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View Full Version : The Screen-Turners Part I (Naaz)



RR
29th August 2005, 05:12 PM
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<div class=Section1><div style='margin-right:-.75pt;tab-stops:45.8pt 91.6pt 137.4pt 183.2pt 229.0pt 274.8pt 320.6pt 366.4pt 412.2pt 6.0in 458.0pt 503.8pt 549.6pt 595.4pt 641.2pt 687.0pt 732.8pt'><span
style='font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Calligrapher'>THE SCREEN-TURNERS<o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='margin-right:-.75pt;tab-stops:45.8pt 91.6pt 137.4pt 183.2pt 229.0pt 274.8pt 320.6pt 366.4pt 412.2pt 6.0in 458.0pt 503.8pt 549.6pt 595.4pt 641.2pt 687.0pt 732.8pt'><o:p></o:p></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Turn is a special word.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div><o:p></o:p></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>It carries within it a sense of change - be it a manner, a physical gesture, a trait of character, an everyday phrase, or even the eternal grave. When someone or something or some feeling [i]turns, there is a transformation. Mostly, the change is simple, ordinary, and meaningless. But some times it is profound. The purpose of this series is to chart that change with a focus on one commercial turning: What happens when images of words on the page become images of movement on the screen? The Screen-Turners will explore this transition of media – creatively, critically and perhaps, not too controversially. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><o:p></o:p></div><div style='text-align:justify'><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>There are many books that been made into <span
class=SpellE><span class=GramE>tamil</span></span> films. My selection here is entirely random and evidently contemporary. In a turn (that word again!) toward selfishness, I have chosen the books I would like to reread. Some of these are also based on my music collection – I want to include songs and a close reading of the lyrics wherever possible – and that really narrows my choice. To pin this literature, film and music tent, we might have to head somewhere into the mid-70s, and do the distance again. The good thing is<span
class=GramE>,</span> most of the books are in print. And even if you don’t get around to reading them now, there will be enough here to make you want to look them up sometime, maybe on a lonely flight from Toronto to Kuala Lumpur. Trust <span
class=GramE>me,</span> it will bring it all back home.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><o:p></o:p></div><div style='text-align:justify'><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>The format of this exercise is dynamic. <span
class=GramE>Ever changing.</span> Wherever possible, I will include song files, pictures, interviews, and such. My analyses of the books turning into films will be all and only mine. So feel free to rave, rah-rah or ruminate. Here’s a good one: Literary Access <span
class=SpellE>Kollywood</span>! That’s the essence of the series in a nutshell. <span
class=GramE>Words.</span> <span class=GramE>Music.</span> Moving <span
class=SpellE>Images.And</span> how they turn around each other.</span></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'></span></div><div><span
style='font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Arial'>The Screen-Turners - Interview One.</span></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'></span></div><div><span
style='font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Arial'>VISHALI, </span><st1:City><st1:place><span
style='font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Arial'>PARIS</span></st1:place></st1:City><span
style='font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Arial'>, AND BACTERIAL PROCESSES…</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div>
http://www.rediff.com/news/1996/1011san1.jpg
<div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>When I called, <span
class=SpellE>Sivasankari</span> answered the phone herself. But that’s the kind of person she is. I told her about the new series I was contemplating, and asked her if she’d have the time to answer a few questions on 47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span>, the novel and the film. “I’m busy with a wedding in the family,” she said, “but I’ll certainly look at the questions if you send them to me.” I told her to take her time - and the space she needed. She got back in a week.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><o:p></o:p></div><div style='text-align:justify'><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Here’s my Q &amp; A with celebrated author, <span
class=SpellE>Sivasankari</span>.</span></div><div><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div><span style='font-size:
12.0pt;font-family:Arial'></span></div><div style='text-align:justify'><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q. Why 47 <span class=SpellE>Naatkal</span>? Why not 53 or 34 or 69 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span>? In other words, how did you arrive at this span <span
class=GramE>of</span> days? Was the novel written and ready before it was serialized? Is there any other reason for this particular choice of number?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A. This is a question asked by many people. In fact, there is no real reason for selecting 47 days. The novel, as you know, was written in 1978 and I find it very difficult to recollect how specific my thinking was! But I can try to tell you why I chose ‘47’ with a reason. Normally a pregnancy is confirmed after 45 days. Once <span
class=SpellE>Vishali’s</span> pregnancy is confirmed, I wanted to end the story. <span
class=GramE>Hence, 47 days.</span> And also, I liked the way ‘47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span>’ sounded. It is my practice to write the serial story week after week, although the entire story would have taken shape within <span
class=GramE>myself</span>. But, in the case of 47 <span class=SpellE>Naatkal</span>, I remember writing and completing it in a month’s time before handing it over to Mr. <span
class=SpellE>Manian</span> to be <span class=SpellE>serialised</span> in <span
class=SpellE>Idhayam</span> <span class=SpellE>Pesugirathu</span>.</span></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: Would it be right to classify 47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span> as a domestic thriller? Wasn’t this the greatest draw for the audience - the thriller element of the writing? Or could it be voyeurism?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: I certainly don’t agree that this novel is planned to be a domestic thriller. The incidents I heard from some of my close people led me to write about them. <span
class=GramE>This,</span> added on to my trips and experiences in the </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>US</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>, consolidated the theme. As far as I am concerned, writing is a process through which I share the thoughts that have motivated me into thinking - as authentic and interesting as possible. I can tell you faithfully that when I sat to write this novel, there was no intention of making it a thriller or voyeuristic.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: Is <span
class=SpellE>Vishali</span> a Victim or Survivor? The novel ends with her rescue, but what precedes the denouement is a series of violent acts that can be summed up as spousal abuse. How do you see her now, given the distance between the novel from the time of publication and the current strides of Indian feminism?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: <span
class=SpellE>Vishali</span> was a victim who survived finally. The series of violence – that erupts out of the inability and anger of Kumar - happened very naturally. Kumar behaves like angry caged animals, whose calculations go haywire and cause his extraordinary <span
class=SpellE>behaviour</span>. Yes, in today’s context, one can definitely say it is a spousal abuse. But when I wrote the story, as the events unfolded, whatever naturally would be the response is what I have tried to depict. You have asked me how I see her now. To be honest, it will be very difficult. She can be anything. <span
class=GramE>A successful woman who has learnt her lessons through bitter experiences, or somebody who is shattered and finding solace in self-sympathy, or a combination of both.</span> Everything depends on what kind of mental attitude she develops after she returns, and the family and social support she receives.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: Is there something more to the character of the ex-pat/NRI husband? Was the dislocation of <span
class=SpellE>Vishali</span> from </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>India</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> to a western country a cautionary gesture on your part? In other words, was there a nascent nationalism in the binary of East/West that the novel seemed to suggest? A division such as, </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>India</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> = Moral/Traditional, West = Libertarian/Immoral?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: As I mentioned in one of the earlier answers, in middle 70s I suddenly happened to hear 2 or 3 incidents in succession about girls going from here to other countries and finding that the husband is already married to a foreigner. In those cases one being educated, returned immediately; one died due to unknown reasons in </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>France</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> itself; and the third one came out of it with the help of a German lady. All these made me feel that I should go in depth with the topic. Because I’d been to </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>America</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> few times, and the topography and the customs are familiar, I chose US as the place of action. Otherwise, there is no particular reason as you mentioned -India-moral/traditional; west-liberation or immoral. So many such cases happen in </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>India</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> too. Actually I was invited to </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Singapore</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> a month ago by the National Library Committee that comprises of 26 libraries. They had selected my book ‘47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span>’ for READ Singapore <span class=SpellE>programme</span> and had invited me for 3 interactions with the readers. The main reason for their selecting the book is that they felt the theme is still very contemporary. In fact, in one meeting a young girl came forward to accept that she was <span
class=SpellE>victimised</span> like <span class=SpellE>Vishali</span> and has come out of the wedlock just a year ago. I am telling you all these to <span
class=SpellE>emphasise</span> that though I chose US for the base of my novel, this can happen anywhere and with my inputs is happening everywhere to many people.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: What are your views regarding the omniscience of the Author? How do you negotiate the fine balance between your own personal views and those of your characters? How important is authorial control and/or distance to you?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: Writing is like ‘<span
class=SpellE>Parakaya</span> <span class=SpellE>pravesham</span>’ - that is, going from one body into another. If I project <span
class=SpellE>Sivasankari’s</span> views through all characters, then they will become so alike, boring and there will be no individuality at all. Hence, I am very clear that the author cannot penetrate or influence the characters unless there is an absolute need. Out of 45 or so novels I have written, may be in two. I have consciously made the main female characters reflect some of my personal ideas because their <span
class=SpellE>characterisation</span> is somewhat similar to mine.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: Of all your works that have been made/adapted for film, which film was the most faithful to the text?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div>
http://www.rediff.com/news/1996/1011san2.jpg
<div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: Well, if you are talking about faithfulness to the text, then it is the recent film ‘<span
class=SpellE>Kutti</span>’. The film has almost ninety-nine of the text intact. As for 47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span>, director K. <span class=SpellE>Balachandar</span> told me at the very first meeting that he doesn’t want <span
class=SpellE>Sivasankari’s</span> readers to blame him that he has changed the story. Hence, he wanted me to do the necessary changes. First, as they were planning to take the film in </span><st1:City><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Paris</span></st1:place></st1:City><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>, the location had to change. Then, since most of the scenes in the book were happening inside the house, they wanted to shift them to outdoor locations. Also, filming the rescue <span
class=SpellE>Vishali</span> through the Embassy would be <span class=GramE>difficult,</span> hence they wanted that to be changed. So I brought in <span
class=SpellE>Sarat</span> <span class=SpellE>Babu’s</span> character and ‘<span
class=SpellE>Adhisaya</span> <span class=SpellE>Raagam</span>’ song. The adaptation of the movie was definitely with my consent.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: Would I be wrong if I said that 47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span> was a successful literary work precisely because it was serialized and kept the reader’s anticipation in high gear every week and throughout, and which was impossible to create and hold in the film?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: Every reader has a right to hold on to their view. It is your opinion that the <span
class=SpellE>serialised</span> version of the book was more successful than the film. People who have not read the book, seen only the movie, feel it is a very gripping movie.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: Did the film lose much of the novel’s communal specificity, as it was made for two linguistic audiences, <span
class=SpellE>tamizh</span> and <span class=SpellE><span class=GramE>telugu</span></span>?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: I don’t think so. As I mentioned earlier, this kind of incident has happened, is happening, all over </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>India</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>. I don’t think that it is restricted to any linguistic state.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: If 47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span> were <span class=GramE>serialized/written</span> today, how would you change or modify the character of <span
class=SpellE>Vishali</span>? To frame it another way: Would the <span
class=GramE>character’s</span> (under)exposure to the world around her seem plausible, even realistic?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: Well, if I decide to create <span
class=SpellE>Vishali</span> as an educated girl, then naturally the sequences would be different. But you must remember that even today there are lot of illiteracy prevailing in villages and small towns. Education to women in </span><st1:country-region><st1:place><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>India</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> is certainly coming in a big way, but not as fast as we all would like.</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Q: What are the creative compromises in the transfer from one medium to another book to film?</span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div
style='text-align:justify'><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>A: I have explained this in many seminars. If reading belongs to one medium, the cinema or TV belong to another medium, though both are creative areas. The former essentially covers literate groups; and the latter along with literates, also the illiterate groups. So, it is essential that the text under goes certain changes - note - I don’t call this compromise.) <span
class=GramE>as</span> it shifts from one to another medium. What we say in a paragraph, in a film they can show it in a flash. And, what we say in one line – “the crowd had thousands of people” would be very difficult for the visual people. Once we understand these difficulties, then accepting the changes would be easier. I also quote one more example in this context. To have excellent yogurt, it is imperative that the quality of the milk is also good. <span
class=GramE>Once the milk becomes the yogurt, the entire property changes.</span> Milk is liquid, sweet; whereas, the yogurt is semi solid and slightly sour. Instead of commenting about the quality of yogurt, it would be foolish if one laments that the milk is spoiled. This is how the adaptation of a novel should be looked at when it is made into a film.</span></div>



<span class=GramE>
Songs from 47 Naatkal: <a href="http://forumhub.mayyam.com/cgi-bin/stream.pl?url=http://raretfm.com/songs/maan_47n.rm
">Maan kanda sorgangal</a>, thottu kattiya maappillai (http://forumhub.mayyam.com/cgi-bin/stream.pl?url=http://forumhub.mayyam.com/tfmmagazine/sep05/thottukkattiya.rm)</span>



<div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'><o:p></o:p></span></div><div><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'>Part II -<span class=GramE> Analysis</span> of 47 <span
class=SpellE>Naatkal</span> (Book/Film/Songs)</span><span style='font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:Arial'> will appear in next issue. </span></div>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-family:Symbol'><o:p></o:p></span></p>

-Naaz




<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-family:Symbol'>Ó</span><span
class=SpellE>Author</span> 2005. All rights reserved.</p>
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prabhudas
3rd October 2005, 01:27 AM
Hi Naaz,
Congrats... on a nice writeup / interview.
I haven't either read nor seen movie " 47 naatkal", I was too young when the serial/novel cam eout , and hadn't learned Tamil ( having born and brought up in Karnataka), but I have read reviews about movie and briefly known the central theme of the movie, and obviously who could have ignored that great song of "SPB" in the movie.
Just a request, is it possble to interview and write about Jeyakanthan and his novels also, MR.Ra.ki. Rangarajan in ur future magazine sections

Prabhudas

Naaz
19th October 2005, 01:56 AM
Prabhudas -

Thank you for your kind words. I will definitely do my best to include the authors you have mentioned. ..The list gets longer every day!

Naaz