Monday, November 15, 2010

Novel Writer Versus Movie Director - An Old Story

Another controversy we get to see is that about writers who are unhappy with the way the films based on their novels turn out. Most times they are disappointed and make it pretty clear to the director and the producer that it is not what they have written. Some big names downright refuse to accept any such deal unless they see the script and approve of it. Enough to say that the writers are rarely happy with the way their work turns out.

I don't understand this at all. Firstly, when they sell the rights the are aware that the story will be adapted to the demands or the vision of the movie maker i.e. the director. The director will focus on the issue or the core that best represents to him or her the spirit of the movie and goes about with it in the way he wants. After all, no one has agreed to make a movie exactly as the book was written - and this is the first thing that a writer must understand when he signs off his work. That this will be adapted into a totally different medium by another person who looks at it through his vision. Which in effect means that it is now the work of the director and not that of the writer anymore. So please sit back and enjoy what the director makes of it. It is his work from now on so. Get it!

However if you do not agree with this and feel that as a writer you will protest and make a fuss and not agree with what the director is doing (and have a special vision for the movie as well) I suggest that you please go write the screenplay and direct the movie as well. If you cannot, please chill and enjoy a creative work based on your work.

I view the current adaptation of my book 'The Men Within' into a Telugu movie in this sense. The movie is entirely Mohana Krishna Indraganti's work and he deserves all credit for viewing it the way he did, for etching out the characters, detailing, scenes and weaving a visual story that entertains in every sense. It is tough work, this direction business, and I do not see myself doing even a fraction of what Mohana Krishna did in the past one year or so for all the millions in the world. Writing the story, adapting it into a taut screenplay, checking locations, narrating the story to the lead actors, casting more than 60 characters, shooting through the summer heat of 45 degrees without losing it, managing your crew, handling crowds of 600 plus junior artistes, directing and getting the best out of an adolescent bunch of kids, checking out lyrics, music composition and God knows what all I missed - and all that, with a huge smile and a ready joke.

'When I speak into the mike,' Mohana Krishna says, fully aware of his responsibility, 'everyone draws energy from the way I sound. It matters how I sound - energetic and in control - and that sets the tone from the first shot in the morning at 7 am or the last shot at 6 pm'. I think we all sailed through this project for the past six months so easily, thanks to Mohan's easy going nature and good humour. And any aspiring directors out there who were part of that shoot can straight away copy Mohan for the way he handles people, the way he handles egos and for bringing the best out from everyone around without getting into their space.

Anyway, to get back to my original track, this is entirely Mohan's vision (visualising the whole movie, scene by scene and making it as he saw it in his mind - truly stumps me). I am really curious, honored and excited to see what this talented film maker has made for all of us to watch from 'The Men Within'. I'd say that it will be a cinematic experience that will do justice to this young director's abundant potential, enhance his reputation as one of those to watch out for, and will make many film makers and viewers sit up and take notice - beyond far horizons.
More on Mohan later!

1 comment:

Rajendra said...

I was tired just watching him, when I visited the shoot! Great energy, and enthusiasm, Mohan has.