Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Adapted Screenplay

Adapted Screenplays seem to be such beautiful things to me. They represent the perfect example of symbiosis in the world of art, literature, theatre and films. A motion picture adaptation of a well known and acclaimed novel or drama is hyped and people wait for its release once the news about the movie adaptation breaks out. And thus, the movie sells like hot cakes and people throng the multiplexes without finding out whether the movie is really good or not. The recent movie 3 Idiots based of Chetan Bhagat’s novel ‘Five Point Someone’ is the most suitable example for this. I and many of my friends awaited its release well before the movie was relaesed.

On the other hand if the movie based on a less known novel becomes a blockbuster, people crowd the bookstores looking for the original script or the novel. The last year’s Academy Award winner Slumdog Millionaire holds a testimony to this fact. Few knew about Vikas Swarup’s novel ‘Q & A’ before it was made into a movie which won the Oscar Award. This was despite the fact that the novel had already won the Republic of South Africa’s Boeke Prize in 2006.

I watched 3 Idiots because I knew about ‘Five Point Someone’ and read ‘Q & A’ because I had seen Slumdog Millionaire. Either way, one benefits from the other and vice versa and the different genres of art continue to flourish. But the problem arises when one is not given the due credits for the success of the others, as happened in the case of ‘Five Point Someone’. Everyone who had read the novel before could easily relate to the novel, with obvious differences of course. And it looked very absurd and astonishing when the makers of the movie discarded the similarities saying that the movie resembled the novel only by 2-5%.

On the other hand, one can find relatively fewer similarities between Slumdog Millionaire and ‘Q & A’ and still the movie makers sitting in England didn’t forget to give due credits and acknowledgement to the Indian writer. Quite contrary to what the Indian moviemakers did to the Indian writer!! Sometimes I wonder whether it is in the nature of us Indians to take all the credits on ourselves and leave the blame for others. We always like to have our pie in someone else’s success and quite comfortably shift the blame on others when something wrong happens. Well, that is another story. What bothers me now is irrespective of it is the fault of moviemakers of 3 Idiots or that of Chetan Bhagat to gain more popularity and be the centre of media (as alleged by the moviemakers), this trend is not good for the movie industry or the novelists and writers. The symbiosis between the various genres of art should continue as it has in the past. And if it is disturbed in any manner, both the genres are going to suffer. And apart from the moviemakers and the novelist, going to suffer a lot are the movie-goers and the book lovers, who would loose interest in the ‘Adapted Screenplay’ Symbiosis.

And What a Loss that would be!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why do We Celebrate 26 January??

We celebrated 60 years of being a republic yesterday. But did we? I mean did it mean anything more than just a holiday to most of the people of the nation? I guess not. At least it didn’t mean anything to mean and my friends. Munching the boondi ladoos and fried peanuts in the mess, given on the auspicious occasion, I asked my friend whether it was essential to distribute these or whether we needed to celebrate republic day even. And the answer was a flat ‘No’. Quite true and justified!!

The question is why do we need to celebrate a day when we can’t relate to it? How have the people of this ‘great’ nation benefitted from the Right to Vote and other rights granted by our Constitution? The rich are enjoying life as they did during the colonial era and it actually doesn’t bother them who is sitting at the Centre and making policies. The poor are getting poorer and hardly get any time from their struggle to survival to think about the governance. It is only the middle class which is concerned about the government. But that interest is also fading as it is broken by the false promises of the government. Right to Equality is there but those who have money in their pockets want and actually are treated with special care and attention. Celebrities are treated as Gods and netas (political leaders) as the makers or our ‘destiny’. We have the Right to Speak but no one is there to listen to our grievances. We have the Right to Move Anywhere within the country but MNS is there to beat the north Indians out of ‘their’ state, and ironically no government can act against it. We have the Right to Education but there are no schools and if schools are there, tutors are not!!

The government says that the country is growing at a rate as never before but is this development really reaching the lowest strata of the society?  Are those located in the remote countryside actually able to enjoy the benefits of freedom and democracy? The poverty has risen to 37 percent and about 400 million people live below the poverty line. And by no means is the number small. So, instead of creating a hoopla about the day and wasting the precious money of the taxpayers, wont it be better to do something meaningful for the aam aadmi (the common people)? Something to which the junta relate to? Something for which we wait for this day every year? Something which can make the day cheerful and enjoyable, instead of making it boring and sluggish?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Less Earning IITians

According to an article published in The Times of India (, the average annual salary of the IIT graduates has decreased by 5% in 2009. While this may bring a wave of sadness for many students studying in the prestigious IITs (and even more terror for their parents), I see a lot of positives from this news (WHAT!! Do I even remember that I am still unplaced?).

Lately, these institutes have become a mere brand-name provider for the students and those lucky enough to study here have forgotten the importance of learning the subject matter and are too satisfied with the fact that they would get a certificate from the IITs after the completion of their degree with which they can swiftly and easily sail through the world. They perhaps don’t remember that while a name can open so many doors of opportunities, the same is closing a lot more doors of learning and skill enhancement. I don’t remember how many times I have discussed this with friends that students in other private colleges have a lot more technical knowledge than us. All we (the ‘revered’ IITians) bother about is cramming one day before the exams and ‘vomiting’ in the papers. So, when we don’t excel the graduates from other colleges in terms of our technical knowledge, why should we get better salaries than then? Just because we cracked a difficult exam called IIT-JEE? Seems quite indigestible!!

According to the report, the reason for the dip in the salaries is the global economic recession. Maybe, but doesn’t seem cent percent true because while the salaries at IITs decreased, the average at the NITs increased by 6%. Another reason which the report cites is the fact that a large number of ‘bright’ students from the IITs opted for higher studies. Well, this seems a little reasonable but the fact here is that even those (so called) ‘bright’ students want to take up a high paying job when the campus placements start despite knowing that they are not going to join it. Aakhir kuchh security to chahiye hi aur phir izzat ki bhi to baat hai!! (It is a matter security and prestige, isn’t it??)

Looking at the broader picture, it is nice to know that other colleges are doing well in terms of placements as this would reduce the stress which students face during their 10+2. And even better news is that maybe it will open the eyes of the dreaming IITians and strive harder to be better engineers, which actually is needed of them!! J