A dormant film maker

Film-making is a process. At the end images flicker on a screen. It is a process which converts money into light and sound, in the hope that this light and sound will bring more money, so that more light and sound can be made.

Actor is an important part of a film. Only a few actors know how not to become larger than the context. They know how to emote in the minimum available space.

A film must entertain. Cinema hall is not a class room. But it can act as a great class room. A good classroom needs good teachers, as well as students. Same is with the cinema. A story is an “aggregate of formal relations scattered in time.” It is an important part of a film. Each story is unique in the details of its telling. What the writer is saying should be understood by the readers using minimum efforts. Good film makers believe that simplest language conveys the best.

“See everything before you write it” advises Stephen King. Eye sees so many things but all the things are not needed to describe a scene. A good writer knows what to keep and what to throw away. Many writers do not believe in spelling out everything in a story. They say, “Imagery is not achieved by over description.” What is important in a story, what is true in it, is not the plot, the things or the place in the story, but the relationship between them. And that is why screenplay is such an important part of film making.

A theme is needed to make a film, and around the theme a story is developed. Characters and details are added. We may combine the “largeness of the epic” with the “definiteness of the drama’’ in unrealistic proportions. When we do that, the end result can be disastrous. Mahabharat has so many sub-plots; each has the potential to become a good film. We can make a good tele-serial, but not a good film, if we want to make a film based on so many sub-plots. Perhaps that is why Satyajit Ray wanted to but never made a film based on Mahabharat.

“The story must be probable, but it also must be a story, and not a piece of faithful reporting. In other words, fiction is like history, but it is not history,” writes Mortimer Adler. A story “must be sufficiently complex and subtle to engage attention, achieve suspense and surprise, and excite

emotion, but not so complex and subtle that the unity, clarity, and coherence of its parts are lost”.

A dormant film maker is like a spore. As we know, a spore becomes active once it gets suitable conditions of moisture, temperature, and food. Let me do the wishful thinking. I will get an appropriate environment so that I don’t remain a dormant film maker.