Apr 22, 2007

Life In Sine

First cut of a short movie script. Story credited to Sachin who blogs at Meri Kahani


Cancer hospital board

An old hospital room….. Large windows … slightly faded white paint .. clean…

A 70’s fan with a large protruding center whirrs.

Large metal bed in the center with a similar bed table on which there is newspaper-wrapped partially opened pack of oranges.

Karthik : Late 20’s , 2 day stub

Tina: Late 20’s, Hospital councilor

Karthik is leaning on the wall with his face towards the wall and hands folded above ….

Walks towards the bed ..crashes with a thud …spreads out his hand and leg in an X position and casts a forlorn look to the fan

Cuts to the fan and close-up of Karthik’s face few times

Tina’s energetic footsteps

Tina knocks and enters the room . Karthik has a pillow over his eyes

Good morning Karthik .. did you sleep well . I hope you had the medicines given by Annie sister yesterday night

No Response

Are you awake Karthik


ohfoooo. Karthik you are in one of those bad trips gain…

Tina is active during the conversation

Tell me Councilor how long do I have

Karthik don’t be such a kid ….. Being a medical professional you should know that cancer is not an incurable disease these days. There is so much of technology available. I am sure Dr. Gowda would have explained you all the possibilities

Why me of all the people..I am not even thirty…

It is important though to not to loose your heart.. Show me a good face and I will get you out of this ….

Would you have these medicines

Tina slowly helps him sit on the bed , gives the pills and a glass of water….

Tina caringly rubs Karthik’s face and exits


Evening. Tina knocks and enters in denims and sweatshirt with a white collar

Hi Karthik Just thought I will say bye. How was the biriyani ???

She goes and opens a round steel lunch box

Makes out that it hasn’t been touched

Not even a spoon. Could have given it to somebody else if you were not having. You told you liked malabari biriyani. Had to wake-up at 4 today to cook it.

Why are you doing this Councilor ?

I got a name

I even don’t have a life ahead of me

Not everything has to be done with express intentions

I didn’t mean it. I am sorry. My state doesn’t leave me with many options.

That is because you choose not to.

You know this is not the real me

I too was wondering whatever happened to that glamorous, firebrand communist at college. Seriously you were the hero of all of us first years and had quite a fan following in the ladies hostel.

Those were the best years

Hey look… I got to go. Take care and have your medicines on-time. I can ask Annie to give a sedative if you are not getting sleep

Looks at Tina’s eyes and says in a soft moist voice

I just can’t thank you enough

Don’t bother. I will see you tomorrow

Tina Exits


Bright day

Karthik is by the window ardently looking outside …..

Cuts to a close-up of a small plant on the window ledge. Morning dew on the leaves, a little bud or flower, swaying against the wind.

Karthik paces up and down the room . humming a tune from a recent movie ( allah ke bande) … . exited .

Tina knocks and walks towards Karthik

Good Morning Tina.

Good Morning. What in the world has happened. Was that you humming the tune

Why not …….. I got a beauty as a neighbor

Surprised. I thought you room was cut away from the other rooms

Senorita won't you come to the window and greet my dear friend

Tina walks to the window, stand close to Karthik and looks out through the window

Smiles. She looks kind of cute. Not a classical beauty but definitely has some mystery

Karthik comes and sits on the hospital bed

So there goes the inspiration. You already had the medicines. Looks like your muse is working wonders on you. Making you disciplined so quick ??

Karthik smiles and looks( sparks) at Tina


Another Day

What about my babe’s food

What ??

Tina don’t tell me you forgot it. I had asked you get organic manure from the supermarket near your home

Sorry Karthik. Totally slipped me. But anyways as a saying goes “ what is born in fire doesn’t wither in the heat” your muse is too wild to shrink so easily

Both laugh

Tina and Karthik comes to the window and looks at the plant.

Cuts to plant

No Tina seriously please get it tomorrow

hmm didn’t know you could be so caring

If I choose to

And how does my lord make such choices

Both laugh


Close-up shot of the plant mutilated and broken down. . The frame moves in a sort of drunken, surreal way

Cuts to Karthik’s face from outside. The window railings form the foreground.

Karthik leans against the window and look lost. Signs of unhappiness and being lost. Droopy eyes are a little moist

Tina walks waving a hospital file.

Karthik shows an eye movement to look through the window

Tina looks out and shows an expression of surprise

But you have to see this ..

She waves the file in her hand

The second biopsy report. Your tumor is localized and can be easily cured with radiation or worst case a surgery

Karthik shows an expression of disbelief

Are you serious ??

Do things change with such rapidity always

Turns slowly and looks at the plant

The plant

Karthik’s face . Tears trickle down

Karthik walks to Tina and holds her hand. Eyes locked.


ReadnRyte said...

Reminded me of O Henry's 'Last Leaf'..especially the dawning of realization in Ram, though the triggers in both the stories were contrary.

Sachin R K said...

Salil - The script does justice to the story :). But does Tina sound too modern ( The heroine of my story seems to think so ). :PP

Rahul - I read the 'Last Leaf' after seeing your comment. The setting is very similar. "O Henry is dead, Long Live Sachin R K " :)))

ReadnRyte said...

Sachin - O Henry was the past...Sachin am sure is the future :) but honestly I must say you write really well.

Salil - detailed comments to follow. Good beginning though :)

Kailas said...

Reminded me of Henry's last leaf with a Happy Ending.....
Good show
Let's not make it too long so that the core focus is not lost
regards and all the best

redwaterstew said...

Hi Fellas: Thanks for the quick comments.

@ Rahul Yes comparisons with Last leaf are inevitable. But Sachin's story is about the rapidity with which mental states change as much as it is about how simple things can make an impact. the rapidity part is what i liked and hence “Sine” in the name.

@Sachin: I think we are doing a disservice to the Mallu nurses by categorizing them as dump and rural. They are quite smart and have reached every part of the world. True she shouldn't sound like a typical B'lore babe. Would you think that she is modern if the dialog was in Malayalam. i probably might give her mallu ascent to make sound less urban.

Kailu : The 2nd and 4th scenes are to reinforce the two states. Will have to explore if more could be conveyed with shots than dialogs. but overall my estimation is that it shouldn't cross 4 mins to the max

@Rahul2: Sachin definitely is the new kid on the block. Please ping with the details when you get time.

a question: a friend had this idea about using B&W in the first 2 scenes and color in the rest. what say you ??

me thinks the first 2 scenes should look bleak and gloomy in film.

btw this is a part of the weekend film course I am doing

veena said...

I must say the story has taken a good shape. I liked the screenplay, but the nurse seems too smart than necessary. she speaks like a doc.You might want to cut that down a bit. And what about shots in between the dialogues? A good start and you definitely have a future in this line.No Jokes!

redwaterstew said...

@ Veena: Thanks for the arty compliments. Yes…. Tina sounds more smart and hep for a nurse. But I want that character to have finesse and above average intelligence. If that doesn’t come with a nurse maybe she should be a trainee doctor or a psychotherapist :-) What say you ?

Thanks to Sachin too

Some shots in between are indicated,. like the mutilated plant, leaning against the window. Need to work on the mise-en-scène

Sachin R K said...

Hey Salil...the first 2 scenes in B&W is a great idea. That way you can convey the bleakness and contrast it with the happiness that bursts into Karthik's ( really where do you get all these names - must have a chat over drinks ) life later.

veena said...

Salil, I was brooding over this script. I think you must change the character into an intern who has some special interest in Karthik because she knows him from the past. Would also explain her intelligence since you are sure about wanting someone extra smart to fit the role. Just a small suggestion. Inspired by this script I am able to frame my story. I probably will post it here.

Kailas said...

Was going thru your comments..
Just an Idea..
The entire screenplay in B&W save the last shot...
Just an Idea...

ReadnRyte said...

Salil - Even I had the same thought, prolly you might want to shoot it entirely in B&W, with the last shot gradually moving from B&W to colour. The last shot could pan from both their faces to the oustide world thru the window... colorize it gradually and fade to white.

That also a nice idea to make Tina a trainee or a junior doctor.

And rather than making anything explicit..you can prolly leave the connection between them ambiguous

ReadnRyte said...

I thought you can just give a small backstory to their relationship with each other, which willl add a lil depth. Prolly a conversation or two.

The idea about colourizing to show his happiness is kinda cliched...so u might want to avoid it.

Known Stranger said...

well, am glad that ur story takes shape, good to see the comments abt B&W ideas, name changes "approved" by ur friends/bloggers,

Humm i do think for a nurse her "medical knowledge" is too smart, maybe she should be a pschylogist ? or some other medical professional ? Like a psychotherapist ? This would explain why she understands Karthik, not only from a medical expert point of view, but also from a human being; a woman's point of view (nd also she might tend to think with her heart ?)

i agree with the first 2 scenes should look bleak and gloomy in movie, with a pale shade of white, maybe accentuate the contrast between the black nd white shades ? I mean this contrast should show Karthik's state of mind, his upsetting mood, his hopeless nd helpless attitude etc

i do think u need to work on the scenes or shots betw dialogues, am sure u got ur ideas.

hey, i got an idea on music, or background sound/music. Instead of playing some music, why not just tk some background sounds such as opening doors, rain drops, thunder etc ... birds singing ? This could match ur story and the scenes ? And in a way, this would also work out to be cheaper from a financial point of view.

Did u find any actors to shoot this ?

Anonymous said...


redwaterstew said...

TINA INTERN OR PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Looks like overwhelmingly it is Intern. Besides Psychotherapist might be little heavy for the Indian context though things are changing rapidly. And doctor with the coat makes better visual communication. Not sure what physiotherapists wear at work. Veena any ideas

ON THE B&W IDEA: I am convinced about the first 2 scenes in B&W or faded, gloomy color. Why not entire B&W is coz I need to understand color as it is a trainee film… it is little clichéd as readandwrite suggested. Cannot afford to not get some basic grounding in color. And fellas this not my magnum opus. You will have to wait for that

BACKSTORY TO TINA & KARTHIK : Point taken. Maybe friends from college or Karthik could be a college hero (firebrand politician, idealist or a commie) that the women had a crush on. How I wished to be there

And readandwrite the connection is left ambiguous but obviously there some suggestions spread across the script.

MUSIC: Opening doors, rain drops, thunder etc are great. Will use them diligently But might need some solo subtle violin pieces like in the opening shot to convey the mental state

ACTORS: Have one person in mind for Karthik. Need to check in what shape he is now though.
Nobody identified for Tina. Any ideas ??? Friends etc

And hey thanks everybody. The story is really growing. Thought I will summarize and reply to your ideas than individually

Sini said...

salil, good work man. can u tell me where to read the source story. that would enabl me to comment on u'r script better.
definitely inspired from O Henry's Last leaf, but i am not sure if the transformation to day 3 is a bit too fast and dramatic ( esp since there is no mention or ref to the plant early on in the play) . But having said that, u'r first attempt is v good and all the v best for the shooting and the rest of it. have fun!!

redwaterstew said...

Thanks a lot Sini . Source story is at http://sachin-ki-story.blogspot.com/2007/03/new-hope.html . O Henry's last leaf is at http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lastleaf.html visualizing the sudden transformation definitely would be a challenge. I want to introduce the plant as a character itself . natural sounds and music is planned to register the change. the story is also about such rapid changes from depression to an almost manic phase. Clinically it could be a very sudden in some cases as I understand it.

With only weekends for the project it is a struggle. But it sure is interesting. trying to get the cast and crew together now

Belt Mathai said...

Hi Salil,

Well done! Enjoyed the script. (Sachin your story was good)

What's the status now? Guess u're preparing for the production.

Many images are passing through my mind. Hospital scenes... waiting in the long unending corridors... the squeak and screech of the trolleys and stretchers wheeling the helpless patients into the operating theatres with the scary lights...the tired anxious relatives waiting for the doctor to tell them the good news even if it can only be bad...the thattukada that appears at dusk outside the hospital gate surrounded by the hustle bustle of tired bystanders taking a break from reality and sipping a tea finding a strange comfort in the hot steam from the hot tea that caresses their faces...the monotonous chanting of meaningless prayers over the public address system with a warning that people will not be let in or out of the gate during the prayers...the meaningful instructions of the nurse visiting just before bedtime who asks to be called if there is any distress during the night...

I am waiting for you to breathe life into this wonderful story. Take and re-take the shots as many times as you need to, to get close to perfection.

niloufer said...

overall 2 gud ,i feel d rapport btwin Karthik n Tina is xecellant ,not necessary she hs 2 b a intern r pysiotherapist ,at times ven 1 is on d hospital bed ,even a encouraging word 4m d service person does wonder's 2 d patient's overall pysice,it reminded me of d Last leaf . n ys ven reacted wth a cheerful personality lk Tina,mkes 1 want 2 sit up n den move .acording 2 me as a watcher ,its gud .all d best .

Sachin R K said...

Salil...shooting evide vare aayi?