Monday, August 16, 2010


Just this past weekend, my sister shared with me one of my late father's reminiscences:  apparently when my father started out on his first job as a new college graduate all those many years ago in Chennai, India, he was so poor that he had no money to buy shoes.  He could afford a pair only when he drew his first salary.  For reasons that I still cannot explain, this anecdote moved me, and continues to evoke a range of emotions in me.  I had known that my father grew up poor--his father had been a prominent lawyer in Chennai, but gave up his legal practice when Mahatma Gandhi called on all Indians to quit their jobs so that the British would quit India.  When Indian independence was finally wrested from the British, my grandfather's fortunes had been so eroded that he never really recouped his losses.  My father and his siblings relied on scholarships for their education.  Education, then hard work, was my father's way out of poverty.  So the poverty that he had grown up in was not a surprise.  But the bare feet (so callused that, he told my sister, he could not feel nails and other street junk when they pierced his soles!) moved me.  Because of all that he attained and achieved in his life, despite his starting point.  Because of all the charity and good he did as his own success grew, perhaps in memory of those hard early days.  And because, as my sister told me, there was not an ounce of self-pity in him as he shared his recollections with her--he was joking about how awful and hard-as-wood his feet were, in those shoe-less days.  Typical of the man who gave pancreatic cancer a run for its money and withstood the worst that it unleashed on him, for 14 months, without a complaint or a whimper.   Dying, deprived of the ability to speak, the only thing he would whisper to my mother and sister is: "I am fine."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Could You Read My Script/TV Show/Article?

I get my share of requests--to please read and give feedback on someone's script or play or story or article.  To be very honest, I am never too thrilled to get these requests.  First, since so much of my own day is spent in writing (email queries, business emails, my own scripts, my book), when I read, I like to read for pleasure.  I like to pick and choose what I am going to read.  A friend/acquaintance's work almost always feels like yet another "to do" on my list.  Secondly, I am not a critic, and always refrain from saying negative things, even if a critic might deem such negative things to be richly deserved!  So my feedback is hardly likely to be constructive.  I have very vivid memories of my girlhood in India, when a classmate hounded me for "honest criticism" on her short story.  I said one mildly negative thing (after she pushed and persisted)--that the piece felt just a tad long.  That was the end of the friendship.  

On the flip side of the coin, I never pass my work around to my friends and acquaintances, asking for feedback.  Whether one wants it or not, one always gets more than enough "feedback" when one starts to circulate one's work to agents, representatives, book editors, publishers, producers, production companies, actors, etc.   I've found that if there are genuine cracks in one's work that need to be fixed, they make themselves known, with time.   Your own inner voice will nudge you, and, if you slow down enough to listen, tell how how to fix it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CLASH OF THE TITANS--But Why Does the Villanous Lunatic Look Like a Hindu Sadhu?

I went to a screening of CLASH OF THE TITANS last night.  I'm curious why the filmmakers chose to portray the villainous lunatic gentleman (who towards the end becomes a worshiper of the Dark God Hades and rouses the rabble to sacrifice Andromeda) in the garb of a Hindu "sadhu" (a "sadhu" is a Hindu holy man, a man who has devoted his life to God).  The character is bare-chested, with a "tilak" mark on the spot where his third eye would be, with ashes smeared on his upper arms, and with what looks like a knee-length dhoti around his waist.  Symbols like a tilak and holy ash are sacred to Hindus; so are sadhus, by the way.  You could swap this character easily for any Hindu holy sadhu who prays in our temples in India--so close was the physical dress and depiction.  My husband, who is neither Indian nor Hindu, remarked about this character being made to look like a Hindu sadhu after the screening.  He said that the filmmakers would never have dared make the character look like an imam or mullah, a rabbi or priest.  Hindus make for easy targets because they are tolerant/apathetic to a fault, thanks to thousands of years of invasions--and conversions.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I get a lot of queries from people who like my film, and I empathize with your frustration at not being able to readily find my film in digital format.  Unfortunately, I don't own the rights to my own film--when a writer-director such as myself makes a film, we sell the rights to our script and creation to the producing or distribution entity.   I am therefore not sure which entity now owns the digital distribution rights to my film--that entity is the one who can get it out on DVD.