Friday, July 31, 2009

Lets tell a predictable story!!

Is the story predictable?
When the promos of Utaran with grown up Ichchha and Tapasya went on air, a friend’s daughter called me and asked me, “Are they going to fall in love with the same man? Is Tapasya going to get married to the man Ichchha loves?”
Veer or Sid were yet to enter in their life.
When Veer entered into the life of Tapasya, another viewer, 11 years old predicted that Veer has come to see Tapasya but he will fall in love with Ichchha.
Much before Veer realizes he has fallen in love. He seems to be little lazy. (Lol)


When Sia was thrown out of the house by Amma jee… I knew that she will come back to the haveli to take the revenge.
When Vidya of aapki Antara is getting ready for a dinner with her husband and he enters with Antara after getting the medical report, I knew that what they would never go out for dinner tonight.
When there is a high drama around hope or happiness one can sense that the end will be just opposite.
When a hope is created that Archana of Pavitra Rishta will get married to Manav, and one knows that finally they are going to fall in love, but one can still predict that end of episode all the hope will be shattered.

I think I have made my point clear. We are telling a predictable story.
Not just the story is predictable, we make it more predictable through our promos and coming ups.
Still people watch them. They are glued to Nanis and Ammajis.
Why is it so?
The best example I remember is of a play, “Oedipus Rex.” I knew the story and the end everything still for 2 hours I was completely absorbed by the twists and turns. It is one of the best examples of telling a known story. The myth was known to the audience of Sophocles. Its known to us also. Yet every moment you are on the edge. Its not just the craftsmanship.
How to tell the predictable story and still make it interesting that is our job.
Don’t we all experience the highs and lows while reading the same novel or play third or fourth time? A great work of art has a shelf life. Unfortunately TV does not have a shelf life. Its like a daily news paper.
Have we told any such story recently that is available on DVD?
One of my friends used to caution me, “don’t try to write for posterity!! You are writing for TV.”
Still I wish DVDs of our shows will be on shelf someday. Till the time the opportunity comes let’s tell the most predictable story in slightly unpredictable way.
I know I a not a Sophocles and I am not happy about it.
Before I post I want to add what I found on net about predictability.
“Personally I think a good author can pull it off and bad authors use it (Predictability) as a crutch.”

“The details are what make them work.”

“Interesting writing is always interesting, even if you know what the character is going to do next.”

Arm Twisting Writing

Sorry Ishita
Before I post anything I need to apologies Ishita for I forgot to mention her name in my earlier blog, “I am sorry…”
She has also done a wonderful job and I clearly remember people were more sympathetic towards her in those days of jealousy.
Generally I restrict my views to the characters only and do not comment on the actors portraying them. I feel that is not the purpose of writing the blog.
But I think I got carried away.
So Sorry Ishita. You have given life to some wonderful moment in Utaran.
I like character of Tapasya.
But our viewers like the characters who cry endlessly on screen.
That’s why we make lives difficult of Sia, Archna, Damini, Ichchha, and Chiraiya.
Sometimes I feel we get paid for twisting the arm of the heroine and make her cry.
There is something interesting about developing a plot. I read it on net. You also read it.
Writing looks funny if one looks at it this way.
The aim of an episode is to chase your characters up a tree and then hurl rocks at them. Just make life more and more problematical for your characters - and just when they think they've solved the problem... make it worse.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I am sorry, I just punished you Ichchha.

I had punished Ichchha once in Episode 39 Scene 12, if my memory is not failing. That time she had stolen a video game of Tapasya to impress her friends in the municipal school.

It took me seven hours to write her punishment then. And some more time for revising it.
Today it took me just three hours. It seems I am seasoned now in punishing you Ichchha.

Whenever such a scene comes, my first reaction is to postpone writing the scene. But today I had no choice. The day of punishment is tomorrow.

I am sorry Grown up Ichchha. But let me tell you what happened when you were punished for the stolen video game.

Dates: February 20-22, 2009

Screenplay had assigned you one punishment.

“Damini turns towards Ichchha and now her face turns red in rage…
High treatment …
she rushes near Ichchha slaps her hard…”

Then there was feedback, “not sure if the child should be slapped so many times…”

And your punishment was shortened by using music and montage.

I am sorry. I did not allow it to be shortened.

Actually I did nothing then.

I just let Damini do what she wanted to do. And she did not slap her. She threw you out of the house. She slammed the door. Do you know that she collapsed after that? She really loved you then. Does she love you today? I am not so sure about it.

Will talk to you about it later.

Let me just complete narrating my experience to others. You can also listen to it.

It was a very long scene…11 pages.

What a performance by Vaishali Thakkar and Sparsh!!

They seemed to be borne to do these roles.

So Ichchha got the punishment and then Damini began molding her daughter.
She taught her to sacrifice.

We project sacrifice as the best amongst all the virtues. And damini loves sacrificing.

But today I felt something different.

What Damini does to Ichchha is not so different from what Nani does.
Is it shocking?

A sacrificing woman…
A mother who love her daughter Ichchha.

And the other a selfish woman.
An old woman who hates Ichchha.

But as far as the understanding of human nature goes, I see them on the same platform today.

Damini uses Ichchha to prove her loyalty to her master.
Nani also does the same.
Both of them use her as if she is a puppet in their hands.


Do you know that you have failed as a mother? The loyalty to your master weighs more than the love for your child.

I do not discriminate you when I am writing because we writers have to give equal importance to all the characters.

But when I have done that and I am alone I compare you with people I see around me.

I had a maid, Kavita. She once took a loan of ten thousand and paid it back in ten months by not taking salary for ten months. I respect her. She was making difference to the lives of her children by sending them to an English Medium School without any support of Jogi Thakur.

And there is one more maid. She is a widow. 22-23 years of age. She has a daughter, 3 years old. She is also sending her daughter to an English Medium School without taking any loan from anybody.

This is sacrifice.

Do you really think you could not afford education in a municipal school for your child?

Do you really think you had a valid reason to stay in haveli to pay back your master?

Do you really think Thakurs have been treating you as equals?

Just look at the reality.

Yesterday you were taking care of Tapasya. Today your daughter is doing the same.

If Thakurs were just human beings then they would have stopped this practice. They would have told Ichchha, “You and Tapasya are my daughters. So if you do something for her, she should also do the same for your. Don’t treat yourself like a servant.”

No, they wont do so. It’s a convenient relationship for the grown ups and unfortunately their children are paying the price.

I remember a renowned playwright saying once.

Don’t trust the characters on the basis of what they say. Like all human beings, fictional characters also lie. The truth is visible only if you scratch the superficial layer of words.

I want to repeat one thing that I have understood while writing Utaran.

Story is the skeleton for a screenplay writer.
Screenplay is also a skeleton for a dialogue writer.
And the final script is again just a skeleton for the actors.

If actors can scratch the surface then they would definitely come out with unexpected responses that can surprise the viewers.

Sparsh, Vaishali and Ayub hav done it in Utaran.

It’s time for the new actors to do it.

I wish you courage and strength to you Ichchha. I know you are not guilty. But you also won’t listen to me when I say your mother is guilty. After all you are fictionalized to live a pre-destined life.

And I feel sorry for you.