Last week one of my friends had gone to have a meeting with a producer and a director for a project to work as a Cinematographer.
The following is what he narrated to me about the incident.
One of the assistant directors who is working in that project, whom I know (he was assisting production coordination in my earlier project) called me up at 2 AM .He said that, he met a director who has screenplay which is going to be made as a film, the shooting starts next week, they are looking for a Cinematographer, and he recommended my name, this film will change the History and Geography of Tamil Cinema forever.
I was not so excited about Changing Tamil Cinema forever, because twice every week I have been hearing such statements from people in the industry, but I was excited that I’m getting a new project to work, but i had a small doubt about why they are looking for a Cinematographer, just one week before the shoot, its very short period.Then i convinced myself saying 'who cares'. Next day I went to meet them. I found the address easily. As I went there I saw a dark man in White dhotis wearing some 13 sovereigns of gold in his neck and hands sitting in the front office, I somehow understood he is the producer. I used the ‘S’ (Sir) word which is very familiar in the industry. He directed me to a room, it was dark and cloudy inside, as they saw the producer everyone got up dropping their cigarettes.
The assistant who had called me introduced me to the director and producer. He gave a very big build up about me, I was happy . The Directed asked everyone to go out, as he is going to narrate the screenplay to me. I was alone with the director in that dark room with a 0 Watt bulb. I asked him, if I can have the Tube light on, he said ‘no, it’s a very dark story, so we need that feel’ .First bell rang in my mind to leave the place, but still I had some hopes and I din want to argue with him on this.
The director spoke for some 20 minutes about the story. Please note ‘about the story’ not the story. He gave the usual speech of how well this film will run and how they are planning to get the national award for the film and stuff.
In the last sentence he said ‘ I wrote this story in 2001’ , and I have been pitching to a lot of producers, only now someone has agreed to produce the film, because he understands the value of the story’, the second bell rang. But still I had some hopes.
I cut short the conversation and asked him to give a copy of the screenplay so that I can read it at home and may be come back tomorrow. He said ‘no’. I thought, he didn’t want the story to go out, maybe he doesn’t trust me, so I said ‘ you can trust me, I know one of your assistants very well and nothing will go out’. He said ‘no boss, it’s not like that, the reason is that, we don’t have a written screenplay.’
I was shocked, not because he doesn’t have a written screenplay(because most of the films are made in the 'yellam mindla irruku sir' method), I was shocked because he had noting in written as a document, and they had decided to go for a shoot in a week’s time and there is a producer sitting to support them by funding.
But I still had some hope, the reason being, sometimes they use Hollywood film DVD as their script book. So I immediately thought that he is going to make some Hollywood film in Tamil, and some where I was appreciating him thinking that, lot of directors when they copy a Hollywood film, they write a script separately again, I was thinking that he is so smart that he must have made a lot of DVD copies of the Hollywood film and distributed to all technicians and artists.
Now I have to select proper words to frame my question ‘Which Hollywood film is this’. I selected the most commonly used safe word, the ‘I’ (Inspiration) word. My question was ‘What was your inspiration‘. He was offended suddenly, he said ‘I don’t get inspired or influenced by others films; people should get inspired by seeing my film’. I somehow managed to convince him that I din mean ‘Which Hollywood film is this’. The conversation continued.
THE SCREENPLAY OR THE SCENES HE TOLD ME CANNOT BE WRITTEN HERE, BECSUE IT’S NOT PROFESSIONALISM. HE NARRATED ME A STORY.
Then he said ‘do you know any new- face girl to do the lead role in this film. I’m a decent guy, but she should be adjustable to the producer and the financier. By the by you never said anything about the story, or the project as such all the while’
I said ‘ALL THE WHILE I WAS LAUGHING THROUGH MY ASS’
Aftermath: I never picked that assistant directors call, ever.I deleted him from my friends list on Orkut to Facebook and told Dawood to write about this incident on his blog, without even bothering that he will laugh at it through his ASS