Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Non-linear story telling

What happens when you get to see movies like 21 Grams, Babel, Memento and The Prestige? You get paranoid, obviously.

It was attempted in Alaipayuthey, by Maniratnam. But had he left this movie without the Fade Out and Fade In, Tamil people would have dumped this movie.

People understood non-linear story telling in Alaipayuthey, I wonder if they will understand Memento and The Prestige, the same way.

Somehow, that interests me. I feel it makes a simple story more interesting. It is an art to innovate screenplays.

Here's my simple attempt.. on paper. Don't read it. Visualize it. Animate your thoughts.

Vaidegi got out of 27D at LIC Bus stop, restlessly looked at her watch, moved into the shade, and peeped out to see if any Bus was coming. She needed an 18K to appear. This is her usual routine in the day, A 10 minute transit in LIC Bus stop. There is usually a 18K prior to this 27D in the LIC Stop, but Vaidegi would miss it everyday in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, she had seen it zoom out in front of her eyes. Sometimes she even ran mad behind it, and failed. The last chase which was two weeks back ended with a bruise in her left elbow. More than the injury, the shame was aching for days. So, she decided to take the next 18K, thereafter.

Seenu had just changed his room from Thiruvanmiyur. His roommate had his brother come down for his studies. So before he could be asked, he vacated. Finding a room in Chennai isn't a big deal. Only his commute to work was going to take more time. He works for the compensation team – Finance Department in a MNC on Old Mahabalipuram Road. He had just walked into the LIC bus stop, and checked his watch. He gazed around the bus-stop to see if someone else was wearing his company tag. He was new to this route-bus of his company. He peeked out of the stop to see if any bus was coming. One 18K had just left and One 27D came in a few people got out of it.

Seenu started getting restless. He knew he was standing on the right stop, but kept thinking if he can doubt it. When he kept looking at different necks for his company tag, he saw her. She was wiping her face with her kerchief. Attractive. He kept looking around, and then looked back to the road. Whew. She was attractive. Is this a global philosophy that the company we work for will have very little attractive girls. He started SMSing his friends asking for the route number of the bus and verified that he wasn't making a mistake standing at LIC.

It is just March, and mornings in Chennai are already sultry. Vaidegi plunged into her handbag and got out with a handkerchief and wiped the sweat on her face, she wished the 27D driver took the bus from Villiwakkam on time. She could catch the earlier 18K and save time, from standing on this LIC bus stop. Passing time on a bus-stop when there is no one to talk to, is a Herculean task. You will start to feel it that way, when you realize it. Vaidegi usually stares at the Higginbotham's and tabulates & categorizes the kinds of people who visit the book shop, so early in the morning. Then she used to stare at the Tarapore Towers clock. When the clock clicks into a minute, she starts counting 1 to 60 and check if her mind works in sync with a clock..

A few minutes later 18K came in.

A few minutes later Seenu boarded his company bus.


Vaidegi squeezed out of the 27D. Damn ! The crowd gets intolerable, day after day. She rushed herself out of the crowd to her usual spot in the bus stand. As she walked, she could see a bus in the pale distance. Should be 18K. She cursed the lazy old driver of 27D. Looked at her watch, and cross verified with Tarapore towers. Just at that time, the minute changed, in the display and she started doing the counting game.

Seenu walked in to the stop, just as a 18K left. He checked his watch and read the SMS that jus came. In some time, a 27D crawled in. The driver looked lazy and old. He then saw her getting out of the bus. She went past him, and stood in the place he saw her yesterday. She looked into the watch and then stared back. Was she looking at me ? No way. She is probably looking somewhere else. Seenu shrugged and operated his mobile. No reason to do that. He stepped back into the bus stand, leaned on the metal bars, and sneak peeked. Oh yeah ! She wasn't looking at me. Duh !!


Seenu was all occupied with her thoughts. How much she fit his imaginations of a life-partner? He hasn't spoken to her. Don't even have a clue about her behavior. But at the blink of an eye, he could say that she is the girl. Ironically for Seenu, he has seen so many such girls. He probably isn't mature enough. He wasn't even ready for a commitment. Yet, his other mind was longing for a romance. A romance beginning in a bus-stop. This is as romantic as it could get.

Tarapore towers showed 29 0C. Vaidegi wondered if the instrument was working. Its burning here. There's 18K.

Seenu saw her boarding 18K. He could now recollect the same bus yesterday. So, if this is her routine, he would have nearly 10 to 15 minutxes everyday on LIC Bus stop. What the heck. I could talk to her. I could attempt. He desperately wanted to make an attempt, and talk with her. Some general conversations. May be I can try tomorrow, he thought, as he saw his company bus coming in.

Next week, Thursday.

27D crawled into LIC bus stop. The old-driver was looking even dull, and it was shown on the accelerator. Vaidegi got out of the bus, and yes ! She had guessed it right. She saw him, looking at her, as she walked to her spot. She has been seeing him since a few days. Occasionally his eyes have met hers. She wondered what bus he was waiting for. She has never seen him board the bus. Should be some software guy. Yet smart. Clean face. Rich shirts. She is not a person with any starred discretion, but somehow she likes men wearing rich shirts.

Seenu, couldn't really stand her looks. But neither could he accumulate the confidence and approach her. But he couldn't prolong this. He decided to speak to her. No. Tomorrow. But tomorrow for sure. He had rehearsed the Opening dialogues, quick responses, and also replayed the facial reaction. But tomorrow. Tomorrow for sure.

Same Day @ Villiwakkam Bus stand.

The lazy old driver, with a sunken face, went into the reporting room, and came out. He went to the nearby tea-shop, where a few more drivers and conductors were already waiting. It is a send-off party, to the old man, after 30 years of service. He was voluntarily retiring off his services.

The Next Day

Seenu came into the bus stand. The usual 18K left as he walked into the bus stand. Today is the day. He was laying out his strategy, and as the first part, he stood close to her spot, she usually takes. A go or no go, is definite today. He looked at the watch and put his mobile in silent mode. Today could be the greatest day in his life.

27D wroomed into the LIC bus stand. The new driver must have been practicing for F1. He overtook vehicles, as if he was driving a bike. He created a new record time for the Villiwakkam to LIC distance.

Vaidegi got down with a ironic thought. What if the first 18K was even earlier ? No it wasn't. The 18K she had been missing for months was coming in.


sowmya said...

I couldnt stop myself commenting..!

you know, Bhakyaraj is great screen play script writer.He narrates a story in a better way than other directors do.Even he is out of field, he is able to manage his
" Bhagya" because of that skill.Any one can write a story.Any one can accumulate the incidents which are required for the story.But you need a special skill to make the readers visualise the scenes which have been said in the story.

" Don't read it. Visualize it. Animate your thoughts." --why the need of telling this.

I find no words to express my wishes. " wow, superb" lost their meaning here.

sreekrishnanv said...

hey excellent one - but i guess non linear editing does not always work well for romantic sentiments ... it vaguely fits in well ...

check out memento, prestige, everything was very strong

Aliapayuthey though was great was not as strong a NLE as that of others...

anyways as sowmya mentioned, your story must be made to visualise without actually requesting to do it !!..but seriously good attempt of potraying a day to day activity of anyone who boards a shuttle at PTC bus Stops.. you know i board at ashok pillar !! what an area !

i could stop laughing at one line ....

"A go or no go, is definite today."

Narayanan said...

Yeah I do find non-linear narrations difficult to understand. It took me 3 watchings to understand 21 Grams. It was my first movie I saw in non-linear mode.

I dont Alaipayuthey was a good candidate for NL narration. Ayitha Ezhuthu had a lot more scope for it. Mani did do it to an extent, I dont think the Napier Bridge scene connected well in the 3 narrations though.