Mini Stories in Films
Shooting a YouTube video or short film, the script is still the beginning.
Salaam-e-Ishq, directed by Nikhil Advani reminds me of my origins. I wrote short stories before I became a poet, before I became a journalist, before I wrote screenplays and before I became a novelist. I regard Saalam-e-Ishq as a cinema quilt of five stories, some are related, others not.
This Indian film is a combination of chhoti chhoti stories. We can even call it an anthology on film. Love, the subject matter is as old as the Rocky Mountains that guard Canada, but the treatment is original. You can interpret the stories as individual entities or as part of the whole film.
My photography teacher at Columbia University in New York said we must first understand the basics of photography before getting creative, pushing film and other tricks. The script writer in Salaam-E-Ishq knows the composition of a screenplay and then bent the rules a bit.
The first thing to decide is connectivity. Should the mini stories be related to each other? In Salaam-E-Ishq, some do others don’t. Anil Kapoor plays a bored agent in the United Kingdom who represents Kamini (Priyanka Chopra). He is still in touch with his relatives in India, who are arranging a marriage for his sister-in-law with the help of shaadi.com.
My interpretation is that they are six couples in the film. All their stories intertwine somewhere like the two journalists played by Vidyaa Balan and John Abraham. She is Muslim. He is Hindi. They love each other and get married despite their parents’ objection.She loses her memory in a railway accident and forgets him. He tries to help her regain her memory by taking her to his parents’ home, to his father who hated her because she is Muslim. It’s a popular storyline in Indian films.
There’s a character in the film that doesn’t want to say goodbye to his player lifestyle to get married. Another character is married but hasn’t slept with the bride because of unexplained mishaps.
This drives him crazy. Kamini, Priyanka Chopra’s character wants to be the next Nargis and other legendary Indian actresses.
Salaam-e-Ishq is a juicy movie gumbo. Your choice. What do you like?
Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.