STILL LOST IN TRANSLATION…

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies

The last time I posted an article, I was ‘lost in translation’. That was on May 13, 2009. A year, 2 months and 17 days later, guess what? I’m still lost in translation!

Back then I was lost translating Fatthaah produced VAA LOABI ENGEYNAMA… (IF YOU KNEW HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU…). But this time around, I am lost translating his directed JINNI (DJINN). Before you all disappear in fright hearing the word Jinni, let me assure that this film doesn’t scare a bit because rather than being a scary Jinni, it has an overly horny one. Then again, whatever horniness that that she-Jinn does with Seezan, the protagonist was either out of the frame or behind the camera. Anyway, after close to three hours of horniness, whoops, sorry I mean translation, I am left with few minutes of running time to wrap up this project.

Before I begin recapping what I did during my absence from blogging, here’s the main reason why I was absent. I was frustrated and was on a nervous breakdown because of how things turned out for my first co-producing gig, INGILI (FINGER). There, I’ve said it as simple as I could and it’s all true!

At the time I posted my last article, I was way too busy with the pre-production of INGILI. However, once the principal photography started on May 17, 2009 in K. Gulhi, unfortunately from there everything went downhill. INGILI was topped with one unfortunate incident after another. The production which was scheduled for five days, stretched to fifteen days because of bad weather and other major unforeseen events. The budget skyrocketed. And then there were creative differences, theft and accidents amongst other things. Probably fate was enraged thinking that we were referring INGILI to the wrong finger. Who knows, fate works in mysterious ways!

And I couldn’t be more right. Fate kept mother of all tragedies for INGILI until principal photography was over. On August 10, 2009, the producers of INGILI had the most shocking news that the story of INGILI was not an original and it was a complete rip-off of the last segment, THE MAN FROM THE HOLLYWOOD of 1995 released FOUR ROOMS. Upon hearing the news, the producers fizzled out. We were shattered. That was the last nail in our coffin. INGILI was shelved indefinitely. Music soars and drops abruptly. FADE OUT.

To a black screen in white appears, MORE THAN A YEAR LATER… FADE OUT.

FADE IN. July 16, 2010. Popular local heavy metal band, TRAPHIC JAM released their album that night. Their album includes the end credit song of INGILI with the same titular name which they made for the film itself. During this function, before the band performed that song live, the first official trailer of INGILI was released. The trailer received a warm reception from the crowd. INGILI producers have woken up from their long deep sleep, without a kiss though. INGILI is back on track again. However, I must admit that there’s lot of work to be done. We have fast tracked the project for a late December 2010 or an early January 2011 release. Let’s hope fate has made truce and have realized that we were referring to an entirely different finger.

During my absence, the screenplay, VAFAATHERI KEHIVERIYA (FAITHFUL TRICKSTER) which I wrote for Seezan, for some reason I don’t know, was shelved. Apparently, he did fly to Sri Lanka for location scouting, but something stopped him from going any further with the production. No reason was explained until a month back, my friend Zareer, with whom I have co-written some unproduced screenplays, tells me that Seezan met with him asking him to re-write my screenplay. Now, that kind of made me unintentionally deduce why Seezan shelved the screenplay. Simply, he wasn’t satisfied with it. I must recall, he wasn’t satisfied with the first write either. Jeez! What do I call his actions? If he had a problem with the screenplay, shouldn’t he have spoken with me first?

Speaking of not acknowledging my efforts in anyway, head of YAARAA PRODUCTIONS comes second. She hired me to write a screenplay called MAMMA (MOTHER) based on a real incident happened before her very own eyes. After tiresome structuring and some deliberately quick writing, I presented a draft to which she was to made changes so that it would save time for her and me to amend a draft rather than the final screenplay. Once she made the changes, I planned on writing the final screenplay. That’s what I explained her upon giving the draft. She was supposed to submit the changes within a week. But alas, since then five months have passed. I am yet to hear of a single amendment. All I am hearing now is that her production company is getting ready to produce MAMMA (MOTHER). What do I call her actions? I’m lost for words here. Help, please!

Late last year, I completed a feature length screenplay for Fatthaah called LEYKARUNAIN (TEARS IN BLOOD) to be produced by DASH STUDIOS. Due to few setbacks in completing the songs needed for the film, the project kept postponing. Now Fatthaah reports that, he will begin principal photography in late October, not next year but this year. Thank God, I really do want any of my screenplays get produced rather than being shelved!

In short, LEYKARUNAIN is a romantic drama with couple of issues I have tried to make controversial. Then again, how controversial it gets depends on how FATTHAAH translates the screenplay to the screen. I hope he does a good job. He has been treading on horror land for some time now. Maybe it’s time that he gets back to what he does best with LEYKARUNAIN. He still has RAANIYA put on hold for next year.

Around late April Hussain Munavvar, head of KID PRODUCTION asked me to doctor a screenplay called SAZAA (PUNISHMENT) which was written by a screenwriting friend of his. She was the one who took home best story for a television series at the Crystal Awards held on April 17, 2008 where I was nominated three times while she was nominated only once. Munavvar was set to direct and was a week away from principal photography. After a read, I told him that the screenplay needed more than few patching up to do. In fact, it needed to be re-structured, characters re-developed and the entire screenplay re-written. And to do that I told him I needed fifteen days. He then signed me up to rewrite within the estimated time.

I restored the basic plot of the original screenplay and did a complete overhaul with new plot points, believable circumstances, strong characters and a wicked twist at the end. Man, I love to twist… wickedly! I wrote the first half within a week and that was enough for Munavvar to start principal photography. And I planned on shipping the final half before they could finish shooting the first half.

With just two days away from sailing to B. Maalhos for principal photography, Munavvar faced a casting difficulty. One of the actors playing a principal role was having an attitude problem and was too overly demanding. Munavvar found it difficult to handle the situation. He then had an emergency meeting with Eternal Pictures honcho, Ted who advised on giving that part to the actor who was already set to play the leading role. Munavvar took Ted’s advice, dropped the problematic actor from the casting list and then gave the leading part to a promising young actor who had never played a major role in a feature film so far. Munavvar informed me of the changes and I brought all those changes to the screenplay immediately. In the end, the whole casting changes turned out to be a blessing in disguise. These changes gave the screenplay a certain fierceness that was missing from the first rewrite.

Principal photography of SAZAA has been completed and is currently on the editing table. To my delight, Munavvar hired Semi as the editor with whom I have collaborated on VAA LOABI ENGEYNAMA… He won best editor at the National Awards and we both shared best sound for the same film the same year. Semi has already edited the first 45 minutes and I must say that it’s looking good.

After I completed SAZAA, during May I started INDHIRAAS (DECADENCE) for DHEKEDHEKEVES PRODUCTIONS as a starring vehicle for actor MUAA ABDULLA. Though the story is kept under very tight wraps, I can spill few beans. This would have the most physically demanding role for any actor in the local film industry, yet. The protagonist is an anti-hero who is also a low life who sees his life slipping in to decadence. I wrapped up INDHIRAAS two days after World Cup 2010 started.

Then there’s another screenplay I’m responsible to write which is sort of an unofficial sequel to a TVM produced made for television movie called ORCHID EYNAAGE MAA (ORCHID, HER FLOWER). It was aired more than 20 years ago and my screenplay is supposed to pick up the main character 20 or more years later. The leading actor of that movie, MOHAMED RASHEED aka DHARAA acquired the rights and assigned me to write. To prepare myself for the task given, I even had a face to face conversation with its legendary director, Hussain Shihab. I explained to him on my take for the follow up. He gave me very helpful tips, ideas and I must say that that meeting with him was very memorable. I even have his blessings.

Three weeks back, as I was seriously in to structuring this screenplay, out of nowhere I hit a snag. I fell in to a writer’s block due to some frustrating events that took place at my office. Even mentioning about it here, gives me a migraine attack. So I’ll save my weakened head. Presently, I am fighting hard to get my writing mood back. I have already informed Rasheed about my dire situation and he was very understanding.

Last but not least, the producing partners of INGILI have bought all the rights of a short screenplay called MIKOE BAPPA AADHEY AADHEY (COME MY BABY’S FATHER) written by Ahmed Rasheed, a rookie screenwriter who is a friend of mine from L. Fonadhoo. He also heads a production house in his island called MANDHEYRAA PRODUCTIONS. It all happened when he mailed me this screenplay, his very first screenplay to comment. I found his 26 paged screenplay had potential for a feature length movie, just like the short story of INGILI. On his request, I met with few producers whom I thought might be interested in buying this screenplay. Everyone I spoke with said they were interested but failed to collect the soft copy of the screenplay for a read. Even Ahmed met in person with one of the high profile actor-producer-director who was at the time shooting a film there in Ahmed’s island. Ahmed said this actor took the screenplay for a read and was never heard of him again.

Few weeks later when all hope was lost, when Ahmed finally decided to produce his screenplay through his own production house as a short film, I had an emergency meeting with my producing partners and explained the boldness in his screenplay. Then I called Ahmed and asked him that we were very interested and if he could change his mind on selling his screenplay. The very next day, Ahmed spoke with his collaborators and decided on selling his screenplay to us. That was when my second producing partner, Ravi of R² PRODUCTIONS had a read and gave the green light. I called Ahmed and sealed the deal immediately. The rights to his screenplay were acquired on July 24, 2010.

MIKOE BAPPA AADHEY AADHEY is about two characters at one location which has a resemblance to, yes, the concept of INGILI. But this time the two characters are of opposite sex. I don’t want to reveal too much about this screenplay which I am currently structuring for a 75 to 90 minute feature. I will shed more light on this when this is made official. Until then, I end this article.

Thank you for reading…

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