonnet…

And the second one was lying in my cupboard for years.

By the way I have not read Wordsworth or Shakespeare.

I had bought a magazine from an old paper mart. It was a Russian magazine. Russian literature is quite cheap. And after the globalization, it’s cheapest in the kabadiwala’s shop. Let’s not get into the international politics…. I hardly understand it.

When I shifted to my new house, I had to get rid of Raddi… I got rid of the magazines, but removed the 3 pages with four poems of Arvi…

While writing the episode I remembered one of the poems and I thought why not give one character this poem…

I knew she was not going to get the screen space. Still..

Then I searched the poem in the bookshelf and included it in the episode…

You may not find worth noticing it in the episode so I am putting it here on my blog.


Arvi Siig

Translated by Diana Russell

Please don’t be so somber,
My daughter.

Yes, that endless rain….
The eyes of the woman in food stores..
like flowers in cold wind faded…
The depression spread
by a communal kitchen
with the rules of behaviour nailed on the wall..

And this makes me also….
But come,
let’s ring up the sun.

You’ll tell me the phone booth
In our street is out of order,
And in the next one
Someone’s broken the receiver,
And that even the enquiry service
Does not know the sun’s number…

But don’t you really know
How to call up the sun?

Someone only
Has to press a thumb three times
On the tip of your classical nose.

Just like this.

I read it again and again….

I feel its Jogi talking to Tapasya…. Let’s ring up the sun.. to cheer her up…

In the initial episodes, I used to find Jogi difficult to write, because it was difficult to relate with him. He was there and not there. But slowly as the story moved, I could see him, his past… and relate with him

And now when a scene between Jogi and girls comes, I am charged. I try to make it as real as possible. In one of the scene when Jogi neglects Tapasya and she angrily leaves, I felt Jogi should have responded. But he didn’t. As a father he should have immediately addressed the problem. But he didn’t because as of now he is dealing with his guilt of killing Damini’s husband.

Tapasya is right and she has every right to feel neglected. If your father has a past and he is trying to deal with it, why should a child suffer?

These days I feel more concerned about Tapasya. One of my friend, Pratishtha says, “I would never want to be in Tapasya's place. To have to share a father's love is unthinkable. It's painful. I can feel her pain, and her anger. I would never share my dad with anyone. But that is not a choice Jogi has. A past mistake ties him down to his destiny, and his child's. “

also said that if my father had done something like this to me, I would have ……

In one scene when Jogi tries to explain Ichchha how easy it is to learn English, I thought of comparing number of alphabets in Hindi and English. Unfortunately I remembered the number of alphabets in English but not in Hindi, though my primary education was in Hindi language in Madhya Pradesh. I think as a child I could never relate to my primary school and so whatever I learnt including language was informally through magazines like parag, chandamama, dharmyug etc. So I had to go on net to find it…

What I had to do is not important……… what is important is how jogi makes things easy for Ichchha…

And I found that Jogi has lot many things similar to this little girl. He was also helped by teacher to reach this stage….

And I was also.

My father was a primary school teacher. So I had to tale help of teachers all my life.

They give me books. They encouraged me. When I took wrong decision to stop education and start working one of my chemistry teachers, Dr R S Verma, came forward and advised me not to spoil my academics.

I listened to him.

It changed me.

Like me Jog still feels grateful to the teachers.. I have no child but I see a lot of me in him.

And then I feel what is personal can become universal if it has something in it.


Dear Jogi

Love you a lot.

My relations with the parents are strained but I find happiness and solace in you.
I wish I could be like you.

You have a genuine smile and lot of genuineness, which is rare to find these days.

Though you are a fictional character yet you are real.
I feel your pain.

You look handsome in white kurta, why do you wear those suits.... They look unreal..

I wish you could sort out your relationship with your daughter.
But I know story is such you will never be able to do so..

The great nani is there to spoil the game….
And as a writer I cannot get rid of her.

But you can… Do something or else your daughter will change forever and you will have more guilt.

Par yeh nahin hoga…

She will be there and both of us will suffer.


* Sholey: The Making of a classic"