Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Intruder

It must have been during the third year of our Engineering course. Like most typical Indian under-graduation course, ours too was in the danger of contributing not many things to our life. It is not the fault of the system - I will have the authority to blame the system only if I had extracted everything I could from it, and had found that the system had nothing more to offer to me. Before I go into a philosophical mode, let me try getting back to the point.
Some of my friends were keen to make use of the cultural event held at our college. We were aiming for the ad-zap event, but the posters of the Photography and Videography events held our attention longer that they ought to have, considering that we didn't even have a 5 MP digital camera with us. But it did, and the rest, as they say, is History.Forgotten history is History too, isn't it?
We went on to make a first "short-film" despite many hurdles. As expected, it failed miserably. This didn't deter us, and we went on to make a second "short-film", which failed too. But, the fun we had while making these films were immense, and it made us appreciate the difficulties in making a full length feature film. I might write about the actual experiences in a later blog post. For now, I have decided to post the scripts written by me for these two movies.
A little about the script, before I actually paste it here. The story's ending is a conscious rehash of a Hindi movie that I had seen as a child and had a profoundly effect on me (just discovered that it is written and directed by two very famous people). The underlying situation is from a novel by one my my all time favorite authors. So, here is the script.

                                                 TITLE - The Intruder

Scene 1 - Dark Ext
Focus on a compound wall.  A person (man 1) jumps over the wall from the other side. He carries a packed bag with him. Focus on him for some time as he runs through the street.

Scene 2 - Dark Ext
Focus on the gate of an individual house. Man 1 comes running from outside, enters the gate, and goes towards the door. He pants, as he bangs the door twice and moves aside.
The door opens, a man (Man 2) peeps out of the door without opening the door. Finding no one, he opens the door fully. Man 1, who was hiding beside the door jumps out  suddenly and points a gun towards Man 2.

Man 1: Don’t make a noise, this thing works.  Just do as I say.
Man 2 looks startled, but recovers quickly. He nods his head and says..
Man 2: I will do as you say, please don’t shoot.
Man 1 points inside the house. Man 2 nods and moves slowly enters. Man 1 follows him closing the door. His eyes and the gun never leave the other person.

Scene 3- Int
Man 2: Who are you? You can take whatever you want, but don’t hurt me.
Man 1: I am already rich (nods towards the bag in his hand, out of which one or two jewels are visible from outside).
Man 2: Then why are you here?
He waits for an answer, but doesn’t get any. Instead, sounds of the door knocking are heard again. Man 2 looks questioningly at Man 1. Man 1 gets tensed up.
Man 1: (whispering) Open the door slightly, and send whoever is there back. One wrong move and your head will be punctured.
Man 2 nods, and walks towards the door.  Man 1 follows him, with the gun kept pointed. He stands on one side of the door. Man 2 opens the door a little, and peeps out.

Scene 3  - Int, Ext
Man 2: (his voice filled a little fake anger) who is it?
Man: Did you hear someone come this side? There’s been a theft.
Man 2: (softens his tone a little) No, I didn’t hear anything. Where did it happen?
Man: In the next street. Keep your doors locked. Call the police if you see or hear anything suspicious.
Man 2: Sure.
The man leaves the house and Man 2 looks at Man 1 for approval. Man 1 relaxes a little, and Man 2 walks slowly towards the centre of the hall.
Man 1 places his bag down. They remain standing for some time. Man 1 suddenly realises this.
Man 2: (points towards a chair) Mind if I sit down?
Man 1 gives an unsure look. Man 2 makes use of this pause and pulls a chair.
Man 1 remains standing for some time, and then, as if struck by a sudden thought says..
Man 1: Do you have a cell phone? (Man 2 nods his head) Take it out slowly (he reemphasises the presence of the gun), switch it off and give it to me? (Raises his voice a little) Understand?
Man 2: Yeah. I used to do this often in my college. (He follows the instructions)
Man 1: Landline?
Man 2 nods his head to indicate no. Man 1 confirms by looking around, spots another chair. He hesitates, and then he pulls a chair too.
The clock shows 12:25. Fade away.

Scene 4 - Int
The clock shows 12:40. Man 2 is calm but restless. Man 1 is restless too, and tensed.
Man 2: Shall I switch on the T.V.?
Man 1 thinks for a moment, and then nods. Man 2 switches on the T.V. using the remote, and offers the remote to Man 1. He shrugs as Man 1 refuses, and starts surfing the channels. As the camera moves backward, sound of different songs, advertisements are heard. Finally, the sound settles down at some cricket commentary.

Scene 5 - Int
The clock shows 12:55
Both of them seem to be engrossed in the match. Man 1 still keeps his gun clutched tightly.
Man 2: This man seems have a lot of luck. It will leave him soon though.
Man 1: Dhoni is a great captain.
Man 2: (Laughs sarcastically) He is not as good as they claim.
Man 1 suddenly gets up, pushes the gun towards the other person and repeats his words.
Man 2: (Looks startled for a moment) Sorry, sorry, Dhoni is the greatest captain we have ever had!
Man 1 realises he is standing, and takes his seat again.

The clock shows different times, and the two people are shown sitting in the same positions, with slight modifications.

Scene 6 - Int
The clock shows 01:05.
Man 1 is sitting in a more relaxed posture. Man 2 sits casually, but seems a little restless. He keeps looking at the clock. Both are munching something (maybe biscuits). Suddenly a sound is heard outside. Man 1 looks towards the direction of the sound. Man 2 lunges towards him. The camera shifts to some stationary point nearby. Muffled sounds of a struggle are heard, and finally a muffled shout is heard. Camera shifts towards the centre. Man 1, is lying down, looks dead. Man 2 stands with a bloody knife in his hands. He looks around, puts the knife down. The horn (the same sound that was heard first) rings again in a kind of a signal. He looks around again, spots the bag carried by Man 1. He picks it up, and picks another bag lying in a corner. He walks slowly towards the door, gives one last look around the hall, and walks out, closing the door behind him. Outside, a person with a helmet is waiting in a bike. Man 2 walks towards him, says something like you are late, and sits behind. The bike moves away from the house. The camera enters the house again, and goes into a inner room. The camera focuses on a second dead body (say, of Man 3) lies, covered with a blanket. Only his face is visible. The camera moves towards the wall, where a framed photo of the dead man hangs. The camera focuses again on the dead man and freezes.


A few noteworthy points
1) This is not how you write a standard script. There are certain conventions followed while writing a script, and there are special considerations to be made. Hopefully, what I have written is at least
2) If the script looks like crap, the actual movie we made is even crappier and amateurish. we borrowed a camera, and thought ourselves to hold it. We had no idea where the light sources should be while capturing a scene. After instructing my friends acting in the movie to enact each scene as slowly as they could, we ended up with a 15 minute video. Realising that the contest allowed a maximum screening time of 3 minutes, we ended up deleting most of the scenes we shot, and running the rest at a higher speed. We downloaded an editing software from the internet and learnt to use it, and used it, in just 2 days.
3) Watch out for a fleeting performance by self (Yeah, I know. The video by itself is fleeting, and that's how long it will stay in your mind when you end watching it).
4) I will end this post with the tragic announcement that the second script I wrote will be up on the blog in two days ( the two day gap is for effect). It is a fantasy with what I hope to a dose of humour I would have been proud of it, if I had written it while I was fourteen, and got it published in  a school magazine. But as they say, better late than never :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Future Number Three

It is an emotional moment for me. My idol in cricket, and sometimes in life, Rahul Dravid, has just retired from test cricket. I did want to write a post on how I feel about his retirement, but much has been written about him already, and I don't trust my writing skills to do justice to the greatness of the man.If I remember correctly, I stopped supporting the Indian ODI team since Dravid was dropped. I am not sure if I will be supporting the Indian Test team anymore, but I am fairly sure that it depends, in part, on who will be replacing him. 

It will be interesting to see what Dravid's retirement means to the Indian Test team. It has been more than 3 years since Saurav Ganguly retired, and it has taken all that time to find a possible  replacement in Virat Kohli. When Laxman and Sachin retire eventually, India would be left with just four experienced batsmen : Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhoni, and possibly Yuvraj. Of this, only Gambhir has been fairly consistent. The number 3 position occupied by Dravid would be even more crucial, considering that the middle order would be inexperienced. A lot of cricket writers have come out with possible replacements for this position. Since I do not agree with some of their choices, I have set out to list the players that I consider as possible No. 3 batsman. Of these players, the selectors and the team management would be trying out just one or two players initially giving them a long run. Considering that the next few Test matches are being played at home, these two players would have the maximum chance to cement their places.

1) Cheteshwar Pujara
I have listed Pujara first because I have always had a liking for him. Already in the selection committee radar for his perfect technique, he is a classical and orthodox cricketer best suited to replace Dravid at No. 3. He once scored a stunning century in the fourth innings securing an unlikely win for Saurashtra against Karnataka (Rahul Dravid watched this innings first hand, since he was playing for Karnataka). His innings against Australia when he was promoted to number 3 ahead of Dravid led Ian Chappell to write that Dravid must be dropped to make way for this youngster. But, there are a few things going against him. He has just come back from a serious injury, and is yet to make any impression in the domestic matches since his return. While Pujara was nursing his injury, Kohli has cemented his spot, and Rohit almost cemented his spot.

2) Gautam Gambhir
Most people leave out Gambhir's name while talking about the number 3 spot. This is surprising considering that he has done well in this position in ODIs. He is a great player of spin, and has played some wonderful knocks. One may argue that Gambhir is more important as an opener. I don't think so. A lot of openers have been tried by the Indian team in the past few years, and many of them have been fairly successful. There are a few other openers in the reckoning too. If any of them, say a Rahane or a Mukund, could take the role of the opener, Gambhir can play at number 3. This would be ideal, as he can guide the inexperienced middle order too.

3) Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has already cemented a spot in the playing XI, and only his batting position is yet to be determined. Personally, I feel that a Pujara or a Gambhir would be better replacement for Dravid. But, we are assuming that the spot left by Rahul Dravid must be taken by a player of the same mold. Having such a player would definitely be a advantage, but it is not easy.  Kohli has shown that he is ready to take challenges head-on, and his decent success at Australia would give him immense confidence. Now, if only he tries to play the game in a more dignified manner, we have a long term prospect.

4) Subramaniam Badrinath
Badrinath is a fantastic batsman, who as been on the selector's radar for a very long time. But, I am afraid that he has remained on the radar for too long, and now owing to his age, he is slowly moving away from the radar. He did get a few opportunities at the national level, but he was unable to convert them. He made a half-century on his debut. It is largely felt that he did not get enough chances to prove himself, but he was unlucky to have played in an era when the Indian Test team's middle order was dominated by heavy weights. It would be wonderful to see him get his due at the national level. His style of batting is perfectly suited for the one-drop position

5) Ajinkya Rahane
A lot of cricket experts talk about Rahane being the next big thing. He has been tested only in the shorter formats at the national level, and has had mixed success. But, his debut T20 innings showed him to be a nerveless batsman with a calm head. He too has a lot of domestic runs to back him up. Though he is being touted as a prospect for middle order, I would personally like to see him open the batting with Virendar Sehwag.

Now, if India has to do well as a Test team in the coming years, one of these players would really have to do well. Meanwhile, it would be interesting to see if the two remaining pillars in the team are affected by not having Dravid to consistently see off the new ball.

My 2022 in books

We are already into the new year, but I did not want to give up on what has now become my little routine - a summary of all the books I rea...