I’m currently writing a film about two people and their private lives. Their solitude and loneliness concerns me.
Writing a film about two different individuals and their inner lives is a fascinating and meditative experience. Getting into their worlds without leaving your mark, without moving or displacing anything, roaming around like a ghost within their homes only to return to your own and jot down all the details you remember into a fractured script. Waiting for them to say something intriguing, letting go of the boring bits and creating avenues for them to keep living.
The challenge is to remember and reproduce… and to resist to temptation of revisiting their space again and again. After all, its only a story.
Neither of them is aware of my presence, but in a strange way, I cannot know them completely either. This is the distance between the characters and myself which is necessary for both of us to remain genuine and pure. Any further proximity will cause deviation and a personalisation which might harm the objectivity of the story itself. Not that I’m against being too close to a subject, I’m a promoter of autobiographical exultation, but in cases such as the current one it might be better to let go of the people in your story. Let them move around in their imperfection, talking and singing to themselves. Forgetting to shut doors and taps behind them. At times forgetting to shut the stove and let boiling milk spill. All of these small events are beautiful and necessary for film to breathe.
It often happens that you do end up being attached to one or more facets of the story. I’d be lying if I say that this isn’t true for me too. The male character and his longing for sharing his emptiness is very similar to mine. Such problems might germinate for those who use their spare time to think about absolutely insignificant and redundant details of life. Maybe on a personal level I’m a bit like him, going around cooking for my friends without expecting anything in return. Going around donating money to second hand book shops, roadside fruit sellers who pluck exotic fruits themselves, monks, street theatre artists. The list of anonymous receivers might go on for longer.
The girl is eccentric, much like a flock of doves flying over crowded rooftops. She has no fixed path and her shadow continues to stain empty surfaces. She’s probably attractive to some and repulsive to others, overall an unsure being who camouflages her flaws under a coat of art and intelligence. Bookish knowledge, bookish interpretation and bookish dreams. When I say bookish I don’t mean academic or scholarly, I mean bookish. Stories, novels, great books. Theoroux or Kerouac or Camus. Maybe Mann or Kafka. Maybe Sartre or Nabokov. That’s what she would say in her defence.
Soon I will get over these people and move onto new people, like one leaves one city for another in quest for novelty and forgiveness. The day I sit in a train and board a new city, I will leave these people behind to figure out what they need from each other and what they need for each other. I hope they can let go.
Featured photograph was made by me in Gujarat, 2014.