Open letters have become quite the rage off late. Jumping on the bandwagon, Vikram Bhatt wrote one to his daughter, Krishna, on Facebook too (we wonder why he couldn’t speak to her about his thoughts face-to face).
Krishna is all set to mark her directorial debut with 1921, the web series which is said to release in January. With the main subject of Vikram’s letter being ‘Nepotism’, the filmmaker advised his daughter on the concept of cinema, being aware that she is in the industry because of the Bhatt lineage backing her and on the right ingredients to make a great film.
Here are 5 interesting points he made in his open letter to Krishna:
1) On filmmaking being a ‘thankless misery’
“I remember I was fourteen when my Father gave in to my desire of wanting to be filmmaker and ferried me along to meet Mahesh Bhatt. I can never forget the question Mahesh Bhatt asked me that day. “Why would you want this thankless misery Vikram?” he posed. I had no idea why he called filmmaking a thankless misery but as the years went by, and I have been here for thirty-five years now, I realised what he meant. It is not misery, as one understands misery but the misery of continuously grappling with changing circumstances and attitudes around you. However, it is what I call job profile and every job has a unique one.”
2) On the real reason for cinema being to entertain, not educate
“Filmmaking is the business of entertainment. People come to us to be entertained. People don't come to us for education, moral science classes or civic lessons. Don’t talk down to people or claim to know more than them. We really don't know more than them. We just have a skill that is all.”
3) On the Big N- ‘Nepotism’
“There will be some who will call you a product of nepotism and run you down. Don't try to pretend that you are not. You are the product of nepotism and that is fine. I have worked hard all my life so that you have it easier than me. If someone rues that, too bad! Screw this game of fairness. Nothing is fair. But nepotism will only give an opportunity and not success. Success depends on talent and not opportunity. There are scores of examples of nepotism in this place that have failed, some even after more than one chance at it so remember its only your talent that will get you by in the final analysis.”
4) On dealing with criticism
“On professional critics, know that like you and me they get paid to do a job, their job is to more often than not dislike stuff more than like it. If they like everything it makes for boring reading. The fun in any reading is disagreements, and that is what critics are paid to do, to disagree. But remember if you take them seriously when they praise you then you will have to take them seriously when they bash you. They will control you by applauding you and control you by denying you applause. Don't fall for that trap!”
5) On the main ingredient that makes a great film
“Stories, stories and only stories work and nothing else works in the business. No stardom, no marketing, no praying and no gimmicks. Like Elia Kazan said, “The audiences are like blood hounds. They smell a good story miles away. You cannot fool them.”