Friday, November 20, 2009


Karan Johar, in an interview with Raja Sen of Rediff, making an admirable amount of sense while discussing the adverse effects of intervals on Bollywood's output. Personally, I see only two ways around this problem - either go the whole hog in preserving your conception of the story by refusing to pander to audiences who want something to discuss while racing to the loo or buying wallet-emptying popcorn, or, in what may prove to be an even tougher decision, make shorter films without breaks.

"So you start, you peak, you pitch, you stop. You build again, you peak, you pitch. So you have two peaks and two pitches and two finales in your film, which you don't realise, actually. Ninety percent of the problem with our scripting is that. On the global level, that's the problem we have.

Actually the half point of 'Khan', the film where one is trying to be careful, is not a peak-pitch point, it's just that something happens and we stop. It would have been seamless without it also, one has been conscious of that. But very rarely do you find that.

So then this writing around an interval means that we end up having to stick to the genres we know best, the ones suited to our mix and match masala genre...

In 90 percent of our films, you know when the interval is happening. You just know it. That means you've written it in a certain way, you've graphed it in a certain way. And that is our big problem, our big, big, big problem.

That's why we don't get most genres right. We don't get a thriller right, ever. Because we have to have that relationship running, that music coming. So we can't have a quintessential thriller, the way it's meant to be done. We can't get a drama right.

We can get comedy right because comedy can be a little sporadic in its narrative structure. And we always get family right, because we know that the best.

No Syd Field can tell you what to do with an interval. He might have a vague understanding of it, having viewed Indian films, but the three-act structure does not work for us. It just doesn't."

1 comment:

k said...

i'm not so sure you couldn't write a thriller with a bi-modal structure such as this. you'd need someone to figure out how to essentially keep people guessing. but then in a thriller that's the job in any case.

might it be that a thriller - especially a "bi-modal" one - is by nature demanding of some real thought or talent which most writers in Bollywood either don't have the option to try (they have to feed themselves) or have stopped caring?