- Jahanvi: 28-year Indian girl. About 5’6” in height, she is the girl-next-door. She worked as a consultant before quitting her job to write a book.
- Ananya: 33-year old housewife. A pretty Indian girl, who moves to the US after marrying Dr. Rajesh Nayar.
- Rajesh: Ananya’s husband. Works at the Brooklyn Children’s Hospital.
- Mark Johnson: A 35-year old journalist with The New York Express. He’s six feet tall and Caucasian.
- Julianne Sanders: Senior Editor with New York Express. Tall, strikingly beautiful lady in her early 40s, with a slender figure. She is also a close friend of Mark.
- Dr. Lewinsky: Jahanvi’s psychiatrist.
- Old Lady: Ananya’s neighbor.
- Old lady’s son: Ananya’s neighbor.
- Mr. Verma: Jahanvi’s father
- Mrs. Verma: Jahanvi’s mother
- Rik: Jahanvi’s brother
- Cab driver
- The lady on the street
The scene opens in a mental asylum. Two people are playing a board game. Sunlight streams in from the only large window on one of the otherwise plain-looking walls. A nurse keeps a stern watch from her cabin. An old man walks with support, mumbling to himself.
The camera follows as a guy walks in.
He is dressed in a blue shirt and denim and spectacles. He walks with an urgent pace and heads to the nurse’s station.
I’m here to see Dr. Lewinsky and he said I could come in today.
The nurse looks up nonchalantly and points him towards a door at the end of the long corridor.
The camera follows Mark’s vision. A long carpeted corridor is seen with six doors on either side of the walls.
Mark walks towards the pointed door.
The camera follows him and the audience can see Mark’s back as he walks to the doctor’s office.
MARK: (Voice over) (thinking)
How does a woman come to an alien country and end up in an asylum? And the cops have not been unable to figure out who she is. Strange!
The camera flashes white as Mark is walking and one sees an elegantly done up office.
The camera focuses on a stylish young handsome man dressed sharply in a blue suit and brown hair.
Mark is seen sitting on a stylish leather couch.
The camera focuses on a lady standing against the long wooden stylish desk
Sandy, with her black hair tied up neatly in a bun, dressed stylishly in a jacket and a pencil skirt that highlights her long legs clad in red stilettos.
The camera zooms in on the desk behind Sandy and pans around to show its contents and finally zooms in on the placard on the table.
The name-plate on the desk reads “Julianne Sanders. Senior Editor, The New York Express”.
The camera moves between the two as they talk amongst themselves.
Is there even a story?
Please at least go and meet Dr. Lewinsky. He’s an old friend. Let’s see if there is a story here and if we can get this woman back with her family and friends. I thought these are the kind of stories you like chasing, women in trouble.
Camera flashes back to the present at the Butland Mental Asylum where Mark is seen from the behind walking down the long corridor. The camera then shows Mark from the front walking towards the door.
Mark is keen to meet this woman to help her get home.
The camera focuses on the door and zooms in on the nameplate
The door has “Dr. Lewinsky, MD Psychology” written on it in bold letters.
The camera shows the hind side of Mark who is now knocking on the door. A voice is heard from the other side of the door.
Dr. LEWINSKY’S VOICE:
The voice is strong but polite.
Mark steps in to find an elderly man with wise eyes sitting behind the desk staring at him.
The camera follows Mark inside the room and follows his line of vision. we see an old man sitting across a large antique table.
Ahh, Mr. Johnson, I presume? I have been expecting you. Ms. Sanders had informed me you would drop by today. Please have a seat.
The doctor extends his hand towards Mark.
Mark takes his hand and gives it a firm shake and settles in one of the leather-bound chairs.
The camera pans around the room following Mark’s line of vision.
The room is elegantly decked up with shelves of books on the human mind behind the doctor and a lovely photo-frame of a charming old lady holding a baby rests on the doctor’s desk.
Dr. Lewinsky follows Mark’s eyes and notices what he is looking at.
The camera zooms in on the photo frame
That’s my wife Rosaline and our granddaughter, Theresa. She’s already two now. But we are not here to talk about them. Are we now?
The camera focuses on Lewinsky’s face. Lewinsky is an elegantly dressed man with auburn hair in his late 60s.
The years are etched clearly on his face, wrinkled like a morning bed. But there was something enigmatic about the old man.
Let me warn you, Mr Johnson. This case is unlike any I have handled in my years of experience. She is extremely scared and doesn’t speak at all. Please be careful at all times.”
The doctor stands up and shows Mark towards the corridor again.
The camera follows the two men out on the corridor.
Come with me, Mr. Johnson. This way, please.
Please call me Mark.
Dr. Lewinsky leads him through the corridor to level two of the building. As soon as they exit the elevator, Mark sees a huge sign saying Restricted Entry.
This is where we keep the more sensitive patients.
The camera pans on a huge metal door with multiple locks and a security guard in uniform guarding it.
Written on a nameplate on the door are the words “ Restricted Entry By Permission Only”
The huge door opened with a loud metal-shattering noise.
The camera follows Mark into the room. And pans slowly across the room.
A small unassuming room opens up to Mark. A small metal bed chained to one of the walls which were padded from ceiling to the floor. A big grilled window on the wall was the only connection the room seem to have with anything cheerful in life. The only furniture in the room apart from the bed was an end table in the corner of the room attached to the walls with a water jug on it and a metal chair cemented to the floor.
A woman is lying there in a fetal position. Her body is beautiful, tiny, fragile. She is an Asian, hair all matted and unkempt, tied up in a straight jacket. Her eyes vacant yet piercing him with her stare.
A chill ran through mark’s spine as he fought the urge to turn around and run from there.
The camera moves back to the doctor in focus
This is Jane. In her late 20s, female, Indian, diagnosed with acute psychosis, family history unknown. The Embassy has been trying to get in touch with her family though she refuses to say a word. When she is not trying to hurt herself by banging against the walls, she just lays there staring this way at the walls.
The camera goes sideways showing all three characters, Mark standing near the entrance, the doctor standing close to the patient’s bed talking to her and the girl laying on the bed in a fetal position.
Dr. Lewinsky approaches the girl and addressed her in a kind and soothing tone.
Jane, this is Mr. Johnson from the New York Times. He wants to speak to you. I will be right outside if you need anything.
DOCTOR: (Whispers to Mark)
Please be careful.
The doctor walks away.
The camera follows the doctor as he walks away and then back at Mark.
Mark turns on his voice recorder and places it on the end table beside him and sits on the chair facing the girl. The girl still just laying there…still pinning him with her icy cold stare.
The camera follows Mark as he talks on his voice recorder looking at the girl
Date March 4, 2012. Time at 12.30 pm. Butland Mental Asylum. I am here to meet Jane. Hello Jane. Is that your name. Indian names can be really complicated. What is your name? Gosh, I hope you have a simple name.
My name is Mark and I am here to try and see if we can help you get back home. But for that, we will have to learn what exactly happened to you to be able to help you.”
The camera focuses on the girl long view
Jahanvi still lay still. No response whatsoever. It seemed as if she had not heard a word that Mark said.
MARK: (pleading tone)
Jane, we can’t help you if you don’t help us. Please tell me what happened to you. How did you end up here? What is your story?
The camera focuses on the girl following Mark’s line of vision.
Mark looked the girl in her eyes for a long time, almost locked in a trance. And then almost as if they spoke an unspoken language amongst themselves…a language that neither of them could even begin to comprehend, the girl stirs.
The camera moves back to focus on Mark long view
Mark gets up to leave. His back is turned to Jane. He hears a tired and resigned voice from the girl.
JAHANVI: (in a feeble voice)
My name is not Jane. My name is Jahanvi Verma and I am from New Delhi, India.
The camera zooms in on Mark.
Mark (surprised expression) turns around to find the girl, still lying and staring at him but something was different this time.
Jane’s eyes have a certain emotion that Mark is unable to comprehend. He quietly settled back in the chair.
Camera shifts focus between Jahanvi, Mark and the room for the rest of the sequence.
What do you do Jahanvi?
JAHANVI: (in a tired tone)
I am…was a writer.
MARK: (in a restrained tone, careful not to overwhelm the girl)
Who all are there in your family?
My father, mom, and Rik, my younger brother.
A hint of a smile appears on Jahanvi’s face.
The camera flashes white and we go back to a silhouette covered under the sheets and the camera pans in on a clock on the bedside table that says 10:00 clock…three years back.
The camera still focusing on the silhouette under the sheets while a loud female voice is heard close by but not in the room
MRS VERMA: (shouts from the kitchen)
Jahanvi, please get up. it is almost noon. You have been sleeping your life off since the day you quit that job. Please get up and get moving.
Jahanvi hears her mother but she tries to cover her head with the blanket.
the camera focuses on the door of the room while the female voice is getting closer. The door opens and we see a middle-aged woman in an Indian attire on the door. She has aged nicely and clearly was a beauty during her time.
I am no servant, who will cook and clean all day while you sleep away on the pretext of writing a book,” she heard her mother, shouting, this time the voice much closer.
She yanks off the blanket as Jahanvi struggles.
The camera moves back to the girl who just emerged from under the blanket. A very pretty girl in her early 30s, slender, wheatish skin color, a tiny mole on her left cheek, mid-night black hair, now disheveled is seen still laying on the bed looking at her mother squinting as the morning light floods her darkened room.
Maa, what would I do without you? I know you work hard the entire day. Come, catch a nap.
She makes space on the bed next to herself for her mother.
The camera focusses on Mrs. Verma as she tries to jostle with Jahanvi.
You are crazy. Ghosts sleep in the daytime. I am no ghost. You spend the entire night on that godforsaken computer, I don’t know doing what. And then, when everyone else is trying to earn a living, working, you want to sleep. Jahanvi please get up.
The camera follows Jahanvi as she walks to the bathroom.
Jahanvi wakes up, walks to the bathroom. She pops her head out from the bathroom.
Maa, have you seen a ghost? You seem to be an expert on them.
Camera switches between Jahanvi and Mrs. Verma for the rest of the scene and at the end fades onto the next scene.
Jahanvi, please don’t joke about them. It is not funny.
Maa, we are in the 21st century. Ghosts are not real.
By then, Mrs. Verma has already left the room.
VOICE OVER (in Jahanvi’s voice):
At that time, I had quit her job four months back to write a book.
Images of Jahanvi playing basketball, reading, hanging out with friends is shown.
I love all of this but what I loved most was reading and for the longest time, I wanted to write a book.
Image of Jahanvi talking to her father.
It had taken some time for me to convince my parents that I really wanted to write. If it failed, I can always get back to my consultancy job.
Image of Jahanvi trying to write. She writes and erases stuff on her laptop.
However, even after four months, I hadn’t been able to move beyond the protagonist.
When I had quit her job at Stupa Consultancy, one of the world’s leading consultancy firms, I thought I had the perfect story in her head, which could make a wonderful book. Crimes of passion, after all, were hot sellers, in India. However, it was only when I sat down to write that I realized that the task was more difficult than it appeared.
Every night, I would sit down and research. In fact, I had joined a social networking site, Lovenpassion.com, thinking that I might find some inspiration there.
Images of these people appear on the screen.
I befriended a few people too. A 31-year old banker, based in Mumbai, looking for women. A 22-year old college girl from St Stephens, looking for a job to sustain her family. A 46-year old married software engineer, who was more confused than a 12-year old teenager about life.
The most interesting of them was the 33-year old housewife, who stayed in the US with her husband somewhere in Brooklyn, New York. Being married to a doctor, who worked long hours, she said she found the Manhattan sky-rises comforting to her loneliness. She said she gazed at them for hours from her balcony of her 9th-floor Pausch apartment.
My book became my only obsession. I spent hours researching, learning, reading, contemplating, plotting, even trying to step into my protagonist’s shoes to think like them and live like them to make my characters come alive.
But for some reason, I was drawn to Ananya. It was almost like in my head I had made her the protagonist of my story, which was nowhere in the vicinity. She listened to me as I told her about my mother and her constant worry that I was not getting good proposals for marriage.
She almost filled in for my brother, Rik, who had moved to Bangalore for work. I missed having a friend, a space that now Ananya almost filled.
The camera focuses on the laptop screen and the chat window is in focus
Rik has started seeing this girl, Roshni, who he says is really smart. But she looks so horrible, I wonder what he sees in her.
Probably that is what love is. You have to look beyond imperfections.
Ananya please, let us be practical. You do want a good looking partner. Everyone does. Isn’t your husband good looking?
She waits and there is no response for some time. Jahanvi changes the topic.
JAHANVI: (types crossing her fingers)
So what is New York like at this time of the year? It is getting cold in Delhi. I love winters.
Hey sorry, I missed your chat. I was preparing lunch for the hubby. Rajesh will be home any minute and he hates to wait for food. And New York is cold, I am sure you would have loved it here.
Before Jahanvi can respond, a text flickers on her screen.
The camera zooms on to the screen.
TEXT ON SCREEN:
Got to go, Raj is here.
The clock on the screen shows 2 am. Jahanvi shuts down her laptop and goes off to sleep.
Images of an apartment in New York. A young woman is walking around cleaning the house, setting things in order.
It was during one of these chat sessions that Ananya told me that her fairy tale life was not exactly as rosy as it seemed. She never openly said Rajesh had hurt her, but somehow I had a feeling something was amiss.
A hazy image of a couple as they go out together, at parties and at home.
Rajesh seemed like the perfect guy to be married to. A doctor at a prestigious hospital, his own apartment and seemed to have refined taste. In fact, Rajesh and Ananya went fine dining almost every other week.
Images of an Indian wedding and an airport farewell come onto the screen.
Ananya said she had had an arranged marriage where she didn’t get much of a chance to interact with the man she was to marry. Everything had happened so fast that she didn’t have much choice but to go with the flow.
The camera shows the laptop screen with the chat window in focus.
All of this is very new to me. The parties, the people. I wish I could run back home.
How long has it been that you visited home?
It’s been some time. Since I’m not working, I’m not comfortable asking Raj to pay for my tickets back home. Also, mom dad would be furious if I visited widout my tail.
Hahaha, tail. I tell my maa the same thing. I don’t want to get married but she’s after my life. If I found someone like Rajesh, I would pounce on him.
Trust me you don’t want someone like him.
Before she could ask what she meant, Ananya goes offline.
Camera flashes and Jahanvi is seen going about her daily chores, including chatting with Ananya.
The camera follows her and is focussed on her.
It had been almost been two months we had started chatting but it seemed to them we knew each other for ages. I had hardly made any progress with my book since all I thought about was Ananya and her life.
Ananya had told me how wrong her parents had been about Rajesh. She called him a monster once, a sociopath who derived a sense of power by dominating and hurting Ananya. She said he was highly abusive and she was often left tending her wounds, both emotional and physical, all alone.
Camera switches between the two screens. A ping sound is heard every time a message comes.
The camera zooms in on the laptop screen and focuses on the chat window.
In a foreign country with no friends or family, life can indeed be difficult. We never have friends over. He doesn’t like me talking to people. At parties, he hardly leaves me alone.
Hmmm, he seems possessive for you.
He thinks I’m having an affair with everyone in this goddamn world. How do I explain to him that I don’t love anyone else but him?
He won’t even let me go to the market alone. I have forgotten what it feels like to be out in the open, breathe freely.
You know we have an Indian market next door, where we get the freshest Indian products. I have been there once. There was a young boy, 21 maybe, who offered to help me with the cart. Raj didn’t like it at all, he was furious.
Ananya writes and erases but then finally writes.
The camera is focussed on Jahanvi’s screen on the letters being typed.
He came back and hit me. He said I planned to run away with the boy. Said I was having an affair behind his back. After all that he had done for me, I was cheating him. He was crying so I tried to stop him. He pushed me away. I hit my head against the table. But Raj didn’t care. He locked me and went for a walk to cool off.
The shocked expression on Jahanvi’s face as a VO comes.
The camera focusses on Jahanvi’s face. She is in bed and has her laptop with her. In the background, one can see its night time.
She said Rajesh had come back home and found her in pain and bleeding, but he merely asked his dinner to be served, ate and retired to bed.
The camera focusses on the screen.
I cleaned my wound myself. He apologized the next morning, said he didn’t know what had come over him, but I made him angry and forced him to act that way.I must be more careful and be more dedicated to him he said to me.
I have never gone back to the store since then. I don’t even call my parents much because Rajesh does not like it. I do have a phone but he tracks my calls.
The camera focusses on Jahanvi’s face.
Tears started rolling down Jahanvi’s cheeks.
The camera zooms back to the room and then toggles between the two screens again.
Why don’t you file a police complaint? Why are you taking all this?
And what after that?
I don’t have any way out buddy. He has my passport. I never have any money on me. I don’t know anyone in this country other than Rajesh. I will have to come back to him. And besides, it will kill my parents to learn about my plight. They can’t afford to come here and rescue me. It’s better I stay around and hope he changes. I hope will see that I love him.
Ananya logs off.
Jahanvi is filled with rage. She wants to go and slap Rajesh that very instance.
The camera focusses on Ananya’s room. In silhouettes, one can see the Rajesh torturing Ananya.
Ananya’s plight was getting worse by the day. Rajesh was hitting Ananya more often now and getting more brutal by the day. So much so that one day Ananya stopped coming online.
Jahanvi is seen waiting for Ananya to come online but it always shows her offline. This happens for many days.
The camera focuses on Jahanvi who is pacing up and down her room and the camera follows her movement.
As the days passed without any news from Ananya, I was getting increasingly restless. By the third week, I couldn’t bear it any longer.
What if she is in some sort of danger! What if she is writhing in pain somewhere and there is no one to look after her?
I had sent innumerable emails and messages to Ananya but none were returned.
Had Rajesh hurt her fatally, then?
It was then that I decided to track down Ananya. I decided to visit New York.
The scene opens to show Jahanvi and her father sitting on the couch, talking. The room is filled with happy pictures of the family.
The camera focusses on Mr. Verma now and then Jahanvi.
Why do you want to go to New York? Aren’t you supposed to be working on your book?
I want to take some time off. Travel a bit. It’s not like I don’t have a visa and I have traveled before dad. All I need is a mini vacation. Please, I really need this break.
As the scene fades out, a VO comes on.
February first week, I was in New York, looking for Ananya, who had come to be my best friend.
The camera whites out to present time and we back in the asylum, where Mark and Jahanvi are talking.
Camera toggles between Mark, Jahanvi and the room.
Jane, you are one hell of a woman. You talk to someone on the net. And come all the way to save a woman you know nothing about.
I know it sounds weird but I could feel her pain. She needed my help. I was sure Rajesh had done something to her, hurt her. She needed my help.
So, what happened next? And how did you end up here, an asylum of all places?
Mark had too many questions in his head. He was so intrigued by this strange woman who had traveled half the world to save a woman, who probably didn’t even exist. He didn’t want to ask her if she had even considered that someone had pranked her.
The screen whites out and we travel to the past again.
The camera moves to show a running cab from outside from the inside, then it moves back to Jahanvi who is seen sitting inside a running cab.
She is taking in the beautiful sky rises. The gorgeous sights and scenes are mesmerizing to her. Some of the sights she recognizes from the innumerable soaps she had seen, but most are new to her as well. However, inside her was anxiety for her friend.
The camera follows her line of vision, then zooms out to the cab and then some shots of the city and then back to the cab as she arrives.
Brooklyn General hospital ma’am.
The camera moves to show the back of the driver’s head
The camera then pans out of the cab and shows the full view of the street with the cab standing and Jahanvi getting out of the cab.
Jahanvi gets out and pays the fare.
VO: (JAHANVI) (thinking)
Ananya had said once this is where Rajesh worked, isn’t it?
The camera follows Jahanvi as she walks towards the hospital.
Should I go in and ask for Rajesh?
No. He mustn’t know Ananya discussed him with me. That might get her into more trouble.
Jahanvi starts looking worried as the reality dawns upon her.
How do I find her then?
She takes a deep breath and starts walking.
VO (JAHANVI): tries to remember
There is an Indian market near her place she told once didn’t she? Or was it a shop she said?
Raj takes about 15 mins to drive home for lunch. He likes his meals hot. He hates the dry sandwiches that the cafeteria serves.
VO (JAHANVI) (thinking as she keeps walking)
They must stay somewhere nearby.
The camera follows Jahanvi’s line of vision and shows the street she is walking on. A pretty black lady is walking on the foot-path. Jahanvi stops the lady and greets her which the lady promptly returns.
Jahanvi asks a lady on the street if there is an Indian market or a store in the area. She is surprised and relieved when the lady directs her to a building very close to where they are standing.
The camera follows Jahanvi and her line of vision
As she walks towards the market, she looks around and sees a bunch of high raised buildings. She wondered how would she find Ananya before it was too late.
Camera switches to the next scene after a bunch of high rises are seen.
Back in the asylum cell, Dr. Lewinsky is standing behind Mark.
Camera switches between Mark, the doctor and the room.
Did you have any luck with her, Mr. Johnson?
Mark turns around to see Dr. Lewinsky standing at the door.
Oh yes, me and Jane here are making real progress. She said she came here to find a friend. Here why don’t you ask her yourself?
The camera turns to Jahanvi and then back to Mark and the doctor when she doesn’t speak.
Mark is surprised when Jahanvi remains quiet.
MARK: (almost screaming)
Jane, why don’t you say something?
Mr. Johnson, she has been like this for months. This is how I left her with you some time back. What do you think has changed?
Mark was surprised. She was talking a few seconds ago. Was Jane faking it or did he imagine the entire conversation? Mark starts walking out.
Mark is seen sitting with Sandy at a bar. The bar is relatively empty. It is afternoon outside.
The camera moves between the bar, Sandy and Mark.
Sandy, I think I’m going crazy. I went to the asylum yesterday and I spoke to Jane. But when the doctor came in, she didn’t say a word. I don’t understand this woman at all.
That’s why I sent my best man in.
I’m sorry but I should have told you this before. A few months back when the cops found her, she was unconscious. Her clothes were soaked in blood. They don’t know what she was doing in that empty apartment but if that old lady in the building had not called, she would have never been found.
But what is strange is that there was no mark or indication of an assault. She kept mumbling something like Annie.
The camera focuses on Mark’s face.
Ananya. She was saying Ananya.
How did you know?
Because Jahanvi told me so.
Mark rushes out of the bar as Sandy shouts from behind.
The camera follows Mark and Sandy’s voice is heard.
Who is Jahanvi?
The camera shows Mark driving back to the asylum and almost barging in into the doctor’s office.
The camera follows Mark’s line of vision. Then toggles between the doctor and Mark.
Doctor, I’m sorry to barge in like this without an appointment, but I have to see Jane again. It’s important.
But Mr. Johnson, you met her yesterday and you saw that she is not in a state to talk, let alone answer your questions.
Just one more time.
The doctor thinks for a minute.
Ok, Mr. Johnson. Just one last time.
The camera follows the two men back to the cell.
Both walk to the cell where Jahanvi is held.
The camera follows the two.
The camera follows Mark’s line of vision and focuses on Jahanvi on the bed
Mark sees Jahanvi almost like he had left her the previous day.
MARK: (almost pleading)
I know you can hear me Jahanvi. Don’t pretend you can’t. I don’t know why you didn’t say anything in front of the doctor but I want to know what happened next.
The camera moves to focus on the doctor briefly and shows him walking out of the cell.
The doctor tries to say something but leaves.
The camera moves between Mark and Jahanvi throughout the dialogue
Please say something, Jane.
I am sorry but everyone here thinks I’m crazy. I’m not. They say its all in my imagination but I know it’s not. I’m not insane.
But why is that? Anyway, so what happened next?
The screen whitens out again and we travel to the past with Jahnavi.
The camera takes a long view of the street and shows Jahanvi walking on it. Slowly zooms in on Jahanvi and finally on her face.
VO (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
“The store and the hospitals are close to these buildings.” she thought to look at a bunch of high rise buildings to her right.
The camera follows her line of vision to the right
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
“This has to be it!
Jahanvi almost screamed out.
The camera moves back to Jahanvi and zooms in on her face.
She looks disheartened again as she faces over half a dozen high rises.
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
Which of these would be her building? There are 8! I can’t possibly go to the 9th floor of every building.
She suddenly remembered.
The camera whites out and only a voice is heard. Jahanvi is remembering what Ananya message
VO: (Ananya’s voice)
Here I can see a rose garden with a fountain from my living room window. I can see the birds taking a bath in the fountain and the children who come to play there every evening. That’s my only luxury every day that is my breath of fresh air.
VO: (Ananya’s voice)
There is also a huge rosebush in front of my building. I am allowed to at times go to it and pluck a few for myself. I just love them!
The camera pans around a full 360 degrees to show there is only one building had a park in front of it.
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
This has to be it.
The camera zooms in on the building next to a park and the moves back to Jahanvi and follows her into the building.
She goes inside and hits level 9.
The camera now shows the inside of an elevator, focussed on Jahanvi. The lights on the elevator buttons move ahead.
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself in the lift)
Is Ananya OK? How would she react? Would she be happy? Surprised? Angry? Scared?
What if Rajesh is home? I never thought of that.
Let’s just hope he isn’t.
The camera focuses on Jahanvi
Jahanvi straightens herself up as the 9th button lights up.
The lift door opens.
The camera focuses on the outside from inside the elevator. The camera pans out of the door into the corridor. There are four apartments on the floor.
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
Which one could be hers?
The camera follows Jahanvi and zooms in on one of the doors.
She rings the first bell. To her dismay, no one answers.
The camera follows as Jahanvi to the next door. Zoom in on the door and then on Jahanvi.
We hear faint footsteps approaching the door. The camera focuses on Jahanvi’s face which looks relieved.
VO: (Jahanvi praying to herself)
Please let this be her.
The camera moves back to the door which is now opening.
A woman with greying hair answers the door.
Yes, how can I help you?
Is there an Ananya here?
OLD LADY: (Looking unsettled)
No honey, I don’t think I have ever heard that name.
So, does a young couple, the husband is a doctor, do they stay on this floor?
The camera zooms in on the old lady’s face
The old lady’s face contorted in fear. she tried to close the door on Jahanvi but she stopped her.
JAHANVI: (Pleading and almost in tears)
Please ma’am, I really need to know. someone’s life may be depending on this
The camera moves back to the old lady.
OLD LADY (Reluctantly with a sigh)
Well, it’s been just me and my son for some time now. There used to be a couple but that has been a while now.
We hear footsteps behind the old lady, which grows louder.
We suddenly see a large young man approaching from behind the old lady, screaming.
YOUNG MAN: (Agitated)
Who the hell are you talking to ma?
The young man looks at Jahanvi.
What do you want lady? We don’t know anything about any woman here. Please leave.
The man bangs shut the door on Jahanvi’s face leaving her staring at the closed door.
The camera moves back to Jahanvi and zooms in on her face.
VO: (Jahanvi thought to herself)
That was rude and strange!
This is getting stranger by the second.
The camera follows Jahanvi as she tries ringing the other bells but no one answered.
She is about to leave when something catches her eye.
The camera zooms in on the carpeted floor in front of one of the doors.
One of the closed apartments had an earthen lamp tucked close to the door.
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
This has to be her house. But why is she not answering the door? Is she OK?
She decides to wait for Ananya or Rajesh. Someone would have to provide some answers for her quest. She sits down on the floor and dozes off waiting.
The camera shows Jahanvi sitting on the carpeted floor in front of the door with her head resting on the wall behind her. We see her dozing off.
The camera then zooms in on her face.
She wakes up with a jolt. It’s almost 12.30 am. No one has come back. Jahanvi decides to come back the next day.
The camera follows her out of the building as she hails a cab back to her hostel.
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
I have put in my life’s savings on this trip. I better look for a hostel or motel because hotels are such a costly affair. I don’t even know how long I would have to stay, it’s better I save up.
She checks into a motel and goes in for a shower. The camera moves to focus on Jahanvi is a towel and wet hair. She quickly changes into a t-shirt and pajamas and calls home.
JAHANVI: (over the phone)
Hey dad. Hey maa. I’m sorry I didn’t call you guys earlier. I got in late and then stepped out. Please don’t be mad.
We hear her parents on the other side of the phone
Beta, we were really worried. We hope you reached safely. How is the hotel? We hope it’s safe. Have you locked the doors properly?
Yes. Yes and yes. You guys worry too much. I love you guys.
MRS VERMA: (Anxiously)
Beta, we will worry. We know it’s not the first time you have gone away from home but you are alone there. You could have done this some other time.
Maa, dad. I’m really sleepy. I will talk to you guys tomorrow. Take care.
JAHANVI’S PARENTS: (in unison)
You too beta.
The camera moves back to Jahanvi, who disconnects the phone before they could say something else.
Suddenly, there is a familiar ping on her laptop. She opens the window. The camera zooms in on the laptop screen.
JAHANVI: (types frantically)
Woman, where have you been all this while?
I am sorry but things have got really bad. We had got into a fight and he hit me really bad. I fainted and was unconscious for I think an entire day. I couldn’t move for the next few days,
I was worried about you. I’m here.
The camera zooms out and focuses on Jahanvi’s face.
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
I don’t know whether to be angry about what Rajesh had done or to be relieved she is OK.
The camera zooms back to the laptop screen
So where are you now?
I am in a lot of pain, Jahanvi! Help me!
The words flashed on the screen sent a wave of panic through Jahanvi’s body.
JAHANVI: (types frantically)
Ananya, what happened to you?
The screen remains black.
JAHANVI: (messages again)
Babe are you OK? I am really worried now!!!
The screen still remains adamantly blank.
Jahanvi looked at her watch. (camera zooms in on her watch). It was 2 am
VO: (Jahanvi thinking to herself)
I will have to wait till dawn before I can go back to Ananya’s apartment.
The camera pans out and we see her exhausted body passes out in bed.
The camera pans out from Jahanvi’s face to her whole sleeping form on the bed and sunlight streaming in from the window above the bed.
She is woken up by the warm light from the window bathing her face. It takes her a few moments to recollect where she is and what happened the day before.
Jahanvi jumps off the bed when she remembers Ananya’s last message.
The words resound in her head.
She quickly checks her phone to see if Ananya has messaged her again.
The camera zooms in on the phone. There is no message or call.
She decides to go back to the apartment.
The camera moves slowly inside the bathroom. We see a small bathroom and a silhouette on the other side of the shower curtain. We can hear the shower running. She comes out of the shower in a towel, dries herself and quickly dresses up.
The camera follows her to the tiny kitchenette where she pours some cereal and milk in a bowl and gulps it down.
The camera then follows her as she rushes out of the hostel.
The camera follows Jahanvi as she takes the bus and reaches Ananya’s building.
The camera shows Jahanvi knocking at the old lady’s door from the previous day. The door opens and the old lady appears.
Hi, I am sorry to drop in again but you were telling me something about the couple yesterday. I really need to know ma’am, because I think someone is in real danger.
The camera focuses on the old lady from the front.
The old lady hesitates a bit. Then opens her door and asks Jahanvi to come in.
The camera follows Jahanvi as she goes in and is lead to the living room. She is asked to sit on the couch.
The camera focusses on the entrance of what should be the kitchen from Jahanvi’s point of vision on the living room couch.
The old lady disappears inside for a while and reappears with a tray of tea and some cake.
The camera zooms out from the cup of tea as Jahanvi takes a sip from it and puts it back on the saucer.
OLD LADY: (concerned)
You look so pale my dear.
Please ma’am, I really need to know what you know about the couple.
You see ma’am, I have come all the way from India in search of my friend Ananya, who, I am afraid, might be in trouble as we speak.
The camera moves back to focus on the old lady’s face.
Hearing the name Ananya, the old lady stiffens a bit.
Child, are you talking about Ananya Patel? Are you sure?
Yes! Oh yes! Ananya! Her husband is a doctor. Rajesh.
OLD LADY: (Trying to remember)
Well, they did stay here, but that was some time ago. Lovely couple. Rajesh was a fine young man, good looking too. And Ananya was a darling. She baked wonderful cakes. In fact, that is how we got talking one day. There was this wonderful smell coming from her house. I couldn’t resist and went over. She was indeed a wonderful girl.
But where are they now?
Well, I don’t know. No one knows. I went over in the evening one day, as usual, that was the time Rajesh was not around. The house was locked. I thought she had stepped out. But no one came back the next day either. That was not usual.
I got really worried. In fact, my son called the cops too. They came and checked the place out. Everything was in order.
JAHANVI: (concerned and worried)
So since then, no one has come back? And how long has it been since they left?
Two years. I am just hoping that everything is ok with that girl. She was a darling.
The camera moves back to focus on Jahanvi.
Jahanvi got up to leave. She had to find out what was happening. Nothing that the lady said made sense.
How can a woman disappear overnight? She had been speaking to Ananya for almost four months now, there must be some confusion.
Ma’am thank you so much for the information. I think there has been some mistake. I have been speaking to Ananya for months now and she is in Brooklyn somewhere. I think I may have the wrong house.
The camera follows Jahanvi out of the old lady’s apartment.
Jahanvi rushes out of the old lady’s house with her head buzzing. She is sure that all this is not a dream. She walks towards Ananya’s apartment.
She tries to open the door but it is locked. She collapses at the door, wondering if she is going insane and if all of that she has gone through was a wild goose chase.
Jahanvi suddenly remembers something Ananya had told her in one of the chats.
I light an earthen lamp every evening. It is funny how we try these stupid rituals hoping the divine one will help us out of miseries.
The camera zooms in on the lamp then to Jahanvi’s hand as she picks it up. Jahanvi picks up the lamp and almost breaks down.
The camera zooms in on the area now devoid of the lamp.
She suddenly sees a key under the lamp. She picks it up and tries using it at the door.
The camera zooms in on the keyhole.
She turned the knob and it opened!
A thick smell of years of abandonment overwhelms Jahanvi as she enters the apartment.
The camera pans around the room. Its dark with furniture still laying around as if its owner had just stepped out to buy milk, but years of neglect is evident in the layers of dust that engulfs everything around.
There are pictures of a happy couple displayed neatly on the mantel and some framed up on the wall. Jahanvi looks at the pictures and instantly recognizes Ananya from her profile pictures.
There is an old computer in a corner covered in cobwebs.
The camera follows Jahanvi into the balcony.
Jahanvi goes to the balcony. The fresh air feels like a respite from the torment her soul just faced now. She looks around breathing in the fresh air.
The camera follows Jahanvi’s line of vision and we see what Jahanvi is seeing
Jahanvi sees a beautiful park at a distance. A fountain standing there with clear water flowing. Kids playing in the park.
She looks around and sees the rose bush (Camera zooms in on a rose bush near the apartment entrance).
Everything that Ananya had described is here. So is she real or a figment of my imagination?
The camera pans out and we see Jahanvi from the front walking in the room.
JAHANVI (thinking to herself)
How can all this be true if Ananya never existed?
The camera zooms in on the PC for a bit and then back to Jahanvi’s panic-stricken face.
She goes on to touch the screen of the computer and something flashes on the screen.
The camera moves into the kitchen and turn to black and white coloring, and we see a nicely and elaborately done up kitchen with Ananya running around in it. It focuses on Ananya and moves from behind and comes in front to eventually zoom in on her face.
Ananya cooking in the kitchen for her husband. She looks tired, looks pale and sick. She has bruises all over her face, her eyes have big dark circles around them.
The camera moves down to her fingers
Two of her fingers of her left hand are wrapped in plaster. She looks frail from the years of torment she has faced.
She hears Rajesh screaming from the other room. The camera follows her as she rushes to the living-room, where Rajesh is trying to hang a picture of the two from a time when both of them were happy together.
How many times do I have to tell you that I like the place to be kept clean?
B…But what happened?
RAJESH:(pointing to something non-existent specs of dust)
Can’t you see? Can’t you see this dust on the frame, the table? It is all over.
I am sorry, I will clean it right away
RAJESH: (flinging the hammer in his hand to her face)
I am going to teach you a lesson so that you never forget
The camera moves to Ananya and a loud bang is heard in the background followed by a sickening crack
Ananya fell back and before she could recover, Rajesh hit her one more time.
The camera moves to Ananya’s point of vision….Everything goes dark.
With a white flash, the scene is cut to the next where the camera focuses on Rajesh working on the kitchen counter. There is the song “jeepers creepers” playing loudly in the background. It’s still in Black and white.
Rajesh is calmly cutting her body into tiny pieces and putting them in a duffel bag after wrapping each piece in cellophane papers, all the while humming “jeepers creepers”. When satisfied that all of Ananya has been put in the bag, he goes to the kitchen and starts cleaning the living- room. He scrubs off every splatter of blood to wipe off any traces of Ananya that could be left behind. He continues to hum “jeepers creepers”, calmly smiling to himself.
With a white flash, the scene is cut to the next where the camera follows Rajesh out of the house.
Rajesh leaves the house with the bag.
Camera flashes back to the present with full color and focuses on the full frontal of Jahanvi
Jahanvi has been trying to scream and shout, stop Rajesh from hurting Ananya but no sound can be heard.
Jahanvi falls back on the chair next to the PC. She is still in the flat, which is vacant as it were. She takes a sharp breath and touches the screen again. This time, it remains blank.
Jahanvi doesn’t understand what was happening.
Had Rajesh killed Ananya? If he had, who had she been chatting with?
Suddenly, her phone comes alive with a familiar notification ping.
The camera zooms in on the phone which says “one new message from Ananya. Read?” With her hands shaking, she presses “yes” and the message opens to read”
MESSAGE ON HER PHONE:
See, I told you Rajesh was a monster!
The camera zooms in on Jahanvi’s terribly frightened face. Beads of sweat forming on her forehead. Jahanvi takes a few steps back when her phone pinged again.
The camera zooms in on the phone again.
MESSAGE ON PHONE:
What was my fault?.
Look at what he did to me!
Terribly freaked, the phone falls from Jahanvi’s hand and breaks.
The camera changes focus on a figure in front of Jahanvi.
Suddenly, in a flash, Jahanvi sees Ananya standing in front of her.. with blood streaming down her face, half of which has been bashed in.
We see the figure charging at the camera at bullet speed from Jahanvi’s line of vision
The camera then pans out to show both the ladies’ figure sideways and we see Jahanvi passing out.
A hospital bed comes into view. Jahanvi is laying in the bed, hooked up with lots of tubes and pipes. Doctors are looking over her and bustling around mumbling amongst themselves discussing Jahanvi. A nurse at the far end of the room is preparing a shot. She slips back into unconsciousness.
The camera now follows Jahanvi’s view from her point of view
When her eyes open again, she sees an old man, who looks like a doctor.
NURSE : (Mumbling with the doctor)
She has been mumbling about someone named Annie or something. Help. It doesn’t make any sense. We have not been able to confirm her identity. No one has come forward looking for her. The cops tried to find out where she was staying but its almost like she never existed before this. And all attempts to speak to her are in vain.
The room again goes dark.
The camera comes back to the present and we see Mark and Jahanvi talking again and follows the two speakers while they speak.
Interesting. You came all the way from New Delhi to New York, looking for a girl that you think was in trouble. You manage to find her and then actually find out that she was killed by her husband?
And all this while, you didn’t say anything to the doctors or the cops because they thought you were crazy, right?
Jahanvi remains quiet.
Well, the police did go through the place. Like the last time, when the old lady insisted that this girl, Ananya, is in trouble, the cops searched the place. Not a drop of blood or even a sign of struggle. You think everyone here is a fool.
But it is amazing that the cops have not been able to track your identity. I am sure they will soon. As soon as I tell them all that you have told me. At least they will have a clue where to start. It is a good story that you weaved, in fact, you had me fooled for some time,”
The camera zooms out showing Jahanvi
Jahanvi remains quiet, staring at the walls.
Have a good day, Jane.
Mark gets up and leave.
The camera follows Mark out of the room and keeps focusing on Mark.
He walks out of the asylum towards his car and lights a cigarette. He sits in the car and starts his car. It refuses to start.
Suddenly, Mark’s phone buzzes. He picks it up
The camera zooms in on Mark’s phone.
“One unread message. Read?”
MARK: ( mumbling to himself)
Unknown number. Who could this be?
The camera zooms back on Mark’s phone
He clicks on “Read” and the message opens.
The camera zooms into the screen.
MESSAGE ON PHONE:
See, I told you Rajesh was a monster!
Suddenly there is another ping. Before Mark can open that, there is yet another ping.
The camera zooms in on the phone again.
MESSAGE ON THE PHONE:
What was my fault?
Look what he did to me!
The camera zooms in on Mark’s pale face. The camera zooms out and Jahanvi is seen standing at the window of her confinement.