Tag Archives: Screenplay

Bedtime Story and Black Tulip by Kiran Nagarkar

Bedtime Story and Black Tulip by Kiran Nagarkar Title: Bedtime Story and Black Tulip
Author: Kiran Nagarkar
Publisher: Harper Collins India
ISBN: 9789351369998
Genre: Drama
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

From the time I have started reading Kiran Nagarkar’s books, I have wanted to read the banned play, “Bedtime Story”. The play was banned when it first released in 1978 by the Shiv Sena and other fundamentalist parties. It has now been republished by Harper Collins India. For me the motive behind reading this book was only “Bedtime Story”. The screenplay “Black Tulip” did not hold much interest and yet when I started on that one as well, I was completely taken in by both – the difference in both is of another extreme but both are highly satisfying on different levels.

“Bedtime Story” is based on the Mahabharata. It also has a modern angle to it which is riveting, real and quite thought-provoking. The premise of course will not change. However, Nagarkar manages to add elements which are so real even today, after thirty-seven years – the issue of caste, women’s rights, the political warfare, the debate of what’s right and what’s wrong, all of it has not changed at all. This just goes to show the society in which we live. We are a regressive lot and the sooner we admit to that, the better it is for all of us. There is then scope for change, I think. Nagarkar’s writing of “Bedtime Story” is so brutal and real that sometimes I just wanted to shy away from it. The truth, when stabbed always hurts a lot more than it normally would.

“Bedtime Story” is delicious. It is snarky, holds a mirror to all hypocrisy and at the same time communicates what it wants to, without being modest or sugar-coating anything. On the other hand “Black Tulip” – a screenplay, starts off a little bland and then picks up pace. A woman renegade, her boyfriend and a cop in her top form battle against terrorism. The action takes place in the city of Bombay, bringing the screenplay to a brilliant end – with two probable endings actually.

I would highly recommend this book to people who want to read something different – something real and also something imaginary. “Bedtime Story and Black Tulip” together are plays of endurance, of class, society, change and battle in one’s mind, heart and soul. A terrific read.

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Book Review: Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam: Screenplay, Essays and Interviews by Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari

Title: Sahib, Bibi, aur Ghulam: The Original Screenplay: Compilation, Translation,Essays and Interviews
Authors: Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari
Publisher: Om Books
ISBN: 978-93-80069-86-9
Genre: Film
Pages: 202
Source: Author
Rating: 3.5/5

It is not easy to take a classic film and write about it. It is also not easy to comment on it besides working on the script and also on the translation. But that is what Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari have managed to do brilliantly of the movie, “Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam”. Published by Om Books, the book is a compilation of the original screenplay, translation, essays, and interviews.

Directed by Abrar Alvi (yes I was surprised as well, I thought that it was directed by Guru Dutt all along), the film in brief is about a woman named Chhoti Bahu (portrayed breathtakingly by Meena Kumari), who is defiantly struggling against a life of material privilege (by marrying into money) but personal. Her solitude is minimized by Bhootnath (Guru Dutt as the subtle servant and one of his best performances), her male confidante, with whom she shares all her joys and sorrows, hopes and aspirations and how she feels and waits for her husband’s (Rahman’s) love, to the point of becoming his drinking companion. I found this very striking for a film which released in 1962. The fact that a woman could be shown drinking on screen, in that aspect the movie was way ahead of its time. Amidst all this is Jaba (Waheeda Rehman in a graceful role) waiting for Bhootnath’s love. The film is set in 19th century feudal Calcutta and based on the novel, “Shaheb Bibi Golam” by Bimal Mitra.

Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari try and bring out the finer elements of the film through the essays, which define Guru Dutt’s (as a producer and director) pre-occupation with the themes of longing, unrequited love, the bygone era and the subtle emotions in relationships that need not be named all the time.

What I liked about the book was Waheeda Rehman’s interview, which delves into Guru Dutt’s personality and what it was like working for and with him.

What I did not like was the fact that there could have been more essays. I would have liked to know more about the movie, almost every nuance, as this is for sure one of my most favourite Guru Dutt film.

Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam is a classic and being directed in Black and White does not give it that tag. It is more than that. The way emotions are brought to screen and made alive by actors is all what the movie is about. Truly a classic that can be watched again and again. The book is made available with a DVD of the movie. Do watch it if you haven’t already.

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