MAM

Qalam 2001 : Shibani Banerjee

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A series of fast, flash cuts. A sepia-tinted photograph -you see a father, mother & young son about 5 years old. A separate photo -same father, mother and a two year-old daughter. But the faces change...until the photo dissolves altogether. Now the voices start and the camera is at the head of a giant ferris-wheel, plunging down, down. ..steeply, while voices scream and shout in excitement. All at once the screams turn into those of fear. Freeze frame on mid-shot of prostrate man, again sepia-toned, but with a bright gash of red blood dividing his neck from his torso. A clear, firm male voice says:

"Tum mera zariya ho, aur mein tumhara annt. "

The next photo is that of a woman, her shoulders bowed by her intense grief. A male silhouette walks into the picture and gathers her dose, murnurs words of consolation. The camera is now on the inside of a car as it takes a curve fast. There is a screech and the camera stops at the bottom of stairs, then; moves up to a group of youngsters. A handsome young boy plucks at the strings of his guitar and his deep voice recites a soulful line:

"Kis badal par baith kar boonti ho yeh khayal, Jaane kahan se todd laati ho yeh sawaal. "

A young woman wearing the clothes of a typical Hindi film village belle, leans out of the door of a railway coach. She is playfully flipping the colourful pompoms at the end of her braid. A voice asks softly, soulfully:

"Basanti, o Basanti, coolie chahiye kya ? Coolie chahiye kya ? Coolie. ..."

A different young girl, smartly and tastefully dressed in blue denims and pretty checked shirt wakes up with a start, inside an empty, stationery railway coach. At the window is a wizened old coolie who looks like a friendly old Bugs Bunny, with prominent front teeth. He is saying:

"Coolie chahiye kya?"

The girls blinks and smiles, nods 'yes'. She follows the coolie out of the tiny station, as he asks her questions with the easy familiarity of a small-town old-timer:

"Pehli baar?(Then looking at her city clothes, he repeats as insurance..) Phaastt taim?"

She nods, an enthusiastic yes. Encouraged, he asks:

"Kiske yahaan jaana hai? Rishtedaar hai? Koi lene aayega ?"

They have reached outside the station and you see the back of an rickety, back-firing six- seater rickshaw, barreling down the kuchcha roads as the young girl looks around her and the camera pans in wide sweeps across a landscape that almost robs breath with its beauty . A voice-over begins, youthful, tender and you hear the young girl's voice for the first time, saying:

"Haan kissi ke yahan jaa rahi hoon. ..par woh nahin aa sakten. ..unhen toh shayaad pataa bhi nahin hai ki mein aa rahi hoon. Jaante ho unke liye mein kya tohfa laayi hoon? Ek kahani... ek ladki ki kahani. Meri tareh shaher ki maina...Phir achanak ek din uski maa ki saheli ne usse ek bohut kimti tohfa diya .Kya tohfa? Ek ajeeb zindagi...bilkul bemisaal, jaise navras ki katha ho. Raghav Pandit ka role bhi yahin se shuroo hua. Woh door nazar aate huye ghar mein akela reh raha thha. Tanhaaiyaan thhi, par akelapan nahin. Rishtedaar thhe. ..haan. Apne thhe. Meri maa thhi woh ladki.

A long silence, then the rickshawallah's voice saying: "Lo, aa gaayen. .." , ..

The richshaw stops and a sophisticated young woman ,wearing a saree and hitching her sunglasses to the top of her head gets out and looks at the beauty around her in wonder

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This was concieved as a versatile opening scene that would be able to move across genres as well as being suitable to a mini/multi episode TV series or a film.It aims to move from intriguing opening into heightened pace.

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