bhav-tol

When a producer writes to you that “your script is relevant and exciting and reads well throughout. Overall the story is excellent and has all those interesting elements to have a cinematic potential. I see this as a story that can turn into something special and I am curious to see what happens in it”, you know the world is no longer what it used to be.

When we were children, we were trained to never, never show excitement when setting out to buy something. Mummy or Aunty or Grandmother or Older Cousin or Neighbour Aunty, used to din into our heads, “Now don’t you go jumping around the shop, saying you like this, you like this. Ohkay?” And we would go into the shop and pretend that everything was horrible, and the shopkeepers too pretended that they did not want to sell anything, anyway. At least in old time Poona, the shopkeepers scowled at you when you walked into their shop, as if to say, “Why the hell are you disturbing me? What do you want? I don’t have it. I don’t want to sell it. Now will you go away please?”

Without this complex drama of not wanting to buy, and not wanting to sell, how ever could you arrive at a reasonable price?

In Bumm-Bumm-Bhole-Land, of course, you get most of your shopping at a mall, where the sales staff is almost always obsequious, and the prices non-negotiable and you almost always come away with a bad bargain. Knowing that I pay through my nose at the mall, I refuse now to bargain with roadside vendors, because I think it is unfair that I should haggle for a few rupees for vegetables or fruits when I don’t haggle over my clothes or bags or shoes.

But sometimes, I miss those old-world brusque shopkeepers, my father being one of them.

However, since negotiating has lost its charm, I am quite pleased with the above-mentioned letter. My last experience with CFSI, when I made ‘Lilkee’ was very sarkari, communication was terse and dry, and not until 4 years after I made the film and the management changed, did I hear one word about my film – where it had been screened, what the response had been, whether they themselves had liked it or not.

I never, ever wanted to make a film for CFSI again, but a little bit of praise for ‘Lilkee’, a little bit of information about the film’s screenings, and it all seemed worth it.

CFSI is also now restoring and digitizing some of their best films. Properly packaged DVDs, with subtitles and language options should soon be available at Crossword. ‘Lilkee’ is amongst these films.

Having grown up in times when children were never praised for the fear that they would get spoiled or the fates would zap them with an evil eye, I don’t need much applause. But a little something is welcome.

18 comments

  1. Yes, I think our Indian upbringing has scarred us for life – I for one find it very odd that here in the US, “excitement” is used to convey one’s reaction to just about everything. When you hear people claiming to be excited to say, be present at meetings, you wonder if they are just going around in a constant state of excitement😛

    • Lekhni, yes, another thing we kept being told was “Don’t laugh so much, or you’ll cry.” I mean, what was that?:)

      • What goes up must come down! Which makes sense for physical objects. Maybe it does for emotions too- staying on an even keel is surely better for us!
        Loved the varied yet linked content of this post. What a nice, warm letter of approval, Banno. All the best for your film.

  2. Even as an excitable American, I think those words sound like fine praise indeed! And totally merited, I have no doubt!😀 (And tell your foreign friends when you see the DVD out so we can place our orders!)

    • Beth, thank you. The words are for my new script, and I hope I’ll soon have that film going under production.:)

      I will certainly trumpet my DVD in Crossword, I mean, so what if I don’t have a published book, what?:)

  3. My parents were always very liberal with their praise when my sister and I were kids – if we deserved praise, we got it, and in truckloads.:-) But yes, to get praise when one doesn’t expect it (frankly, even when one knows one’s done something worthy of praise!) is always good. Well done, and I’m hoping and praying you’ll soon have a film from that script under way…

    • Violet, ‘Lilkee’ my earlier film should soon be available on DVD. The next one is yet to be shot, edited, etc, etc. So another year at the minimum, I would say.

    • Memsaab, I’m hoping that this time round I’ll be able to blog more regularly while making the film. The last time, I’d just begun blogging and was still grappling with it. Should be fun, though a tough shoot, as the entire film is based in a village in Garhwal. As for Dhanno, yes, we are all relieved, even her, that she’s not going away for a while.

  4. Two adults and one child, in a building near you, are already filled with anticipation and excitement. The child was duly informed that you were going to make another film, the information prompted a broad smile.

    This, despite the fact that she mostly disapproves of films!

  5. People, where I live just don’t understand that shopkeepers in Bombay are impolite and one doesn’t smile at them and thank them!
    The cultural divide

  6. First of all – WOW! and congratulations….as a writer constantly starving for praise, I know how awesome it feels to get it. Savour it, believe every word of it and please please let me know when we can see your film:)

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