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Krishna Shah attempts demystifying secrets of Conflict, Crisis, Character & Catharsis

12-July-2004
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Krishna Shah attempts demystifying secrets of Conflict, Crisis, Character & Catharsis

Following a whirlwind, thought-provoking round of seminars in the Hollywood-specific world of creative writing, Krishna Shah is now in India, the fast-emerging hub for out-sourced CGI work, animation and computer games.

A seminal figure in the world of arts and theatre, a student of the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, writer-director Krishna Shah is forthright while talking to exchange4media.com over an interview. “Screen-writers in India have failed to realise that scripting is not like a stream of conscious novel writing,” he says with dismay. “People here may not like what I have to say but they cannot ignore my advice any more,” he states.

After all here is the writer-director for eight Hollywood films, and a playwright for the off-Broadway success, ‘King of the Dark Chamber’ that won two Obies awards, a film critic and columnist for publications like Hollywood Reporter and Life.

Currently in India with a mission to create a culture of story-telling, Krishna Shah’s two-day ‘Story-Telling’ workshop, held in Mumbai on July 10 and 11, attempted to demystify the secrets of the original art of ‘Conflict,’ ‘Crisis,’ ‘Character,’ and ‘Catharsis,’ for story-telling. According to Shah, screen writing is a scientific exercise and cannot be simplistically defined as just a piece of art. Both art as well as science, are intrinsic to the evolution of a screenplay, he says. Elucidating the point, Shah says a certain structure is involved in cinema scripts and it is this structure that provides the element of science; how one presents that structure is a matter of artistic eloquence.

While Shah is appreciative of the young, up-coming breed of directors; he calls them “enthusiastic and well-versed in the new techniques;” what is lacking is their understanding of the medium called cinema, he says. “Writing for cinema is a temporal act; limited by the factor of time; hence the script should follow the structure rather than a motley of formula masalas most Bollywood films adhere to.

Shah describes his two-day workshop as groundbreaking. This ‘Story Telling’ workshop has brought together nearly 70-75 professionals from as diverse fields as scriptwriting, journalism, stage and screen, producers, software writers, film executives and, of course, wannabe writers. The high point of the seminar was the creation of an original work, using the principles taught in the seminar.

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