EK NAYI DUNIYA / APOTHEOSIS
END is here.
In an ideal world, I would have had enough money to have shot and released my new film called Ek Nayi Duniya / Apotheosis today. But for now, I would like to share the script and the instrumental theme composed by Sudeep Swaroop with supporters of independent cinema in the hope that some of you like it and spread the word.
By the time the film is ready for release next year, you will know if you want to watch it or save your money.
After Good Night | Good Morning, I wanted to do a film at the opposite end of the spectrum.
If GNGM was new age romance in an old-world setting, I wanted to deal with an old-world arrangement in a futuristic setting.
If GNGM was conversational, I wanted to make a film that was largely atmospheric.
If GNGM was claustrophobic, I wanted to make one on a huge canvas and a lot of space.
If GNGM was shot indoors in an air-conditioned studio, END will be shot in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the monsoon mid 2013.
Why am I then putting the script out?
Could someone steal it?
Sure. They are most welcome to. Only that I am 100 per cent certain that they wouldn’t dare.
Besides, I have taken care of the legalities to protect myself in the unlikely event that someone figures a way out to monetise this script without really making the film. But if you want to go ahead and make the film, please go ahead. I promise I won’t sue… as long as you credit and pay me, of course.
But I am certain that wouldn’t happen. Because nobody wants to invest money on anything without a precedent.
I am pretty sure that nobody would have made Good Night Good Morning even if I had put the script out before making it. Nobody would have thought it was possible to make a feature with two people on the phone for its entire duration. But it worked. I couldn’t have asked for a better launch as a filmmaker.
EK NAYI DUNIYA (Apotheosis is the English working title) is a modern day Adam and Eve relationship drama that plays out like a science fiction psychological thriller.
Like Good Night | Good Morning, I have tried to keep things simple: a two-character film once again. Something I can shoot in three weeks even in the most difficult of conditions. As an independent filmmaker who really likes his day job (I’m a film critic), I don’t want to make films that take too much time to shoot. But I compensate by spending months writing the film.
We have been writing this since mid-March. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of my script assistants Nikhil Venkatesa who worked with me for six months, Shrikar Marur who interned for six weeks and Sandhya Ramachandran who contributed for a few weeks before being swamped with her college project.
END didn’t start out as a science fiction film. But today, it’s just impossible to even imagine it as any other genre.
I started writing this as a simple film about a couple on honeymoon dealing with the pangs of arranged marriage – as an antithesis to Woh Saat Din or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
We did a lot of research, got over a 100 respondents for a sex survey to figure out what happens during the honeymoon in an arranged marriage set-up. It seemed like India’s best-kept secret.
But after the first draft, I felt I was exploring a few relationship issues that I had already covered in GNGM. Besides, I felt claustrophobic… every morning, the couple would wake up on the same bed during their honeymoon!
One of the exercises I used to make students do when I was teaching screenwriting was to make them rewrite the logline as different genres, just to check if they had indeed chosen the best genre to tell the story. It helps to practice what you preach. We hit a goldmine when we transported the idea of an incompatible odd couple into science fiction.
To cut a long prologue short, take a look at what the film/script tries to do and a brief synopsis below.
If you like it, maybe you want to give the script a read. It’s an early draft and the script is likely to change a lot more in the next six months. So if you have any ideas, criticism or any words of appreciation… or better still, MONEY to collaborate and co-produce this film, mail me at email@example.com
It would be refreshing to see someone put money on the table reading the script and not looking at the star cast.
I don’t want to announce our actors at the moment so that you can visualise the characters just the way you want them to be.
Thanks for your time and interest in my work.
EK NAYI DUNIYA: WHAT IT SEEKS TO DO
The Indian Arranged Marriage presents a fascinating dynamic and a unique equation between the sexes. It’s an arrangement, a match that’s put together by a system that expects the marriage to work simply because it is tried and tested. Over centuries. It has worked. And continues to work. The divorce rates in India are among the lowest in the world.
Yet, it isn’t exactly ‘And They Lived Happily Everafter’ situation that we have seen in most Indian films about the arranged marriage. In the conventional Hindi film narrative, a couple bound in matrimony inevitably falls in love. This cannot be further from reality today as couples in metros are falling apart, unable to reconcile their differences, especially when the woman is strong-minded, truly liberated and fiercely independent.
This isn’t because culture, tradition or society is to be blamed. This is because men and women are built so differently that even if they were the last people left on the planet, they would still have issues living with each other IF they were equals.
After the first draft of this idea, I realised that no matter how I played it, it would seem like I am criticising the Hindu arranged marriage system simply because the film chooses to highlight conflict and the tension that’s bound to rise.
To ensure that the conflict takes centre-stage and does not get hijacked or distracted by the cultural and socio-political subtext that isn’t intended, I decided to explore this dynamic of the arrangement through the lens of science fiction.
What if this was a story of the modern day Adam and Eve? Two people who are products of the world that was. Two people who are the only survivors of an apocalypse triggered by man’s disregard for nature. What if they got a chance to start afresh? Would they go nature’s way or want to stick to what years of nurture taught them?
Man, a soldier of the system, is a survivor who would do anything to feel safe, inexplicably attached to the concept of a home. Or the nurturing of the mother. (Though the character will never be referred to by name in the film, I call him RUDY, short for RUDRA KAILASH SINGH – a name borrowed from God of destruction – Shiva.)
Woman, an explorer always questioning the world, is a preserver who would do anything to protect, and is too wild to be tamed by any boundary, man-made or otherwise. She’s nature herself. (Though she will never be referred to by name in the film either, I call her BHAIRAVI, short for BHAIRAVI KUMAR – a name borrowed from the fierce Goddess, the other half of SHIVA/RUDRA.)
Can these opposites really fall in love? What is this home and the world they want to start together? A unit of the system that will lay down rules on how things must play out for the future? Or an unending quest? Is it a physical place? An emotional state? Or a mental space?
To understand who they are, we need to understand what made them – the system. Is there someone who’s controlling what’s happening to them? Or can they beat this system?
There are no easy answers. Hence, this is a film that hopes to provoke you into thinking about what we really want, how we want to live and where? This is a puzzle of a film that can be interpreted according to your own faith and belief system. But it also assures you that there may be other possibilities too. Equally real. The only truth, after all, is that there is no one truth.
The film tells you the story of the modern day Adam and Eve and their post-apocalyptic world that may or may not exist physically but we see the pattern. It’s almost cyclical – The Wild, The Cradle of Invention, Civilization & Escape – and through these four chapters of history, we see it repeat itself. The film then becomes the story of our world itself and its life cycle.
Fourteen years after a global catastrophe, a spaceship on a mission returns home to an accident.
RUDY and BHAIRAVI fall out of the sky and are probably the only ones to survive. They manage to land on a pristine island in the Southern Hemisphere.
This modern day Adam and Eve need to create a new world together. It was a match made in heaven. Just not right for earth.
As the male and female energies clash and the opposites repel, the couple thrown into this unlikely marriage must survive the odds.
And each other.
Read the full script here: