Shaken and Stirred
bond, gwenda bond

you don't know cricket (or monsoons or cozies)
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Whew. Busy week. Wednesday we went out for a lovely dinner related to my day job, only to find out one of the people we were meeting with is also a writer and had just had her face sketched on the front page of the Wall Street Journal the day before in a story on the cozy mystery market. Very interesting people, very lovely dinner.

(Oh, and if Christopher ever updated he'd mention that the Swan Sister antho, which he has a story in, has been put on a fancy recommended reading list. Christopher?)

Day job busy, grumble, busy, grumble. Then home for the screening of Monsoon Wedding with a q and a session by screenwriter Sabrina Dhawan.

Monsoon Wedding is a truly beautiful film, if you haven't seen it (and if you have). The use of color and composition in every frame is deliberate without feeling forced, effective without feeling false. The actors are easy with one another and the story flows freely in a mirror image of the crazy dynamics of one middle class Indian family in New Delhi united for a wedding. There are happy endings, maybe happy endings, wrenching moments of pain. It's a really lovely movie, and funny as well.

I must say that one of the nicest moments of the whole evening was during the opening credits, when the crowd burst into spontaneous applause at the writing credit -- in the universe I control that always happens.

The theater was packed; actually both theaters in the Kentucky were packed as the main theater was playing host to Steve Earle (we couldn't get tix before it sold out b/c we were in Mexico). The screening was an event in conjunction with the Kentucky Women Writer's Conference, the oldest continually running women writer's conference in the country. We're going to a triple threat reading later. The best thing about KWWC is that they make a number of events available to the general public.

Sabrina Dhawan is entirely too young to be as brilliant as she is. Monsoon Wedding is heavily based on her own family: she has 42 first cousins. She wrote the script while still at Columbia (from which she graduated in 2001), for a revision class she didn't have a script for, in three days. Three days. That's the sound of my soul crushing. Some day I will try to do that and I will go mad. I'm not ungodly slow when I'm actually consistently writing a script at finishing it, but I am certainly not three days fast. Not even close.

Not only that, she showed the first draft to Mira Nair, who said let's make this movie based on it.

Things of interest, or interesting things from the q and a:

The film was originally set in winter, as that's when most Indian weddings take place. It was moved in a rewrite so that Mira Nair's son could accompany them during shooting, meaning it had to match up with his U.S. summer vacation. "Monsoon Wedding" was meant to be a working title, but it stuck.

Marigolds taste like nothing.

Weddings in Delhi are actually way more ostentatious than the one in the movie, because it was too low budget to really do it up right. As Sabrina said, "There's a lot more money in Delhi -- we've taken all your jobs through outsourcing."

It looks like there will be a Broadway Musical based on the movie.

She's developing a pilot for HBO about an Indian family.

American audiences probably miss some of the jokes, including the one about one of the characters not even playing cricket. (We got that one -- thanks Justine!)

"Too much explaining kills things."

Sees Chekhov as an influence on her work, especially MW.

Thinks dialogue is the least important part of screenwriting. (And this is probably true, though it also depends on the type of movie. Oddly enough though, most readers will admit that they read all dialogue and skim action in scripts. You average the math.)

Hmmm... And that's all I remember, for I was very hungry by the time it ended. So hungry I skipped the "Indian feast" at the library and went home for something I wouldn't have to stand in line for. And now, it's Friday evening. Excuse me. I'm late. For something. I just know it.

Coming soon: The WW mix-up story and Meatyard's work (no, really) and some theater commentary as it's our Humana Festival weekend.

worm: "Hope is a Thing With Feathers," Trailer Bride

today's fave post: "Home of the" (Part 2 of 6) at Ptarmigan

namecheck: Richard "Help Us Please" Butner

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