Ram Gopal Varma Blog #145. The Inbetweenists

There are people who do and people who don’t want to do but the majority of the people can’t decide what to do, is what I have realized over the years. I call them the inbetweenists because they are neither successful in their individual achievements nor are they failures who have atleast tried to become successful. I met so many of them in the course of my life and I keep meeting them till today. They all have such a very clear strong opinion on what I should do and what I should not be doing but when I ask a question about they themselves, they go blank. They will also have an opinion on every activity happening in the world and they would defend their opinion with a seemingly unshakeable conviction. An example of this breed of people you can also see in the comments section of my blog.

These inbetweenists are the same kind of people who talk about why America should or should not have gone to war with Iraq, why a certain cricket player should not have hit a certain ball, why a film should not have been made in a certain way etc etc.

The amazing thing about the inbetweenists is that they can change their opinions and convictions so very rapidly depending on the outcome of an act in a completely opposite direction to what their original convictions were. For instance I remember me sitting with some distributors who were about to release the remake of a super hit Marathi film “Maherchi Saadi” called “Saajan Ka Ghar” in Hindi. They were telling me a scene in the original film where this guy is tied a rakhee by his step sister who everybody in the family thinks is bad luck for them. Later he meets with an accident and looses his hand. When everyone starts blaming her being a jinx for the tragedy the guy raises his hand with the rakhee and says it’s the rakhee which saved his one hand atleast. Now the distributors ecstatically told me that this one scene was enough to make the cash registers ring across the country. The film bombed and a few days later I was with the same group where some guy was telling them they must have been mad to invest in a film which has scenes as stupidly melodramatic as the rakhee scene. They remained silent as they could not argue with the fact that the film failed. A few more days later I overheard the same group ripping apart the filmmaker for putting such stupidly melodramatic scenes in the film.

Another instance is when first-time director Shanker was doing a film called “Gentleman” which was based on the subject of capitation fee, the entire south industry after seeing the film before the release was sniggering about it and wrote off the film saying that capitation fee was such a trivial matter and not worthy of to be made into a commercial film. When the film released and broke all records the same group a few days later after going through the box-office collections said that capitation fee was such a topical matter and everybody in every family could connect to it.

Now the Hindi rights were purchased and the film was made with Chiranjeevi and was directed by Mahesh Bhatt. There was a big anticipation of its mega success taking off from what it had done in the south. The film bombed and the unanimous feedback was that capitation fee was too trivial a subject to be made into commercial film.

A well-known filmmaker when he saw “SATYA” before its release told me that he hated the background music as it was too loud and too overdramatic and also that nobody would want to see bearded sweaty faces. After the film released and became a cult hit when I met him at a party a few months later he told me that there was a lot of appreciation for the background score and he felt that the background music was hugely responsible to make “SATYA” such a universal hit, otherwise it would have just remained a niche or a so-called art film. He also said the realistic faces were a welcome change from the conventional faces of bollywood.

With all the instances I am talking about, the point I am trying to make is that the inbetweenists keep rapidly changing their opinions before the fact, during the fact and after the fact with as much conviction as what they had before they changed their opinion. The reason for this is two-fold. One is that they in the first place have to have an opinion on everything as they would not want to feel dumb as not to be able to predict success or failure, and two is that they would not want to be caught on the wrong side of success if their prediction went wrong. So they will always have a theory ready if their prediction goes wrong. Their conviction also will come from a very primitive and a subconscious sense of being politically, morally and conventionally right. They consider themselves to be the representatives of the good and the just and their belief systems, however temporary they might be, will be strangely even more stronger than those of the people who succeed and also the people who fail in trying to succeed. The inbetweenists will invariably hate anybody who question their values and the fact that they can not ever really answer the questions will arouse in them an anger which makes them spew venom in their language towards whom they detest.

They keep waiting for the man who is climbing up the ladder to fall down so that him falling down will make them feel as if they rose higher. They just stand, down at the bottom of the ladder and keep commenting on the climber. The only thing they ever can look forward to in their existence is for the climbers to fall down.

Another thing about the inbetweenists is that they themselves don’t realize that they are inbetweenists. This is because their very life force depends on them convincing themselves of whatever they are convinced about for that moment. Their convictions change with time and situations, but in the end the inbetweenists do not really matter in the scheme of things as they will never ever have that one conviction ever in their lives, which is to take even one step up the ladder.

I for one am very glad that a vast majority of the people in the world are inbetweenists because of the simple reason that, there is then that much less competition on the ladder.

“Behold the good and the just! Whom do they hate most? The man who breaks up their tables of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker. He however is the Creator.

Behold the believers of all beliefs! Whom do they hate most? The man who breaks up their tables of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker. He however is the Creator.

Companions I seek – not corpses, not herds, not believers. Fellow creators I seek those who could write new values on new tables.

Fellow harvesters I seek, for everything about me is ripe for harvest. But I lack the hundred sickles. Companions I seek such as who know how to whet their sickles.

To my goal I will go – in my own way; over those who hesitate and lag behind I shall leap. Thus my going will be their downgoing”.

– Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathustra)