Spent this Sunday attending the Master Class by two Masters of Film Making who are still working and progressing further in their craft — Rakeysh Om Prakash ( https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1018493/ )and Vishal Bhardwaj (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0080235/)
While it was a treat to listen to so many amazing trivia and the way things unfolded for them but there few points which were extremely similar and were touched upon by both of them on their own. At the end of the day I felt it would be a good idea to possibly jot down the key points that any aspiring film maker or for that matter any person who wishes to pursue something in life can take a note of.
- Both of them highlighted the key word: Foolishness. While Rakeysh seemed to have referred himself many a times but he also suggested that perhaps Vishal is even more foolish than himself for having shown the audacity to adapt Shakespeare’s work and bringing it to the Underworld of Mumbai or UP. Vishal later also mentioned the aspect of being foolish. The way Rakeysh explained and which was in a way suggested by Vishal as well was the permission that they gave themselves to fail because they were really convinced about what they were attempting. Now this is again a chicken-n-egg problem. Either you are so convinced that you don’t care what happens but that could be seen as juvenile or rash behaviour. Over a period of time both gave themselves the permission to fail for stories that they really wanted to tell.
- That brings us to the aspect of Honesty which was reflected in the case of Vishal as he announced quite early before his first attempt that he was attempting to adapt Shakespeare’s work. Now that was on the face of being warned against doing the same. He was clearly suggested that naming it as an adaptation of Shakespeare’s work might not work for his film and the popularity of the work. In Rakeysh’s case, he conveyed his idea in a very simplistic fashion. He simply said that he didn’t believe in chasing material success only by simply copying some western or other works directly. And that there needs to be more to a creative journey than simply copying and chasing money. He said he wasn’t judgemental about others doing the same.
- A strong Emotion being showcased in the movie could be the single most reason for a particular ‘cut’ without paying any heed to technicalities as observed by Rakeysh. Similarly in Vishal’s narration — Emotion is always stronger than logic, so if there is a strong emotional undercurrent in the narration of the story then one can get away with logic or rather lack of it at times. Can we believe that in both their own life stories the strong emotion for their passion defied all logic and led them to simply do what they believed in and achieve success as a result of that.
- Learning : Both emphasised the importance of learning and being open to thoughts in different ways. Vishal referred to this in his answer to an audience question where he was asked ‘when does a writer/director stop and freeze his script and be closed for any changes’. He said one has to be open and always work with the situation, feedback and refinement of understanding. Rakeysh in his own case actually chased the renowned authority on Screenplay, Syd Field after achieving success for ‘Rang De Basanti’. He spent 45 days with Syd to understand and learn from him directly even after achieving such success.
- Both referred to Krzysztof Kieślowski and Akira Kurosawa as one of the strong references for understanding Direction and Cinema.
- Specific to the references of Screenplay both had a difference of opinion in terms of Syd Field even though Vishal’s take was that Syd was too technical for his comfort. He referred to Lew Hunter as one of the references he enjoyed amongst many.
- Both displayed great sense of humor in their conversations and were not diplomatic when it came to opinions about situations that were close to their heart.
Finally I felt that in all aspects, profession and stages of life their suggestion is apt that if you really wish to express yourself then the story will follow. And all the above traits would help in the perseverance required to shine.