Priceless is the word I should use!! Last 50 days ve left me with priceless innumerable moments about which I can proudly go nostalgic for a lifetime. If there is a life after death as in “karan arjun” or “om shanti om”, well.. then too!!!! Malarvaadi has gained everything that we wanted it to. Money for the producer, respect and recognition for the actors and technicians, confidence for the theatre owners who are now ready to go on board with new gen. films, pride for parents …………….and for me, a big fat relief!! If all this hadn’t happened, u guys would ve found me absconding from planet earth; coz for a first time director, for somebody whose father has made it really big in the industry, if the cards are not played right, the aftereffects can be the worst. That’s y I said, a big fat relief.
Generally everytime I write, I keep the dark shades away and peek only into the positives. To an extent, that’s part of my attitude. But once in a while it’s important to unveil the dark or else all that we do might just look like a fairy tale for people. Well, it’s not.
My worst nightmare was the period when I was writing the film. There had been times when I was soaked in depression that I couldn’t write a single line. Every dialogue in every scene would seem so amateur that I felt like burning all those papers. Financially, I was doing nothing for almost six months. U guys can imagine how hard it could ve been for a guy like me. Actually I didn’t ve the heart to do anything else. That’s what writing can do to u. That’s what cinema can do to u. Like an obsessive girl friend, it would demand all ur time and attention, devastate u if things are not right and make u go nuts and nuts for god knows how long!! Those days, after finishing every draft, I would go to my father praying that he should like it. Prayers would all go vapourized once he starts commenting about it. I would go back to chennai, void of ideas, wondering what I should do next.
After my 3rd or 4th draft, while I was going back to chennai, as usual, broken down completely with 60% percent of my script to be re worked, I met somebody at the airport security hold area. It was a middle aged man with a charismatic face who walked up to me and said : “All the best for ur film Vineeth. You ve got ur father’s blood. You should make a great film.” It was immensely inspiring!! I came back to Chennai and made an amazing decision which turned things upside down… I stopped working on my script🙂
That’s right. I didn’t write a single line or re work on a single scene. Instead I started reading, I started watching new films. For almost a month I did nothing else. Then one night, I finished reading a short novel by M Mukundan called Russia and had an adrenalin rush which made me add two dialogues in kumarettan’s tea shop scene which comes in the first reel of Malarvaadi : “Viplavathinte kaalamokke kazhinju shankaraa. Ippo verum akramam maathram. Nammaleppole kurachu vayassanmaarude manassinakathe ullo, viplavam.” I wrote this, sat back, read it and smiled. I knew I was back in the game. I wrote two other scenes on the same night. The next draft was what made my father smile for the first time. Back then, it was a big fat relief!!
There is a reason y I am saying all this now. I met an aspiring writer a few days back. Very young, full of life, made an instant impression. He started talking about films and then I could notice something. Infact, this is one characteristic that I ve been finding common in almost all young aspiring film buffs I meet. Too critical about existing films. He was going on and on about how he didn’t like all the recent films and how stupid all the existing directors are. He had a few interesting criticism on Malarvaadi too. Then we went into his narration and I had the shock of my life. Not just that the narration was absolute blunder, there was not even a single scene that was impressive. Dialogues were extremely flat and most of it was like a mockery made on the society and just looked like a bunch of skits. Once he finished, I gave my honest feedback on the script and he started taking it offensively. Slowly, I withdrew. I felt he was beyond help.
This is not for the first time that I came across someone who wants to believe that he’s too intelligent for anyone to even make an opinion. There are so many people who watch 100s of world classic films, think that they are as intelligent as those directors who made them and starts weighing other films in a so called critical point of view. Their friends tell them that they are too good, these guys float in heaven and then on they start their creative escapades. Well, pseudo intellectuals can’t go a long away. If its about creativity, it needs absolute submission, zero ego and a pure heart.
Talking about pure heart, I recently met someone whom I felt has a heart of gold. That’s director Samudrakkani [director of Nadodigal, actor in Subramaniyapuram]. He came to attend a special screening of Malarvaadi Arts Club in Four Frames theatre, Chennai. Before the show started I was speaking to him about how beautifully he had picturised certain portions of Nadodigal and to my surprise, his response was extremely humble. It was as if he hadn’t done anything at all. He never gave even the slightest airs of being a star maker!!
What surprised me the most was the way he was watching the film. He was nodding his head everytime he liked a dialogue, was laughing his heart out on kuttu’s jokes, even clapped his hands softly for a few scenes. I was sitting right next to him and what I saw was not a film maker.. I saw a film lover.. I saw a passionate human being.
This is what I think aspiring writers and writer/directors should be. To make films, u got to love them. Even in the worst films, u should search for one good quality which could inspire the film maker in you. I feel only then you can graduate from critics to creators.
Like I said earlier in this post; if its about creativity, it needs absolute submission, zero ego and a pure heart. Only a pure heart can hold good thoughts and deliver them onto paper. I really wish to see such pure hearts emerging!!! Now that would be a big fat relief!!!!!!
Less diplomatic vineeth [for a change]