Sunday, 12 October 2008

What is the genre of my life?

If I were to write a screenplay of my life and pitch it to a potential producer, how would I describe it? How would I sell it? How would I make it short and sweet? Would it be a comedy or a tragedy, or something in-between? Would it be a sophisticated Woody Allen take on the cosmopolitan lifestyle of a 20-something female lead in a leafy Adelaide setting? Would it be packed with Martin Scorcese twists and turns in the life of an adveturous young woman in a home away from home? Would it be the subject of a Gurinder Chadha drama on the funny and no-so-funny aspects of being a modern Indian woman? Would it be a Richard Linklater conversation between a smart lady and a bright gentleman at the transit lounge of an international airport? Would it be a Karan Johar extravaganza with a blooming girl who breezes through life by dancing at Hindu weddings and in Swiss streets with equal aplomb? Would it be a new-Bollywood Farhan Akhtar flick packed with friends, lovers and the self-discovery of youth in a swish urban background?

I wish there were a genre called 'life'. And that would make life easier for all kinds of writers, directors and agents. Ne need to explain a plot that doesn't have an end. No need to apologise for a heroine who can look good and think. No need to hide the objects of affection that arrived before the soulmate. No need to elaborate on other-worldly cultural references and colours. No need to load every spoken word with a formal statement of intent. No need to push characters beyond their paper existence.

Experience and instinct tell me that good writing must have clarity as well as elegance. So here's my pitch - I want to make an ordinary film about an ordinary life, and the audience can decide if it's special. The life I want to depict is ordinary because there is a lot of reading, writing, talking, eating, loving and leaving involved. The film I want to make about this life is ordinary because it will use cameras, tripods, microphones, lighting, computers and editing equipment. And hence, you must invest in it because it will transcend its ordinaridess in its specificity. Every detail will be illuminated until it becomes the centre of your audio-visual universe. Logic and meaning will arise from lingering, not cutting. You will feel texture in two dimensions.

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