Sunday, 29 April 2007

Rewriting Panjak

Directing Tips from ISOA (Indian Soap Opera Association)

Posted by pankajunk on March 27th, 2007

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Camera Placement
Always place the camera between someone’s legs, under a table or on a chandelier. No face level shots please. Also note,  brownie points for a falling chandelier and more if a resulting rescue occurs and a saaazish is thwarted!

Camera Movement
The Cameraman should preferably have Parkinsons. Rapid to-and-fro and side-to-side movement heightens emotions. 3 level zoom also compensates for dead expressions.

Any camera man who fails to do the above mentioned may as well opt for early retirement and watch these very shows on tv.

Rapid transition between different themes. For example if four characters are communicating - a goodie two shoes, a vamp, an angry person and an excited person - each time the camera focuses on a particular person, the corresponding music should play in the background.

For example a possible sequence could be soothing goody melody - sultry vamp music - angry dramatic  music - soothing music - excited music - angry music - vamp music - goody melody music etc. Quick transition is the key.

Choir singers and cheesy lyrics are more than welcome too.  Once again, the music aids the actor to cover lack of expression. Dharti-Phat-Gayi music for a shocking instance (KYA? YE NAHI HO SAKTA!! -  y make the actor say this over n over again, just push play) 
For sankaari folks, the b'ground music must include chants, gayatri mantra is the reigning fav.

Facial expressions are the best way to communicate the script to the audience.
Goody characters should have noble expressions, an angelic face and that extra something that spells SANSKAAAAAR,  and villains should have leery expressions so that the audience can differentiate between the two.

And if it’s a villain posing as a goody, intermittent leery expressions when the character is alone should be adhered to.

Extension of Scenes
Particular scenes need to be prolonged to heighten impact (this also helps in lengthening the lifespan of the soap which equates to more ad revenue). For example news is broken to two characters and each one reacts differently - one with joy and the other with shock. The camera should focus on each alternately to convey the intensity of the emotions.

For example a possible sequence could be :- camera on happy person - camera on shocked person - happy person - shocked person - happy - shocked - happy - shocked - happy - shocked - happy - shocked - happy - shocked and so on( with appropriate music of course). This sequence should be continued till the audience have pulled out their hair and have  lifted their foot to kick the TV screen.

Costumes, Accessories et al

By far the most important element in a TV soap. ZE COSTUMES. 

Vamp = Stylish, over dressed at home and all occassions, must have a signature accessory or costume quirk. Deep necks and sultry make are also indispensible. Must become a fashion statement within three months of the serial's telecast, else go in for a change of look, call up nim sood (the stylist for ALL balaji soaps). 

A common measure of a vamp's style statement is the market's emmulation of the accessories and clothes. Ex: The Ramola ring, The Komolika blouse, etc.

Sanskaari Kanya = Pastels, chiffons, churidaars, bangles, subtel embroidery, the person chosen for this role must exude sankaars and benevolence, else all the accessorising etc is futile. Must nowear chhichhora mini skirts and backless salwar kameezes.
The Buzurgs = Must never look a day older than the kiddies, also over accessorised, certainly shud not dress for comfort. Must wear elaborate saris to bed. Kyunki nighty pehnna humare sanskaaron mein nahi, hehehehe. 

Sanskari Ladka = Simple clean cuts, must be handsome, must look earnest and mehnati. Anything goes on these creatures. No accessories please. Those are for the non-sanskaari brigade.

Miscellaneous Must-haves
Mangal sutra, sindoor, glycerine, mentions of 500 crore projects and profits - lakh do lakh to 
chillad hai boss, plastic surgery, staying alive n reappearing on the soap after being declared 
dead by a doc, more sanskaars, insaaf, pehla pyaar, thappads, badla, saazish, saas-bahu, comic relief, a minimum of 3 shaadis and 6 kids from  diff spouses, revelations, 
and what not.  
The above techniques may prove to be ineffectual in isolation and need to be brought together for the right effect. For example leery eyes - villainous music - rapid to and fro movement and snazzy-gawdy-out-of-place-at-home clothes, is a good combination.

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Anonymous said...

panjak is proud of you!!!!!!!!!! u display a superior knowledge of indian soaps. but obviously you watch these soaps regularly from a critic's perspective ;)

Anonymous said...

u need to market ur blog..what a waste of a good article