They say that sometimes the journey is more interesting than the destination. This couldn’t have been truer for Buddha. The world today knows him as
Rammesh - I Hope To Get Young Readers Interested in Indian War Films
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Having worked for years in Sales and Marketing, Rammesh has travelled a lot and squeezed a fair bit of writing within. We talked to him about his second book ‘Lights Camera War,’ a super interesting take on Indian war films.
“If only I could write like that..”
Most writers have this feeling at some point, while reading other stalwarts’ works. Rammesh felt so too and transcended from reading to writing.
“I was – and am – a voracious reader. Often I would think – “if only I could write like that”. I came across many situations that I used to record in my daily diary until a few years ago. I keep jotting down ideas that I could use; nowadays, I use mobile and Notes. From writing a diary to writing fiction and nonfiction, was probably a logical step for me.
A few experiments. A few articles, a handful of which got published. My first published article was a short story in the 1995 Mid-Day Anniversary Issue (the hard copy I lost).
As to why I write, that’s simple – for the sheer joy of writing.”
Love for Indian films and Military History
Let’s face the fact that there are hardly any books on Indian war films. Rammesh spoke about how his love for the two conjoined in forming this book.
“My love of films and military history came together when I saw heavy encyclopedias on war movies made by the West but none on Indian war films. I also observed that there were hardly any objective thoughts on Indian war films, which is a mysterious subject for the average filmgoer.
I hope that curious readers and young film lovers can discover more war movies and rate them using the factors mentioned in the book, which balance history and entertainment. Hopefully, this will interest them in Indian Military History too.”
‘Lights Camera War’ – Let’s get to know more
This book has an analytical take on the evolution of war films in the Indian perspective and little details about each of them.
“Though it was not intended, the book became a “mini” encyclopedia of Indian war movies across all Indian languages. There are well-known movies and some obscure ones too. I have tried my best to balance the history/reality of the events against the mass entertainment factors.”
On challenges of writing an ‘interesting’ non-fiction book
It is often said that writing fiction is easier than non-fiction. Rammesh agreed whole-heartedly and explained the challenges he faced.
“Taking an objective look is not easy. Sooner or later, one’s views and opinions start to creep in. This is the reason for having the seven factors in the book, such as –
- Real History / Historical background behind the movie,
- Equipment and kit used in the film,
- Locales or substitutes,
- Masala factor (we all know what that means ),
- Goof – ups (how can you open a tank hatch from the outside when it’s usually locked from inside),
- Role of women (beyond the usual “romantic/ home” factor’
- Music (addition or distraction).”
There is also a ‘Special Moment’ for a few films that show something very unique in that film. For this book, research was a bit easy as I had most of the research material in my military history collection.”
On the extensive research behind Rammesh’s books
“For my first book ‘Human Cinema,’ it was a struggle as I couldn’t get the research material – movies, quotes, articles etc. – for almost two years. My travels meant that I couldn’t write as much as I wanted. But I persisted and completed the book after four years of daily writing.
For ‘Lights Camera War,’ I learned from my mistakes and wrote every night from 10 – 11:30 pm, even while travelling. The disciplined approach helped me to finish the book well before the targeted date, December 2019. At times when the ideas flow, I write at a stretch exceeding the set time. Some of that was usable, and some I junked. For non-fiction, references are essential. In the case of ‘Lights Camera War,’ my collection of military history was very useful and helped me to quickly clarify most of the data that I included in my book.
Usually, I write the book/chapters in one go and check against the reference material. Sometimes cross-checking with other books on the same topic gives a different perspective. Balancing extreme views and matching them against onscreen depictions of events is sometimes quite tricky.”
From reading Spy fiction to Military History books
It’s important to know about a writer’s reading habits and we asked Rammesh on what he reads.
“I adore R.K.Narayan and his books, especially the ones centered on Malgudi.
Among western writers, I am very partial to the spy fiction genre. I consider Len Deighton number 1 on my list. Not that the others are any less, but he is my favorite. Others include John le Carre, Ted Allbeury, who wrote some very bleak spy novels; Gerald Seymour, Philip Kerr, whose Bernie Gunther series bridges crime fiction and spy fiction.
In Non-fiction, it’s a bit difficult due to the various genres of my interest, such as history, military history, films, etc. Air Marshal Arjun Subramaniam’s two volumes on Indian Military history have quickly become my favorite. His writing style is straightforward and details all the Indian military actions from 1947 to date.”
‘Write what is close to your heart..’
Writing tips and tricks from Rammesh, which are mighty handy for aspiring writers.
“Whichever genre you write – fiction or non-fiction – discipline is important and come heaven or high water, you must write every day. Even if it’s just 100 words or one paragraph, write. You will be amazed how a tired ‘exhausted’ brain can suddenly get revived and start the flow of words.”
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