T a l a a s h

by Rachit Agarwal

Story by Sana Chandok

INT. AURO’S HOUSE, KITCHEN - PRESENT, MORNING It’s a normal middle class kitchen - a GRANITE SLAB with a FOUR BURNER along one wall, the DOOR and a FRIDGE facing them. It’s big, but not huge. Working on the slab is a WOMAN, dressed in a NIGHTIE, with BEGALI BANGLES adorning her hands, proclaiming to the world that she’s married. Young, around 25. This is KRITIKA. She is making ROTIS, while also monitoring the simmering SUBJI and boiling MILK kept on the burner. Her whole body is tensed up, and her actions indicate hurry. A man, same age as KRITIKA, enters while buttoning the CUFFS of his FORMAL SHIRT. He’s dressed for the office. This is AURO, Kritika’s husband. Hearing him walking up, Kritika’s body tenses up even more. AURO Aaj der ho sakti hai... Kritika nods, almost obediently, and rushes to attend to the milk which has now boiled over. Auro, who has finished buttoning his cuffs, goes off into the adjoining LIVING ROOM to grab his LAPTOP BAG. It’s clear that he’s irritated with Kritika’s apparent snub. Kritika picks up a packed TIFFIN from the slab and hands it to Auro when he re-appears. Auro leans in to give Kritika a hug and a peck on the cheek, but she blocks his movement by placing her hand slightly between herself and him, and turning a little, in the direction of the burner. (meekly) Subji... KRITIKA

And rushes off to turn the gas off. Auro, now very angry, storms off, out of the house, banging the DOOR behind him. Kritika rushes to a WINDOW, to see Auro sit down irritably into the driver’s seat of his CAR, reverse, and drive off. And then, Kritika Sen heaves a sigh of relief and relaxes for the first time that morning.

2.

INT. AURO’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - PRESENT, SOME TIME LATER Kritika, still wearing the same nightie, is seated in front of a COMPUTER. A CHAT WINDOW is open, and she’s typing quickly. After sometime, she gets up and leaves, and we see the contents of the chat thread. Kritika: Still no news of Auro. Mili: That’s pathetic. How long has it been now? Kritika: Close to 3 months. Though I’m not really sure. It’s like one second he was here, and the other, he wasn’t. Mili: Hmm...police? Kritika: Lemme try again... Kritika returns with a ringing PHONE pressed against her EAR. The ring stops. KRITIKA Hello...I’d like to report a person missing. Name: Auro Sen. POLICE (over the phone) There’s already a report under his name, ma’am. KRITIKA Yes, I know. Any news? POLICE I’m sorry ma’am, but you’ll have to come down to the station to discuss the matter. KRITIKA I don’t know about that. My husband won’t let me. POLICE Your husband doesn’t beat you up, does he? That’ll be a domestic violence case, and you should rep...

(CONTINUED)

3. CONTINUED:

KRITIKA (cutting him off. rude) I’m sorry, that’s my personal issue. And she hangs up. Still angry, she goes and plomps down by a window (not the same one featured earlier). She turns her gaze outside, lost in thought. Her expression changes to mild surprise at what she sees. We reveal it to be-EXT. AURO’S HOUSE - 3 MONTHS AGO, LATE EVENING A CAR draws into the driveway. A man (Auro, but don’t show his face during this scene) gets out of the driver’s side. Kritika gets out from the front passenger side a little later, a little TIPSY. Auro has something in his hand. Both Auro and Kritika are smartly dressed in JEANS and TEES. Kritika is NOT wearing the bangles. Catch! AURO

And he flicks what he has in his hand across the car, towards Kritika. She catches it, and unwraps the BROWN WRAPPING. It’s a DVD of RAB NE BANA DI JODI. KRITIKA (smiling) Tu pagal rahega, such mein! AURO (faux filmi) Kritika, tujhme rab dikhta hai, yaara mein kya karoon? KRITIKA (laughing) Andar chalke coffee bana de! Auro, while walking towards the DOORAURO Haan madam. Ji madam. Aayiye madam.
(CONTINUED)

4. CONTINUED:

He unlocks the door and MATCH CUT TO: INT. AURO’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - PRESENT, NIGHT The door opens, and Auro enters to find Kritika sprawled on the floor, in her nightie, completing a PUZZLE. AURO (trying to make conversation) Oh puzzle? Kritika looks up, nods slightly, gets up andKRITIKA Haanth-moonh dho leejiye, mein khaana lagati hoon. She goes into the kitchen, and Auro, again irritated, dumps his laptop bag onto a chair, and goes into the bathroom. INT. AURO’S HOUSE, BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS Auro rolls up his sleeves and starts washing his hands. His face is grim set, and there’s a violence in his action. He rinses his hands, splashes his face with water, takes a breath and goes out of the loo. INT. AURO’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS Auro enters the living room, and takes a seat at the DINING TABLE. Almost on cue, Kritika enters with the FOOD. She keeps the food in front of Auro - not gently or gracefully, but with a certain amount of frustration and anger - and marches off into the bedroom, while Auro just watches her. Auro gets up and follows her, a look of concern on his face. INT. AURO’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Auro enters. Kritika is tucked under the sheets, pretending to sleep. She opens her eyes when he enters.
(CONTINUED)

5. CONTINUED:

Auro closes the door behind him, and Kritika gets a little shocked, as we flash back to INT. AURO’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - 3 MONTHS AGO Auro (show his face) closes the door and locks it. There’s an oddly satisfied look on his face. He advances towards Kritika, who’s on the bed. She now appears visibly drunk. Auro takes his T-SHIRT off, and leaps onto Kritika, pinning her under his weight, forcing her hands down. Kritika, a little confused, and Auro look into each others’ eyes. Auro reaches out and grabs a packet of CONDOMS from the BEDSIDE TABLE, and we FADE TO BLACK. INT. AURO’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - PRESENT, NIGHT Auro is seated next to a sleeping Kritika on the bed, tucking a loose strand of HAIR behind her EAR. Kritika opens her eyes. Seeing her open her eyes, AURO Sab theek toh hai? Tum mujhe dekh kar ekdum behosh ho gayi... KRITIKA (fearful) Yeh darwaaza. Darwaaza band kyun hai? Kritika starts hearing disembodied voies of her parents, and starts looking for the source of the voice. KRITIKA’S MOTHER (V.O.) (stern) Yeh kaise hone diya tumne? Hum achche ghar ke log hain! KRITIKA Main achche ghar ki ladki hoon. AURO Kritika? Sab theek toh hai? KRITIKA Maa, hum pyaar karte hain.
(CONTINUED)

6. CONTINUED:

AURO (concern rising) Kritika? Kya hua? KRITIKA’S DAD (furious) That doesn’t mean that you’ll carry his bastard child! KRITIKA Tum Auro he ho naa? Bolo unhe kucch! AURO Kisko? Kya tamasha hai yeh? KRITIKA’S MOTHER Ek upaye hai. Shaadi kar lo usse. KRITIKA Auro. Merese pyaar karte ho? AURO Yeh kya paagalpan hai? Tumhe bhi uska jawaab pata hai! KRITIKA Toh unhe kuchh bolte kyun nahin? AURO Kisse? Kya boloon? Auro starts patting her on her cheek to get her out of her disturbing “nightmare”. Gently at first, and then with increasing force, until he gives her one too many andKritika snaps back to consciousness, flaying her arms wildly and trying to get away from Auro. She gets off the bed, leaving a stunned Auro in her wake. KRITIKA Ek aur, aur mein police ko bata doongi! AURO (trying to calm her down) Kritika, chill. Tumhe kya hogaya hai? Pichchle teen mahino se bahut strangely behave kar rahi ho. Auro has been edging towards Kritika while saying this.
(CONTINUED)

7. CONTINUED: (2)

KRITIKA Tumse shaadi nahin karni chahiye thi! Auro stops dead in his tracks for a second, and then, while still edging towards her AURO (hurt) Ohk. Kal baat karte hain iske baare mein? KRITIKA Tum woh nahin ho. Tum woh nahin ho! AURO Theek hai. Magar tum woh hi ho. Kritika, tujhme ab bhi rab dikhta hai. Kritika looks up at him, shocked. KRITIKA (blind fury) Tumhe kaise pata? Kya kiya tumne uske saath? KYA KIYA? And she picks up throws a PILLOW at him blinding him, and runs out of the door and into the loo, locking it. Auro runs after her, and while he’s banging against the door, weFADE TO BLACK. INT. AURO’S HOUSE, BATHROOM - NEXT MORNING Kritika is lying on the bathroom floor, huddled against the door. She opens her eyes, gets up slowly, unlocks the door and goes out. INT. AURO’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS The living room’s a mess - things have been strewn around, and crockery broken. There’s no sign of Auro. Kritika walks to the window and looks out to see that Auro’s car is not in the driveway. Today, instead of feeling relieved that Auro’s left, she tenses up even more.

8.

INT. AURO’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - 3 MONTHS AGO, LATE EVENING Kritika and Auro are sitting, sipping their COFFEE, laughing, very much in love. AURO Abbey, tereko aur chadh toh nahin jaayegi? Coffee sweet hai. Meri tarah? Chal hut! KRITIKA AURO

Kritika laughs. Auro looks at her. The laugh sounds like a very drunken laugh. AURO (CONT’D) (suddenly serious) Kritika, teen saal ho gaye hain. Ab toh time ho gaya hai? KRITIKA (jovial) Mister, tum log sab harami hote ho! AURO Main mazaak nahin kar raha hoon. Where’s this relationship going? KRITIKA Magar I don’t think I’m quite ready for it. AURO Kitna time, Kritika? Teen saal toh ho gaye hain.. Kritika bites her lip, deep in thought, deciding what to do. KRITIKA (still unsure) Ohk. I think now is the time... CUT TO:

9.

INT. AURO’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - PRESENT Kritika rushes into INT. AURO’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Takes out a TRAVEL BAG, dumps all her clothes into it. JUMP CUT TO: EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON It’s a secluded street. Kritika is walking down it, wearing a loose T-SHIRT, JEANS and comfortable SHOES. Her make-up’s smudged, and it’s apparent that she’s been crying. KRITIKA (V.O.) Woh log sab harami hote hain! Woh insaan jisse mein pyaar karti thi, joh meri izzat karta tha - flash of Auro throwing the brown package towards Kritika over the car three months ago KRITIKA (CONT’D) - use bhi nahin chhoda - flash of Auro following Kritika into the bedroom (three months ago, immediately after Kritika says yes), locking the door behind them. KRITIKA (CONT’D) - Woh aadmi aaj bhi kahin hai. Kissi gumnaam sheher mein, koi gumnaam chehra. Bas chahiye, toh chahiye koi talaash karne wala... FADE TO BLACK. [CREDITS] [END]