Write a movie-script based on something very common but something no one would even think about making into a full fledged movie. Let there be commotion at the beginning, the main characters to have sex, all hell break loose near the end and then all’s well that end’s well. Publish it as a book at a time when much of the youth of the nation has just picked up the habit of reading. Also, do not forget to include, ” soon to be made as a movie” at the bottom of the cover page. Publicize it well enough and sell it in huge numbers.
Repeat process 3 times and today your name is Chetan Bhagat.
Hello is the only one of those three which has gotten to see daylight as a movie as of now, but it is the one that should not have and that is because of the story. Now that it is out, I shall not bash the movie based on the story but judge it based on how well the story is told through the performances. I assume that unfortunately you have read the book.
Character building and character assassination both take a lot of time, but with time constraint being a limitation that films as a medium inherently have, there is only so much that can be done, especially in the case of adaptations, since there is a preset notion to cater to. While building the screenplay for this movie , maximizing available screen time towards assigning the fallacies of all the characters seemed to be the last thing on these guys minds. From the very beginning, with a Salman Khan dance performance, the naach-gaana sequences had a higher priority than the actual telling of the story. Precious time wasted I must say. ( Precious time wasted you must say since I wasted so much space in telling just one thing 😛 ).
Sharman came the closest to portraying his character, Shyam. Sohail Khan as Vroom was a joke. Vroom was the only part one would have wanted to be and Sohail’s antics just took all the zing out of it. And the ladies, the less said the better. They just droned through the entire thing. Sharat Saxena as Military Uncle was totally wasted. Yes, his part didn’t have much to say in the book itself, but all his scenes were as if he said whatever he did because he was in the book and not because the story required him to. The only person who did total justice to the character was Dilip Tahil as Bakshi, the manager. The music was nothing to gaga over, just the standard stuff that Bollywood doles out when Pakistanis and crime master Pritam are not involved. For a moment at the end, I had thought that the climax had changed, but then how could the very scene that made the book feel perfectly Bollywood-esque, be out of the movie? It stayed and completed the drubbing.
For the best part of this movie, it is expected of the viewer to have read the book before watching it and thus fill in the blanks on our own. If you havent read the book, then you are in for a confusing time. This is really a pitiable situation for the writer, because inspite of being actively involved with the making of the movie, it still does a horrendous job telling the story that he started out telling. And if one is to believe, that he had a change of heart and wanted to do a better job with the movie than he did with the book, then I would say he screwed it up royally.
And now for some free advice to Chetan. Since you continuing to write books and hoping that they would make it as movies is a given, I hope that you would do a better job at it, for it was a novel writer ( Yendamuri Veerendranath) who has been a major driving force behind the phenomenon that is today known as Chiranjeevi. Lets see how FPS makes out as Three Idiots.
P.S. : It is another matter that Yendamuri too let success get to his head at a later stage but not before giving Chiranjeevi some of his best hits.
Update: I just remembered something from Saarang 07. The FPS play by Madras Players was far better than this and they did it in about an hour.