Be it Missra Ben or Mamta di, Harvinder or Sky, there are some serious anger issues here. And behind that anger there’s probably a very interesting story.
- Did her older sibling bonk her on the head with a toy guitar and tell her she was picked up from the gutter? (no jokes – I know someone who did this… and it wasn’t meJ)
- Did a cackling crow keep him awake all night?
- In the class 3 production of the Princess and the Frog was she cast as the frog?
- Did his parents never let him watch WWF?
Now sure, none of these are probably the truth – but each one of these is a pretty interesting starting point to a story. As would be the real reasons behind the murderous rage that so many people seem to be showing nowadays. Maybe it’s the Kolla veri song itself that causes people to lose their rationality and start heaving things at each other, assassinating doors and butchering inanimate objects… Wow! There’s another film here (if any producers, writers, directors are reading this column and planning to filch any of these – refrain – any idea mentioned here has been registered already – so Nyaah, nyaah ne nyaah na!!!
What’s my point – well my dad and several others keep asking me where I get the idea for my stories and scripts from. And just before beginning to keyboard this column, I was stuck for a pretty long time figuring what I should write about. Which is exactly what happens before I get the idea for a story or script – so I decided to use this piece to answer the question – what is the trigger point for a story?
And the answer is… wait for it… ANYTHING. EVERYTHING!
Let me illustrate.
AAJ KI TAAZA KHABAR
About 4 years ago I read a news item about 5 call centre employees pulling off a scam of about 2.5 crores. What excited me wasn’t the scam but the thought – why did these normal middle class youths do this? What prompted such all consuming greed?
As it turned out, I did sweet F^%$ all with the idea. But then the idea came back to me earlier this year when I read about a young college kid who’d scammed 25 lakhs using the internet. Now again what really got my creative juices flooding my cranium was a comment by one of the guys who’d gotten scammed – “This boy is so brilliant. I hope he gets on the right path.”
In that line was the tragedy of the story and of a generation. Super smart, multi-talented young kids with the promise of becoming the next Tendulkar/Bachchan/Jobs throwing it all away for instant gratification. And thus was born Money Devo Bhava.
Kalyug happened similarly with Mahesh Bhatt having come across a news article about a young couple who’d gone to celebrate their honeymoon and realized that their marital coupling had been recorded and turned into erotic entertainment! And he asked himself – what would a simple middle class boy put in such a situation do? That’s how that tale began…
Two leading newspapers today are running a story about how Mumbai-ites are seriously vacation deprived (me too). Maybe there’s a film here…
MAIN TOH BHEL PURI KHA RAHA THA
Then there are those moments when you just see a small incident in front of you and an entire story unfolds.
For me that happened when I was trying to retrieve what I thought was my suitcase from an airport conveyor belt and a fairly embarrassing incident didn’t happen. But it hit me – it could have happened. I could have gotten slapped. Or arrested. Which led to a screwball comedy about a couple, a red suitcase and loads of on the run madness in a foreign country. Anybody with contacts in Thailand/Mauritius/Maldives or just some spare crores lying around, do get in touch. J
YEH HAI MERI KAHANI
One’s own life and experiences – best take off point for a story. Like my film Chickotee – sure the base story of the film isn’t exactly my own, though I must confess I did have a crush on the girl next door when I was… actually who cares about the age (and even if you do, get lost). Mudda is several incidents in the script have originated from a host of crazy shenanigans during my childhood in various railway colonies – be it the ill fated attempt at checking out the haunted building in the neighbourhood or the colony play (yah so I wasn’t Ali Baba but the robber chief – didn’t anyone tell you villains are more interesting?)
Taking off from one’s own life have lead to masterpieces like Janam, Arth, Almost Famous. So not a bad place to start.
Of course there are also times when after seeing someone’s movies one wonders – My God! What happened in that guy’s life? Like say Pyar Ka Punchnama – I never want to meet the women who came into that writer’s life. Or say Shankar’s movies – all of which have the protagonist decimating representatives of the system – cops/politicos/bureaucrats et al in the goriest, max agony causing fashion – cooking them alive (Anniyan/Aparichit), disembowelling on national TV (Indian/Hindustani). That way he was fairly gentle and teddybearish in Mudalvan/Nayak (only suspensions and jail terms) and in Sivaji (just took away all their money and bashed them up a bit – though the main villain did get stampeded and trodden to death). The question that my brother and I come up after rewatching any of his films (we love them J) is – who committed what unspeakable atrocity to him/ his family/his pets when he was growing up???
CHURA LIYA HAI TUMNE
Ok. Forget the title above (I only chose it to get your attention). Am talking about shameless filching from Hollywood/South/Korea etc. There are times when a film or TV show or book can give rise to a totally unrelated idea. Like when I saw the promo for Karthik calling Karthik – just the phone call led me to think of a call between a guy and girl. Of course with a huge twist which involves different eras, attempting to change the past… ‘Nuff said. It’s a doozie. Don’t want to make this entire column sound like a pitch for my work but in case you do know some Moneybags… nudge, nudge, wink, wink. J
And sometimes two people can come up with the same idea at the same time. When I was still in school (and supposedly swotting for the JEE) I’d come up with this idea of two powerful, business families at war and to save them from this battle, the sons are sent off to study abroad. As it turns out the two sons meet, become friends but when they come back to Inda… Mahabharat time. And then a couple of years later I saw two films Kshatriya and Parampara. Darned if they weren’t exactly the same idea. Now I hadn’t told the idea to anyone so it couldn’t have been filched.
Wait a minute… what if someone entered my mind and stole the idea? Hey… that’s a great idea for a film… Dude. Have you seen Inception? Goddammit– somebody did it to me again!
‘Nuff Said J
By Anand Sivakumaran