The fifteen aspiring script writers gathered early morning today at the
Pune University Main Building, and drove off via the Expressway to
Bebed-ohol, at one of my friend's farmhouse. Sonia, Pranay The
Srinvians, Partha and Smita Shetty managed to beat us Puneris by a
quarter hour or so.
Neeraj had ferried Deepak and Alaka from Camp, whilst a surprise entry
Yash Chavan, my mate from Pune Jazz Club [Sonia is another] had shown
up in a spanking new Hyundai Accent stuffed with Praneeta, Pesi et al.
Kaveeta had gathered the Aundh area caferati. Archana was dropped by
her father, she driving a four wheeler in place of the familiar two
wheeler. The dad surveyed us all as an entymologist would survey some
weird species of new insects. She shook him off with huge trouble, and
at one point I thought he might be on our tail till the venue.
After the ladies got busy in the kitchen unpacking what seemed like a
treasure tove of sandwiches, apples, bananas and other eatables in
quantities enough to feed the Bebed-ohol village pop. 1249 for a
year... we started the formal intros.
Deepak Morris was the hero, and the air was crackling with anticipation
when he started to speak. He possesses a deceivingly simple personality
and it amazes one to listen to him speak like a pro. A highly skilled
facilitator and a gifted playwright, as we discovered along the way
today. There was a written agenda, yet another painstaking effort from
the highly mentally organised Sonia Menezes, but we put our heads on
the block with Deepak holding the well-ground axe.
He took us out in the thick lawns and made us play games that must have
looked kiddish to the battery of curious onlookers from Amit
Engineering, only thirty metres away and also the increasingly
bewildered chowkidar and his brood nearby. One game, seemingly a
management-booster game concerned all of us running around holding
hands, very pleasant to do since at least seven of us were attractive
young ladies, and the rest need no description, and Deepak playing God,
would make a thunderous noise : FIVE. And breaking the hand holds, we
would break up into three groups as we were Fifteen. What brilliant
However, trouble reared its familiar and ugly head when he shouted
SEVEN. This resulted in two groups with one laggard gawking at us
moronishly. Deepak said sitting down counted zero and kneeling counted
half a person. Thus many more delicious arithmetical formulae emerged
whilst we went snaking around holding hands, causing unprecendented
merriment to the lurkers just beyond the earshot. It did encourage
lightening speed brainwork and trouble-evading if not trouble-shooting.
First session was introduction, once inside the farmhouse which was
basically a cool place but heated up soon. Stress was laid on writing
experience. Deepak then wanted to try out our hand at acting -which
made some of us rear up like wild horses, but he made us see his point
in no time.
Tea-break interevened and we drove back to Bebed-ohol proper, where
Poonam Hotel [restaurant would be a better handle] built like a small
canteen fed us fabulous tea. Some more socializing followed. Back to
the workshop, Deepak asked us to make four groups and come up with a
fairytale, with four characters playing out the whole thing, along with
improvised dialogue. Taking liberties with dialogue and a smattering of
modernity, first Sonia's foursome came up with a jazzy combo : taking
cues from Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk. This act was good, with
inventive dialogue and mirthful interjections, but it forced icy
chilled water in our guts... we hear meaning yours truly, Alaka,
Praneeta and Neeraj. Because we had chosen Jack & The Beanstalk only.
However we managed to improvise well, Alaka was the beanstalk, frozen
in her upright pose with a broom in hand to double her height, Neeraj
as Jack fitted the bill well, I was a passable nearly mad giant, and
Praneeta a beligerant wife. Deepak's comments were that the first and
last part were loose, and at one point I had collided with Praneeta
before falling dead as she aimed a cellphone at me and said Chhooo!
Others passed muster too. As playwrights we must understand the
contigencies of acting, DM held the view strongly. The kind reader
should do well to note we were given a miserable duration of 10 mins
only to prepare the whole thing... highly unfair Deepak !
The next exercise was : we were to recall some incidence and describe
in great details. This was to find out how keen an observer the
aspiring script writer is... and with a weak observation the playwright
has the chance of a snowflake in hell, as far as survival is concerned.
Sonia spoke about her gettig stuck hopelessly in a traffic snarl and
having unintentionally touched the rear-end of a bike in front, with
the owner glaring at her in the typical Puneri style which can get
anyone's goat. It got her goat all right. When she managed to zoom past
his bike she heard him ask if she had no eyes, she gave a fitting
reply. Deepak analysed this story and commented on the observational
part. Rucha spoke about a bad hair day when everything went wrong with
a clockwork precision -when finally the dog jumped into her lap and
started licking her face. All the tension vanished magically... DM
seemed to like the episode and commented on the observation aspects.
I'll jump to myself now -since fifteen episodes would cause your
eyelids to turn leaden. I told them about a high voltage cable breaking
due to a huge fleet carrying truck having snapped it near my office. It
was interesting to see how the gas agency fellows got into a much
practice drill to loop up the broken cable and stash it away in a
series of loops behind the pole, but at the last moment it uncoiled and
hit the most enterprising fellow right in his face. Meanwhile someone
found the driver in his skyhigh cabin having some sort of an epileptic
fit. He was getting electrocuted. Another old
hand, touched the metal enclosure of the truck and not getting a fat
shock,climbed up, pulled the driver out with his collars, and dumped
into waiting hands of some five or six guys right below. When this
adventurous fellow saw that the huge cable was not live, immdtly he
started shivering because the other end has to be live -and he had
almost flirted with Death. He asked me for a smoke, which somebody else
provided, and he was shivering so bad he could not even light his fag.
DM complimented, and we moved on.
The next exercise, was the best. DM asked us to write an entire scene,
now that we knew about characters, hanging indents, and a little about
scripts. He asked all of us to think of a whole scene and write a
script, an actual script with stress on dialogue that does away with
narration. Many scripts were produced, perchance ten out of fifteen,
for there were a band of abandoning writers too.
As it is past midnight and yawns are making my eyes water, I will tell
you about my attempt -and request others to post theirs. Actually DM
analyzed all and said we needed strengthening some part or the
other...so they all will be posting their scripts here.