Nandu barged into my room and declared, "Guess what, Ramen!"
"What? I asked.
"Haven't you heard?"
"About the movie?"
"The movie everyone is talking about?" Nandu answered throwing his hands up in the air, and casting a rather commiserating look in my direction, as if pitying my ignorance.I chucked the Wodehouse I was reading in one corner and gathering all the patience I could, said, "Nandu don't you think our rather intelligent conversation is leading us nowhere. Can you tell me clearly, what, if anything at all, you are talking about?"
"Oh! Come on Ramen, even you must have heard of the furore over Deepa Mehta's film 'Water'. "
"Yes, I have, so?"
"Well, it has given me an idea."
'Oh! Lord', I moaned inwardly. I was terrified of Nandu's ideas - each one more harebrained than the other.
"Are you planning to construct a bridge over troubled waters?"
"Very funny. Anyway, you are the Civil Engineer, not me. I am planning to try my hand at script writing."
"Wha..." I nearly fell off the chair. Till now Nandu's schemes had bordered on insanity. But this one seems to have crossed into the realm of the totally insane."
"B..but Nandu. You don't have the foggiest idea about script writing or for that matter any kind of creative writing. You remember your plight when you had to write essays in school. You used to rack your cerebrum so hard it almost suffered multiple fractures."
"Ha! Ha! How droll! Geniuses are not born, nor are they always made. Sometimes all it takes is serendipity. Look at Newton and Archimedes : if Newton hadn't been sitting in the garden contemplating on existence, gravity would still have remained an esoteric concept. And if Archimedes hadn't decided to take a bath in the buff, sitting in an undersized bath tub, do you think 'eureka' would ever have happened?"
I wanted to ask Nandu whether unlike Archimedes he takes a bath in a three piece suit, but decided not to. I just nodded solemnly waiting for him to continue.
"Well, as I was telling you while watching the Deepa Mehta controversy an idea struck me. I spent an entire afternoon delving on the idea and by evening it had crystallized into a complete script. Now, since you are no doubt dying to hear it I won't make you wait much longer."
He settled down on the sofa, picked up a freshly opened packet of Uncle Chips which I had carefully preserved, and between munches, started his narration.
"Water is Deepa's third film of her trilogy devoted to the three elements. I too am planning to write scripts for a trilogy which will be based on the three states of matter - solid, liquid and gas."
"And pray who will you get to direct it? A Professor of Chemistry from MIT?"
"I think you should buy 'Krack Cream'?"
"Why?" I asked
"Because you seem to be suffering from corns. Your jokes are getting cornier by the minute," he said and almost doubled up laughing.
After two minutes of cackling like dyspeptic hyena he wiped his eyes and continued.
"The first part of my trilogy is called 'Ice', the second 'Aqua' and the third 'Gas'. Ice, inspired in a remote kind of way by Deepa's 'Fire', is a 'love quadrilateral' or rather a 'lust parallelogram'. It is the story of two brothers who get married to two sisters. A year into their marriage the brothers realise that the tug of fraternal lust is far stronger than the pull of connubial bliss?"
"What drivel is this?"
"To make it clear to the meanest intelligence let me put it this way - the brothers feel happier in being gay. When the sisters come to know that they are being two timed by their respective husbands with their respective husbands, they decide to pay back in the same coin and seek solace in each other's arms. The two pairs get divorced and decide to get remarried. Since same sex marriages are illegal they are denied permission. The four of them fight a spirited battle in court and in a landmark judgment the Judge rules in their favour. In the last scene we have the brothers tying the knot to each other and the sisters doing the same."
Nandu paused and looking at me asked , "Brilliantly inventive isn't it?"
"Brilliantly inventive my foot? Who is going to risk making this film? It is abysmally corny in form and pornographic in content," I declared, quite pleased with myself at the rather clever turn of phrase.
"Come on Ramen, don't be a prude. I never knew you were so regressive in your thinking. I am only exploring new frontiers of alternative sexuality. It will be a path breaking film, a seminal breakthrough in the realms of new cinema. Indian filmmakers have experimented with themes like lesbianism, homosexuality. But never has a film been made which explores gay, lesbian and a double dose of incestuous love - all in one grand sweep. And you know, now a days just as every advertisement has a slug line, every film has a theme. For instance that syrupy concoction Hum, saath , saath hain was based on the theme 'The family that eats together, laughs together, stays together?"
"What is going to be the theme of 'Ice'? Couples that are gay together, stay together!" I suggested and dear netizen if looks could kill, yours truly's obituary would have been floating around in cyberspace by now.
"Platonic love or rather its definition: Platonic love is only possible between a gay and a lesbian," he declared, sounding like Moses announcing one of the Ten Commandments.
"How will you market the script?"
"I'll look for producers from abroad. Only they will have the guts to make such a bold movie. And if no one comes forward to direct it, I'll don the mantle of a director too - all in the interest of Indian cinema."
"What about the cast?"
"That shouldn't really be a problem. I'll declare that the roles were offered to the top heroes and heroines of commercial cinema but they chickened out since they were scared of experimenting with their image?"
"What will happen then?"
"To prove how gutsy, how bold they are many leading lights of Follywood will come rushing declaring, "We have always believed in doing challenging roles.... we refuse to be trapped in an image....."
And to give them a real avant garde look, instead of making them shave their heads I'll make the heroines shave their eyebrows and the heroes dress up like transvestites."
"But tell me how will you justify the title 'Ice'?"
"I'll make the brothers work in an ice factory."
"And suppose no one buys your script?"
"That is impossible, but I am prepared even for that. Have you heard of GALA?"
"No, is it an Association of Bandwallahs?"
"Of course not? It is the Gay And Lesbian Association. I have already talked to their President Ashok Gaychand and Secretary Ms. Lez. B. Ann. In the eventuality of no one buying my script GALA will produce and distribute the film.
That was a year ago. This morning I read in the newspaper that 'Ice' had won seven 'Alternate Oscars' at the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival held at Bombgay. Nandu had been made the honorary life member of GALA and Ashok Gaychand had proposed to Nandu. Last heard, Nandu was seen running in the streets of Bombgay with Ashok Gaychand in hot pursuit singing : Aaja, aaja, mein hoon , pyaar tera, GALA, GALA, ikraar tera....."