Sunday, March 20, 2011
The Scripted Act
We are back to the tobacco act. It is such an engrossing movie with such an incredible cast and crew that really, you wonder at the ingenuity. The acting itself is epic. If this was a film enacted on the silver screen, it would probably be hailed as a cult classic, deserving of the many accolades that is awarded during the season of Oscars, Baftas, the Golden Globes and what have you not.
Bearing bad tidings is one despicable job nobody wants to do but somebody has got to play the postman. Whether the postman rings once or twice or bangs the bagels out of your doors is subjective, but the message has to be delivered. Apparently the script for this particular picture was a collaboration written down by a bunch of wanna-be movie stars, with the obvious intention of becoming movie stars and having a fan following that worships the very ground they walk upon. Much like the throngs of obsessed fans around the world that stalk, camp-in and in a voyeuristic fashion, take zealous notes and click pictures of their demi-gods.
Now the collaboration of the writers of this particular story had, as all good fictional writers do, grounded their research by going to actual places and meeting real people. People are people. That is to say if you asked them a rhetorical question, knowing fully well what answers they would give you, then really, it’s a premeditated ploy to get them to say what you want and then parade that view as unfiltered truth.
This is called putting words in other people’s mouths. When I checked in last, putting words in other people’s mouths is apparently not a two-way dialogue but a one-way boulevard to get the mansion you want to lodge in which they will eventually burn down. But to avoid such a scenario, one needs to actually not only talk to people but also get them to understand first and foremost what the topic is.
The topic is the tobacco act and the so-called refusal by our so-called rural folks to say ‘no’. Of course they are going to say no. What Bhutanese farmer is stupid enough to tell you smoking is not a sin? But have you told them, as did the honorable Chhukha MP, what it actually entails? That one of them could be in prison for taking in a Baba, Surti or Khaini, cigarette or Bidi without receipts? That these actions would be tantamount to committing a crime and that the act is so clear as to say, “bring in a truckload of drugs and you could get out on bail. But bring in a stick of cigarette or a pack of Baba and you will be charged not only with felony of the Fourth Degree, but for possession as well?”
If you did that, it’s a fair deal. If you did not, it’s called ‘scripting’. As for the motives, we’ll await 2013.