Friday 18 January 2013

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 17

Writer & an Actor
17 .1.2013, Mumbai

Writing a book is in many ways like working on a film. When an author works on his manuscript he/ she are engrossed in it and write from morning to night.

She lives the characters and is consumed with the content. Every day, every page and every chapter is a challenge to rise to the occasion and deliver the best just like every shot and every scene in a film is a challenge is for the actor.

The film takes approximately a year to complete and most of the time the actor is disconnected from the post production except for his dubbing and time allotted for the promotion of the film.  The author is in a similar situation. If he is a journalist he edits his own copy but there are many writers who hire professionals to over view their manuscripts for them.

The editing of the manuscript - like the dubbing for an actor is a time for the creator to review and reflect on what is created. Professional journalists don't need that much editing and most films are shot in sync sound these days as a result the next step for both is the post production.

The actor, unless he is also the producer of the film gets periodic feedback on the progress of the film. Technicians involved at different phases, share, opine and contribute their insights on the product and thus begin a quiet, gradual process of the film going public.

By the time the author completes her manuscript and gets the first feedback - usually a line mail from the editor 12 months have gone by and much against her wishes the author has disconnected and moved on to another book. The adrenaline rushes when she is sent the cover design of the book by the publisher and asked to proof read the final corrections.

This is the moment for excitement and self doubt. The moment of truth when the author wonders if the manuscript lives up to the promises of the seductive cover? Will the reader be interested in the content? Is the book engaging enough to be printed, published and put on the stands? Is the author not over estimating her creativity?

Perhaps the actor goes through similar emotions when shown the first promotion or poster of their film but I wonder if he is ever filled with self doubt. The producer may have invested the crores but the actor is expected to make or break the film. He has to sell the tickets and please the critics with his performance.  In the same way the publisher hopes that the author/book will generate good sales and good reviews.

Both go through the grind of aggressive promotions. Just like a premier attended with superstars generates awareness, authors invite celebrities to read passages to lure the crowd.

Finally, it is a battle of nerves but there is another important lesson to learn and that is no matter what the pressures an artiste must always put her best foot forward and take accountability for what he does - in my case - what I write!!

Bhawana Somaaya/

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