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Note to Indian film-makers

Here’s the problem with Indian film-makers: they don’t do their homework. Where in New York City will you find a big yellow taxi with a steering-mounted manual gearbox? An American hospital where the stretcher is lazily being pushed through the ER corridor by a nurse and the attending doctor on one side and two peons on the other?

They want to get a point across through situations that are real, but they don’t take the trouble to find out exactly what the real picture is, that you can’t drive 100 mph through Manhattan, and even if you manage to somehow, your chances of making it out without getting arrested after being chased by an entire fleet of red-and-blues are entirely zero, especially when, while driving like this you pass by a cop on the sidewalk enjoying his mid-day donut.

Directors of the fantastical have free reign over what to show and how to show it, but if you’re depicting reality it is your fundamental imperative to show what’s actually real to remain credible with your viewers. If you’re going to show NASCAR, at least get to know NASCAR; study an ER environment instead of imagining it or carelessly copying what those before you have shown, in a different era of film-making when such scenes were avant-garde and in the realm of the fantastical, and hence spared from this burden of fidelity to the real.

My two cents to Indian film-makers: if you’re not able to afford the legwork required to faithfully show modern reality, or you’re just unwilling to do it, stick to the emotions and drama you do know and leave the other reality to big-budget Hollywood.

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