Categories
Screenplays

It was meant to be

On a normal morning, Rahul gets a mysterious call from an unknown number asking him to find a girl on a Metro and speak to her, make friends with her & woo her. He does meet the girl on the Metro, exactly as described on the mysterious call, and discovers an instant connection with her. They end up spending the whole day together doing different things and in the process discovering that they have fallen in love with each other. But they stop short of confessing their love for each other by the end of the day. When they part ways at the end of the day, the reminisce events of the day and feel like wanting to connect back. Unfortunately, they don’t have each other’s contact information. Rahul suddenly discovers something shocking about the mysterious call he got in the morning that propelled him to meet the girl on the Metro.

You can either read the screenplay below or download the PDF for a later read.

I began learning about writing screenplays when I took my first screen-writing workshop with Director Rohit Padaki about 2 years ago. While I was able to start writing almost immediately after the workshop, I did not find myself able to write something that I felt was good enough to put on my blog. I recently tumbled upon a book called “Screenplay from Syd Field.” I am yet to complete reading the book, but have started writing as a way of learning from that book. I am grateful to Director Rohit Padaki for helping me start and also for his critical feedback of my previous screenplays. His Basic Screen Writing Workshop, in which I participated, was super-useful. While I have worked on some of his feedback, I realise that I am yet to fully utilise all of his feedback. I am working at using all that.

This is the first time I attempted a full feature length screenplay. At 84 pages, this screenplay will likely translate to a 90 minute film, if it gets made. I am not intending to make it into a film though. My primary intent while writing this screenplay was to try out the idea of “character design” as taught to me in the workshop and book.

Please leave me a note once you read the screenplay. It could be a comment, feedback, criticism or just an acknowledgement. I am grateful for all the feedback, critical and otherwise, that I have already received. I would love to hear from you as well. Please leave me a note once you read the screenplay.

[25th Feb Update: I have received a good lot of critical feedback about the screenplay. I am now able to see why this screenplay doesn’t work. I have begun reworking this story. Will post it as soon as it is done. In the meantime, if you do read this – please let me know your critical feedback. Thanks very much to everybody, especially to Director Abhaya Simha, who has shared critical feedback about this screenplay. Without it, I wouldn’t have had a chance to learn and take a shot at getting better.]

Jump to scene: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

[1] INT. MYSORE ROAD, NEAR METRO – MORNING

We hear Faded from Alan Walker (THE SONG) in the background.

Wide angle shot of Mysore Road showing both entry gates, the metro line and the station in aerial shot.

Camera zooms in subtly. We see people entering metro station from the entrance opposite to the main-metro-station-building.

[2] INT. METRO STATION ENTRANCE – MORNING

A young man, slim and fit looking, in his twenties walks into the Mysore Road Metro Station. We do not show his face, but follow him from behind. He is wearing earphones and listening the song. He is dressed like a model. He walks through the metal detector. Stands on the stool for the security to scan him. He then hops on the steps to go up, instead of taking the elevator.

[3] EXT. METRO STATION BRIDGE – MORNING

We show him walk across the bridge. Along the way he bumps into people. Every time he notices a pretty girl, he stops to catch a second look and appreciate her beauty. He is not creepy though.

[4] INT. METRO STATION GATEWAY – MORNING

He walks towards the gateway. He takes Metro Card from his pocket, ready to swipe. We hear sound of train arriving at the platform. We also hear announcement that the train is leaving for Byappanahalli. A girl tries to cut him, to get to the gateway first. At first he is irritated, but then he notices that she is pretty. He graciously gives way.

GIRL

Thank you

YOUNG MAN

My pleasure

Girl swipes her card and runs inside. The young man silently admires her from behind as she rushes in.

Young man swipes his card next. Crosses the gateway. Once again he hops the steps to get to the platform.

[5] INT. METRO STATION PLATFORM – MORNING

He gets to the platform. The train has just left. The young man isn’t perturbed that he missed the train. Instead he just glances at the schedule board. It says that the next train arrives in 8 minutes.

He walks over across the platform, so that he can board the second car in the metro; right behind the ladies coach. Still listening to the song on his earphones, he stands by the platform, with his back leaning on the wall next to the chairs.

We reveal his face for the first time in closeup. He has an infectious smile. His hair is flying and dancing with the wind, but somehow manages to settle back neatly as combed when the wind settles down.

The song on his earphone is interrupted by a phone ring. It is unusually loud in his ears, when compared to the song.

YOUNG MAN

Aaaaaouch.. Damn…

Irritated he quickly takes the earphones off his ears. The phone is still ringing.

He looks at the phone. Its an unknown caller, coming from an international number. He doesn’t recognize the country code. Confused and curious, he picks up the call.

YOUNG MAN

(into the phone)

Hello?

He only hears static on the phone. Volume of the static is going up and down.

YOUNG MAN

Hello?

Slowly the static is settling down, revealing a girl’s voice. It is not very clear though.

GIRL ON THE PHONE

Rahul, you got to try harder..

The young man is taken aback listening to the girl on the phone address him by his name.

YOUNG MAN

What? Who is this? How do you know my name?

RAHUL looks around the platform in an attempt to notice if somebody is calling him from line of sight. The platform he is standing on and the platform opposite is empty.

GIRL ON THE PHONE

Wait hello? Did this call actually go through? Are you actually Rahul?

RAHUL

Ummm.. yeah!

GIRL ON THE PHONE

You mean Rahul who is going for the audition today, that Rahul?

RAHUL

How do you know that?. Who are you? Is this a prank? <>

Rahul looks around once again to check if someone in line of sight is prank calling him. He bends over behind the compound to see if someone climbing the stairs is prank calling him.

GIRL ON THE PHONE

No no, this is not a prank. This is so not a prank. Wow. I cannot believe that this call actually went through. You are about to board the morning Metro right?

Rahul, not seeing anybody nearby, is now convinced that the call is not coming from anybody in line of sight. He turns around, facing the track. Still confused. But slightly excited that some random girl has called him..

RAHUL

How do you know all this? Who?… Where are you looking at me from?

GIRL ON THE PHONE

Wow.. I cant believe.. I don’t understand. How can…

RAHUL

Who are you?

GIRL ON THE PHONE

That isn’t important. I don’t want to waste time, don’t know how long this call will last. I don’t even know how this call is actually happening. Looks like a wish come true. I am so happy for her. Thank you god. Thank you. Thank you. Tha..

RAHUL

What are you talking about? Why…

GIRL ON THE PHONE

Ok. Ok. I got to help her out.

RAHUL

Huh?

GIRL ON THE PHONE

Ah.. Um… Ah.. Ok, Ok.. I got it. I got it. Ok. Listen you are going to meet a girl on the Metro today. She boards at Attiguppe station. She will be wearing a red top and blue jeans. She has a blue-denim bag-back. She will stand on the bridge between the 1st and 2nd car of the metro. She is coming there to see you. Talk to her alright? Talk to her. Woo her. Try just a bit harder OK? She just needs a bit more trying.

RAHUL

Huh? Who are you? This surely seems like a prank call to me. I am cutting this call…

GIRL ON THE PHONE

No wait, please don’t cut. Listen to me. She just needs a little more push. She takes just a bit more time than others maybe to give in. Just talk to her a bit more, make a little bit more grander gesture. Ok? Hello.. Hello…

Lot of static noise. Rahul is unable to hear the voice anymore.

RAHUL

Hello? Hello? …

The call disconnects. Its very silent all of a sudden. He looks around, few people are on the platform now. Middle aged aunties and a few office going men.

He looks at his phone call log, notices the number once again. It is an international number. He is unable to figure out country from the code (+991 43568 45723).

Just then his Metro arrives. He puts the phone in his pocket, still wondering about the strange call. When the metro stops and door opens, he gets into Metro Car 2 from the door farthest to Metro Car 1.

[6] INT. METRO CAR 2 – MORNING

He sits by the 2 seater to the left of the metro car, adjacent to Metro Car 3. Still recounting the strange call. He takes out his phone and searches for country code on Google.

He searches for +99… No results. He then searches for +991, no results. He then copies the whole number from his call log and searches on Google. No results.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Train has arrived at Deepanjali Nagar. Doors will open on the left. Please stand away from the door.

Rahul looks up from his phone. Scans his metro car. There are about 20 people sitting in the car, mostly men. About 3-5 women, mostly aunties wearing sarees or salwars.

Metro stops at the station, doors open. Many more people board the car. Most seats in his car are now taken. Some commotion at the door nearer to car #1.

FEMALE SECURITY GUARD

(standing outside, yelling at a man who rushes into car 2 from car 1)

ನೋಡ್ಕೊಂಡು ಹತ್ತಕ್ಕೆ ಆಗಲ್ವಾ? 1st coach ladiesಗೆ ಅಂತ ಹೇಳ್ತಾಯಿದ್ದೀನಿ….

A middle aged man is staring at the guard, feeling embarrassed.

Metro door closes and it starts moving.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Next stop is Attiguppe. Doors will open on the left….

Rahul looks up at the speaker when he hears Attiguppe. He stands up, walks across the almost empty car towards car #1. He stands by the door, near the bridge between car 1 and 2; intently looking at the bridge as if someone will magically appear there. The bridge is currently empty.

ANNOUNCEMENT

… Please mind the gap while boarding and deboarding…

Rahul’s face shows a lot of anticipation.

The metro stops at the Attiguppe Metro Station. Doors open. Lot of people come in. Rahul is intently looking at the bridge. He only sees middle aged aunties across the bridge, sitting on the chairs.

Metro doors close and it starts moving. Bridge is still empty. Rahul is now changing his viewing angles to notice if anybody is walking towards the bridge. No one. He continues looking at the bridge in anticipation..

ANNOUNCEMENT

Next station is Vijayanagar. Doors will…

Still nobody. Disappointed, he turns away. He takes out his phone.

RAHUL

(to himself)

It was a prank….

He looks down at his phone, its still showing Google Search results for the number search. He locks his phone and puts it back into his pocket.

Takes a deep breath. Generating hope against hope, he lifts his head to look towards the bridge one last time.

A girl in her early twenties, wearing red-top, blue jeans and blue denim bag-pack walks to the bridge. She stands on the bridge, diagonally across from where Rahul is standing. She is looking at a glossy card, like a pamphlet, possibly something that was handed over to her by newspaper guys on the street.

Rahul notices her for the first time. He is surprised, confused, curious and completely swept away by her beauty all at once. He is looking at her so intently that he doesn’t realize he is staring at her. The girl has not noticed him yet.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Train has arrived at Vijayanagar. Doors will…

An old man sitting next to him stands up. The old man pauses to look at Rahul for a few seconds and then he moves towards the door, cutting the line of sight for Rahul. Rahul gives way to the old man, moves himself closer to the bridge. He now stands almost in front of the girl. He continues to look at her.

Metro stops at Vijayanagar station. Doors open. Some people get out, others get in. Camera is looking at these two.

The girl folds the glossy paper, puts it in her Jeans pocket. She turns left, to look into car 1. Then she turns right. Notices Rahul. He is looking at her. She looks straight at him, Rahul realizes he is staring and turns away. She smiles. Rahul turns back, notices her smiling. He smiles too.

RAHUL

Sorry, I did not mean to stare.

GIRL

I know. You should see some of the women staring in the ladies car. It is much worse.

RAHUL

Oh?

RADHIKA

(as if trying to force herself..)

Hi, I am Radhika.

Extends her hand for a handshake. She is wearing brown wooden bangles. The contrast of the bangle color against her soft white skin makes her look even more beautiful.

Rahul gives her a handshake.

RAHUL

Rahul, नाम तो सुना होगा…

RADHIKA

(giggling…)

Very cheeky. Aren’t we far past the SRK era?

RAHUL

I don’t think we will get get past SRK era. But I get it, cheeky line. Comes off better when he does it though..

RADHIKA giggles. She adjusts her hair, puts it behind her ear. Looks down, left and then back at Rahul who still smiling. She blushes a little.

Rahul gets a notification on his phone. He takes his phone and looks up the notification.

NOTIFICATION

You can take another 2 hours to come for the Audition. Director will be late.

He keeps the phone back in his pocket. Looks towards Radhika again and gives her a smile.

RADHIKA

Where to?

RAHUL

I ah… Indranagar. You?

RADHIKA

Brigade Road.

RAHUL

Oh! Where do you work?

RADHIKA

SAP Labs.

RAHUL

There is a SAP Labs office in Brigade Road?

RADHIKA

No. No. I wish! I ah… I am not going to work today. I like to take off once in a while and hop book shops.

RAHUL

Oh? That’s… very unique.

RADHIKA

You work near Indranagar?

RAHUL

I am going there for an audition. A short film. Will be my first if I get selected.

RADHIKA

Oh. You’re an aspiring actor?

RAHUL

Been doing plays for a while now. Want to try my luck in films.

RADHIKA

Nice! All the best.

RAHUL

Thank you.

Radhika’s phone buzzes in her jeans pocket. She takes phone out of her pocket and checks the message. Rahul continues to look at her. He is swept by her beauty. She clicks her tongue, types a response and locks her phone. Looks up, notices Rahul is looking at her.

RAHUL

(hesitatingly..)

Listen.. ah.. this might sound a bit off. My audition is not starting for another 2 hours. I was wondering, if we could have some coffee before you go book shopping..

RADHIKA

(surprised)

Are you always this fast?

RAHUL

Sorry?

RADHIKA

In asking a girl out for a date?

RAHUL

(chuckling..)

If you prefer, I could wait another 7 stops you know?

RADHIKA

Ha Ha..

RAHUL

Or, I could make my asking you out a bit grander. You know, like…. maybe the universe wants us to meet. Maybe I am supposed to ask you out. Maybe we are supposed to go out.

RADHIKA

(smiles.. pauses for a while and then says)

Well then; maybe we are..

RAHUL

Great! So, coffee then?

RADHIKA

Hmmmm.. Sure, we can have coffee.

RAHUL

Ok! There is a Coffee Day on Brigade Road, lets go there.

[7] EXT. OUTSIDE BRIGADE ROAD METRO – DAY

Radhika and Rahul are climbing down the steps from the Metro station. The Domninos Pizza joint in the metro station is not yet open. They walk past Chaayoos just outside the metro station, towards Brigade Road.

RAHUL

Do you do this often?

RADHIKA

Huh?

RAHUL

You know, like go out for…

RADHIKA

(pissed at Rahul)

That’s all it took for you to judge me ha? You think I am a loose girl now. I thought…. Forget it. I think this is a bad idea. I don’t want to go for coffee with you anymore. Just… just go.

Thus saying she walks away hurriedly from Rahul, towards Brigade Road only; but faster than Rahul. Rahul is taken aback. He stops walking and watches her hurry away. He is reminded of the strange call he had in the morning

GIRL ON THE PHONE (V.O.)

Try harder Ok? She just needs a little more push.

Rahul runs to Radhika and stands in front of her, just as she is about to turn left at the intersection of Brigade Road and Church Street.

RAHUL

Hey… I don’t know what I said.

RADHIKA

You think I always hook up with guys on the Metro and go out with them, don’t you?

RAHUL

No.. why would you think that?

RADHIKA

You asked me. (mimicking Rahul) Do you do this often?

RAHUL

I meant to ask if you do bookshop hopping often.

RADHIKA

What?

RAHUL

Bookshop hopping???

RADHIKA

Oh… shit shit shit shit…

Radhika, embarrassed at herself, goes silent. Covers her face with her hands walks to the left, holds the railing.

RADHIKA

(making a sorry face while looking at Rahul)

I made a big fool of myself, didn’t I?

RAHUL

Hey… I am just glad that you don’t judge me to be a creep anymore.

RADHIKA

Sorry.

RAHUL

कोई बात नहीं senorita.. बड़े बड़े देशों में..

RADHIKA

(makes a face…)

RAHUL

Sorry…. Still cheeky.

Radhika manages to give a light smile. Still feeling guilty that she yelled at him.

RAHUL

Shall we go for that coffee now?

RADHIKA

Sure.

They walk across the street to reach Coffee Day. We see them climbing the steps and into the shop through the glass door.

[8] INT. CAFE COFFEE DAY – DAY

We show Radhika and Rahul sit inside the cafe. It is empty.

RADHIKA

I am sorry I overreacted.

RAHUL

Hey…. That’s Ok. But why did you feel that I would think of you as someone loose?

RADHIKA

Its.. I… Nothing. I am sorry, I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. Lets start over Ok?

RAHUL

Ok.

RADHIKA

Ok.

The waiter comes by the table, gives them the menu. They both order a corn-sandwich and cappuccino. Waiter takes the order and leaves the table.

RADHIKA

Tell me something about you.

RAHUL

Okkkay.. I am born and brought up in Bangalore. My father is into insurance. Mom is a high-school teacher. Lived all my life in south-Bangalore, Basavanagudi, J. P. Nagar. Now in Girinagar.

RADHIKA

Hmmm.. Siblings?

RAHUL

One sister. Older one. Married. They both work. They have a kid. Very cute boy that one.

RADHIKA

How old is your sister’s boy?

RAHUL

He is 6 now. Goes to school.

Their sandwiches are served.

WAITER

Shall I serve the coffee also right away sir?

RAHUL

(looking at Radhika for her answer, she nods.)

Ah.. sure.

WAITER

Ok. I will get it right away Sir.

He walks away from the table.

RAHUL

So, tell me something about you.

RADHIKA

Dad works for SBI. Mom’s at home. We are two siblings, I am the older one. My younger brother is doing BSc in Physics. I did my engineering from BMSCE. Campus placement got me into SAP.

Radhika takes a bite from her sandwich. As does Rahul.

RADHIKA

(munching her sandwich still..)

Where did you graduate from?

RAHUL

(takes a moment to swallow his sandwich)

I did my engineering in computer science from Manipal. Was never interested in software, always wanted to be an actor. Ever since I saw SRK in DDLJ. He creates…

RADHIKA

(in a teasing tone)

Ah! That explains a lot. Did you also change your name to Rahul? What was your name before?

They both exchange laughs and continue having the sandwich. The waiter comes by with two cups of Cappuccino, places them on the table and walks away.

RADHIKA

Today’s audition… What film is it for?

RAHUL

Its for a short film. They have not announced the name yet. Its from a new director. One of my friends had shared about the audition on Instagram.

RADHIKA

Nice. You audition often?

RAHUL

I have just begun.. been going to Auditions for the last 3-4 months. Not got any break yet. But I know I am close..

RAHUL

किसी चीज़ को अगर तुम दिल से चाहो..

BOTH RADHIKA AND RAHUL

…तो पूरी कायनात उससे तुमसे मिलाने की कोशिश में लग जाती है!

RADHIKA

(smiling)

Good luck for today!

RAHUL

Thank you जी.

She takes another bite from her sandwich.

RADHIKA

(munching her sandwich)

You said you have done theatre before?

RAHUL

Yeah. I have done a bunch of plays. I have been in the theatre scene for close to 3 years. Have done a few shows at RangaShankara, Ravindra Kalakshetra and KH Kala Soudha.

They take another bite from the sandwich.

RAHUL

(while swallowing)

I want to try short-films now. Hopefully make my way into a web-series. Its huge these days. Big fan of the TVF guys and their content you know. Have you watched their stuff? Permanent Roommates, Pitchers…??

RADHIKA

(sandwich in the mouth)

I loved Permanent Roommates. It was really good.

RAHUL

You should also watch Pitchers. Its fantastic.

RADHIKA

Yeah, I have heard..

RAHUL

(taking a sip from his coffee)

I just love how Naveen and Jitendra have built their acting careers off of Web Series. They do some really good work.

RADHIKA

I am sure you will get to do some good work soon.

RAHUL

Thank you!

RADHIKA

Parents cool about your career choice? They ok with you acting?

RAHUL

(takes final bite of his sandwich)

Yeah. They are OK. I mean they are obviously concerned that I don’t earn as much as my friends already are. But they don’t complain. Some of my friends, they keep taunting me though.

RADHIKA

Oh. I guess, some people just don’t get it.

RAHUL

Yeah, so I keep telling them: I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And…

RADHIKA

Howard Roark from Fountainhead?

RAHUL

Wow. You’ve read that book too?

RADHIKA

Its my favorite.

RAHUL

That my favorite too. How cool is this? We are meant to be, you know..

RADHIKA

Ha Ha..

RAHUL

Isn’t Fountainhead an amazing book? It really speaks to me you know..

RADHIKA

Its a really good book. I like how Roark is adamant about creating meaning for his life, exactly the way he wants. That’s very bold. Something very uniquely human.

RAHUL

Deep! I mean, that’s how the book is, you know. Each time I read. There is something new.

RADHIKA

Yeah.

They both finish their coffee. Waiter comes by

WAITER

Anything else sir?

RAHUL

(looking at Radhika)

I am done.. you?

RADHIKA

Yes, this is good. Thanks.

RAHUL

(to the waiter)

Just the bill then.

WAITER

Very well Sir..

He walks back to the counter.

RAHUL

What kind of books do you read? I mean besides Fountainhead?

RADHIKA

I am a big fan of Existentialism right now.. I love..

RAHUL

Exist.. what?

RADHIKA

Existentialism.. Its a sort of continental philosophy. Like Ayn Rand, there are many authors whose work makes you look at life in a brand new way. These authors also claim that we all create meanings for our own life and that there exists nothing pre-set. The books they are write are very deep. Very confronting even.

RAHUL

(genuinely curious..)

Oh?

RADHIKA

I am reading Simone de Beauvior these days. I tried to read Sartre before. Very difficult. Then I started reading Gary Cox’s commentary about Sartre. Suddenly Sartre started to make a lot of sense. But there was still something missing…. Sartre is very masculine, you know.. That’s when I discovered Simone de Beauvior. Her work really speaks to me you know…

The waiter comes by the table.

WAITER

Your bill sir.

RAHUL

(taking the bill..)

Thanks. Let me..

RADHIKA

Lets split?

RAHUL

(looking at her.)

Sure. Sure.

They split the bill. Handover cash to the waiter.

WAITER

Thank you Sir.

The waiter walks back to the counter.

RAHUL

So… you like… read deep books?

RADHIKA

I like to read books that help me unconceal aspects of life that will perhaps remain inaccessible with normal thinking. Every month I take a day off from work to go book shopping. I hate shopping on the weekends. Too many people. So, I take off on a Monday or Tuesday. Very little crowd.

RAHUL

Interesting. I would love to take suggestions of a book or two from you.

The waiter comes back with change. Radhika takes her share and puts it into her purse. Rahul takes his share, puts it into his wallet. As Radhika zips her purse and is about to put it into her bag..

RADHIKA

Hey, do you want to come book shopping with me?

RAHUL

What? Like, right now?

RADHIKA

Yeah. Do you have some time now?

RAHUL

Ah.. Sure. I have to get to my audition in another hour or so.

RADHIKA

Oh.. I don’t mean to… You know what..

RAHUL

No, no. Let’s go book shopping. But after that, how about we go for that audition together? You could try your hand at my trade too….

RADHIKA

Ha Ha.. Reading books is not a trade I am in!

RAHUL

No, I am serious. This is going to be great. I’ll try out your madness, and you try out mine. It will be fun..

RADHIKA

Yeah. I like that.

RAHUL

Yeah?

RADHIKA

Yeah!

RAHUL

Ok. Lets go see some books now!

They get up and walk out of the cafe.

[9] EXT. NEAR CAUVERY EMPORIUM – DAY

Rahul and Radhika are walking towards the intersection of MG Road and Brigade Road, near Cauvery Emporium.

RAHUL

Which one is your go-to bookshop around here?

RADHIKA

I used to go to Crossword bookstore nearby. But they closed it. Since then I go to… (looks towards Rahul)

Rahul is staring ahead and is silent. He is not listening to Radhika. Radhika looks at Rahul’s face and then she looks ahead in the direction that Rahul is looking. At a distance, somewhere near Cauvery Emporium, is a couple walking by. They are casually walking on the pavement in the direction towards Rahul and Radhika. The woman suddenly recognizes Rahul.

WOMAN

(walking swiftly towards Rahul)

Hey… Rahul!

RAHUL

Hey Nidhi! Wow! Not seen you since college. How have you been?

Rahul and Nidhi hug.

NIDHI

I am good. Good…

NIDHI

(pointing to the man who is with her)

This is Mikesh. We got engaged last week. Getting married in two months.

Rahul looks at Mikesh. He looks well built. Well dressed. Very rich.

RAHUL

(shakes hand with Mikesh and Nidhi..)

Oh. Congratulations.

Rahul completes his handshake with Nidhi, but is still holding her hands. He is looking at her as if he is swept away.

MIKESH

I think she got your wishes there buddy.

RAHUL

(letting go of Nidhi’s hand)

Oh sorry. Of course. Congratulations. I am happy to hear about your engagement.

NIDHI

Thank you.

MIKESH

Thank you.

NIDHI

(looking at Radhika)

I see you are with someone…

RAHUL

Oh.. No. Its not.. I am sorry. This is Radhika. Radhika this is Nidhi. We were friends in college.

NIDHI

(displaying excitement)

Hi Radhika. Good to meet you.

RADHIKA

(nodding at Nidhi)

Hi…

NIDHI

(looking at Rahul and hinting at Radhika..)

So..???

RAHUL

No.. we are not together. We met today.. we are just talking.

NIDHI

Oh?

RAHUL

(wanting to change the subject..)

Well.. it was nice bumping into you. Congratulations once again. Have a great wedding and a wonderful married life.

NIDHI

Oh.. you can wish us at the wedding. You are invited, obviously. You will come, wont you?

RAHUL

Sure. I will…. try..

NIDHI

(pointing at Rahul and Radhika like they are a couple and leaning near Rahul’s ear)

And if this moves ahead, do bring Radhika along.

RAHUL

(feeling shy)

Ah…

Nidhi gets a call on her phone. She looks to see who it is.. Rahul looks at Radhika, she is feeling a teensy bit uncomfortable. Rahul looks at her and mouths

RAHUL

(mouthing to Radhika..)

Sorry.

RADHIKA

(mouthing back)

It’s OK.

NIDHI

(looking up from her phone, still ringing..)

OK. I won’t keep you two for long. Good seeing you Rahul. Good to meet you Radhika.

RADHIKA

Bye.

RAHUL

Yeah. Sure thing. Bye Nidhi. Congrats Mikesh.

Rahul looks at Nidhi as she and Mikesh walk away. Nidhi picks the call…

NIDHI

आ रही हु पापा. I am just around the corner. OK. OK.

She cuts the call. Holds Mikesh’s hand and continues walking.

FLASH CUT TO

[10] INT. MIT COLLEGE CANTEEN – NIGHT

An empty Coca Cola bottle is shown rotating on a table. As its speed reduces, the camera zooms out revealing six people sitting around the table. 3 boys and 3 girls. The bottle gently stops rotating, with its mouth pointing at a young Nidhi.

BOY1

Truth or dare?

NIDHI

Truth.

Boy1, Boy2 and Girl1, who is sitting in between the boys, huddle and discuss a question. We reveal that the other boy is young Rahul.

GIRL 2

(looking at the guys and a girl huddle)

Ooooooh. A rather strong question is being cooked..

Boy1, Boy2 and Girl1 are now ready with their question. They un-huddle. Girl1 looks at Rahul for a bit, then turns to Nidhi for asking the question.

GIRL 1

If you had to choose between a rich and powerful guy and a सीदा सादा but a really wonderful guy, who would you choose?

NIDHI

Choose for what?

GIRL 1

To marry, of-course…

NIDHI

I will marry the rich guy. Obviously.. Wonderful guys are good to have as a boyfriend.. but, शादी तो पैसे वाले से करूंगी…

BOY 1 & BOY 2

Ooooooh.. wicked man!

They exchange high-fives with Nidhi. Rahul is smiling halfheartedly, almost as if he is disappointed with Nidhi’s answer.

NIDHI

OK. OK. Lets go again. Embarrass someone else now..

She rotates the bottle. This time the bottle points to Rahul.

GIRLS

Ooooooh.

BOY 1

(in a teasing tone)

बीटा, बहोत silent बैठा है तु. तुमसे कुछ सच उगलवाडेंगे…

GIRL 2

Wait wait wait. I have a good question.

Rahul, who was sitting laid back on the chair up until now, leans forward facing Girl 2; ready to take the question.

GIRL 2

If you had to propose to any of us girls here, who would to propose to?

BOY 2

Oooooh… फस गया.. Careful man, तुम किसी को भी pick करो, बाकी दो तुम्हे मारेंगे..

GIRL 1

(making a teasing face, looking at Rahul)

बोलो बोलो, tell tell…

Rahul looks at Girl 1. He then smiles, looks at Nidhi. Their eyes meet. Nidhi blushes a bit. She smiles, looks down at the table and then back at Rahul.

RAHUL

I would…

FLASH CUT TO

[11] EXT. NEAR CAUVERY EMPORIUM – DAY

Rahul is looking at Nidhi and Mikesh walking away.

YOUNG RAHUL (V.O.)

… I would first become a movie star. Make a lot of money. Then, maybe I will come propose to Nidhi…

BOY 1 & BOY 2 (V.O.)

Oooooooh…

GIRL 2 (V.O.)

बदमाश! What about us? तुम हमें भूल जाओगे. Nidhi, don’t trust these movie star types ha..

NIDHI (V.O.)

जब तक ये star बनेगा, तब तक I would have married someone else.. Ha ha…

Radhika waits for a while. She notices that Rahul is continuing to look at Nidhi.

RADHIKA

Ahem..

RAHUL

(suddenly coming to senses)

Oh.. Sorry. I did not expect to run into her. Haven’t seen her in a long time.

Rahul and Radhika, continue walking. They turn left at Cauvery Emporium, cross the road and walk towards Anil Kumble circle. Rahul is still rather silent.

RADHIKA

A lot of history there ha?

RAHUL

(as if trying to dismiss that question)

Na.. We were just friends in college. That’s all.

RADHIKA

Hmm…

Rahul takes a deep breath. Shakes himself out of the mode he got himself into.

RAHUL

Sorry, I zombied out..

RADHIKA

No problem. College life can be very nostalgic.

RAHUL

Yeah.. But I am now back from the trip down memory lane. I am fully here, with you.

RADHIKA

Okkaay… Welcome back then!

RAHUL

So, before.. you were saying.. after Crossword closed, you go to..?

RADHIKA

Yes, I… I go to Higginbothams these days.

RAHUL

Ah. Vintage!

RADHIKA

Yeah. I like how they present books. Its all stacked up aesthetically to make a visually appealing impression. You walk into the store, the books seem to want to be bought by you..

They reach Higginbothams on M. G. Road by then.

RADHIKA

(pointing left towards the store)

And we are here..

RAHUL

(looks at the book store and back at Radhika)

Ok. Let’s go see some books.

They walk into Higginbothams book store.

[12] INT. INBETWEEN BOOK RACKS AT HIGGINBOTHAMS – DAY

Radhika pulls out a book from Osho from the rack in the philosophy section. She flips through the first two pages. Finds something interesting on the 3rd page, she reads it intently.

CUT TO

About 60 feet from her, but on the same lane of book racks, Rahul pulls out the book “8th Habit from Stephen Covey” in the Self Help section. He flips through some pages. Doesn’t find it appealing. He keeps the book back on the rack. He swipes his index finger on books in the vicinity in the Self Help section.

CUT TO

Radhika puts the book back on the rack. She looks for another book. Picks up “Being and Time from Martin Heidegger”. She flips through the first few pages. Folds the book and keeps it back on the rack.

She gets a notification on her phone. She picks it up, reads it and locks her phone as if wanting to dismiss whatever was the message she just got. In a bit of irritation she keeps the phone in her pocket.

CUT TO

Rahul is holding up a book “Lucky Man from Michael J. Fox.” He is reading a page from the middle of the book. A notification ring from his phone distracts him. He takes his phone out of the pocket. Its a WhatsApp message from Nidhi. He opens it. Its a scanned photo of her wedding invite. As he is seeing the invitation zoomed in, there is an incoming text from Nidhi.

NIDHI (ON TEXT MESSAGE)

So glad to bump into you this morning. Please find my wedding invite here. Do come.

Rahul takes a deep breath. He looks up from his phone. Nods his head, as if in disbelief. Stares at the ceiling. Meanwhile, he gets another buzz on his phone. Another message from Nidhi.

NIDHI (ON TEXT MESSAGE)

I saw sparks today. Radhika and you look good together. Bring her along too, yeah?

Rahul chuckles. He locks the phone, puts it back in his pocket. He turns to took towards Radhika. She is still checking out books. He stops to admire just how beautiful she looks. He notices a strand of hair gently touching her cheek. He stands there admiring her profile.

GIRL FROM THE PHONE (V.O.)

Woo her. She just needs a little more push. Make a little bit more grander gesture. OK?

Rahul walks over to her. He takes the last few steps with energy. As he approaches her, Radhika looks up to notice him. She smiles.

RAHUL

Hey!

RADHIKA

Hey!

RAHUL

Found something good?

RADHIKA

No… It usually takes a bit more time. You?

RAHUL

Nothing yet. Listen..

Rahul takes both his hands and gently holds Radhika by her shoulder. She is pleasantly surprised by the first touch.

RAHUL

I have an idea. How about I find a book for you as a gift? And you do the same for me.

RADHIKA

Ah…

RAHUL

You can.. you can lookup a book for me in Existentialism. And maybe I will gift you a book on acting or something.

RADHIKA

Hmmmm.. I like that.

RAHUL

That way we both get to take home a souvenir from each other. Something to remember this special day that brought us strangers together…. क्या पता कल हो ना हो?

RADHIKA

Wow! Out and out SRK fan ha?

RAHUL

Yes ma’am.

Radhika smiles.

RAHUL

Ok. Shall we start? I really got to go for that audition after that. You are coming too, remember? So… Lets say we take the next 15 minutes to pick a book for each other. I will meet you at the billing counter with my book. Lets gift our books once we step out of the store. Yeah?

RADHIKA

Yes… yes! Ok. 15 minutes.

Rahul lets his hand off her shoulder. Leans by her ear…

RAHUL

(whispering in her ear)

Find me something really special.

He walks away to the line of books next to her. Radhika finds herself blushing. She watches him disappear into another lane of book racks. She then turns forward, bites her lips and tucks her hair behind her ear. Smiling, she nods her head, and takes another step or two. She then starts looking at books, still smiling.

[13] INT. ON THE STREET – LATER

Rahul and Radhika step out of Higginbothams book store and walk towards Cauvery Emporium.

RAHUL

Ok. Let’s exchange our gifts now.

RADHIKA

Ok.

RAHUL

I will go first. This is what I bought for you.

He hands over “The Tao Of Physics” from Fritjof Capra. Radhika takes the book, begins to read the synopsis on the last page.

RAHUL

You seem to be a kind of person who likes reading books that reveal insights. This one highlights parallels between Vedic and modern Western science. I thought you will find it interesting.

RADHIKA

Wow…. I love it. Thanks!

She flips through a few pages quickly and closes the book. She looks at him.

RADHIKA

Thank you. I am so going to read this.

RAHUL

OK. Great. Now, your turn. What did you pick for me?

RADHIKA

Since you wanted me to pick up something in existentialism, I picked this one. Its from my favorite author Gary Cox.

She hands over a book titled “How to Be an Existentialist: or How to Get Real, Get a Grip and Stop Making Excuses.”

RAHUL

Wow! What a title! How to get real??? get a grip?? stop making excuses??? I don’t know… what you think of me.

RADHIKA

No… I did not pick this book to judge you. The title is a bit …. But the book is really good. I have a feeling that you will like it.

RAHUL

Will I now?

RADHIKA

The book presents certain ideas to help capture the being of a human being. I thought the ideas could help you dig into the characters you portray in your films. You know? Like help you get into the skin of your characters..

RAHUL

Hmmm.. Interesting. Thanks. I will be sure to read it.

RADHIKA

Don’t worry.. its not as bad as the title sounds. You will like it.

RAHUL

OK..! Thanks. I will read this.

They take a turn into Brigade Road. Rahul looks at his watch.

RAHUL

Ooooh we better get going. We got to get to my audition now. We have just about 45 minutes before it starts. We can take the metro from here, shall we?

RADHIKA

OK… I have never been to auditions before.

RAHUL

Hey, no backing out now.

RADHIKA

No no.. I am not backing out. Just a little nervous..

RAHUL

Ah. Then you are normal. But, don’t worry. It will be fun.

They walk towards the Brigade Road metro. As they are climbing the steps, Radhika keeps her book into her bag pack. Rahul gives his book also to her and makes a gesture requesting her to keep it in her bag. She obliges. They climb stairs leading into the metro station.

[14] INT. METRO CAR 4 – DAY

Radhika and Rahul are standing very near each other in a crowded metro. Every time the Metro starts and stops, Radhika almost falls on Rahul; but she holds the railing on the top tight enough to not actually fall on him. Radhika is balancing herself by keeping both her hands on the handle bars above her. Rahul is balancing with just one hand. There is raw sensual tension in the air which Radhika is trying be nonchalant about.

RADHIKA

Since you have done this many times…

RAHUL

No… I have never stood this close to a girl in a Metro..

RADHIKA

(blushing..)

Hey.. am not talking about that. I am talking about auditions.

RAHUL

Oh.. boring topic..

RADHIKA

Come on.. I am serious. Tell me, what is an audition like?

RAHUL

(taking a deep breath)

Hmmmm… OK. Depending on the star appeal of the lead actors in the film or how famous the director is, there will be anywhere between one and ten-thousand people in the queue to audition.

RADHIKA

Oh. OK. So…. you said that the director of this film was new, right?

RAHUL

Yeah. So, I guess there will not be many people today. But… you never know….

The metro slows down to stop at the station. Radhika loses balance and falls on Rahul’s chest. She gathers herself and stands once again.

RADHIKA

Sorry.

RAHUL

(with a naughty face)

I am not!

RADHIKA

Shut up..

Suddenly many people get down at the Metro station and its not so crowded anymore. Radhika takes two steps back and stands at a distance from Rahul.

RAHUL

साला Metro!!

Radhika laughs at Rahul’s face expression.

RADHIKA

So… now that you can talk…

RAHUL

I like how we were talking before.

RADHIKA

(attempting to brush aside his flirtatious moves, while silently enjoying it also.)

Tell me. How will it be at the auditions?

RAHUL

Well.. Typically they give us a situation and a dialogue or two to deliver within that. We have to act it out. If the director feels that we are in the ball-park, we are suggested some changes and asked to try again. Otherwise, they ask us to leave.

RADHIKA

Do they check if we have any prior acting experience?

RAHUL

Normally they do. But, since this is a short film; they may be willing to try out newcomers as well.

The Metro stops at Indranagar.

RAHUL

This is our stop.

They both de-board the Metro Car.

[15] INT. STUDIO AT INDRANAGAR – DAY

There are about 10 boys and 5 girls in the studio. As soon as Rahul and Radhika enter, one of the assistants take down their name and ask them to sit down.

Rahul and Radhika sit next to each other in the studio. Radhika takes a look at other people who have come for the audition. Two girls are already judging her. She can tell that some of the guys are scanning her. She then turns to look at Rahul. He is looking at the assistant, intently waiting for the audition to start. Radhika gives a gentle smile, noting that Rahul is not a staring creep like the other guys in the room. She keeps her bag on her thigh and hugs it, as if wanting to cover herself.

A man in his mid thirties enters the room and announces himself as the director.

DIRECTOR

Thank you all for coming. We are looking to audition for the lead role female in our short film and also for the leading man’s best guy friend. Since we are just about 15-20 people here, we’ll just do the audition here. Our AD here, Sanjay, will read out the situation for our leading man’s best friend. And we will audition for that first.

SANJAY

The situation is like this: our leading man is talking about his girlfriend like a trophy and in a crass way. All his friends are enjoying that, except for his best friend; who advises the leading man that girls are not trophies to conquer. The dialogue is ….

RAHUL

(whispers to Radhika)

Ah.. so cliche.

RADHIKA

(whispers, in rather low and serious tone)

Well… I suppose it happens more than you think.

Sanjay’s assistant hands over a piece of paper with the dialogue typed on it to all the guys.

SANJAY

Got it? So, we will call out names one after the other. I will play the leading man. The one we will call will play the best friend. OK?… Cool.

Sanjay looks at the pad his assistant just handed over to him and calls out the first name.

SANJAY

Karthik?

One of the guys gets up to audition.

We show in fast motion guys going up one after the other to audition. At the end Rahul is called to audition.

SANJAY

OK, last guy. Rahul?

RAHUL

(getting up)

Yeah.

RADHIKA

(whispers)

Good luck.

Rahul goes to the center of the studio. He takes a moment to prepare himself and begins.

RAHUL

Sheetal, is more than just a girl to satisfy your male fantasy you know? And you… you are better than this. I don’t know what has gotten into you that you are stooping so low….

SANJAY

OK.. thanks there Rahul. You can go back.

Rahul is perturbed that he was interrupted midway. But he walks back to his chair.

SANJAY

Now, we will audition for the leading girl’s role. This girl has just over-heard her boyfriend shamelessly talk about her like a trophy. She feels let down and confronts her boyfriend. The dialogue is …

Radhika turns to Rahul.

RADHIKA

(whispering)

I honestly thought yours’ was better than many others here.

RAHUL

(whispering)

Sanjay doesn’t seem to think so.

Meanwhile, Sanjay finishes mouthing the dialogue. His assistant hands over a piece of paper with the dialogue typed on it to all the girls.

SANJAY

(looking into his paper pad)

OK. Lets start… Aarti?

One of the girls who was giving judgmental looks to Radhika gets up and walks to the center.

We show in fast motion the girls auditioning until, Radhika is called at the end.

RADHIKA

(while waking up..)

Wish me luck.

RAHUL

Good luck.

Radhika walks to the center of the studio. She takes another look at the note that was handed over to her with the dialogue written on it. She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes.

FLASH CUT TO

[16] INT. OUTSIDE COLLEGE HOSTEL BUILDING – EVENING

We see a young Radhika park a Honda Activa next to a College Boys Hostel Building. She gets off the bike. Opens the boot under the seat and takes out a transparent plastic bag. Inside is a blue jersey. We can see “10 SACHIN” printed on it. She locks her bike seat and the bike itself. She takes a look at the shirt. We show her face. She is smiling, as if anticipating something.

She walks inside the hostel reception.

[17] INT. COLLEGE HOSTEL RECEPTION – EVENING

A few boys and girls are hanging around in the reception. Radhika identifies a boy who just walks into the reception.

RADHIKA

Rafi… Hi..

RAFI

Hey Radhika. Looking for Sachin?

RADHIKA

Yeah. Could you call him please? Don’t tell him its me. I want to surprise him.

RAFI

(smiling..)

Okay.. Sure.

RAFI

(looking at the cover in her hand)

कुछ gift कर रही हो ?

RADHIKA

Yeah. I got a special jersey for him, with his name.

RAFI

(looking at the jersey)

अरे वह!! बढ़िया है. Let me go call him.

Rafi walks towards the staircase, looks up and shouts

RAFI

Oye Arslan.. ज़रा Sachinको बुलाना. नीचे कोई मिलने आया है.

ARSLAN

(shouting..)

ठीक है.

ARSLAN

(shouts even louder..)

Sachin…

Rafi walks back to Radhika.

RAFI

वह आएगा, दो minute.

RADHIKA

Thanks. I will wait outside.

RAFI

Sure. I will ask him to see you outside when he gets down.

We show Radhika walking outside.

[18] EXT. OUTSIDE COLLEGE HOSTEL BUILDING – EVENING

We see Radhika waiting for Sachin to come out. She hears the voice of Sachin from inside the reception. Wanting to surprise him, Radhika hides by the wall outside the hostel entrance. She overhears Sachin speaking.

SACHIN (O.S.)

कहा है?

RAFI (O.S.)

बाहर… में ऊपर जारहा हूँ..

SACHIN (O.S.)

OK.

The camera is showing Radhika’s face. It is beaming with excitement.

SOME GUY (O.S.)

अरे Sachin.. कहा जा रहा है?

SACHIN (O.S.)

साले betका पैसा कब देगा मुझे?

SOME GUY (O.S.)

पैसा छोड़. तुमने तो betको बहोत seriously ले ली! Radhika के सात अब शादी भी करेगा क्या ?

We see Radhika’s face turning sour.

SACHIN (O.S.)

शादी? पागल है क्या? अरे वह तो बस एक माल है रे. मुझे उसमे इतना भी interest नहीं है. बस bet केलिए पटा लिया, और कुछ नहीं. कुछ दिन घूमूँगा, हात लगाऊंगा, और बस..

Radhika can hear no more, she keeps the jersey shirt cover on the steps by the hostel entrance, starts her Honda Activa and drives away crying.

FLASH CUT TO

[19] INT. STUDIO AT INDRANAGAR – DAY

The camera is showing only Radhika’s face. Her eyes are still closed. As she exhales and opens her eyes, we zoom out, still facing Radhika from the front but revealing the rest of the studio. Other people are sitting around in the studio.

The camera now orbits around Radhika to show her profile view. In-front of her, we show a translucent super imposed exterior of the boys hostel. A guy walks out of the hostel entrance, he notices the plastic cover on the steps with the jersey in it. He picks it up. He looks up and makes it appear as if he noticed Radhika there. He has a manipulative smile on his face.

The camera orbits around back to show Radhika from the front. The translucent hostel building is no longer in the frame.

We begin to see Radhika’s performance in slow motion. We show her expressing anger. While we don’t hear her voice, we notice her performance. An intense music, apt for catharsis, is playing in the background. Radhika is shown yelling and attacking. Her entire body is expressing anger, sadness and sheer embarrassment. At one point, she starts crying. Tears roll down her face.

We show the others in the studio looking at her performance in awe. While the girls continue to judge her in jealousy, the guys are shocked to see her perform.

We show Rahul’s face expression. He is totally surprised by what he is seeing. Moments later, he starts clapping.

Suddenly slow motion and background music stops and we reveal that he is clapping alone. Radhika stops her performance. Rahul looks around, notices that no one else is clapping. He then looks at Radhika, who is still in character. She looks at Rahul. He continues to clap. All the boys and one girl join in and start clapping too.

Radhika looks around. At first she is surprised. She then realizes that she is in the studio and comes back to her senses. She wipes tears off the left side of her face. She is now shown smiling a little and gently accepting the applause from people in the studio.

SANJAY

(clapping)

Thank you Radhika. That was fantastic.

RADHIKA

Thank you.

She walks back and sits next to Rahul. Sanjay turns around to speak to the Director. The others in the room break into conversations.

RAHUL

(giving her a side hug)

That was fantastic. Tears and all ha?

RADHIKA

(Wiping off tears from the right side of her face…)

Don’t know where that came from.

RAHUL

That was one good performance. You should consider acting..

RADHIKA

(sarcastically)

Yeah! right.

RAHUL

I am serious! You were very good.

RADHIKA

Thank you!

RAHUL

A software developer, philosopher and an actor ha.. Wow! I wonder what else you will reveal…

Radhika smiles.

Sanjay comes back to the center. Everybody becomes silent.

SANJAY

Ok. Our director has shortlisted two guys and two girls. We want to try another round with them tomorrow with our DOP. Radhika and Payal, please come back tomorrow.

Rahul looks at Radhika. She is surprised. She closes her mouth with her hands.

RAHUL

Hey.. congratulations!

SANJAY

Among the boys, Irfan and Rahul. You guys come back tomorrow once again OK?

Rahul is surprised listening to his own name. He turns to look at Sanjay with a confused expression.

RADHIKA

(happy tone)

Congratulations! Wow, we both made it.

RAHUL

What are the odds?

Instinctively, Radhika hugs Rahul. Its their first hug. Although Radhika hugs to celebrate, she forgets about the celebration and just hugs tighter to feel a connection. Rahul holds her tight for a few seconds. He then moves his hand from the top of her shoulder down to her waist. Suddenly Radhika comes to her senses and she gently lets go of her tight hug.

RADHIKA

Sorry, I…

RAHUL

No…. Celebrations are due.

Sanjay’s assistant comes near them. They break from their hug and look at the assistant. By then, apart from the 4 shortlisted people, others have left the studio. Sanjay and the Director have also gone inside the office and are not to be seen.

ASSISTANT

We don’t have this studio tomorrow, so we will be conducting the audition at another place. Please leave your phone number with us so we can call you and let you know.

Rahul takes the pad from the assistant’s hand and writes his phone number. The assistant then asks Radhika for her phone number…

RADHIKA

Sorry.. I wont actually be able to act in the film. I came by just like that. I am not a trained actor.

ASSISTANT

Oh? Well that’s a shame. You are quite good. Anyways, if you change your mind; do come by for another audition sometime.

RADHIKA

Sure. I will. Ah.. I realize I have wasted your time. I am sorry.

ASSISTANT

Yeah. But don’t worry, I think Payal was great too. We have worked with her before, so we should be good. We just have to pick between Rahul here and Irfan. But.. that’s for tomorrow. Chao. Take care.

RADHIKA

(smiling..)

Thank you!

The assistant walks away. Irfan and Payal come and shake hands with Rahul and Radhika. They all congratulate each other.

[20] EXT. SOME STREET NEAR INDRANAGAR – AFTERNOON

We see Radhika and Rahul on a footpath. There is lot of traffic on the road. Radhika is silent, seemingly lost in thought. Rahul extends his hand trying to stop an Auto. An Auto stops near them. We see him speaking to the driver. They both sit in the Auto. We see the Auto driving away.

[21] EXT. OUTSIDE A FINE DINE RESTAURANT – AFTERNOON

We see the Auto stop by at a restaurant. Radhika and Rahul get down. Radhika is still silent, thinking. Rahul pays for the Auto and they enter the restaurant.

[22] INT. RESTAURANT TABLE – AFTERNOON

We show Rahul placing the order for lunch and handing the menu back to the waiter. Radhika is still silent. They are sitting on a couples table, facing each other.

RAHUL

Am feeling very hungry!

RADHIKA

(still lost in deep thought)

Yeah, me too.

RAHUL

Hey… Are you OK? You have been very silent since the audition.

RADHIKA

I am fine.. Feeling better than before actually.. was just trying to wrap my head around what just happened.

RAHUL

Huh?

RADHIKA

(pauses for a while before speaking..)

My boyfriend in college…. We were seeing each other for roughly a month, I thought, I had found my soulmate.. you know? Until one day… I overheard him proudly beating his chest about how he had swept me off my feet just to win a bet. What’s worse, he went on to speak cheap things about me in front of his friends. In the end… I was not a person for him. I was just a trophy that he could show around and be the “alpha male”. I felt so ashamed of myself.

RAHUL

Did you confront him?

RADHIKA

No. I was soooo stupid. At that time, I actually thought he was doing me a favor by asking me to be his girlfriend. After I caught him.. I.. I just broke up with him. Very politely. He just didn’t bother, you know? Two days later, he was with another girl. I felt so angry… but I never..

Pauses.

RADHIKA

I took a liking to philosophy around that time. It really helped me in moving forward. I just realized that I had bottled up a lot of anger and had become numb to it.

RADHIKA

(gathering herself together)

Today, in the audition.. I just expressed all that pent up anger, you know?

RAHUL

Oh..

RADHIKA

I am now free from that past. Now when I think about him, I just feel sorry for him.

She looks at Rahul in his eyes. Holds his hands.

RADHIKA

Thank you for taking me to the audition.

For the first time, Rahul does not experience her touch as something sensual. He feels a connect.

RAHUL

I am very happy for you!

The waiter comes with their food. Radhika lets go of Rahul’s hand. Food is served. They start eating.

RAHUL

Wow.. Today.. its… some day, ha!

RADHIKA

Yeah.

They just eat for a while. No one is talking.

RADHIKA

Can I ask you something?

RAHUL

Sure.

RADHIKA

I don’t mean to pry.. and feel free to not answer if its too personal.

RAHUL

(intrigued)

Okkkkkaaaayyy..

RADHIKA

What’s the story between you and Nidhi?

RAHUL

Oh!

RADHIKA

Don’t answer if you don’t want to.

RAHUL

No. No.. I was just thinking.. Its strange that both our past came up for us today.

RADHIKA

It IS strange.

Rahul takes another bit of food from his plate.

RAHUL

Nidhi and I were friends in college. Classmates. I had a crush on her. All my friends knew. I just never.. never told her, you know? I mean she was obviously sought after by many other boys. But… we.. we were close. And I always felt that we had a thing..

RADHIKA

Hmmm..

RAHUL

Every time I wanted to propose to her.. I.. I just felt that she deserved someone way better. I mean you should see the guys who were trying to court her. They were… And I wasn’t.. you know? I always thought that I would become this big movie star and then go back propose to her. And then she would accept, and we would marry and live happily ever after! But… this morning when I met her… it felt like her life moved so much faster than mine. I am still waiting for my first break. She has already found her partner.

RADHIKA

Do you still have feelings for her?

RAHUL

No.. not really. It was just a college thing. That’s all. This morning when I saw her, it just felt like… I am no where yet. you know?

RADHIKA

Hey.. good things take time!

RAHUL

Yes they do.

They finish their lunch by then. The waiter comes and clears the table. They order lime soda for dessert. The waiter leaves the table with the order.

RAHUL

You know?…. Nidhi sent me a message with her wedding invite when we were in the book shop.

RADHIKA

Oh!

RAHUL

She thinks you and I are… she says she saw a spark.

RADHIKA

Did she, now? She should have seen me at the audition. It was not a spark, I was exploding.

Rahul and Radhika laugh.

RAHUL

(looking into her eyes)

I am glad I met you today.

RADHIKA

Me too.

RAHUL

Its a really strange day. What are the odds of us meeting ha? The whole day, it seems put together.. as if someone up there wants us to meet.

RADHIKA

(looks at him, as if she is thinking the same..)

Serendipity..

The waiter comes with their soda. They begin to have the soda.

[23] EXT. ON THE STREET, NEAR INDRANAGAR METRO – AFTERNOON

We pan the camera from the road, showing busy traffic, to the footpath. We can see Rahul and Radhika from behind walking on the street.

RAHUL

What are you going to do for the rest of the day? Back to bookshop hopping?

RADHIKA

Naaaaah. I think I will just head home. It has been a roller coaster day.

RAHUL

Yeah. Some day this was!

RADHIKA

How about you?

RAHUL

I don’t know.. I just.. I don’t know.

They reach the entrance of Indranagar Metro Station. Rahul walks a bit ahead, turns around facing Radhika. They both look at the staircase that leads into the Metro station. Both of them are reluctant to enter the metro. Almost a minute later, Radhika turns towards the steps, as if she is about to head that way.

RADHIKA

Well…

RAHUL

I have..

RADHIKA

(eagerly..)

Yeah?

RAHUL

I have an whacky idea..

RADHIKA

I like whacky ideas..

RAHUL

Let’s go on a long drive now..

RADHIKA

Huh?

RAHUL

Let’s say.. we drive to Nandi Hills, watch the sun set and then drive back.

RADHIKA

What? Are you serious? We don’t have a vehicle. And.. Nandi Hills? That’s like faaar!

RAHUL

We can rent a ZoomCar. Its not THAT far. Probably about 70 kilometers from here. If we leave now, we will reach in time for sunset.

RADHIKA

When you said whacky.. you really meant whacky didn’t you?

RAHUL

And you said you like whacky.. Come on.. We have had a rather intense morning. We deserve something fun and relaxing.

RADHIKA

I don’t know.

RAHUL

Let’s raise the stakes higher, shall we?

RADHIKA

Huh?

RAHUL

Let’s say.. we dont exchange phone numbers, addresses or anything. OK? Which means.. today is all that we got! We may never ever meet again. Let’s have some fun. I mean, how often do two strangers meet on a Metro and become THIS by noon. The universe wont give us another chance.. we have to make best use of this day..

RADHIKA

(considers the argument.. biting her lip)

You do make a compelling case.

RAHUL

Come on.. what do you say?

The camera zooms in on Radhika’s face. She is still biting her lip.

RAHUL (O.S.)

Please..

Radhika raises eyebrow of one of her eyes, almost winks the other eye, making a naughty face.

[24] INT. ZOOMCAR OFFICE RECEPTION – AFTERNOON

We see Rahul signing a bunch of forms at the reception of ZoomCar. After he finishes signing, he hands over the pad to the service man.

SERVICE MAN

This way sir.

RADHIKA

I can’t believe you talked me into this..

[25] INT. CAR, PARKED AT ZOOMCAR PARKING LOT. – AFTERNOON

Rahul takes the driver seat. Radhika gets into the passenger seat in the front.

RAHUL

(wearing his seat belt)

Isn’t this exciting?

RADHIKA

(still a bit skeptical.. talking to herself mostly)

Just today. We are not exchanging phone numbers or anything…

RADHIKA

(turns to Rahul)

Right?

RAHUL

That’s right.

RADHIKA

We are doing this only because we may never get to see each other again.. because the stakes are so high!!

RAHUL

Yup! Lets make whatever time we got special.

RADHIKA

(wears her seat belt.)

OK. Lets go.

RAHUL

Alright!

They drive away. We reveal the car to be a Hyundai i20.

[26] EXT. BANGALORE CITY – AFTERNOON

We see the Hyundai i20 drive outside the parking lot. We follow the car from behind and slowly fly up revealing Bengaluru city, its buzzing traffic and people on the footpath, road etc.

Using a drone we follow the i20 car in time lapse. The i20 car always remains in the center of the frame, rest of the city seemingly left behind.

When the car eventually takes left turn at Hebbal Flyover into the Airport Road, we hover the drone over Hebbal Lake (no time-lapse) and then show outskirts of the city, where Nandi Hills is visible at a distance.

[27] INT. CAR, DRIVING SOMEWHERE ON AIRPORT ROAD – AFTERNOON

RAHUL

You were mentioning previously that you trek once in a while..

RADHIKA

Yeah..

RAHUL

Where all have you been?

RADHIKA

Last month some of my friends from college, we had been to Chembra Peak. The lake up there… its so beautiful.

RAHUL

Is it? I have never been to Chembra.

RADHIKA

Do you trek too?

RAHUL

Used to. No anymore.

RADHIKA

Yeah?

RAHUL

Yeah. I like to take part in Marathons these days. So.. when I travel, its usually to run a Marathon.

RADHIKA

Wow! What kind of marathons do you run?

RAHUL

Been running the TCK 10k for 3 years now, did Kauvery Half Marathon for two years. And then finally, I completed my first full marathon at Auroville early this year. Am training for the Mumbai Marathon next year.

RADHIKA

That’s great…. Tell me something.. do you run to get fit or …

RAHUL

Its not fitness as much as… Its.. Its like this.. When you run.. its just you. You know? After the first 10-15 kilometers or so… the mind just goes silent… The body takes up all the attention. It suddenly feels like I am back to basics.. breathing, experiencing the touch of my foot on the ground, the air on my skin… just that moment… it feels as if its not even me that’s running. I feel like I have dissolved into it all. Believe it or not, its deeply meditative.

RADHIKA

Hmmmm… that’s the same way I feel about trekking you know? Climbing up typically takes 2-3 hours. Once I get to the top… I just like to sit there, go silent and zone out… almost like blend into the nature up there.

RAHUL

It’s a beautiful feeling isn’t it?

RADHIKA

Yeah..

RAHUL

We should trek sometime…

RADHIKA

(making a face)

Sure…. if we ever bump into each other ACCIDENTALLY… lets go trekking..

RAHUL

I suppose we can plan our “ACCIDENTAL” bump right away.. How about next month?

RADHIKA

Rahul!!!! Remember… you raised our stakes very high to go for this drive?

RAHUL

Damn…. I always mess things up for myself in the heat of the moment..

Radhika laughs.

Rahul notices a restaurant up ahead.

RAHUL

Care for a coffee break?

RADHIKA

Sure!

[28] EXT. OUTSIDE NANDI UPACHAR – AFTERNOON

We see Nandi Upachar hotel on the left of the frame. The i20 parks next to it. We see Radhika and Rahul getting out of the car.

[29] INT. NANDI UPACHAR – AFTERNOON

Rahul brings two cups of filter coffee to the table. They start sipping coffee.

RAHUL

You know what? We have spent all this time and we haven’t taken even one selfie..

RADHIKA

(surprised)

Right! Let’s take one.

Rahul takes out his camera and takes a selfie. They both give a standard cheese pose.

RADHIKA

(taking out her phone)

I want one too..

RAHUL

I can WhatsApp you this pic..

RADHIKA

We are not exchanging numbers, remember?

RAHUL

Damn.. you are like very vigil, aren’t you?

RADHIKA

Ha Ha.. chalo chalo.. lets take a selfie..

She also takes a selfie. Rahul first makes a sad face in the selfie. Then she gives him a look. He then gives an over-the-top cheese expression, Radhika is just smiling.

We show them taking pics in different poses.. In each pic they have a different expression.

[30] INT. CAR, NEAR NANDI HILLS – EVENING

We show a drone shot of i20 going to Nandi Hills. We continue to listen to camera click sounds in the background for a while and then..

RADHIKA (O.S.)

These are good pics.. I like this one.

RAHUL (O.S.)

You know.. in fifty years, lets say we run into each other once again…. I wonder how it will be. You and I would have both gone in different paths.. and then another strange day like this would bring us together.. then we dig these photos up and look at it…. I wonder how we would feel about this day.

RADHIKA (O.S.)

I guess I would look back and say… what an adventure!

RAHUL (O.S.)

Maybe I would look back and repent not taking your number and staying in touch.

RADHIKA (O.S.)

Still not getting my number..

RAHUL (O.S.)

Damn it… Well, worth a try.. Moving on…

We hear Radhika laughing.

The camera (on drone) now shows that the i20 car has reached Nandi Hills. The drone camera continues to fly up the hill, showing its peak and the sky beyond indicating that the sun will set soon.

[31] EXT. ON TOP OF NANDI HILLS – EVENING

We show Rahul and Radhika’s faces in close up. The sound of wind is present. The camera zooms out, showing them sitting on a rock. The camera orbits around them slowly revealing that they are watching the sun set. They are both silent, simply soaking in the moment. They both look peaceful. About 8-10 feet behind them is an old man, sitting with his legs folded, eyes closed and breathing in bliss.

RADHIKA

(takes a deep breath, exhales..)

Right now. This moment. Its perfect. I am so glad we came here.

RAHUL

(showing off and milking the moment)

I know. I always make the best plans.

RADHIKA

(gives him a look.. but then she smiles)

Thank you!

Rahul nods his head in acknowledgment, smiles and looks at the sun set. Radhika continues to smile and look at him. A few moments later she turns to look at the setting sun.

Radhika’s phone buzzes. She picks up, its a WhatsApp message from Amma. She reads it, nods her head in dismissal, locks her phone and keeps it aside while clicking her tongue. A few seconds of silence later..

RADHIKA

I don’t know why I am telling this… but…

She goes silent. Rahul waits for a bit and then

RAHUL

What?

RADHIKA

(fighting her resistance, she closes her eyes)

At home, they are looking for a boy for me.

RADHIKA

(opens her eyes, but avoids eye contact)

Since morning, they have been sending me messages about potential suitors. I will be forced to dress up, present myself to some strange guys who come home with their parents. Agggrrrhh. I hate that process.

RAHUL

Yeah. It’s an unfortunate and strange practice.

RADHIKA

Actually, I don’t even want to marry now.

RAHUL

Oh!

RADHIKA

I don’t want to be someone’s housewife. I have seen how some of my cousins just stay put at home after their marriage. As if they don’t have a life of their own after marriage.

RAHUL

Is that the only reason why you don’t want to marry?

RADHIKA

No.. that’s not the only reason. I just can’t see how one make a decision about marriage after meeting just once, and that too for just a few minutes.

RAHUL

Yeah. I see your point.

RADHIKA

I have already seen two three boys. Judgmental assholes… Its so disgusting, you know. The boy and their parents come home. My parents, make me wear something nice and parade me in front of them. Then they have us talk in private. The boy evaluates whether I am worth the “purchase”.. Its just so..

RAHUL

Yeah. It’s unfair. I hated it when they did it to my sister once. But… thankfully, she had found a guy for herself. After seeing and rejecting one guy my parents found.. she told about her boyfriend at home. At first my parents made a scene.. but then, they just did not have a choice. Finally she married her boyfriend. He is a wonderful guy, you know? They are now as happy as ever!

RADHIKA

(looking at the sunset)

I wish I had found someone by now..

Rahul looks at her face, making an expression that almost says: “Find me, look at me..”

RADHIKA

(nodding her head)

But then again, convincing my parents is a whole big project.

RAHUL

You know… my sister thought the same. But…

RADHIKA

(cutting him..)

You and I spent this whole day together. And we spoke a lot. We learned a lot about each other. But its not like we can make a decision about whether or not marry by the time the sun sets, isn’t it?

RAHUL

(looks back intensely at her)

We cant?

RADHIKA

I mean, I know that you are a good person. You want to craft your own way in your career. You don’t seem like a creep. You don’t feel threatened by a woman. And.. lets face it, you are really good looking. But… marriage.. that’s as long as a lifetime. There is no way we can figure out if we can build an entire life together within a single day.

RAHUL

(with a mischievous face)

Hmmm.. I see. Then maybe we should spend more time…

RADHIKA

(gives him a look)

Still not giving you my number..

RAHUL

(talking to himself)

The wall is still up!

Radhika looks at him for a while. Smiles and turns to look at the sunset. Its almost down.

There is silence for a long time. The sun finally sets, symbolically conveying that the sun has set on their time together.

RAHUL

Hey.. don’t worry, it will all be fine. I am sure there is a perfect guy for you, out there.

RADHIKA

You think?

RAHUL

Yeah. I really do.

He side-hugs her and stays put for a while.

RAHUL

It’s getting late. We better get going if we have to catch our Metro back.

RADHIKA

(making a crying face)

Oh.. It’s time up already? I don’t want this day to end.

RAHUL

Yeah. I don’t either. But… everything ends.

RADHIKA

(feeling sad and heavy)

Yeah.

They both get up and start walking to their car.

[32] EXT. NANDI HILLS CAR PARK – LATE EVENING

We see Radhika and Rahul approaching their car. Radhika notices a man selling churmuri.

RADHIKA

(pointing at the churmuriwala)

One last thing… please..?

RAHUL

Sure…. I don’t want, will take a spoon or two from yours.

She buys one cone of churmuri from the man. As the churmuri is being prepared, Rahul joins her. The old man from the rock, is already at the churmuri stand. The first churmuri is offered to him, but the old man gestures for it to be given to Rahul first. Rahul smiles and accepts it, he then passes it over to Radhika. But they don’t begin eating it yet.

OLD MAN

(smiling..)

Beautiful view of the sun set from here isn’t it?

RAHUL

Yeah, sun sets are always great to watch. Especially from up here.

OLD MAN

At my age, it is always wonderful to not just watch the sun set, but also to watch young people enjoying it. It reminds me of my own younger days.

The old man’s churmuri is also served. They all start eating.

OLD MAN

I remember watching the sun set with my wife when I was young. We both absolutely loved it. And every time we came to watch the sun set in a view like this, we would talk and dream of the life we wanted to create. Some of our dreams came true, some remained unfulfilled. But we never gave up creating. We lived a life of dreams and aspirations.

The Old Man pauses to eat some more of his churmuri, while also reminiscing his wife.

OLD MAN

The sun set on her life, a few years ago.

RAHUL

Oh… Sorry to hear that.

OLD MAN

Its been a while.. I miss her. But I also cherish her.

They eat some of that churmuri.

OLD MAN

(leaning towards Rahul and Radhika)

You wouldn’t believe if I told you how we met.

RAHUL

(sucked into the conversation)

Hmmm?

OLD MAN

I met her on the day of my marriage.

RADHIKA

What? Really?

OLD MAN

They never let us meet before.

RAHUL

Wow!

OLD MAN

But once we got married.. it felt like we always knew each other.. Can’t believe that we built such an entire rich and full life!

Radhika and Rahul are listening to him intently, seemingly reflecting on their own lives.

OLD MAN

(looking up at orange clouds, speaking each sentence slowly and deliberately)

I guess there are some things in life that we can see only by creating it. Love and partnership for instance… my wife and I saw love and partnership only by creating it. We never found evidence for it until we created it. Even after she is gone… I now experience her presence, only by creating it. If I go looking for evidence of her presence, I can find none. She is long gone… But I experience her. Here. At this sunset. Simply because I create her presence here.

The Old Man is smiling.. He turns to look at Rahul and Radhika.

OLD MAN

I am sorry.. I am going off blabbering some nonsense. I just needed someone young to talk to today. Found you two as my victims at this fine churmuri stand..

RAHUL

(smiling..)

Oh. No problem at all. Its really nice to see how you cherish your wife.

RADHIKA

Can I ask you something?

OLD MAN

Sure dear..

RADHIKA

How long were you two married?

OLD MAN

We were married for 58 years…

RADHIKA

(surprised and shocked)

58??

OLD MAN

Those days.. they got us married very young.

RADHIKA

Oh….

OLD MAN

Sorry to bother you two with my old-man stories… But thank you my dears..

RAHUL

For what?

OLD MAN

For listening to me. Its very hard to find young people who listen, let alone listen to an old man! Gold bless you two.

He continues eating his churmuri and walks away, waving a goodbye in the air.

Rahul and Radhika watch him walk away. As the old man walks away, Rahul begins to look at him intensely as if he is trying to remember something.

RADHIKA

What’s wrong?

RAHUL

I think I have seen this old man somewhere.

RADHIKA

Huh?

[33] INT. METRO CAR 2 – MORNING

We see Rahul looking at Radhika in the Metro. An Old Man sitting next to him gets up, looks at Rahul for two seconds and he moves to the door, cutting the line of sight for Rahul.

RAHUL (O.S.)

I think I saw him in the Metro this morning…

[34] EXT. NANDI HILLS CAR PARK – LATE EVENING

RADHIKA

Really?

RAHUL

Just before you and I met, he got up from his seat to exit the Metro.. looked me in the eye and then left.

RADHIKA

Strange..

Rahul looks towards the Old Man who had just walked away. He is still visible at a distance. Rahul walks towards him. At one point the old man takes a turn to the left after the tree and disappears from line of sight. Rahul runs towards the tree. The Old Man is nowhere to be seen. He looks around. The Old Man has disappeared.

Rahul walks back to join Radhika near their i20.

RADHIKA

You found him?

RAHUL

No. He just vanished, looks like.

Intrigued by the whole thing, Rahul unlocks his car and gets inside. Radhika gets into the car as well.

[35] INT. CAR, DRIVING SOMEWHERE ON AIRPORT ROAD – NIGHT

We see Rahul driving the car and Radhika sitting on the passenger seat in the front. They are silent. Its dawning on them that the day has almost come to an end.

Rahul is driving the car in good speed. He is looking straight ahead. Radhika looks at him from the corner of her eye, notices that Rahul is driving. She turns to look at him more fully. Her eyes communicate affection. Feelings of love is in the air.

Rahul stops at a signal. He puts the gear into Parking and turns to look at Radhika. She is looking outside the window. He finds himself drawn to her.

Cars honk from behind. Rahul comes back to his senses, looks ahead, notices that the light has turned green. He drives the car ahead.

[36] EXT. ZOOMCAR OFFICE RECEPTION – NIGHT

We see Radhika standing outside the entrance of ZoomCar’s reception. She is silent and looking into blank space.

Rahul comes out of the reception and joins her. They both look at each other. Their eyes meet. It is clear that they both want to say something, but are fighting the urge to say it.

Rahul looks ahead, clicks his tongue and starts walking. Radhika follows.

[37] INT. METRO CAR 4 – NIGHT

They are standing in the Metro. It is crowded and they are thrown close to each other once again. Radhika is balancing herself as best as possible. The push and pull of the train is making her fall on him. She doesn’t resit falling on him anymore.

At Majestic Metro, the train becomes empty. They find a seat and sit down. The metro starts moving again.

Radhika gets a call. She picks up the phone. It is from Amma.

AMMA

(on the phone)

Where are you?

RADHIKA

On the Metro. I am coming home.

AMMA

(on the phone)

Your book shopping took longer than usual today.

RADHIKA

Yeah.

AMMA

(referring to books)

Found something you liked?

RADHIKA

(turns to look at Rahul)

Yeah. I did.

AMMA

You are having dinner at home only no?

RADHIKA

(still looking at Rahul)

Yeah.

The train stops at a station and ambient noise reduces. Not many people are boarding and deboarding. The volume on Radhika’s phone ear piece is now loud enough for Rahul also to hear, especially since the train is not moving and the ambient noise is less.

AMMA

(on the phone)

Did you see the photo I sent you? The boy and his family are coming home on Saturday.

RADHIKA

(she looks away from Rahul)

Yeah. I did.

AMMA

(on the phone)

The boy is settled in America. He is from a very good family. You will surely like him.

RADHIKA

Oh?

AMMA

Ok. Come home soon. Lets talk more.

RADHIKA

Ok.

The train starts to move just as Radhika cuts the call. She looks at Rahul and feels a bit emotional. Rahul looks back at her, he looks emotional too.

RADHIKA

My mom.

RAHUL

Yeah, I figured. Looks like your weekend plans are all set. Boy from America, ha?

RADHIKA

(feeling sad)

They want to export me…

RAHUL

Hey.. he might be a really good guy you know?

RADHIKA

(sarcastically)

Yeah right..

ANNOUNCEMENT

Next stop is Attiguppe. Doors will open on the right…

Radhika looks up. She gets up with a heavy heart. Rahul gets up after her.

RADHIKA

It’s my stop.

RAHUL

I know..

RADHIKA

You?

RAHUL

I get off at Nayandhalli.

RADHIKA

Oh.

RAHUL

(holds her hand gently)

Bye Radhika.

RADHIKA

(looks him in the eye)

Bye

Her eyes are welling up and she is holding back tears. She turns to the door and walks towards it decisively as if she cannot deal with the emotional weight anymore.

RAHUL

(from behind)

Hey..

RADHIKA

(she turns back in anticipation..)

Yes?

RAHUL

My book is in your bag.

RADHIKA

Huh?

RAHUL

(comes really close to her, opens her bag zip)

Your gift for me.

Rahul pulls out his book from her bag and puts the zip back.

RAHUL

One selfie and this book. I will cherish them both.

The Metro stops. Doors open. Radhika seems like she is about to burst into tears. She holds back, turns around and rushes out of the Metro and walks as fast as she can to the staircase attached to the platform. Rahul is still looking at her.

[38] INT. ATTIGUPPE METRO PLATFORM – NIGHT

We show Radhika near the staircase at the platform, she hears the Metro doors closing and senses that it is about to leave. She turns around and looks at Rahul who is inside the Metro. He is still looking at her. Tears start rolling from Radhika’s eyes. She waves a good bye, confronting the fact that she may never see him ever again. She sees Rahul come closer to the door and waving bye. The train disappears.

Suddenly the Metro station is very silent. She sits on the chair next to the steps on the platform, next to the stairs the lead down. Her head is dug into the palms of her hands. Tears still rolling down her face.

The people who got off the Metro all leave the platform. Radhika is still sitting on the chair. The whole place becomes very silent.

RAHUL (V.O.)

I could wait another 7 stops you know..

PAUSE

RAHUL (V.O.)

May be the universe wants us to meet.. maybe I am supposed to ask you out..

PAUSE

RAHUL (V.O.)

I have never stood this close to a girl in a Metro.

PAUSE

RAHUL (V.O.)

This whole day, it seems put together. As if someone up there wants us to meet.

RADHIKA (V.O.)

Serendipity

PAUSE

RADHIKA (V.O.)

You and I spent this whole day together. There is no way we can figure out if we can build an entire life together within just a single day.

OLD MAN (V.O.)

There are somethings in life that we can see only by creating it. Love and partnership for instance.

Suddenly Radhika looks up.

OLD MAN (V.O.)

My wife and I saw love and partnership only by creating it. We never found evidence for it until we created it.

She wipes her tears. Gets up and runs down the stairs.

[39] EXT. OUTSIDE ATTIGUPPE METRO – NIGHT

We see Radhika rush out of the Metro and run towards an Auto-Rickshaw.

RADHIKA

(to the driver.. managing her breath from the run)

Nayandhalli.

DRIVER

ಬನ್ನಿ

She gets into the Auto and we see the auto leave.

[40] EXT. OUTSIDE NAYANDHALLI METRO – NIGHT

We see Radhika get off the Auto. She gives 100 rupees to the driver, doesn’t bother waiting for the change. She runs into the Metro station.

[41] INT. NAYANDHALLI METRO BRIDGE – NIGHT

We see her entering the metro bridge. We see her hurriedly walking across the bridge. She is trying to see if anybody walking on the bridge is Rahul.

[42] INT. NAYANDHALLI METRO TICKET COUNTER – NIGHT

We see Radhika looking all around near the ticket counter and entry gates. She hears the sound of Metro coming into the station. She looks at the stairs from where the passengers who deboard get down. She is hoping to find Rahul there. Initially a lot of people are seen coming out of the staircase, slowly the density reduces. When she notices, what seems like the last person, coming down.. she gets disappointed.

Remembering that she stayed at the Metro crying for a while, she swipes her card and runs to the platform.

[43] INT. NAYANDHALLI METRO PLATFORM – NIGHT

We see Radhika entering the platform. She runs from one end to the other. Doesn’t find Rahul anywhere on the platform. She looks on the other bank of the platform, tries to locate Rahul. She notices some old men getting off the platform on the other side. The entire platform now sports a deserted look.

Heartbroken, she sits heavily on the chairs near the platform.

[44] INT. METRO CAR 4 – EARLIER THAT NIGHT

We are seeing Radhika at the Attiguppe metro station from Rahul’s POV. Her back is facing us. Metro doors close. Radhika turns back. We see her, tears in her eyes. Rahul moves a step closer to the door. He waves her goodbye. When she disappears from sight.. Rahul steps back and sits heavily on a seat in the metro.

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. His head falls, as if he was defeated. When he opens his eyes, he notices the phone in his hand. He unlocks the phone and opens the Photos app. He looks at the selfie they took earlier that day.

RADHIKA (V.O.)

I mean, I know that you are a good person…. lets face it, you are really good looking. But its not like we can make a decision about our life by the time the sun sets isn’t it?

PAUSE

RADHIKA’S MOTHER (V.O.)

The boy is settled in America. He is from a good family. You will surely like him.

PAUSE

NIDHI (V.O.)

जब तक ये star बनेगा, तब तक I would have married someone else.. Ha ha…

PAUSE

RADHIKA (V.O.)

I wish I had found someone by now

Resisting the voices in his head he opens his eyes. He looks at the window opposite to him and notices the city go behind.

OLD MAN (V.O.)

There are some things in life we can see only by creating it..

He clicks his tongue, as if he wants to reject that idea. Then he looks at the book Radhika has gifted him. The title suddenly begins to speak to him. “Get Real, Get a Grip and Stop Making Excuses”

ANNOUNCEMENT

Train has arrived at Deepanjali Nagar. Doors will open on the right..

Rahul springs up on his leg. He rushes out of the Metro as soon as the doors open.

[45] EXT. OUTSIDE ATTIGUPPE METRO – NIGHT

We see Rahul handing over 50 Rupees to the Auto and running inside the station. We show the board on the Metro Station revealing it to be Attiguppe Metro Station. As he is running inside, a guy stops him

GUY

Sir, new restaurant.. inauguration on Sunday.

The guys stuffs a pamphlet on to his hand. Rahul doesn’t have patience to deal with him. He just pockets the pamphlet and runs inside.

[46] INT. ON ATTIGUPPE METRO PLATFORM – NIGHT

We see Rahul running on to the platform. The chair near which Radhika was crying and waving him goodbye is empty. He looks around, trying to find her. She is nowhere in sight. Disappointed and sad, he begins unconsciously walking towards the other end of the Metro platform.

FEMALE SECURITY GUARD

ಇದು ladiesಗೆ .. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಲ್ಲಬೇಡಿ. ಆಕಡೆ ಹೋಗಿ

Rahul steps back and sits on the chair, in front of which Metro Car 2 will stop.

GIRL FROM THE PHONE (V.O.)

Talk to her alright? Woo her. Just try a bit harder OK? She just needs a little more trying….

RAHUL

(speaking to himself)

Little more trying… I wish someone asked her to make it easy for me.

He takes the pamphlet out of his pocket. Takes out his pen and writes a letter.

RAHUL

(writes on the pamphlet)

Dear Red-Top-Blue-Jeans-Radhika-On-The-Metro…. A guy is going to meet you at the bridge between Car 1 and 2 of the Metro today. He will be wearing a gray shirt and black trouser. He is coming there to see you. Give him a chance alright? He can be way better than the boys your parents are parading you in front of. He and you can live a life of adventure. Just give him a chance. Make it easy for him to know you. You both are “meant to be”. You don’t know it yet, but the universe really wants you both to meet. I realize that you wont trust this random letter… but you see, here is the thing. If he asks you out for coffee when he meets you in the Metro, just go with him. Watch the day as it unfold as an adventure. I guarantee you that you will feel something by the end of the day. And if you do, just give him a chance. Make it easy for him to take the next step.

Another Metro comes into the platform. Rahul lifts his head and notices a few people on the platform boarding the Metro. He waits for the female security guard to be give her full attention to the people boarding Metro Car 1. He then folds the pamphlet and slips it into the arm handle of the chair facing Car 1.

We see Rahul moving away from that chair. The camera zooms in on the pamphlet that he has folded and slipped in. We see the words “Dear Red-Top-Blue-Jeans-Radhika-On-The-Metro”

[47] INT. NAYANDHALLI METRO PLATFORM – LATER NIGHT

We see Radhika sitting on the chair, head down, feeling heavy.

RADHIKA (V.O.)

We are not exchanging numbers remember?

RAHUL (V.O.)

Damn.. you are very vigil.

She lifts up her head as if repenting her choice to not exchange numbers.

RADHIKA

I wish he pushed me just a little more. If only I could ..

She takes out her phone. Opens the Photos app and is looking at the selfies. The phone displays Battery Down status and turns off. She feels very sad and starts crying.

Hope against hope, she makes a gesture as if she is dialing somebody and pretends to make a call. She hears a ringing tone on her phone. Shocked she looks at her phone. It is still dead. She keeps the phone by her ear, the ringtone is still there. Then it suddenly stops.

RADHIKA

Rahul, you got to try harder..

RAHUL (ON THE PHONE)

What? Who is this? How do you know my name?

We show Radhika’s face. She is stunned. She cant believe that she is hearing Rahul’s voice. She looks at phone in absolute disbelief. The phone is still dead.

RADHIKA

Wait? Hello? Did this call actually go through? Are you actually Rahul?

RAHUL (ON THE PHONE)

Hmmm.. Yeah!

RADHIKA

You mean Rahul who is going for the audition today, that Rahul?

RAHUL (ON THE PHONE)

How do you know that? Who are you? Is this a prank?

Radhika simply cannot believe that this call is actually happening. She starts having happy tears, knowing that she may be hallucinating. She gets up from her chair and walks animatedly to the left and right in excitement.

RADHIKA

No no, this is not a prank. This is so not a prank. Wow. I cannot believe that this call actually went through. You are about to board the morning Metro right?

We see her speaking in slow motion. She is over the top excited at this rare cosmic event. She still cannot believe that this is happening. We see her continuing to talk on the phone, in slow motion.

The slow motion stops.

RADHIKA

She takes just a bit more time than others maybe to give in. Just talk to her a bit more, make a little bit more grander gesture. OK? Hello.. Hello…

The phone line goes dead. She looks at her phone. Its still dead. She presses all the buttons in the hope against hope that the phone will spring back to life. It doesn’t. She sits back on her chair and sobs uncontrollably.

FADE OUT

[48] INT. HOME – DAY

FADE IN

We pan across a rack full of books, many of which are authored by Radhika Bairy. There are titles like – “Being woman”, “Choosing miracles”, “An adventurous life”, “Living at source: commentary on The Fountainhead” and so on, along with other books on philosophy, literature and poetry.

On the screen we hover a text that says “50 YEARS LATER”

As the camera pans, we see an old woman looking at a photo album.

CUT TO

We show the album from over her shoulder. The photo we see is the selfie of Radhika and Rahul at Kamat Upachar, where Rahul has a sad face. Below it is the photo where Rahul has an over-the-top-cheese face.

CUT TO

We reveal a closeup of an old Radhika looking at the photos. She is smiling. Happy and nostalgic.

CUT TO

We show the album from over her shoulder. Radhika turns the page on the photo album.

[49] INT. ON ATTIGUPPE METRO PLATFORM – NIGHT

We see Rahul walking away from the chair after sticking the pamphlet on to it. He walks towards the camera until we get a closeup of his face. He suddenly stops and looks to his left, as if he remembered something.

FLASH CUT TO:

[50] INT. METRO CAR 2 – MORNING

Radhika walks on to the bridge between Metro Car 1 and Car 2. She is looking at a pamphlet.

FLASH CUT TO:

[51] INT. ON ATTIGUPPE METRO PLATFORM – NIGHT

Rahul turns back slowly to look at the chair handle where he had just kept the folded pamphlet. When he turns, we show excitement and curiosity in his face.

CUT TO

We show a closeup of his face. He is shocked.

CUT TO

We see him run to the chair. We now reveal that the pamphlet has disappeared. He looks under the chair, on the track. It’s nowhere.

CUT TO

A closeup of his face. He is surprised, curious and dumbfounded. Suddenly we see a wave of realization spreading over his face.

CUT TO

We see him running out of the platform.

[52] INT. HOME – DAY

We are seeing old Radhika turning a page of the album. A worn out, stained, unfolded pamphlet is there in the album. Its the one on which Rahul wrote his letter.

CUT TO

We show Radhika’s face in closeup. She is beaming with joy. Her eyes are welling up in joy. We hear the sound of someone walking into the room.

MAN (O.S.)

50 years later!

OLD RADHIKA

(lifts her head up)

50 years…. What an adventure!

MAN (O.S.)

Happy anniversary my dear!

We reveal the Man to be old Rahul. We show him standing opposite to old Radhika, who is sitting on a chair by the table. Behind old Rahul are posters of films that he has acted in. A few awards are also on the showcase behind him.

We show a closeup of his face. He still has that mischievous smile.

OLD RAHUL

I still repent not taking your number. We could have avoided the whole time travel…

[53] EXT. OUTSIDE NAYANDHALLI METRO – NIGHT

Radhika is getting down from Nayandhalli Metro. She is sad. Her head is turned slightly to her right, away from the camera. Her eyes are red from crying.

She gets down five steps and turns her head to the left, and looks straight into the camera. She stops and looks as if her heart has skipped a beat or two.

The camera zooms out revealing that it was Rahul’s POV. He is now looking straight at her from the bottom of the stairs.

She comes running down the stairs and hugs him.

We orbit around them as they celebrate.

She slowly releases Rahul from her hug. Stands back a bit, holding back her happy tears.

RADHIKA

How did you?

RAHUL

Check your pocket.

RADHIKA

Huh?

RAHUL

Check your pocket..

Radhika pulls out the folded pamphlet from her pocket on which Rahul had written the letter.

RADHIKA

How did you know about…

RAHUL

I wrote on this pamphlet just a few minutes ago. Hoping that somehow it could travel back in time and catch your attention in the morning before we met.

RADHIKA

(overwhelmed….)

You wrote this? But I found it in the morning. How is it possible?

RAHUL

I don’t know. I just wrote this a few minutes ago and stuck it to the chair on the platform, hoping that…. I don’t know how it actually got to you in the morning!

Radhika looks at the pamphlet. Stares at it for a bit. She turns to look at Rahul in the eye..

RADHIKA

Did you get a call this morning?

RAHUL

(feeling a sudden rush of blood all over his body)

That was you?

RADHIKA

I just called you from my battery dead phone a few minutes ago.

RAHUL

Wow! The universe really wants us together ha?

RADHIKA

(smiling in joy)

No.. not the universe. I think we really want us together.

RAHUL

Wow.. I wonder how many times we took to figure this out. There must be parallel universes where we are still figuring it out.

RADHIKA

I am so happy to be in this universe.

RAHUL

Me too.

They give each other a tight hug once more.

We slowly zoom away from them revealing wide shot of the metro station building.

RAHUL (VOICE)

Let’s take a selfie of this moment. When we look back at it 50 years later, we can get all nostalgic about how we were meant to be.

We see them pose for a selfie. We hear a click sound.

[54] INT. HOME – DAY

Old Rahul joins Old Radhika at the table. He gives her a kiss on her forehead. They are both happy.

Old Radhika flips the last page on that album.

CUT TO

We show the album page from over her shoulder. Its that selfie they took near the Metro Station building.

OLD RADHIKA (O.S.)

I think its very romantic that we bent the rules of the universe and reached out to each other across time, to make “us” happen.

CUT TO

We show Old Radhika and Old Rahul in the frame. Old Radhika is sitting on the chair by the table, Old Rahul is standing next to her, smiling and holding her tight. They are still looking at the album.

OLD RAHUL

You ready?

OLD RADHIKA

(looking up)

Yes. Let’s go.

OLD RAHUL

Nandi Hills… here we come. The Old Man was very specific… We have to pass it forward.

She closes the album. The album is titled.

WE WERE MEANT TO BE

The camera zooms slowly into the album title.

OLD RADHIKA (O.S.)

I hope we will find a young couple to catapult their relationship.

OLD RAHUL (O.S.)

We have to. The Old Man told us that this has been passed on for close to a millennia now! Its our turn now.

FADE TO BLACK

Notes about the characters in this screenplay

This entire screenplay is hung on two central characters. Rahul and Radhika. While writing this screenplay, I worked on creating characters as advised during the workshop and also in the book. I made up the Rahul and Radhika by getting clear about the following aspects of them:

  • Their Dramatic Need
  • Their Unique Point Of View
  • Their Attitude
  • The Change and/or Transformation they undergo in this story.

Rahul is a kind of person whose dramatic need is to make it big in life before finding himself worthy to have a girlfriend or wife. Everytime he finds himself getting close to a girl, he holds off giving himself all in, because he feels that the girl may be better off with someone else until he makes it big in life.

The other dramatic need that Rahul has is that he wants to be an actor, even though his acting career is not going great right now. He finds a lot of connect with Howard Roark from The Fountainhead.

Radhika is a kind of person whose dramatic need is to get men to know her and like her more than her body. Having suffered objectification in the eyes of her college boyfriend, her world view is that “men only care about a woman’s body and not what she likes, what she thinks, what her philosophy is and so on.”

As a rebellion to her objectification, Radhika would have taken to philosophy and would have constructed herself as an intellectual who can think through abstract ideas about life. She is known as the girl who reads “deep books”. She takes a day off once in a month to go book shopping, to pick up books that expand her intellect. She likes a guy to know that about her and appreciate that about her. She also likes guys to know that she is a sort of person who reflects on her life through the philosophy she has owned; and that such reflection is transforming her.

The unique point of view Rahul has about the world is that people don’t give a damn about a man until he is rich and famous. But he isnt in-your-face about it. So he keeps falling in love only to use the slightest of resistance from the girl as an excuse to say – “she will find someone better and I am still a work in progress.” While he likes to flirt and woo a girl, he does it only until he finds the sligtest of resistance from her. For him it is important to keep reinforcing his world view that girls dont give a damn about him until he becomes rich and famous. He keeps doing that even though it comes at the cost of his own happiness. He finds a sort of sadistic pleasure in being the self sacrificing in this area of life.

Radhika hates being objectified as a woman. In her world she is more than a woman-body. So she hates that her parents are parading her in front of boys in the hope of finding an alliance. She feels that arranged marriages only allow boys to relate to her as a woman-body and not as a person. She feels that spending a few minutes or hours or even an entire day isnt sufficient for a man to “know her.” She is so fixed about this world view that she is unwilling to consider that even after spending an entire day with Rahul, she cannot afford to accept or own the intimate relationship that is shaping with him.

Rahul’s change or transformation happens when he realizes that the cosmic miracle he wished to get Radhika (to make it easier for him) is similar to the cosmic miracle Radhika has wished to ask for him. It is at this point, his strongly held world view that “girls dont give a damn until I make it rich” gets dissolved. He then grants himself the space to persue his acting career while at the same time not sacrifice the intimate relationship he has sparked with Radhika.

Radhika’s change or transformation happens when she is reminded of a quote from the Old Man she meets in Nandi Hills. That “there are somethings in life that can be seen only by creating it”. For the philosophically inclined person that she is, she digs insights about life presented in cryptic sentences. After the quote reaches out to her deeply, she willing opens up to consider that she can only see intimacy with Rahul if she creates it. She then propells herself in going over and beyond her resistence, to seek out Rahul.

The Old Man in this screenplay is a catalyst. He sees to that they (Radhika & Rahul) meet on the Metro and also that they get the necessary push to drop their resistence and act on their feelings for each other. I have another story in mind where I want to explore the character of the Old Man in detail. I have left out many details relating to the Old Man in this screenplay on purpose.