Yesterday I have completed writing INGILI, an experimental feature film to be produced by RAVI, MUA and myself. Surprise! Surprise! This will be marked as my first gig as a producer.
The screenplay is based on a three page short story written by a student at the 2007 national short story competition. He was only 14 years then. Recently we, the producers bought the story from him including all the rights for an amount I choose not to disclose.
It was I who first came across this story two years ago, while I was judging the short stories of age group 13-16 years of the aforementioned competition. No sooner narrating this story had started, each story was narrated for the judges by a narrator, from the opening paragraph I started visually seeing everything like a complete film with all the camera movements and music. The story felt unique and above all, original. I felt strongly that it should be told in a film. After the judging session, on my way home, I couldn’t think of anything else but that story. It was deeply registered inside my head.
That night, instead of sleeping, I kept thinking about it. I just counldn’t concentrate on anything else. I knew I had to do something. Next day, I started writing it as a screenplay. It was unbelievable that I wrote a prologue of 7 pages without ever having to touch the events that take place in the actual story.
This was when I realized I could extend my screenplay from 45 minutes to a feature length of 90 minutes. However, after the seventh page, I decided not to continue without getting an approval from the writer first. Instead, for some odd reason, I shelved the whole project until around November last year, I once again read the 7 pages and the concept started knocking my head constantly only this time harder. I called up a friend of mine who conducted the competition and retrieved all the information about the writer and how I could buy the rights to his story.
Two years, several screenplays and uncountable coffee sessions later, I narrated the whole story to RAVI and MUA. We meet almost every evening at coffee. They were blown away completely. With in few days, we contacted the writer and his father. They agreed to our terms and so did we to theirs. We sealed the deal on a late Friday afternoon of 27th February 2009 at a coffee house called Palm Deck. Or was it a coffee house or an open air restaurant?
I resumed writing the very next day. Since the screenplay had only one scene, one location and two characters, I structured the whole screenplay like several scenes with in one scene. I planned writing a bit each day. It deals with two extreme characters, who start off the story routinely but as the story progresses, their inner selves are peeled off layer by layer, the tension mounts by the minute and reaches it’s peak at the climax. Consider this film a part psychological and a part suspense thriller.
Eight days later, I completed the screenplay. I must say that during these few days, I turned insomniac. I found myself wide awake, constructing the screenplay in my head and then transferring what I had constructed in to my little black book. During the four holidays that came inside that week, I was up at 0530 in the morning to write.
Now that I am done writing, I have given the draft to RAVI, who is set to direct. And I have asked my dear wife to have a read which she will do with in next two days. Once she and RAVI give their comments, I will do a rewrite. Once that is done, I will hand over a copy each to the two actors playing the only two characters of the film respectively. They will not only comment, but will adjust their dialogues to their liking. After that, I will go back to rewriting and will finalize the screenplay. Afterwards, I will sit with RAVI for storyboarding. We have already done casting and will reveal them once we plan the production.
I guess I have not said much about the plot. That was deliberate. This screenplay is kept tight-lipped and under wraps. However, I will be revealing as much as I can about the pre-production, production and post production. And soon, we will be creating a facebook group on INGILI. Until then, I remain suppressed.