THE MENACE OF THE INVERSELY TOUTED UNIVERSAL DEPRIVATION
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Children (hundreds of them)
Elephant (for parts)
Mahaut (the noun has one meaning: Meaning #1: ( India) the driver and keeper of an elephant) *See WordNet, developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University under the direction of Professor George A. Miller, available at www.answers.com/topic/mahout
Black shirted butch
Check shirted butch
Long haired girl
Girl in plaits
Tiny people (about one-twelfth the height of ordinary human beings)
Protesters (a hundred of them)
Very young children (two)
Animated blind men (six)
1. EXT. RESIDENTIAL LANE – LATE MORNING (film)
A decorated ELEPHANT lumbers into the silent lane. A MAHAUT on its back. The door to every house in the lane flings open at the same time, and CHILDREN, hundreds of them, stream out of doors.
The children surround the elephant. The elephant looks at them.
CLOSE-UP – ELEPHANT’S EYES
The Mahaut CLAPS.
2. EXT. FLAT LANDSCAPE – DAY (animation)
SIX BLIND MEN gather around an ELEPHANT.
FIRST BLIND MAN
(touching the elephant’s trunk)
A fat snake!
SECOND BLIND MAN
(touching the pointed end of the elephant’s tusk)
It’s a spear.
THIRD BLIND MAN
(touching the elephant’s ear)
No, it’s a fan!
FOURTH BLIND MAN
(touching the elephant’s belly)
No, no. A wall.
FIFTH BLIND MAN
(wrapping his arm around the elephant’s leg)
What are you saying? It’s a pillar!
SIXTH BLIND MAN
(yanking at the elephant’s tail)
3. Decapitated elephant parts zigzag crazily across the FRAME (special effect)
4. STARRY NIGHT SKY (film)
We HEAR loud thunder.
5. INSERT – TV SERIES - B.R. CHOPRA’S MAHABHARAT (clip)
Blind Dhritrashtra sits on the throne. Blindfolded Gandhari sits beside him. 1
6. INSERT – TV SERIES - B.R. CHOPRA’S MAHABHARAT (clip)
Elephants and their riders in the midst of a raging battle.
7. EXT. BUNGALOW IN A POSH RESIDENTIAL LANE – AFTERNOON (film)
The metal gates of the bungalow are wide ajar. Inside, a long driveway. Outside, the Mahaut bathes the elephant with a hosepipe. The elephant sprays itself using its trunk. Uniformed WATCHMEN and DRIVERS of the bungalows next door smoke beedis and watch. A BUTCH LOOKING WOMAN IN A BLACK SHIRT walks on to the spot with her camera. She stands there for a minute, takes a step closer to the elephant and looks around. The watchmen and the drivers nod encouragingly. The Mahaut pats the elephants trunk.
(Encouragingly, to the elephant)
Meri pyaari, meri rani! 2
The black shirted butch hesitantly touches the trunk. The elephant raises her trunk in a salute. The black shirted butch steps back and takes pictures with her camera. The Mahaut resumes bathing.
8. EXT. BOUNDARY WALL OF BUNGALOW IN A POSH RESIDENTIAL LANE –
AFTERNOON (film + animation)
TINY PEOPLE are, with great effort, scaling the wall.
9. EXT. BUNGALOW IN A POSH RESIDENTIAL LANE – AFTERNOON (film + animation)
A white and blue animated bus drives past. The drivers, the watchmen, the Mahaut and the black shirted butch twist around to look at it as it disappears from view.
10. Decapitated elephant part zigzags crazily across the FRAME (special effect)
11. INT. ROOM – DAY (film)
OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT
GANDHARI and DHRITRASHTRA 3 are sitting on a royal bench, facing a mirror wall, turned towards each other.
Gandhari traces Dhritrashtra’s face with her fingers, sighing. Dhritrashtra slowly raises his arms open and flexes his fingers. Gandhari puts her head on his shoulder.
12. EXT. DHARNA SITE – DAY (film)
A hundred PROTESTORS stand or sit on durries, holding handwritten placards in many languages, or fanning themselves. All along the wall behind them are banners and more placards. A small group SINGS protest songs to the beat of a dafli.
The black shirted butch walks in, removes her shoes and takes pictures. Someone passes her a pamphlet they are handing out.
CLOSE-UP – PAMPHLET
1. Characters in Vyasa’s Mahabharat.
2. My beloved, my queen! Or: my kohl-eyed enchantress, my jasmine bower! Or: my nymph, my fair tuskress!
3. Gandhari, princess of Kandahar, put on a blindfold when she was married to Dhritrashtra, blind prince of Hastinapur. There was no prospect then of Dhritrashtra ever becoming king, despite being the eldest son. Gandhari’s sacrifice can be interpreted in three ways: (a) she was a devoted wife who did not want the gift of vision when her husband did not have it, (b) she was an intelligent woman who realized that her husband was spineless and slimy and did not wish to witness the results of his actions, or (c) she was an intelligent woman who realized that her husband was spineless and slimy and wished to be able to castigate him on equal ground when he was being especially spineless and slimy instead of feeling sorry for him for being blind.
apocryphaltext Vol. 4
poem/filmtext by monica mody