Delhi world book fair 2012

Delhi world book fair is back. Went there yesterday and obsessively browsed the titles in the stalls. Couldn’t even finish 50% of the fair in a solid 4 hours.

Book fests can be an adventurous journey where you even don’t  know what you are looking for. If you want to buy an Amitav Ghosh or an Orhan Pamuk or a Deepak Chopra, you don’t need to a book fest. You can just order it sitting at your home. The treasures in book fests hide not in the stalls of the big publishing houses but the small and obscure stalls which may throw in front of you even more obscure titles. Some of those really make you go after them. You know from your heart that you need to get them. Also if you don’t lap them up there itself, you may never find those books again in your life. Those books are the rare homeless butterflies that suddenly fly out into the sun for a brief moment never to be seen again.

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Giving feedback: To hurt or to lie?

The Birds by Phillie Casablanca

One of my friends called me a few days back. He was drunk. He was very excited about this idea which he was planning to develop into this 30 minute abstract drama. It is always very tough when some one asks your opinion about something which they are really excited about. And it becomes even more tough because they call you because they expect you to be honest with them. So I told him the truth after coating some sugar on it. But the sugar coating wasn’t thick enough. Or so he felt. It ended up in a (one sided) polemic about why screenwriting is about selling out compared to writing for theater.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I don’t have any specific commitment or love for truth. If I am given a choice between hurting someone and telling a lie, I would always choose the second one without batting an eye. But sometimes you make a mistake about how much pain you can cause. You misjudge about the level of rejection some one can take. And often it is very unpleasant to think about the amount of effort someone is going to put into a ‘nothing’ because you also said ‘yes.’

It made me think about subjectivity and objectivity in relation to art. It is really tough at times. Especially with screenwriting, Continue reading

Should cannabis be legalised?

There is a lot of confusion across the globe regarding whether to decriminalise cannabis use with or without legalisation.  Some countries like Canada, UK, France, Switzerland, Belgium have been trying to make rules more permissive. The realisation that cannabis may have therapeutic value in certain situations like cancer & HIV weight loss, nausea associated with chemotherapy etc may be partially responsible for this. But there is strong international pressure, especially from the International narcotics control bureau (INCB), to abide by the global policies framed in accordance to UN conventions.

I recently presented a seminar in regard to this reviewing the evidence for and against cannabis use decriminalisation and legalisation.

These are the bottom lines-

Hazards related to cannabis use:

It is a well accepted fact that deaths related to alcohol and tobacco (which are legally permitted substances) are more than cannabis by a ratio of at least 10:1. So question is, what is the basis of cannabis being illicit while both alcohol and tobacco are not? Is it just that the countries which are major producers of alcohol and tobacco products have more clout in the international arena? Continue reading

My scriptwriting strategies for 2012

It is a little late to write down a list of resolutions for 2012, I know. But this has been the way the year started for me. I was on vacation for first two weeks which was followed by a hectic apartment shift and some heavy duty academic stuff by the side. I still have not picked up all the pieces. But I am on my way.

So why bother with this post? Let me tell me, putting down in public my strategies and commitments for the year and updating about them from time to time (1,2,3,4) has been one of the smartest things that I did last year. There was a steep climb in my writing curve. Also it gave a certain direction for the whole year.

To summarise last year in writing:

The plan-

I realised that rather than spending too much time on networking, I should concentrate on building up a body of work. What is the point of talking with a stakeholder if you really have nothing worthwhile to offer him?

Output-

I increased my productivity by putting consistent checks on the net and pretty much everything else. My page count doubled compared to previous year.

My short film thriller script ‘The search’ was bought by a filmmaker friend in Canada and we developed it further together. His previous short film has been to Cannes. Hopefully ‘The search’ is going to get made this year.

Co-written adaptation of a Malayalam film for a Bollywood director who already has 2-3 credits is getting some eyeballs. Another co-written thriller script which we had set up as an indie project has covered some ground after around one year.

Failures-

Restrictions on the net and the lack of mobility due to my current work cut down my networking dramatically. Continue reading