Screenplay: Dad, I am having a heart attack

By Balu George

Interior – Karthik’s Bedroom – Night – 2 AM.

A boy in his mid– 20’s is asleep on the bed. This is Karthik, a Tamilian who suffers from anxiety disorder. He is tall, dark and handsome. He is unemployed and his favourite past time is watching American sitcoms of the nineties like Friends, Seinfeld etc. His phone rings. He wakes up and looks at the alarm clock by his bedside. The clock shows the time to be 2 A.M. He looks at the phone for a moment or two and then picks up the phone.

Voice on Phone

This is a very important call. Don’t disconnect.

Karthik immediately disconnects the phone and places his hand on his chest. He then gets up and walks out of the bedroom.

Interior – Hall – Karthik’s House – Same night.

Karthik knocks on his parent’s bedroom door. The door is opened, after some time by a balding man, dressed in a T-shirt and lungi. He looks groggy. This is Narayana swami, Karthik’s father who is a retired government employee.

Swami

What do you want?

Karthik

Dad, I got a call.

Swami

Who from?

Karthik

I think it is from the Prime Minister’s office.

Swami

Why on earth would you get a call from the Prime Minister’s office?

Karthik fidgets.

Karthik

I pissed in the swimming pool today.

Swami

So?

Karthik

Somebody must have noticed and complained to the PMO. They are quite serious about the “Clean India” campaign. I am scared dad.

The phone rings again.

Swami

Pick it up.

Karthik takes the call.

Voice on phone.

This is an important call. Don’t disconnect. To speak in Hindi press 1. To speak in English press 2.

Karthik presses two.

Voice on phone

For hit Hindi songs as caller tone press 1. For hit English songs as caller tune press 2.

Karthik hangs up the phone and heaves a sigh of relief.

Swami

Who was it?

Karthik

It was an advertisement dad.

Swami

Idiot. Now go back to sleep.

Karthik places his hand on his chest.

Karthik

Dad, I think I am having a heart attack.

Swami

It must be gas. If you keep on thinking bad things will happen, bad things will happen.

Now go back to sleep.

Karthik leaves. Swami steps into the bedroom where his wife Kamalam is lying on the bed.

Kamalam

What was it this time?

Swami

(In exasperation)

Oh nothing. Just go back to sleep.

Exterior – Karthik’s Apartment – Morning.

Kamalam steps out of the house to collect the newspaper and milk packet. She notices a girl standing next door in her T-shirt and pyjamas looking at the paper. This is Harpreet, a girl from Delhi doing her MBA at a college in Bangalore. She is 22.

Kamalam

Hi. You moved in next door last week didn’t you? I am Kamalam.

Harpreet

Hi Aunty. I am Harpreet.

Kamalam

Where are you from?

Harpreet

I am from Delhi. I am doing my M.B.A here

Kamalam

Great. If you need any help, let me know.

Harpreet

Thanks Aunty.

Interior – Lift – Karthik’s Apartment- Morning.

Harpreet gets into the lift. She is greeted by the sight of 3 boys inside the lift. One is Karthik. The others are Sunil and Anil, two cousins from Kerala who live in separate flats on the same floor. Sunil is quite handsome and has a laptop bag slung on his shoulder. Anil is short,stocky and bespectacled.

Harpreet

Hi.

Sunil

Hi. I am Sunil.

Harpreet

I am Harpreet.

Sunil

What do you do?

Harpreet

I am doing my M.B.A

Sunil

Great. I am an M.B.A myself. I work as a Financial Analyst.

Anil interrupts the conversation.

Anil

I am Anil. I am an aspiring poet.

Harpreet ignores Sunil. She addresses Karthik.

Harpreet

What about you?

Karthik

I am Karthik. I do nothing as of now.

Harpreet

Oh ok.

The lift reaches the ground floor and everybody gets out.

Exterior – Harpreet’s College – Evening.

Harpreet is standing by a tea stall outside the college campus having a smoke with her friend Anjana.

Anjana.

So what you been up to girl?

Harpreet

Nothing. Girl, I need to lose my virginity.

Anjana

You need to girl. You are pushing 23. Any candidate?

Harpreet

Well, there are these 3 guys who live on the same floor as me.

Anjana.

Are they handsome?

Harpreet.

Well, there is Karthik. He does nothing, but is very handsome. There is Sunil. He is an M.B.A. He is quite handsome. The 3rd guy is plain ugly. One of those arty farty guys. Says he wants to be a poet.

Anjana

All the best girl.

Exterior – Badminton court –Apartment – Evening.

Sunil and Anil are playing badminton, while Karthik is seated on a bench nearby.

Sunil

What you been up to Karthik?

Karthik

I am watching all the seasons of Friend’s again.

Sunil

Yeah Friends is great.

Anil

I have never watched Friends.

Karthik

You must watch Friends dude.

Harpreet approaches the bench on which Karthik is seated and sits beside him.

Harpreet

Hi.

Karthik

Hi. What do you want?

Harpreet

You are handsome.

Karthik

So?

Harpreet

I will be direct. I am straight forward. Do you want to have sex with me?

Karthik

Are you crazy? I might catch Aids.

Harpreet

I don’t have Aids.

Karthik

All women in Bangalore have Aids.

Harpreet

We could use a condom.

Karthik

Are you crazy? Condoms have only a 99% guarantee. That is how Rachel got impregnated by Ross. Have you not watched Friends?

Harpreet rolls her eyes.

Harpreet

Whatever!

Exterior – College – Evening.

Harpreet and Anjana are standing by the tea stall having a smoke.

Anjana

Anything happened?

Harpreet

I propositioned Karthik. He is crazy. He says he might catch Aids.

Anjana.

Wow! That is the craziest thing I have ever heard.

Harpreet

I am thinking of approaching Sunil. He is an M.B.A.

He might have some sense in him.

Anjana

All the best.

Exterior – Swimming pool – Apartment – Evening.

Sunil is swimming, while Anil is sitting by the pool reading a poetry book. Harpreet comes to the swimming pool and plunges in. She swims to Sunil.

Sunil

Hi.

Harpreet

Hi. How is work?

Sunil

Work is great.

Harpreet

What do you do?

Sunil

I do V- lookup, H- lookup’s and Pivot tables.

Harpreet.

Those are functions on excel. What exactly do you do?

Sunil scratches his head

Sunil

I have not figured that out yet. Anyway this is a temporary thing. I have a great idea for a start up.

Harpreet

What?

Sunil

Have you ever been to Cochin?

Harpreet

No.

Sunil

Well the idea is to start snorkelling in Cochin.

Harpreet

Are there any exotic fishes?

Sunil,

No, I have this friend who is a software engineer. He is coding to create artificial fish.

Harpreet

Really?

Sunil

I pitched the idea to a few venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. One guy is excited about the idea. We are corresponding by mail.

Harpreet.

Ok. Can I ask you something?

Sunil

Yeah sure.

Harpreet.

I will be direct. I am a straight forward person. Do you want to have sex with me?

Sunil

Are you crazy?

Harpreet

Why would you not want to have sex with me?

Sunil

I want to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. I can’t be thinking about sex.

Have you not heard what Swami Baluananda has said?

Harpreet

What did he say?

Sunil

He said one must preserve his sexual energy and channelize it to achieve one’s goals in life.

Harpreet rolls her eyes.

Harpreet

Whatever!

Harpreet swims to the side of the pool and gets out. Anil approaches her.

Anil

Hi.

Harpreet

Hi.

Anil

Can you help me out?

Harpreet

(Irritated)

What do you need?

Anil

Well I am attending this poetry slam next Saturday. I want you to hear the poem I have written. I have not shown it to anybody. Not even to my girlfriend Sanjana who herself is a poet.

Harpreet

Ok. Show it to me.

Anil takes out a piece of paper and shows it to Harpreet. It goes like this.

Poem

The light, the light!

The dark, the dark!

The see saw, the see saw!

Sanjana! Sanjana!

The coconut tree is swaying in the wind!!

Harpreet reads it.

Harpreet

I did not understand a thing.

Anil smiles.

Anil

It is layered. I will explain it. It is about how the positive forces within one’s soul is always in conflict with the dark forces raging in one’s soul just like two children on a see saw. The seven exclamation marks represent the seven continents and how this conflict is going on in the heart of people all over the world. Subtle right? Sanjana! Sanjana! is a declaration of love to my muse.The coconut tree line is a nod to romantic poets like Wordsworth who described nature beautifully. As I told you, it is multi layered.

Harpreet rolls her eyes.

Harpreet

Whatever!

Interior – Karthik’s house – Night.

There is a knock on Narayana swami’s bedroom. Swami opens the door to find Karthik clutching his chest.

Swami

What do you want idiot?

Karthik

Dad, I am having a heart attack.

Swami

It must be gas.

Suddenly Karthik falls down. Swami is alarmed.

Swami

(Shouting)

Kamalam, wake up. He is really having a heart attack.

Kamalam jumps out of bed, and rushes to Karthik’s side who is writhing in pain.

Swami

(Crying a bit)

I always told him, that if he thinks bad things will happen, eventually bad things will happen.

Swami gets up.

Swami

We must call the ambulance quickly.

2 days later

Interior – Karthik’s apartment – Morning.

Swami is seated on the couch looking quite depressed. Karthik is seated nearby, laughing while watching Friends. Kamalam is seated at the dining table. A lady walks into the apartment. This is Seema, a widow who is Anil’s mother.

Seema

When did he get discharged? Is it anything serious?

Kamalam.

Well we rushed him to the hospital. They did a MRI scan of his brain, A C.T scan of his stomach, anX-ray of his legs, a colonoscopy, and anendoscopy.They had us visit the dentist to check for gum disorder, had us visit the ophthalmologist to check for cataract and visit the psychiatrist to rule out schizophrenia,

Seema

So what was it?

Kamalam

It was gastrological disorder?

Seema

Is that serious?

Swami hurls a slipper at Karthik who ducks.

Swami

(Shouting)

It was bloody gas. Idiot! The bill came to 2 lakhs.

Seema

So why did they do all the tests?

Kamalam

They wanted to rule out everything.

Swami hurls the other slipper at Karthik who ducks again.

Swami.

Bloody idiot.

Exterior – Apartment – Swimming pool.

Harpreet is seated by the pool having a fag. Anil and Karthik come and sit by her. Anil looks quite depressed.

Harpreet

How did your poetry slam go?

Anil

Sanjana broke up with me. She said my poetry has no depth to it. She says I am not tortured enough to become a poet yet. She has asked me to read the Beat poets.

Harpreet rolls her eyes

Harpreet

Whatever!

Karthik

The best way to get out of depression is to watch Friends. I will lend you the C.D’S.

Anil

Yeah ok.

Exterior – College- Evening.

As usual Harpreet and Anjana are by the tea stall having a smoke.

Anjana

Any luck, girl?

Harpreet

The handsome guys turned out to be idiots. I am desperate. I am thinking of doing it with the poet. He has just broken up. He will not turn me down.

Anjana

All the best girl.

Interior – Karthik’s house –Evening.

A crying Seema, with Sunil by her side rushes into the house. Swami is seated on the couch watching T.V. Kamalam is at the dining table cutting vegetables. Kamalam looks up.

Kamalam

What happened Seema? Why are you crying?

Seema

5 lakh Rupees have been stolen from my bank account.

Kamalam

Oh my God!

Swami.

Did you give your bank account number or password to anybody? There are a lot of fraudsters going around.

Seema

No.

Sunil scratches his head.

Sunil

Well I gave it to a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley who wanted to transfer funds to the account for my start up.

Swami.

Who was this guy? What was his name?

Sunil

Tom Dick Harry of Tom Dick Harry incorporated.

Swami pulls his hair.

Swami.

You idiot, you have been duped. Tom, Dick or Harry is an American expression.

Seema removes her slippers and beats Sunil.

Seema

You idiot! You idiot!

Exterior – Swimming pool – Same evening.

Anil is by the pool reading Allen Ginsberg. Harpreet comes and sits beside him.

Harpreet

Hi.

Anil

Hi.

Harpreet

How are you?

Anil

I am getting out of my depression. Friends is great. How are you?

Harpreet

Well, can I ask you something?

Anil

Yeah sure.

Harpreet

I will be direct. I am a straight forward person? Do you want to have sex with me?

Anil

I don’t want to have babies right now. I want to be a recognised poet before I have babies.

Harpreet

We could use a condom.

Anil

Are you crazy girl? Have you not watched the episode where Ross got Rachel pregnant?

Harpreet grabs Anil, ducks his head into the pool and lets out a loud scream.

The End

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