Now it is official. Yesterday evening at SAFFRON at around 1445 hours, the screenplay of INDHIRAAS (DECADENCE) has become a property of DV PRODUCTION. The studio has completed acquiring all the rights of it as verbally agreed between the studio and myself almost seven months ago.
I think it was during last week of April last year that I met with DV PRODUCTION head, MUHAMMA and chief editor of the studio, MUAA who is also one of the most promising young actors over a coffee at now demolished SALSA CAFE. It was a late evening. MUHAMMA wanted to discuss a concept he had and wanted to commission me to write it as a starring vehicle for MUAA.
Once MUHAMMA explained the main concept, I felt a certain darkness looming all around it. This was yes, quite tantalizing! We first did a quick brainstorming. We discussed mostly on how plausible his concept was. And from the ideas we had, we slightly fine tuned his concept here and there. But before we finished the meeting, I came up with another idea which MUHAMMA and MUAA applauded. Their expressive smiles were enough. I asked MUAA if he was willing to go the distance. If only he decided to fully commit, my idea would work for certain giving the screenplay an incredible edge. Consider it to be the element of surprise. Without any hesitation, he accepted it.
Later that night, I couldn’t wait but started working on structuring the screenplay. However, first I had to do some researching. Lot of researching I mean. After couple of hours of googling, I managed to get all the information I needed to enmesh them in to my structure. After that I called it a night.
Next day, I resumed work. I began constructing the basic structure. After three hours, a short break, another two hours, several scene cards, arrangements, rearrangements and adjustments later, the structure of INDHIRAAS was shaped out. But I took a risk. Because of the dark elements in the concept, I deliberately made my protagonist darker. Thus the screenplay demanded all my favorite themes to be included. I wanted to start writing immediately. But that’s when I came to a complete halt.
My protagonist was a definite antihero and I never had the slightest clue about his background in reality. I listed out everything I required to develop him and called MUAA. We hooked up for a coffee. He asked me what I wanted to know. I showed my list, which was looking more like a huge questionnaire. To my surprise, he began answering them one by one. He was talking about a different side of life I never thought existed. He was like an old hand. He was actually living this protagonist.
Once MUA was done, I got everything I needed to work on his character. I must say I got more than I required. I went back to work. And based on his information, I did few tweaks to the whole structure of the screenplay. It now looked better. Much better!
It took me two days to complete developing all the characters. But it was on the protagonist I had to spend more time. He really gave me the creeps. Not that he was contesting against Freddy or Jason. This was turning out as my first screenplay which has a dark, flawed and a conflicted protagonist who is also an antihero and stays such from start to finish. His character arc, though heavily curved, was curving in negativity. It was this challenge that kept my creative cells active at all times. And since it would be difficult to empathize with such a protagonist, my task to make the audience like him became much harder. But I knew with several tricks up in my sleeve, which I don’t want to mention here for the confidentiality of the storyline and MUAA’s full commitment to his character, it was possible to pull this off.
I think it was while I was still structuring, I thought of BAARU SHAREE directing it. His name kept nagging me. We worked on a project with a similar theme before but with less darker tones. I had no second thoughts that whoever can flesh out INDHIRAAS would be him. I called MUAA to contact SHAREE officially. An hour later MUAA called back and informed me that SHAREE was very interested. It really made my day and charged me up more than ever.
Structuring of INDHIRAAS was my most mind boggling experience so far. Writing went smoothly and I must say very passionately. To write INDHIRAAS, I have woken up at early morning many times than I did for any other screenplay so far. I completed the first draft on 9 June 2010, two days before World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The very next day, I handed MUAA a print.
World Cup 2010 gave me a month long break not to think too much about INDHIRAAS. However, MUAA did call me to congratulate. He was completely thrilled.
After World Cup was over, I discussed the major turning points of INDHIRAAS with my loving wife who always mysteriously points out important elements that I have missed at writing. To this day, I still don’t understand how she does it. She read several key scenes and gave me as much feedback. I remember in one key scene between the protagonist and his love interest, my wife asked me to change a word in the dialogue she was suggesting. I did and voilà! It made the scene more effective and meaningful. Also on her suggestion, I even re-arranged the characters in a scene which was an important turning point. And when amended, the scene was dramatically more effective and more emotional even.
After the amendments, I kept the screenplay for awhile since DV PRODUCTION was busy with the post production and releasing of their now record breaking megahit, NIUMA. I knew it would be pointless to submit INDHIRAAS at such a time.
Then in early November last year, MUAA asked me to finalize the screenplay. I went through it one last time, did few more revisions and wrapped it up on November 26th. But then the studio postponed acquiring the screenplay officially when NIUMA was leaked online. They were devastated.
But now that things have settled down, their focus now is on producing INDHIRAAS. They want to make it their number one priority of 2011. This is when this post loops back to the main event of yesterday at SAFFRON. I am very much excited about the project and wish the studio, MUAA and the production team all the best. It was a pleasure doing business with you, DV PRODUCTION.