Last week, I stumbled upon a brilliant video by Michael Arndt. Michael is the writer of Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) (and a bunch of other films). In the video linked here, you will hear his voice explaining something specific – what makes for a great ending in a film. He gives examples of three Hollywood movies (including one of his own). For anyone enthusiastic about understanding how long format storytelling works in movies, it’s a fascinating video to watch.
Anyway so I looked around (Youtube) to see if something similar existed for Bollywood films. Nothing did. So I though I’d make few videos myself – although not just focusing on ‘endings’. The Gully Boy Story Structure is the first such video. It took me few days to write down the structure and then another two days to put together the video.
Gully boy is essentially one main story and two side-stories.
- The main story – is Murad’s “quest story” that has an underlying philosophical conflict – dreaming big Vs. thinking small. In any typical quest story, the protagonist sets out to acquire an important goal and faces temptations and other obstacles along the way. He is also helped by mentors and motivators in the journey and the story ends when he usually gets what he wants. He or She.
- The first side story in Gully boy is a morality story where the philosophical conflict is between being morally upright that Murad represents (at least when the story begins) Vs. doing whatever it takes to survive, that Moin represents.
- And then we have the second side story – the love story between Safina and Murad which follows a in-love to breakup to back-in-love arc.
I will do such kind of story structure breakdowns for few more good Indian films over the next few weeks. If you have a suggestion, do let me know. And if you aren’t already subscribed, do it now.