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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Actress Ananya’s house submerged by Kerala floods


Kerala floods are among the worst calamities in recent times. The floods have submerged around 1/3rd of Kerala and brought normal lives to a halt. The rich and poor were equally facing the consequences. Actress Ananya, who has acted in several Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu films has recently released a video on social media in which she has stated that her house was completely flooded and she has to move out with her family. She is familiar to Telugu audience as she acted as the love interest of Sharwanand in the film ‘Journey’ and played the role of Nithin’s sister in ‘A Aa’.

Actress Ananya’s house submerged by Kerala floods

She also said that her relatives living in surrounding areas have to vacate and move out. She is currently staying at the house of another actress Asha Sharath, who played the role of an investigative officer in the film ‘Bhagamathi’. Ananya and Asha Sharath are currently staying at Perumbavoor. Ananya has asked everyone to come forward and help Kerala, and has also thanked everyone that who helped her and her family.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali to remake Vijay-starrer Kaththi in Bollywood

Vijay’s 2014 action drama film, Kaththi, was directed by A. R. Murugadoss. It was a blockbuster in Tamil and one of the highest grossing films. The film deals with the problems of the farmers and corrupt corporate system. Vijay played dual roles in the film and is seen as Jeevanandam and Kathiresan. Vijay is teaming up with AR Murugadoss again for his upcoming film, Sarkar, which is scheduled to release on this Diwali.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali to remake Vijay-starrer Kaththi in Bollywood

It was remade in Telugu as Khaidi No 150 starring Megastar Chiranjeevi in lead role. The film was released on Makara Sankranthi of 2017, and went on to become one of the highest grossers of Tollywood. It was marked as 150th film of Chiranjeevi and his return to silver screen after a hiatus. Both Tamil and Telugu versions were well received by the audience.

The Hindi remake rights of the film have been acquired by the producer and director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The film will be produced under his home production, SLB films, which has remade ‘Vikramarkudu’ and ‘Ramana’ as ‘Rowdy Rathore’ and ‘Gabbar is back’ respectively. The makers are planning for a star cast for the film. The cast and crew will be announced shortly. The industry circles have huge expectations on the project and they are expecting another blockbuster.

Deva Katta talks about film critics

The reviews and ratings play a key role in commercial box-office performance of a film. The film industry has always shown its double standards towards the review writers. The films that get positive reviews will celebrate the reviews and ratings. The actors and technicians will share and circulate the ratings of popular websites. The PR team will spread the reviews in order to create the positive buzz about the film. But things will be different if a film fails to impress the audience. The review writers give low ratings and poor ratings which will affect the collections. The filmmakers openly attack the review writers calling them tasteless and not worth such films. Some filmmakers made the review writers responsible for the failure of their films. Such double standards are common nowadays.

Deva Katta talks about film critics

The talented writer and director, Dev Katta, was asked to express his opinion on review writers. He said that the review writers are doing their job in the same manner the filmmakers are doing their job. He further added that just as the filmmakers have the right to make films on wide range of topics, the review writers have the right to express their opinion. Review writing and critical analysis of films has grown into a business of its own potential and there are many people choosing it as a profession. The review writer is one among the first of the audience and many review writers mention at the bottom that it’s just their opinion. Deva Katta understands the creative liberty of review writers to express their opinion on movies.

Monday, 20 August 2018

An introduction to screenwriting (Part-3): Story structure

This is the third part of the series on screenwriting. Clickhere for first part of the series and click here for second part. This part of the series deals with developing story structure. The story structure is the structural framework that underlies the order and manner of the narrative.

An introduction to screenwriting (Part-3): Story structure

Components of a story:
Before diving into the story structure, it is better to understand the components of a story. The regular stories we see in films tell the tale of a person, place or an incident. All of them form the core of a story with unequal importance. Some stories tell the life experiences of a person and how he evolved over time, some do narrate the incidents happened in a place and how the residents react to it, some do tell the effects of an incident over several people. The following are the basic components of a story:

Plot – A story should have some scenes, which form sequences and which in turn form the plot. The plot is a sequence of events which is often considered equivalent to story itself.

Setting – A story should happen at a place which could be a house or office, a town, a country or even the space but it should have a well-defined setting. The setting gives a lot of details without much efforts of the writer. For example, a school can hint uniforms, classes, teachers, students, marks, examinations without showing or narrating something. If the setting is moon, then audience can expect spacesuit, zero gravity, astronauts etc. The setting should be relevant to the plot.

Timeline – A story should happen at a time. The costumes, set designs, Geopolitical conditions depend upon the timeline. There are broad categories of timelines such as pre-historic, ancient, medieval, current, futuristic etc. Most of the movies have current time which makes the production costs low.

Characters – The characters drive the story forward. The characters could be protagonist, antagonist, prominent roles, supporting cast or extras. The protagonist leads the story and antagonist creates problems. The characters need not always be people. For example, in Wall-E, the protagonist is a robot, in Avatar, the protagonist is an alien (initially human).

Central Idea – Every story should have a purpose which is often referred to as the central idea. Without a central idea, the story could become confusing without making a point. The central idea should also address the major conflict of the script. It is the selling point of many scripts and decides the favourable release season. For example, a story about the relationship between a father and his children could collect more if it’s released during Fathers’ day.

The structure of a story depends on these components. The plot decides the importance of other components. Some stories stress only on one component while others are not considered seriously. But the filmmaker should always keep these components in mind otherwise an aeroplane or a mobile phone could show up in a film set in medieval period.

Structure of the story:
The story structure, as discussed earlier, is the underlying framework of the order and manner of the narrative. The conflict plays a key role in deciding the story structure. The following are the popular story structures used in screenwriting:
  • ·        3-Act structure
  • ·        Monomyth or Hero’s journey
  • ·        Save the cat (Blake Snyder)
  • ·        Organic development (John Truby)
  • ·        Free form


3-Act structure:
Act structure is a method that divides the plot into segments (Acts). The 3-Act structure is a method of Act structure which breaks the plot into 3 major acts divided by plot points. The 3 acts are setup, confrontation and resolution.

The first act establishes the characters, relationships and environment. The first plot point or the inciting incident is an on-screen incident that establishes conflict. The second act depicts the protagonist’s attempts to resolve the conflict which makes the condition even worse as the protagonist lacks the necessary skills and almost loses. The second plot point provides the final piece of information required for the protagonist to achieve his goals. The third act resolves the conflict of the story and sets a new equilibrium.

Monomyth or Hero’s Journey:
The monomyth or hero’s journey is the story structure that deals with a hero who goes on an adventure and returns victorious. The hero is usually changed or transformed during his journey as he learns new things. The monomyth can be structured into 17 steps which can further be fit into the regular 3-act structure. Most mythological stories and fairy tales follow the structure of monomyth. The structure is highly predictable and depends heavily of narration to make things interesting.

The monomyth has a hero who is initiated into an adventure which he refuses at first but later takes up with the help of a mentor or an aid. The hero crosses his first threshold, faces tests, teams up with allies and fights against enemies. He finally triumphs and gets his reward. He finally returns to his world changed or transformed.

Save the cat:
Save the cat is the modified version of 3-Act structure which focusses heavily on selling points of the script. It is described by Blake Snyder in his book on screenwriting. It is useful for the commercial scripts that are targeting for the commercial box-office performance. Many writers and filmmakers are successful at save the cat method but it is not as much popular as others because most people consider it too mechanical and predictable. It has 15 segments (beats) that form the core of the script, a catchy title and an interesting logline.

The Act-1 has opening, thematic premise, setup, catalyst and argument. The Act-2 has B-story, goals, midpoint and clear defeat. The Act-3 has climax sequence. The structure of save the cat is based on many blockbusters and mimics their story structures.

Organic development:
The organic development deals with inner world and emotional journey of protagonist instead of regular action. It is described by John Truby in his screenwriting book. It deals with the transformation of a protagonist in order to achieve his goals. It encompasses Weakness, Desire, Opponent, Plan, Battle, Self-revelation and new equilibrium. A hero with a weakness desires to achieve something and is confronted by an opponent with same goals, so he comes up with a plan and fights the opponent to attain self-revelation and brings new equilibrium.

Free form:
The free form lacks a structure. It is free flow of prose and pure artistic narrative like poetry. It is the most difficult structure to write a story as there are no milestones or targets. The story may not appeal to regular audience as they expect a problem and a resolution. There are very less films that are written using the free form. The goals and resolution in free form is generally expressed through other means instead of regular protagonist and antagonist conflict.

How to choose a story structure?
If you’re not sure, then go with 3-Act structure. More than 90% of regular movies follow it and the audience generally expect a conflict and a resolution in the story. If you’re writing a mythological adventure, then choose hero’s journey as it has all the set pieces needed. Save the cat is purely meant to impress studios and attract people with the script. If you want your story to be full of life and emotions, then better avoid it. The organic development works best for emotional stories with great character development. You can follow it for character driven plots. The free form is meant for writers who don’t bother about rules and want to write as they please.

The fourth part of the series deals with the character development. After the story structure is completed, the characters have motives and it is easy to write characters that align with the story.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Jhansi movie review

Jhansi is the dubbed version of Tamil crime drama film Naachiyaar starring Jyothika in lead role with G. V. Prakash Kumar and Ivana in prominent roles. It was written, produced and directed by Bala. The original Tamil version was released on 16th Feb and the Telugu dubbed version released on 17th Aug, 2018.

Jhansi movie review Jyothika Naachiyaar


Story:
Assistant Commissioner Jhansi (Jyothika) is all set to leave for a vacation with her family. She cancels her vacation and starts investigating the rape case of a minor girl (Ivana) as she gets a lead. The accused, Gaali Raju (G. V. Prakash Kumar), is a roadside worker who is also a minor. The girl is impregnated and the couple say that they are lovers and everything happened with her consent. Jhansi keeps investigating the case in spite of the report. What she finds during the investigation and what happened to the couple forms the rest of the story.

Story Analysis:
The premise is interesting and the suspense elements are well executed. The first half is good and the love story is beautifully showcased. The chemistry between the couple helped the film to a great extent. The interval twist raises many questions and the suspense is established. The second half goes haywire without following a pattern or sequence. Everything seems obvious and there is not much thought put into the development. The climax seems to be abrupt like any other film of Bala. But the short runtime helped the film get over several issues. The film has 1 hour 40 minutes runtime which is almost half of several recent Telugu films. Overall, it’s a bitter and grounded story of the ordinary people.

Performances:
Jyothika is superb in her role as a rude and arrogant police officer. It is the first time she has done such a film in her career but she is totally convincing in her character. The body language and expressions make it seem like a tailormade film for her. G. V. Prakash Kumar is believable in his role. His makeup and costumes brought the originality required for the character. Ivana is perfect in her role with her eyes conveying most of the emotions. She is impressive as a housemaid and a teenage mother.

Technical Analysis:
Jhansi has a good story but not up to the mark narration. The dialogues are realistic. The dubbing is bad and is at times loud. The art design and production values are top-notch. All locations are convincing and realistic. The cinematography elevates the tone and mood of the film. The background score is decent but could have been better. Editing is good for such a short runtime. The direction in superb and Bala manages to maintain the balance throughout the film.

Conclusion:
Jhansi is a dark themed film which deals with many social problems and the lifestyle of poor people. The film is full of Tamil nativity which may not appeal to regular audience. It’s a hard-hitting realistic film with serious drama. The audience who like realistic films and are not bothered by Tamil flavour can watch it.