September 17, 2013

Of filmmaking and writing

Dear M,

One of our friends is directing his first film. It's close to release and we see its promos in the newspaper, television and social media. While I am excited for him, I also feel awed by the kind of effort that goes into making a movie.

We first heard about his maiden movie two years ago. In the intervening time, I didn't hear anything and I was afraid to ask. What if it had come to nothing? What if somehow it had failed and they had to shelve it? I could not bear to think of such disappointments. Heck, I know what disappointments are like!

I was very relieved to know that all was well and proceeding as per plan. Inevitably, thoughts turned to my own creative pursuits. In that sense, we writers are a luckier lot. If one MS fails, we don't lose much, perhaps a little money that we spent on editors or so. A huge file or a PC full of stories and jottings. A film maker, on the other hand, invests so much. So many people are involved in the making. So much money. So many locations and studio and outdoor arrangements. So many things. I am glad I chose a safer passion. At least I am the only free resource involved in this. I don't get to ruin any other person's life. There is a limit to the money I can spend. Every word I write (though it comes to nothing) is a lesson that is cheaper compared to what every movie frame would cost. The disappointment is just as great though, in both cases, but the burden is definitely more in a film maker's failure. I won't ever be able to bear such a load, for sure. Maybe that's why I was not led to venture into it.

Sometimes these kinds of thoughts help us to cope. Not that someone else's failure should make us happy - it is that we can't wade in self-pity when there are others risking every paise they own into their dream, knowing that what is at stake could ruin their entire family for generations, and yet bracing themselves against the worst and fighting for their dream. How much ever I do will not be enough to come anywhere close.

But it doesn't work all the time. Some days our losses seem to be the end of the world. But then, there comes tomorrow. And, as a brilliant writer once said, tomorrow is yet another day.


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