Rendezvous with a Reflection – Screenplay
“Rendezvous with a Reflection”
(Group – “Untitled”)
A girl, struggling to accept reality, confronted by her own reflection.
Instructor: Shrimoy Chaudhury
Course: Psychoanalytic Films through Historical Lens
A long shot of New Delhi and the skyline. The sun is rising breaking dawn.
Camera pans to visuals of empty shopping streets being lit with the morning sunlight. Some shopkeepers can be seen opening their shutters and the silence breaks with the opening of the shutters.
Low key piano starts playing and the camera pans to a shot of birds flying across the sky.
FADE TO Apartment Complex
Outside the gate of an apartment complex, heavy traffic can be seen. People rushing out of the complex. Streets are now filled with people who are getting on with their lives.
FADE TO Inside the Complex
Camera shows a smaller, quieter street of the complex. We see a distinct, colorful door in this shot that is the home of our protagonist. It is on the ground floor of the apartment complex that towers 10-15 floors.
We see a shot of school children with their school bags waiting for the school bus just on the opposite side of the street.
CUT TO shot of 7:00 on a digital alarm clock
Loud sound of beeping alarm starts playing over the low key piano which fades slowly. We can hear the cars outside and the sounds of traffic. Along with the simple noises of hustle and bustle of the city.
Hand comes into the frame to shut down the sound.
As soon as the alarm is switched off, the radio starts playing pop music with positive beats. We are situated in a usual Indian students room. There are posters of movies and rock bands on the wall. The posters are adding color to the walls of the dusty pale white walls of the room. The girl is still half asleep and brushes her hand through her messy hair. She stares at the clock and listens to the music of the radio and stands up slowly from the bed.
She appears to be in her early twenties in fair shape. She is in her pajamas.
Her feet touch the floor, shot of the magazines and random bits of rubbish lying around. The mess in the room adds to the vibrancy and color of the room.
FADE TO Bathroom
A mirror comes on screen. Sound of rinsing can be heard. Suddenly a face comes into the frame from the bottom. We can see NAINA’s face in the mirror and her messy, entangled and long hair and her back. She looks at the mirror, fixes her hair and smiles.
The shot still focusing on the mirror, we can see her turn around and leave the bathroom, and the mirror without a reflection.
FADE TO scene of the common area of apartment.
It is a brightly lit room with windows. There are sofas and the windows let in the light from outside and fill the room.
We can see NAINA walking towards the kitchen from her room with a purse. She is dressed up casually in T shirt and jeans.
We can hear the sound of a pressure cooker coming from the kitchen. We can see rays of sunlight streaming in from the kitchen door.
FADE TO kitchen
We see NAINA entering the kitchen through the door, she looks at her mother making breakfast. She seems enthusiastic for the coming day. We can see her mother breaking an egg on the frying pan. Sound of crackling egg whites on the frying pan can be heard.
NAINA grabs two pieces of fresh bread from the 12 pack of bread that is on the table and pours out a glass of milk from the glass bottle of boiled milk.
NAINA looks at her mother cutting onions for the omelette with a knife.
Good morning mummy!
Good morning, had a good night’s sleep beta? You had those bad dreams again?
Nothing bad mummy…
NAINA’s mother gives her the plate of cooked omelette and she starts eating it with the bread.
CAMERA PANS TO NAINA
She is taking the finished plate of her breakfast and washing it in the kitchen sink.
We see NAINA picking up her purse from beside the dining table.
Ok mummy, gotta go! Don’t want to be late for college! See you later.
Have a nice day beta!
FADE TO outside the apartment
We see NAINA walking out of the apartment complex.
The sun is now shining brightly, she is almost blinded by the bright light and crosses the street to the other side.
In the shot we can see children waiting for their school bus in front of the street.
NAINA begins to cross the street.
Suddenly, we see a school bus crashing into NAINA.
Sound of screeching tires can be heard.
Immediately fade to black.
Low key piano strokes play.
CUT TO Digital Clock with alarm ringing at 7:00 AM.
Loud sound of beeping alarm starts.
We see NAINA jumping from the bed in fear. She looks around and finds herself back in her room.
She shuts the alarm, this time bleaker music plays on the radio.
Seems like it was just a dream.
She stands up from the bed, laying her feet on the ground. We see the same shot of the magazines and random bits of rubbish lying around. But now the color seems to be faded. The room and posters on the wall also look a bit less colorful. There is a tone of bleakness which can be seen.
FADE TO bathroom
We see NAINA’s back and face in the mirror. She rinses her mouth and puts the toothbrush on the edge of the sink. She puts water from the faucet on her face to wash it. She rubs her eyes. She’s startled to find her reflection to be a bit different. She looks at her hand and then at the reflections hand. She then waves it.
What is happen—
There is silence, except the sound of the flowing tap, which is also a bit lower in volume than in the previous scene.
Suddenly, we hear the sound of something falling, it’s the toothbrush. She looks at it but doesn’t pick it up. She again sees the reflection, and it is seems normal now. A look of being creeped out is visible on her face.
The shot still focusing on the mirror, we can see her turn around, this time frantically leave the bathroom but not the reflection in the mirror.
FADE TO scene of the common area of apartment.
We can see NAINA walking towards the kitchen from her room. This time she is not dressed up. She is still in her pajamas. We can hear the pressure cooker, but this time the cooker is having a higher pitch.
Fade to kitchen
NAINA enters the kitchen, her mom can be seen preparing the breakfast. NAINA sits down at the table. Her mom is making eggs on the frying pan. The crackling sound of the eggs is not heard as clearly as last time.
NAINA grabs a single piece of bread from the 12 pack of bread that is on the table and looks at the bowl of boiled milk.
We see her mom turning and looking at her as soon as she grabs the bread.
NAINA : Morning Mom
Suddenly, she stops tending to the eggs that are being fried and with a concerned voice says
MOM: Good morning, beta.. you sound pretty tired. Did you sleep well?
This time her voice is different, we hear some disturbances like cracking in the mother’s voice and it is a bit unclear.
NAINA: Bad dreams..
NAINA grabs the bread and was about to leave when her mom turns to her while cutting onions for the omlette. She looks at her mother who now looks a bit different. This makes her jump against the wall with an astonished and scared face. The bottle of milk falls on the ground and shatters into pieces. Her mother’s face was different, her lips seemed to be inside out, giving her face a look straight out of a nightmare.
Mom : What is wrong beta?
She completely turn towards her, with the knife pointing towards NAINA.
FADE TO scene of the common room
It was way too much to handle for NAINA, she can be seen running out of the door and closing it.
This time outside, it’s not that bright while also being a bit greyed out.
She keeps running in panic.
It was when she was running and crossing the street, we again see the same children waiting for their school bus
Suddenly, we see the same school bus crashing into NAINA.
Sound of screeching tires can be heard.
The screen fades to black
Low piano keystroke plays in the background
CUT TO Digital Clock showing 7:00 AM.
NAINA wakes up with a jump this time. Scared on her bed, sweating like a pig.
The same shot of the magazines and her feet touching the ground.
Her room is very different this time, it is darker, greyer and messier.
FADE TO BATHROOM
The water is running in the sink. NAINA is away from the mirror, toward the camera, lost and scared. She is blocking the reflection in the mirror for the camera.
Suddenly a voice over can be heard
“What are you scared of?”
NAINA is shocked to her core listening to the voice. She immediately turns toward the mirror since the sound came from behind her. She sees a blurry figure. She rubs her eyes and leans forward. She can see the eyes of the figure which is making eye contact with NAINA. It was her own reflection. She is shocked to look at herself.
NAINA jumps back, away from the mirror in fear with no clue as to what is happening with her. She again looks into the mirror, checks if her reflection is mirroring her. It is!
NAINA starts crying desperately.
REFLECTION: Thought that the “BOOOO!” would be clear enough..
NAINA: Wh-What are you?
The “Reflection” was amazed by such a question.
REFLECTION: “Wh-wh-wh” Do I stutter out a question like this?
NAINA: What are you ?..
The Reflection smiles.
REFLECTION: I am what we call a paradox, the question and the answer at the same time, a paradigm all together.
NAINA : (shouts) It is not possible..
REFLECTION: Or maybe not, may be I am just a product of your imagination or a part of your schizophrenic mind. Or it is also possible that I am a divine intervention, that’d be something unexpected, isn’t ?
NAINA: (shouts again) No.. this is not possible!
REFLECTION: Impossible is the kind of haircut you have. I look like a dork for God’s sake.
The Reflection starts playing with her hair looking at it in dislike.
NAINA : What is it that you want?
REFLECTION: I want you to start asking the right questions.
NAINA looks around, it is still her bathroom.
NAINA : Where am I ? What is going on with me… Here ? I do not understand anything.
REFLECTION: Wow! One at a time.. I said the right questions not a multi questions pop quiz!
NAINA : WHERE AM I?
REFLECTION: Look around from your point of view, it is still your bathroom!
NAINA: It is not possible again.. It does not look like my home.. There.. There are no colors.. From where does this noise keep interrupting me?! Th-This is not anything I know.
REFLECTION: How can you be so sure? You must have heard the saying “Ignorance is a blessing”. I.. on the other hand..like to believe that “ Ignorance leads to knowledge”.
REFLECTION: Yes! Knowledge! Look at yourself, lost in your own ignorance, asking yourself those questions: Where, What,.. But even except from me maybe..
NAINA : What do you mean?
REFLECTION: The further you fall away from knowledge the further you approach knowledge at its pure state!
NAINA: This is just a dream… I am just dreaming…
The reflection continues her speech as if she never heard the last part.
REFLECTION: It is the knowledge about the truth, about the sins, your hidden memories… about you, me, us,.. And.. Her
REFLECTION: Don’t you remember?
NAINA: Remember what?
The headache is getting worse for NAINA
REFLECTION: Think harder! The headache is not gonna stop!
NAINA: I don’t remember!!!
REFLECTION: NAINA, NAINA…!! Do you see, where the knowledge leads you?! Leading you to forget! Leading you to meet me! Leading you to somewhere you do not have a clue about! Do you know how much pain she was in? How much she kept thinking and hoping? Do you?
NAINA: I don’t know what are you talking about ?…
Her headache grows stronger, she starts gripping her head hard!
REFLECTION: You don’t remember, do you? No, you don’t, otherwise you would not be here, now would you?
NAINA: I have had enough of this. Just tell me what has happened?
REFLECTION: It would be too easy to give all the answers on a plate, look at who you are talking to ? Look at me!! If you can’t remember, how can I possibly tell you ?
NAINA: What is that I have to remember ? How can I remember it?
The REFLECTION smiles again
REFLECTION: Didn’t I tell you the answer already “Ignorance is a blessing”! In order to remember you have to forget! Isn’t it ironic?
The REFLECTION laughs. NAINA seems lost!
NAINA: What do you mean!! One moment, you are saying you can’t tell me, the other you say something completely opposite! You are playing with me! WHO ARE YOU??
REFLECTION: OH GOD!!! Let’s not restart the whole conversation again!!
NAINA: How can I remember something I have forgotten!!! What are babbling about! Her, Her, Who is “Her”?
REFLECTION: NAINA, innocent NAINA, why can’t you see the meaning of it? Forget to remember? One never forgets a thing, it is just that when one has stored so much information, learned so many things, year after year that eventually he starts forgetting the most important things, all those things when cumulated result in a sum of all our base memories, feelings and experiences, nothing more, nothing less. However, one chooses to suppress their innermost, traumatic experiences using everyday facts and figures, for reasons unknown to us. Maybe the truth is simply a bit too much for you to handle.
NAINA: Are you trying to say that the key of this place is my ability to remember? I had never asked to be here in the first place. I honestly do not understand what you want me to remember!
REFLECTION: I wonder, is it me that wants “you” to remember or is it you yourself? Tell me Naina, what are dreams? Taking the words of Shakespeare .. dreams are the “children of an idle mind”, and how right he was! Dreams are our thoughts themselves, one’s deep memories trying to come through, trying to escape! Trying to talk to you, Naina, but have you been listening?
NAINA: It is a trick.. You are trying to trick me.. I am not supposed to be here!
REFLECTION: What were you dreaming last night, Naina?
Listening to this, Naina suddenly freezes, her headache is too much. She cannot think at all.
REFLECTION: You were dreaming about her. Think! Think harder! Naina… weren’t you?
NAINA: Y..Yes, I think so, .. She was there all alone.. Waiting for someone… someone special.. But she does not seem to come…
REFLECTION: How long she had been waiting, Naina ? How long has she been waiting?
NAINA: She has been waiting forever! She believes she will come. She does not give up hope.
REFLECTION: Why isn’t she coming ? Did she forget about her?
Naina is silently looking into her reflection.
REFLECTION: How does she look like, Naina?
Naina pauses in disbelief
Naina: I do not remember… I cannot remember..
REFLECTION: You can’t remember her face? (smiles) What happened Naina? Is there something else you can remember?
NAINA: I was with her.. It’s you!! It’s all you playing games with me
REFLECTION: It seems you really do not want to listen do you? Just look at your hands….
Naina looks at her hands, they are all covered with blood, dripping from her hands. Blood.. Not hers.. From someone else…
NAINA: WHAT IS THIS ???
Oh-oh you tell me Naina!
Naina: I know it’s all you playing games with me! It’s all your fault! IT’S ALL YOU!
Naina tries to grab the reflection, but her hands just hit the mirror leaving bloody handprints on it.
NAINA: It’s all a dream…
REFLECTION: Have you ever wondered that maybe that dream about her was not one, that it might have been reality? Maybe this is not a dream, maybe your so called “life” is a dream! Maybe you aren’t even alive at all! (laughs) Or maybe it’s a question of sanity Naina! I don’t think that talking to your reflection is what you call the sanest thing on the planet.
The REFLECTION smiles, Naina seems to be totally lost. The noise is getting louder, her heart beating faster and faster.
NAINA: Where am I .. This isn’t a world!
REFLECTION: You are right.. In a way.. Different perspectives, different worlds.. Life is just a dream, Naina.. A dream..
Blood starts dripping from the Reflection’s eyes!
REFLECTION : That–
Naina covers her eyes with her hands, two hands suddenly approach Naina…They come from the mirror…
They suddenly grab Naina and push her to the mirror, her face is pressed against the mirror! Face to face with herself!
REFLECTION: Fading memories, new memories! And a dream Naina, a ream of you in a world without you! (smiles) Welcome to my world!
Low key piano strokes play.
CUT TO Digital Clock showing 7:00 AM.
We are again inside the room.
NAINA wakes up suddenly, this time she looks around her room, it is still bleak and the posters seem faded and colorless.
She shuts off the alarm, the radio is playing static this time.
We see the same shot of her feet touching the ground. The magazines on the floor are colorless. There is no noise of the traffic or the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s all quiet.
FADE TO bathroom
The camera is focused on the mirror.
NAINA rushes inside the bathroom, we can only see her back and messy hair. She looks at herself in the mirror, the mirror reflects all her movements precisely.
She knocks on the mirror.
There is no reaction from the reflection. NAINA smiles.
Was nothing but a dream.
She turns her back away from the mirror and walks away. She doesn’t notice the water that had been flowing from the water tap on the sink. The flow is fast but there is no noise. No sound.
The camera zooms in on the mirror and the door of the bathroom that is visible until the edges of the mirror are not visible.
CUT TO Common Room
We see NAINA walking in a fast pace from the bathroom toward the kitchen. We see her feet stomp on the ground but there is no noise. Only a grey and dark common room with curtains closed, no light coming in.
We can see the fluorescent white light from the kitchens tube light lighting up the common room area
FADE TO camera inside the kitchen looking toward the kitchen door.
We can see the dining table, a pack of 12 pieces of bread that looks like it has been open since a few days. The bowl in which we saw boiled milk seems to be empty. We can see the pressure cooker on the stove, it seems to have been untouched since a few days.
NAINA walks into the kitchen through the door with a smile on her paranoid face.
Her smile disappears as she doesn’t find her MOM in the kitchen. She walks toward the stove, glaring at the knife… The same knife that she was using to cut onions now lies next to finely diced stale onions.
The camera now pans and follows her face from not so far distance
She bumps herself on the dining table, causing the bottle of milk to fall down and make the glass shatter but there is no sound except muffled sound of something glass like falling for the audience. She doesn’t hear it and continues to see the half eaten omelette still on the plate.
She then looks at the white milk that is flowing outward from the shattered glass to fill the dark floor.
What… is going on?
She now panics and starts breathing heavily heading outside.
FADE TO the common room
We see NAINA now walking briskly towards the door that opens outside the apartment. She opens the door, and walks out.
CUT TO Shot of Empty Street outside of Apartment facing the door
We can see the color of the door of the house has faded away. We see NAINA staring into oblivion. The towering apartment block looks dull. The street is empty, all gray, nothing but silence surrounds the once busy. Except the sound of wind blowing past NAINA.
The children who were waiting for their bus are now no more waiting for their bus.
CUT TO apartment complex
Outside the gate, no traffic can be seen. There are no people rushing in and out of the complex. Visuals of empty shopping streets with their shutters down.
Low key piano starts playing with a shot of birds flying across the sky.
Fade to black
A dream of you in a world without you…