Tweets and Baits: The Fakeness of it All

 

I am passionate about Hindi cinema. Well, who is not, the consumption of cinema is a national pass time. While watching the Newslaundry video interview of filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj, I got a sense that he was hoping that Shekhar Kapur’s much ‘talked about’ film Paani sould see the light of day sooner than later. Vishal Bharadwaj was not sure why Shekhar Kapur would not complete his film but ‘talk about it’ since seven years.

While following Shekhar Kapur on twitter I was rather intrigued to see the following tweet on the 28th November 2012:

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A few days before directly referring to Paani, Shekhar Kapur twitted about cricket, Indian Parliament, politicians, Kejriwal and his Aam Admi Party, the FDI issue etc. This is apparent from his timeline.

Closely analyze the words of the above tweet and it gives a sense that Shekhar Kapur is passionate about his ‘futuristic’ film Paani as a director but he hopes to find an equally passionate producer. In other words, it gives a sense that he has NOT found a producer YET for Paani. So far so good!

On 29th Shekhar tweeted this:

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Again it gives an impression that Shekhar is still on a ‘look out’ for a producer.

On the same day (29th November) he tweets this:

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Why is he referring to himself in third person is anybody’s guess. But so far the tweets (mentioned above) give a sense that Shekhar Kapur has not yet found a producer for Paani and the future of this much ‘talked about’ film is bleak. On the 30th November comes the ‘big’ announcement but in the subtlest form.

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Here Shekhar disclosed his twitter followers the NEWS that Yash Raj Films shall be producing the film. Finally, the acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, director of Elizabeth found a producer for his film (that is ‘like his child’) in Aditya Chopra of YRF. As ironical as it sounds, according to Shekhar Kapur he needed a producer as passionate as him to nurture his child. But wait; did YRF decide to produce Paani overnight? Because just
going back two days, Shekhar seems oblivious to any producer being available. May be I am wrong. But then, what is the meaning of the words: “Will Shekhar Kapur ever make this film that he keeps talking about?” There can be three answers to this question.

a. Yes b. No c. May be

Yes, if he finds a producer! But from the tweets it makes us believe that there isn’t one YET. May be he is still hoping to find an equally passionate producer.

No, there is no producer in sight yet and until he finds a producer Paani cannot be made. So, no Panni. Plain and simple.

May be! This is the tricky one. May be yes, may be no. Yes, he may be able to make his film Paani if he finds a producer, perhaps he is in talk with a few but nothing is finalized yet, right? We don’t know this because he has not mentioned about this anywhere.

Nevertheless, the bottom line remains that Shekhar Kapur had not found a producer for Paani even until 7.59AM 29th November 30, 2012 or had he?

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Interestingly enough, overnight Shekhar Kapur seems to have ‘found’ YRF who apparently decided to spend $30 million on Paani? Sounds exaggerated? May be it is, but then here is another fact.

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On the day Shekhar Kapur decides to let the twitter world know about YRF’s decision to produce Paani the same day Hollywood reporter publishes the same NEWS? So coming back to the moot point, did Shekhar Kapur NOT know two days ago that Aditya Chopra of YRF may produce his film? It is very unlikely. How come Hollywood Reporter published the NEWS the same day? But then, Shekhar Kapur very conveniently got away by baiting his twitter followers by using words such as:

A film needs passion from director, but for a futuristic film as vast as Paani needs producer who is willing 2 give it as much passion (On the 28 th November).

Every1 keeps asking me about star cast of Paani. But d most important person is a producer who is as passionate about d film as I am. Who? (On the 29 th November).

Lets talk about Paani then? Will Shekhar Kapur ever make this film that he keeps talking about? (Again on the 29th November)

Until the 29th November his tweets made an impression that a producer for Paani is a distant future and his ardent ‘followers’ yearning that he finds one soon. Then suddenly on the 30th November we have the announcement of YRF producing it. Strange, but that’s what has happened.

Water scarcity is an issue. This is a known fact. The poorest of the poor living in the slums of Mumbai are the ones to know it best from their lived experience. Perhaps better than you and me who are reading this? Now, do we need Shekhar Kapur to tell us that ‘it is problem’ and perhaps even visually show us his imaginary ‘futuristic’ solution at the cost of Aditya Chopra’s $30 million? This is perhaps the least important question. Because, by the end of the day, no film has been able to come up with a solution. Yes, it may create a certain level of ‘awareness’ amongst a few – especially the urban elites that may watch Paani at the multiplexes. But will it make any difference to ones who can afford bottled water and have access to water tankers?

Will people suddenly give up flush system in their toilets that drain 5 liters of water irrespective if one takes a shit or piss? Will the situation of Paani in India or anywhere in the world be any different after the screening of Paani? I am sure it will cross the 100 crore club, the latest benchmark for a film’s ‘success’ in India. In fact, I am sure it will surpass even 200 crore, but what difference will it make to those kids whose photo was posted by Shekar Kapur in this Paani ‘research pic’?

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For the countless poor in the slums, they will be even glad to just see the film, much less make any difference to their lives. Forget seeing the film, they may not have been fortunate enough to even see their own picture on twitter posted as ‘Paani research pic.’

However, by the time the box-office would have stopped counting, the producer, director, cast and crew, media outlets, distributors and multiplex owners would have all had their share of their pie. After all they would give their sweat, blood and their best effort to make the film Paani a success.

For the audience, I just hope that after seeing the film it makes them a little less thirsty.

RGV’s so called reason for showing SARKAR to Bal Thakarey

Dear RGV, Thank you for answering my query.

20. Why did you buckle under pressure and showed Sarkar to Bal Thackeray?
Ans: Dumbo, he never asked me to show. It was me who was dying to show off.

And also thank you for showing your true colours. It is well known what kind of politician Bal Thackerey and his party is.(For the ones who don’t know I suggest simply google and read what researchers, professors and academics have to say about it’s communal Hinduitva politics.)

And when you say “It was me who was dying to show off” – this can be interpreted in two ways.

Either you LOOK UP to THACKEREY and therefore you wanted to show off your film to him. Honestly, I don’t think you were really tying to “show off” but rather did not have much choice than to screen SARKAR and get Thakarey’s un-official green signal.

I remember clearly evern during MANI RATNAM’S BOMBAY, MANI was put in a similar situation and was told to delete a few scenes and also to change the name of the film BOMBAY TO MUMBAI which he did not accept, but he accepted to delete a few scenes that were showing TINU ANAND playing THACKAREY in a “BAD LIGHT”.

Anyways, I just wanted to let you know Sir. that yes, you can brush me off by calling me a Dumbo, which I may or may not be. But, I am surprised that so many of your fans who really look up to you as a man of courage and honesty and integrity cannot really see thorough your pseudo-boldness.

Your heroes like Harshwardhan Mallik are only limited to film for others to follow but when it come to you to follow the same, you remain to the same group of NAVEEN SANKALIA, just an opportunistic money making machinery. Now, I am not suggesting making “money” is bad. I know that everybody needs it. But what is perhaps more important is how you make it. Is that elaborate lecture of Harshwardhan for only for the audience to follow and not you?

I just hope that people realize the sham. Why preach when you cannot follow!

Sadly perhaps not much can be expected even from your fans here. Barely anyone here on this blog has the guts to blog with their real full names displayed. It is very easy to talk and feel protected with fake ID’s but takes more than “steel balls” to say whatever you want to say with honestly.

Additional thoughts on “What’s in a Title?”

Let us look at the following title and its correlation with the film:

Kaho Na Pyaar Hai
Qyamat Sey Qyamaat Tak
Kagaz Key Phool
Pyaasa
Munna Bhai MBBS
Drohakaal
Raakh
Chachi 420

If we think carefully, we realize that there is not necessarily a quality of ’summation’ of the ENTIRE film in the title.

All I am trying to say is, lets not judge the book by its cover. First lets read it, understand it, try to comprehend it and then re-read it again. Those who read books it will realize that re-reading often add another dimension in understanding the book. One reason for that is that the anxiety of completing the book is over and now you are at ease with the characters in the book. The same can be said for films. After watching a film a number of times, we in a way get “into” the characters and then sometimes like certain things that we disliked in the first viewing and the opposite if also true.

Now, the West, especially HOLLYWOOD has a tendency to summarize the film its title, for example Psycho, Terminator etc. but if you think carefully that is really an easy tank.

It takes a genius to come up with a title like PYAASA, KAAGAZ KEY PHOOL, however before coming up with a such a genius title one needs to come up with an ingenious film.

And just for the record, here in Hollywood and Hollywood North (where I am) people just work on a film with a “working title” sometimes as lame as PERIOD FILM or HISTORY PROJECT. The titles are perhaps thought about much after post-production. Lets not lose focus, the film is of prime importance than the title…

Response to RGV’s “What’s in a Title?”

The film is perhaps more important than the title, if the film is good enough people remember the film and therefore the title. Lets not digress from important questions. Agyaat was a great title but beyond a certain degree because of the agyaat nature of the entity haunting the people it does not grip as well as Blair Witch Project. Incidentally, even in Blair Witch Project we hardly see any entitiy, however the film was still able to not only scare people but also was able to grip its audience.

In case of the great titled film Agyaat, it somewhere felt that your Special Effects people could not come up with a credible entity, perhaps which was suppose to happen in Post Production.

People go to see a film because of the film and not because of the Title. Have you heard anybody say “I am going to see Wanted today its SOUNDS like a great title”? Whether it is Pokkiri that later became WANTED in Hindi, a title my not necessarily have to generate interest in a film, there are innumerable inter-connected complex parameters that help make a movie interesting or generate interest. For the Blair Witch Project it was their internet marketing strategy, various film festival circuits that was responsible for its tremendous popularity. In other words if Blair Witch Project was titled Agyaat or The HAUNTED or THE HUNTING, or THE HUNT or OH MY GOD, I AM SCREWED! it would have still be as successful (if not more) because of the film and not because of the title.

Department or Company 2 or Ab Tak 56 Kay Baad will work if the film works. Wish you the very best.

Response to RAM GOPAL VARMA’s ‘Critical Point’

I have two question for all RGV fans and you may write back here or just ask yourself this:

1. Imagine RANN without Amitabh Bachchan. Do you think this movie would have worked without AB in the film? If the answer is NO, then it is clear that something is missing in the script…

We all know the STAR power of AB and had it not been for AB, RANN would not have even made whatever commercial success it has now.

2. Do you really need to SEE the film? Only the Audio of the film is almost enough to understand the entire film. In other words, unfortunately RGV under-estimated the contribution of VISUALS thereby leading to a very VERBAL SCRIPT.

I shall soon be posting a series of detailed Hindi film analysis and hope RGV fans would like it.

Cheers.

Prashant

Comments on RGV’s ‘Strokes behind Rangeela’

This is written in response to Ram Gopal Varma’s blog on ‘The Strokes behind Rangeela’ a colourful film. Original RGV blog here.

I am glad you wrote about Rangeela, something I was eager to read about, directly from you. In 2005 I was researching on Bioscopes. I wanted to make a documentary on it. Your film ‘Rangeela’ opens with the titles via a Bioscope and then Urmila breaks into the song right after it. I wanted to know more about its significance, i.e. what prompted you to begin the film with a Bioscope? Subsequently, I tried to contact you, spoke to your PRO a number of times to know the same. Unfortunately, I never got a positive reply. I am not sure if he ever mentioned that to you or whether you were simply not interested in replying to my query then. 

However, while you are now opening up, I shall be glad to seek answers to those queries. If you could kindly throw some light on the idea of opening sequence of ‘Rangeela’, specifically beginning from the titles to Urmila’s breaking into the song.

My short film eventually changed completely after I met a wonderful ‘Bioscopewallah’ who dedicated his entire life being a charming entertainer. I finally edited it, excluding all the film clips that i had initially planned to include in my documentary now titled as ‘The Bioscopewallah.’

Thank you for the wonderful ‘insights’ on blogs. It is a brilliant format especially when directors personally contribute and reflect on their filmmaking, its nuances and its aesthetics, something that people in Hollywood could follow.

Good luck,

Regards,

Prashant Kadam
Toronto
http://www.visualcultures.com