A prophet

The seamless believability. Yeah, the seamless believability of this coming of age story/gritty prison drama/crime fiction- it’s awesome. The writers sketch the growth of a newly transferred in 19 year old prisoner inside the jail from a novice to some kind of a crime kingpin over 6 years. But the only unbelievable, hero-ish, luck on his side feat he performs in the whole story is a 30 second shootout in the climax (which I forgive for the brilliant visualisation of that scene).

It is typical Hollywood crime fiction material when you think about it. But what sets this French film apart is the sheer intelligence in writing and direction. A lot of ‘connection’ scenes are omitted at the script level such that audience is forced to make those connections on their own. No moral rationalisations by any of the characters. There are no relentless, emotion building background scores. No speeches of victory or damnation. No thrust in love stories which stick out like a horse in a swimming pool. The eye for detail is not sacrificed for a compulsive break neck pace.

This is what it takes to please both the public and the critic. And also to win the Grand prix in Cannes.


Get up…

Writing has slowed up a little in the last two three weeks. Had gone home for a week. Came back into a plethora of academic assignments.  Also working on fixing papers written by some colleagues and juniors.

The thriller project has again hit a rough patch in the last week. The financier developed cold feet 2-3 days before signing the papers. The sad thing is that we had covered all the hard parts. They were finally convinced about the script, didn’t want any changes in the script ( initially they had some issues with the climax) and agreed for almost the entire team that we asked for. We knew that we had hit the jack pot in having complete creative freedom despite being new comers to the industry. But finally everything fell through the cracks.
Only good thing that is coming out through all these debacles is the fact that no one really had any issue with the script. The script is good. Every time the issue was that we had none among us who is a proven name. If we had a star, we could have made this film any day even without a bound script. That’s Bollywood for you.

Photo by hanneorla


And I looked at the men, the brave and beautiful men beside me, running into the guns, and God help me for thinking it, and God forgive me for saying it, but it was glorious, if glory is a magnificent and raptured exaltation.  It was what love would be like, if love was a sin. It was what music would be, if music could kill you.

Sometimes the lion must roar, just to remind the horse of its fear.

If fate doesn’t make you laugh, you just don’t get the joke.

The truth is a bully that we all pretend to like.

The only force more cynical and ruthless than the business of big politics is the politics of the big business.

Heroes come only in three kinds: dead, damaged, or dubious.

The only victory that really counts in prison is survival.

Some of the worst wrongs were caused by people who tried to change things.

When we are young, we think that suffering is something that’s done to us. When we get older-when the steel door slams shut, in one way or another- we know that real suffering is measured by what’s taken away from us.

Dead lovers are the toughest rivals in love.

Prisons are the temples where devils learn to pray. Every time we turn the key we twist the knife of fate, because every time we cage a man we close him in with hate.

Justice is not done until every one is satisfied, even those who offend us and must be punished by us. Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we try to save them.

I realised that I didn’t need their brilliance any more: it couldn’t help me. All the cleverness in all the world couldn’t stop my stomach from knotting over in its prowling fear. When you know you are going to die, there is no comfort in cleverness. Genius is vain, and cleverness is hollow, at the end.