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In my previous posts, I have emphasised the need for personal expression in a movie. However, I realise now, that a lot of bad movies also have personal expression. Take student films for example.

Now, these films don’t work, so obviously they are doing something wrong. What is it?

Well, actually- you do not need to have just an opinion that you feel strongly about. You need to have an opinion that’s well developed and new. A lot of thought process should have gone behind it. This is why, I guess, it’s imperative for every writer to be a philosopher. Because only then would you be able to see the fallacy of your expression and build on it.

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There is a school of thought which says that movies are supposed to be utopic in order to be satisfactory.  And an audience watches a movie to fulfill what he cannot see or experience in real life. Perfect love stories are loved, because in reality love stories are never perfect. Most of the times, they remain unfulfilled.

Therefore, watching a love story somewhat like yours getting fulfilled on screen is exhilarating and one feels good. So, what is the problem you ask. Nothing, except that they are short-lasting and generally lack any sort of a personal expression. A writer doesn’t write to exhilarate his audience ot to satisfy it. He writes to express. Sometimes explore. He writes because he is a thinking individual with a certain metaphysical understanding. He writes to express that. He wants the audience to experience and learn from his unique perspective. Movies are not educational but enriching, in an ideal world.

Also, as far as the representation of society is concerned, it is only a certain aspect or trait of our society that a writer wants to express. He wants to express a part of himself, or a part of the people living around him through a medium. At least, that’s what I think.

When one talks about telling a tale, it usually concerns making a person forget about his worries and problems. A movie, like The Bourne Ultimatum does that pretty succesfully. So, we’ll take that as an example here.

What happens after you watch a movie like that? You are relieved, exhilarated, entertained, and most of all energetic.

Next day, you get back to your life in the same manner that you were before watching it. You might anticipate the launch of the next sequel perhaps.  So, that is the definition of a commercial movie.

Films which involve a particular team winning at the end are commercial. The exhilarating feeling that one gets is not that of hope and inspiration but that of a momentary surge of energy. A kick in other words. You are not in your rational mind basically.

Anyways, even then, one often hears stories where some human was inspired or brought out of his misery after watching a similar kind of a commercial film; but that is only because there was already some kind of desolation in the viewer’s mind. The film on itself just acted as a catalyst, not a component in the reaction.

Cinema, according to my convictions, is a representation of one’s perception of the society, or an expression of a particular thought, in an aesthetically strong manner.

The challenge here is to express what you need to express in as accurately a manner as possible. And,  that is why when certain expressions can not be shown in the physical world, one takes the crutch of something that’s metaphysical.

Something, like achieving a new intellectual and spiritual wavelength can not be expressed in a physical world, quite convincingly. That is why Richard Bach used a fable to write Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

The primary aim here is to give the viewers a new outlook to life. However, a new outlook should not be confused with the momentary anger that one gets after watching a so called ‘socially relevant’ film. Films like Lakshya, and Rang De basanti are not coming of age films; they are more dealing with retarded people attaining an accepted level of intellect. The only way to come of age, in my opinion is to acquire a skill. Anyways, enoguh digression.

A writer needs to remember that his goal in life should be to achieve a  better and refined way of  approaching his work. He should not bother with other things.