Saturday, June 27, 2009

It Takes an Imtiaz

Watching Imtiaz Ali being interviewed by the braindead film 'critic' Mayank Shekhar (went to school with him, his IQ has dropped several standard deviations since then) would have been torture enough. But then Mayank asked him about writing his own scripts and which role he identified himself with, more- director or writer.
Imtiaz (yes, we're on first name basis. He just doesn't know it yet) replied that he was a natural director but had been forced to become a writer due to a general lack of skilled writers in the business.

As a struggling member of the breed, I was saddened by what he said, especially as he went on to describe how under appreciated and underpaid (and paid much after their work is completed and submitted) most writers were. Lack of appreciation and insufficient financial rewards were leading most writers to venture into direction and forcing most directors to write their own scripts. Imtiaz, not the biggest fan of his own writing, won my heart by laying out the case of the exploited writer in Indian cinema.

The same happens in television as well. Writers are often considered lowest of the low in the creative workforce of any audio-visual project. For some bizarre reason, our jobs are considered as easy as 'sitting in front of a computer screen with a hot cup of coffee and banging on some keys'. Mayank Shekhar, himself, declared us to be a 'lazy' bunch of people on national TV.

The reason I didn't change the channel was the priceless expression on Imtiaz Ali's face as he stared FancyPantsCritic down with utter disdain. The contempt on this director's (handsome)mug, calmed my enraged nerve endings a bit.

I sigh and wait for the day when people will realise that one of the most difficult challenges in the making of the film is that first step - staring at an empty page, having just a bunch of vague feelings and images in your head, scared shitless at the thought that someone will be investing lakhs and crores of rupees into the words that you choose. Nothing about this is easy or effortless.

...till that day comes, we write and we write and we write because there's nothing else we'd rather be doing. Even if we're driven into poverty, even if we're called lazy, even if directors and producers walk away with all the credit, even if dipshits like Mayank Shekhar get to voice their opinions, while we do not.

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