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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Writing

Only a fool writes for anything but money, the compassionate and learned can share his knowledge about anything under the sun for hours. One should write for what one stands for and not what the people demands. Writing helps in facing our fears, aspirations, perceptions and illusions about ourselves with a frankness that makes the portraits and stories as engrossing as they are disturbing.

There were three basic parameters for good writers considered by me. They are command over language, observation power and experience.

1- Language is natural fracture across communities and it will always be. I can't boast of proficiency in a foreign language like English without having a good command over my own mother tongue. Learning metaphors in a language is like deep water diving into clean ocean. Gradually, one enjoys subtle humor in generating charm through understanding of medium.

2- I was advised by a reader to observe at least for 10 minutes. I started this in local transport and found faces and hand movements beautiful. This observation was dropped by me further as I only tried to be receptive and become aware of the world around me.

3- I am a poor writer in the fiction genre. The experience is missing in the life, a statement that was aptly put by Werener Herzog about film making. It was just opposite to the world of Thoreau that takes the path of thr woods.

Go out to where the real world is, go work as a bouncer in a sex – club, a warden in a lunatic asylum or in a slaughterhouse. Walk on foot, learn languages, learn a craft or trade that has nothing to do with cinema. Filmmaking must have experience of life at its foundation. I know that so much of what is in my films is not just invention, it is very much life itself, my own life. ---  Werner Herzog

The cultural part is hugely reflected in our writing as it embarks our search of identity. There is a constant state of euphoria in the name of entertainment and dose of reality is always injected to come out of it. Also describing this in words of Czech writer Milan Kundera, an individual need to keep intact personal narratives that the state tears apart by violence, undermines by erasure, and unravels by substituting personal testimonies with official documents.

We should never underestimate power of story and myths. Story-telling, history and memory play vital parts in building this 'whole' Identity of the Individual, society and Nations. That can be the power of fiction in the world full of lies and deception.

There is a quote in Shakespeare play, King Lear : We will all laugh at gilded butterflies. A butterfly is already something of great beauty and functionality. Gold leafing it is an example of human arrogance in thinking that gilding a butterfly makes it better when in fact, it would destroy both its great natural beauty and its ability to fly. In the pursuit of fame and success, save your true nature within...

I will quote Jigna Kothari's article from PFC to end mine opinions:  To sum up what everyone was trying to point out when you don the hat of the writer is:

-Know your culture and stay true to it.
-Don’t be ashamed of your roots because that’s what made you. Reflect that in your story.
-Be sensitive to whats happening around you and try and reflect that in words.
-Don’t think global, think desi. It is not about reaching the audiences far and wide it is about reaching the heart of the person you are narrating to.
-Don’t slot your stories in commercial or off beat arena.
-Write in the language that you understand.
-Believe in what you write.

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