I assure you this is post is about writing. But we will take the round about way to get there.
If you follow Bollywood at all, you’d know the movie RAM LEELA has proved to be the highest grosser of this year.
Now, RAM LEELA was widely marketed as an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The director has made a career of offering over-the-top romantic fare. The lead pair are the latest it stars of Bollywood, and no strangers to doing intimate scenes.
The movie itself had set the background for a devilishly handsome hero and a spunky, mischievous heroine. They meet for the first time on the day of Holi, which positively has to be the most sensual publicly approved festival in any culture (ambushing with water and manually smearing powder on one another – COME ON!).
With all that set up, the movie kicks off when the feisty heroine surprising the bedazzled hero with a kiss and one would think that it is expected from a romantic musical. Yet, if you read through most reviews, both experienced reviewers and amateur movie enthusiasts are repeating over and over – how can a woman kiss a man on the first encounter?
Now, if the guy had initiated the kiss, I am sure he’d be hailed as a passionate go-getter who swept the lady off her feet by planting a sloppy smooch on her lips. But because it is the woman who initiates it, we now have national newspapers publishing features on Indian women who kiss and tell.
Even if that generalization – let’s assume for a crazy minute – is true, aren’t there always exceptions to a rule? So… perhaps Bhansali’s Leela is that one in a million woman who WILL kiss her hero on their first meeting, without stopping to feel coy/cautious?
I think she is. Otherwise Deepika Padukone cannot have played that part so naturally, and the character would not be as iconic as it is now.
Let’s stop here, make a multi-degree turn and land in the world of writing.
When you write your story, do you write about an average Joe/Jane or do you write about an extraordinary character, making extraordinary decisions?
Whenever you are about to write a scene, do you find yourself saying, “Oh but an Indian guy/parent/child won’t do that!” or “That’s too fantastic! It would never happen in real life.”
While writing a story, do you confine yourself in a narrow box and only write about what you know? Do you let your prejudices and pre-conceived notions about the world taint your story and infect your characters?
If you answer yes to the above questions, do you really think your tale, your book, will be interesting enough to live forever in readers’ memories?
Do you want to be remembered as a run-of-the-mill author… or a one in a million one?