Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Fine Balance

“It won’t sell. Someone has to die” replied Sharon when Michael said why it can’t be a happy ending. This is the ‘Basic Instinct’ of creative minds. It has to be sellable!!!

Did you ever think if Jai could have lived last 10 minutes as well, what would have been the fate of Sholay? Why Bruce had to die in Armageddon? Why Sirius and Dumbledore had to die? Do all these deaths make the stories sellable?

The question here is why the person, who gives life to these characters, takes it away so mercilessly. Did they feel the pain a father or mother would feel when they lose their kid?

The very obvious answer could be the need of the story. The bigger, probably better and a holistic view; an author is the creator of the story and not individual characters. It’s the story that is important and the rest happens to bring that story alive. The author gives birth to a story, nourishes it like a parent. It’s a normal parental behaviour to do whatever you could for a bright future of your child. Killing few characters is better than killing Sanjay for Rajiv or attacking Golden Temple for votes. It is no crime. Isn’t it?

Literature helps us exercise compassion for others. Literature helps us learn how to cry for others, be happy for others. ‘Others’ are the lives which we think were created when we were there, the lives which were lived in front of our eyes. Not only literature but any media be it cinema, theatre, TV. The reader/viewer lives those lives and feels the joys and the pains. But there is already enough pain in our day to day lives that we can do with some happy endings. But again there are no happy endings, they are happy in betweens before the end comes. The end separated from the thread. A thread rolled in a circle, confusing the ends for a while.

I guess I am drifting away from what I actually started to write about. A Fine Balance.

Rohinton Mistry. He writes brilliantly and writes truth. But ever since I have finished reading ‘A Fine Balance’ I feel like I have been cheated. Like life has been cheated. I fell in love with the book as I was reading it, as I was living it. The struggles of Dina, the misery of Om and Ishwar and the way Dukhi fought all those odds to give a better life to his next generations and I loved Maneck Kohlah, for his was a heart of gold. Somewhere I could attach my life with the lives that were being lived in those pages. And I also felt attached to Rohinton; he hates Indira Gandhi as much as I do.

“It won’t sell, someone has to die”. I wish Rohinton would have left them struggling with their misery in the first place. Why give hope when all you want to do is take away even the struggle. When all you want is to make a story. Why take a beggar away from the crowds, make him travel in a beautiful carrier, through beautiful plains, hills, and the rivers and over oceans, just to leave him at a place where there is no crowd to even beg from. Why a story has to be sellable?

Don’t know why but somehow the end is always cruel, no matter what is ending or what the end is. May be because it’s the end. When Samwise Gamgee returned after seeing off Frodo Baggins at the Havens, it was a happy ending. But still I felt the pain in Sam’s voice and heart when he said, “I am back”. I guess ‘End’ always sell. But again some Ends sell more than the others.

We live a story and we won’t want our life or our loved ones life to be the one which makes this world sellable. A life which becomes the winning ticket of a politician’s election campaign. A life which gives the news channels 24 hours of news. A life on which a movie like ‘Philadelphia/Phir Milenge’ will be made. A life which will be awarded a ‘Param Vir Chakra’ posthumously. A life which makes a sellable story.

I am all confused right now; don’t know what I should be writing next. How to make the point? There are more buts and whys than I would have liked. I guess I will have to wait till I get someone who is ready to die for my story. Till that time my story will wait. It’s not sellable yet.

Such a long journey and a finely balanced unbalance.

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