Role Play - Part 2




Atif stood ready, waiting to pounce on her. Her hands were behind her back. She came forward and brought her hands in front of him.

"Here. You forgot your bag. See you tomorrow, Sir." She smiled.

Atif was stunned and embarrassed at the same time. The chauvinist that he was was, he felt offended.

"Hmmm.." He said and walked out of the trailer. 

The assistant quickly stubbed his cigarette, waved a salute and went back into the trailer.

Sania was early the next day. The scene to be shot was her murder scene. The continuity of the scene they had shot yesterday. She was supposed to step into the bath tub and then a stranger would appear and drown her. This scene was vital for the movie. She was then to come back as a ghost and haunt the people who killed her. Cliched, she had thought initially. But as she continued reading the script, she realized that it was not like those usual revenge movies. Horror was probably not the genre she wanted to debut with in mainstream cinema, but given that this was her only choice, she had to accept it. 

She had auditioned for more than a hundred roles in two years, but always found disappointment staring right back at her. She did get tiny roles like that of a best friend or a junior artiste, but she wanted only main roles. She still remembered the day a month ago when she had auditioned for this role. 

She was called to a old dilapidated building. When she arrived there, she saw that there were more than a hundred girls there waiting for their chance. "165" was her role call number and a number she would never forget for the rest of her life. She sat down on an old wooden bench and looked around. Some of the women around her, were drop dead gorgeous. She suddenly felt insecure. There were also a few B grade actresses around whom she recognized, but chose to ignore. She sat quietly reading the mock script she had carried with her.

A bored looking lady then started sending the girls through the door marked 'Casting' one by one based on their role call number. It was very obvious from her body language and clothes that she herself had tried auditioning many times but had only ended up as an assistant. 

Finally after close to four exhausting hours, it was Sania's chance. She walked into the room through the door, that was then closed with a loud thud. Three man and a lady sat in front of her across a table busy looking through stacks of paper placed in front of them. Atif was no where around.

The lady dressed in a black shirt looked up and smiled half heartedly. 

"Hello. You are?" She asked trying to camouflage her yawn. 

"Hello ma'am. I'm Sania Tripati." 

The shorter of three men then started to talk.

"Oh yeah, I have seen some of your work. You are good." He said looking at the other two men who nodded.

Sania sensed the sarcasm behind the tone but did not react. "Thanks." She managed to say.

Without acknowledging he spoke again. "So you have read the scene? Sit on the black chair there and perform." He said pointing to a rusted chair in the corner.

Sania remembered the scene well. All the participants were emailed the scene and the dialogues once their application forms were accepted. She had received it a week ago and she had had enough time to prepare.

She nodded and left her bag on the floor and walked towards the chair.

The scene was fairly simple. The brief had said that she had to confront her lover who admits to have cheated on her. The dialogue read thus.

"You think I would just forget it and act like nothing happened? No way Arun. I shall never forgive you for this. I trusted you and lived my life with you, but you turned out to be so terrible. You don't deserve it. I'm walking away."

She slowly walked towards the chair and sat down. The guy next to the short man spoke up. "Ready?"

She nodded.

"Action!" He yelled.

Sania repeated her well rehearsed dialogue almost convincingly. She even managed to shed out a tiny tear amidst it. 

Nobody reacted when she finished. Sania for a second wondered if they had even heard her. They seemed busy talking to themselves and pondering over the papers in front of them. Disappointed, she decided to get up and leave. As she was about to stand up, the shorty screamed.

"Wait! Repeat."

She felt humiliated, but this was how the struggling actors were always treated. Slowly, she sat back.

The shorty looked straight at her and said "You leave when you are asked to leave. Understand?"

Sania nodded. "Sorry." she softly said.

He did not seem to care again. "Good. Ready?" He asked.

"Yes, Sir." Sania managed.

"Action."

This time Sania surprised herself. She got up from the chair and walked towards the judges as she effortlessly chanted her dialogues.

"You think I would just forget it and act like nothing happened? No way Arun. I shall never forgive you for this." She grabbed shorty's collar as she said this. Perhaps it was her inner frustration that was coming out.

Shorty sat motionless while the lady next to him giggled.

Sania ignored her and looked straight in to Shorty's eyes and shed a tear in her own. "I trusted you and lived my life with you, but you turned out to be so terrible. You don't deserve it. I'm walking away." She walked away wiping her tear and sat back right in the chair and looked up.

Four faces stared back at her. She sat quietly waiting for their reaction.

Shorty spoke up. "You think you do all this and it will look natural? Almost half the women who came in before you tried this stunt. Don't think you are a genius. And definitely don't expect an applause." He said flatly.

Sania was visibly upset. Her face shrunk and she was on the verge of tears.

"We're done, you can leave." The lady said in between her yawns.

Sania murmured a thanks and hurriedly left.

She came out of the room and sank back into the bench. There were about forty more women left there. She saw the water filter at the other end of the room and walked to it. She drank about four glasses of water and approached the assistant.

"Will they let us know right now if we have been selected or sometime later?" She questioned.

"You can leave. If you are selected someone will call you." The assistant said without looking up.

"Ok. Thanks." Sania said and left.

A week later, as she was on her way back home from a shoot, her phone rang.

"Hello?"

A male voice spoke. "Hello, Sania Tripati?"

"Yes, Sania here." She replied.

"This is Mahesh calling from Atif's casting department. Congrats Sania, you have been chosen to play the lead in Atif's next movie. Please contact him on 7876765438. You got that?" He seemed to be in a hurry.

Sania was thrilled. Her first ever main stream movie. First ever. With many more to come. She wanted to scream.

"Thank you so much, Sir. Can you please repeat the number again?" She fumbled for her tiny note book and pen.

"78.. 76.. 76.. 54.. 38. Its Atif's direct line. Please call him within the next ten - fifteen minutes. Alright?" He ordered.

"Sure, Sir. Thank you again." She said and the line went dead.

By then, the auto had reached her house. She paid the driver and rushed inside clutching her bag and the notebook.

She unlocked the door, let herself in and went straight to the bathroom to wash her feet and hands. She was back soon and then went to the corner of her kitchen where she had made a small puja room with a Ganapati idol in the centre. She lit a lamp and applied kum kum on her forehead. She then closed her eyes and said a silent prayer. After four to five minutes, she came back to her living room with a cup of coffee, sat on the lone plastic chair and stretched her feet on the old wooden center table in front of her. A couple of film magazines were strewn around the table. She slowly sipped her coffee and dialled the number. The phone rang. A ring, two rings, three rings, four rings, five, six, no response. She cut the line.

She waited a full two minutes and called back. This time he immediately picked up.

"Yes?" A hoarse voice said.

"Hello, Atif Sir?" Sania was trembling with nervousness.

"Yes."

"Sir, This is Sania Tripati. Mahesh asked me to contact you." She said slowly.

"What for?" He questioned rudely.

Sania was taken aback. Why were people in this industry so rude she couldn't understand.

Gathering every ounce of her patience she said, "For the movie Sir. Your next. I was selected after the audition. He asked me to talk to you."

"Oh. Ok. Good, Mahesh will send you the script and your dialogues by today, start preparing. We start shooting on 16th, next month. By then understand the role and choose your clothes and make up accordingly, half your payment will be sent to you by next week. On 5th you'll be introduced to the team. Someone will contact you soon. Okay?"

Even before Sania could reply, he hung up. She just stared back at the phone trying to remember what he had said. She quickly grabbed her notebook and wrote it down. 16th March - Shoot starts. 5th March - Meeting the team. The mention of the payment excited her. On her application form she has quoted twice of what she usually earned from a movie. They had agreed to it. She smiled.

Everything happened really quick after that. The running around for clothes, finding a make up artist, picking up shoes, rehearsing her lines, parlor visits etc. By the time 5th approached she was totally exhausted. But prepared.

The team was nice to her and she felt comfortable. She hadn't met Atif in person yet, but had seen pictures of him. He was a smart looking guy. In his late thirties, she guessed. 

The first time she met Atif was on the first day of the shoot. He said a hello and had briefed her about the scene. Sania has no clauses with nudity and she had signed the contract without any questions. The scene was okayed in the first take and Sania Tripati was a happy woman. A knock on her trailer's door jolted her back to the present. She was still dressed in the robe as the scene was to be a continuity from the previous day. She opened the door and Atif's spot boy stood there.

"Madam, Atif Sir calling you for shooting madam." He said proudly.

She smiled and said "Sure, I'm coming."

Wrapping a shrug around her she called her assistant, who had gone for tea. He said that he'd be back soon.

Sania checked her makeup for one last time. Then on an impulse, she unwrapped her shrug and opened her robe. The mirror showed a flawless, neatly maintained body. Having admired herself, she suddenly thought of how it would be if Atif was around her, touching all of her. She felt her stomach go into a knot. She had been attracted to him since the time she had seen him. She had met many men before who had walked in and out of her life before she had realized it, but Atif was different. There was something about him that she craved for. The way he had looked at her yesterday made her feel sexy and desirable. She wanted him with her. She wanted him around her. She wanted to make love to him. She wanted to feel his body on top of hers. She stood naked in front of the mirror, lost in his thoughts when there was another knock on the door.

To be continued.

~ Soumya

Role Play - Part 1

"Action." The director screamed.

A lady clad in a white silk bath robe appeared before him, looked sexily straight into camera and then took two small steps towards her left. The camera zoomed out a bit and a bathroom set came into view. She then slowly moved towards the bath tub in the center of the room and dropped her robe. Her naked frame soon filled the camera screen and she moved forward to get into the tub.


"CUT!" The director roared.


Sania Tripati rose from the bath tub and hurriedly draped the robe around herself feeling suddenly conscious. She then looked up at the director, Atif. No one knew his full name or anything about his background. He was known to launch new faces and Sania was more than thrilled to work with him. His movies did more-than-average business and she was sure that this movie would get her noticed.


Atif approached her. "Good shot." He said and patted her shoulder. Then he yelled to the crowd around, "Pack up!"


The technicians around were visibly upset. They expected this particular scene to take about ten to twelve takes atleast, but it was okayed in just one take. Come on, its not everyday you get to see a flawless beauty take off her clothes in front of your eyes. They murmured some thing and then started to pack up and free the set.


Sania Tripati was a happy woman, as she sat in her makeup van and removed her makeup. Today was the first day of her shoot for Atif's film. Until this day, she was an almost unknown B-grade actress with more than seven films to her credit. She knew she had the talent but did not know the right place or have the right contacts to use it. Her acting skills were good, but most of her movies until now only required her to expose her cleavage or her bare back and make erotic faces to the camera. The acting was limited to only about four or maximum six dialogues. Inspite of that, Sania had a pretty decent fan following. Although content with her dark success, she always craved for more valid and decent opportunities that would explore her actual talent.


Atif was known for his unconventional movies, his latest one based on the lives of tribal women in India had fetched him quite a few awards and some critical acclaim. He worked alone, with a small technical team. He produced his own movies and the actors he worked with could pick their own clothes, designers or make up artists and arrange for their own transport or make up trailers. He paid them well, for new comers, so no one complained. He never approached well established stars, knowing very well that they would not understand his way of working or his expectations. He believed that as long as he has a good script, everything else can be compromised on. A mantra that had always worked for him.


After the pack up, he walked towards Sania's trailer and knocked on the door. A grumpy looking assistant opened the door, let him in and walked out. He closed the door of the van and lit a smoke while waiting outside. Atif looked around, there was small couch and a bed inside separated by a coffee table and a television set. The makeup room was on the left and he could see Sania's silhouette through the thin white curtain that separated the two rooms. It was pretty decent he thought. The first thought that came to his mind was "How could she afford it?"


"Its rented." Sania said coming out of the make up room and interrupting his thoughts. Or rather answering him.


He could almost see her naked frame inside her robe. He looked away. "I see. Good." Atif murmured.


"How was the shot, Sir? I was really nervous but when you okayed it in one take I was relieved." She said sounding genuinely thankful.


Atif sat down on the couch and pointed towards her. "You are talented, that's why I chose you. I know that you are good." He said still looking around the trailer.


Sania stood away just brushing through the sheets that had her dialogues for the next day. "What happens tomorrow?" She asked.


"Tomorrow, we kill you." He said and started laughing loudly.


Sania didn't react. "Hmmm, its going to be a tough scene." She said leaning forward. Her breasts almost popped out of her robe and Atif could see ample cleavage.


He tried to look else where but his eyes kept coming back to it. He was beginning to get turned on. 


Atif rose to leave, "Yes, you better come prepared. Memorized the dialogues yet?"


"Almost done." She smiled, playing with her hair and crossing her legs as she sat down on the nearby chair.


It felt like an invitation but Atif wasn't sure of it. He was tempted to walk up to her and rip her robe apart and take her on the leather couch there. He just stood there staring at her with a million thoughts in his mind and all his blood gushing towards his center of being.


Sania interrupted his thoughts. "Sir? I said I'm almost done memorizing the dialogues." She looked straight up at him as she said this.


Atif felt embarrassed. He looked away.


"Good, see you tomorrow then." He said and was about to leave.


"Wait, Sir." She said urgently.


He turned back and looked at her, expecting her to drop her robe.


She was walking towards him now.


To be continued.


~ Soumya

It Happened!


My eyes were searching for him the minute I entered the venue. Then I felt stupid, because I knew he had not yet arrived. I was taken to a room and seated there. Here I sat, all decked up in the silk saree and the jewellery that we had picked up together. I knew I looked good, yet I wanted his acknowledgement. After all, all this was for him. As the minutes passed, I oscillated between staring at the clock and the mirror. After adjusting my hair for the billionth time, he called to say that he had reached. My parents rushed out to greet him and his family. But I was still asked to be seated inside the room, waiting to be called out.

Thankfully his room was straight opposite mine. The door to my room was slightly ajar and I could see tiny glimpses of him. It was a while before I could get a good look at him.

From across the room I gazed at him. He looked splendid. I knew that the blue would look great on him. He looked back at me and stared in awe. This was the first time ever he was seeing me like this, and we weren't even supposed to look at each other! He gestured that I was looking good and I smiled back. For a moment we just stood looking at each other. The love in his eyes for me made me feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world. The ten yard distance between us then felt too long. I wanted to be by his side, holding his hand. But I knew I had to wait. As the pujari started his puja with our parents, we just stood on either ends looking at each other with a feeling of triumph. I'm so glad I held on. I'm so glad he didn't let me give up. As we stood there listening to the faint ring of bells and chants, the past year flashed by. It just felt like yesterday and here we were today. 

It would have meant a lot of other things to others, but for us it was just a celebration of our love. Even though majority of the people attended the event to find flaws and went back with a burnt ass finger, for Cal and me it was only about us. The audience be damned. As expected a lot of unnecessary people tried to create unnecessary scenes, but we cared two hoots about it. It was our day and we wanted to live every minute of it. As we stood there, looking at each other, waiting to be called out we both happily realized one thing. That this was only the beginning. 

Moments later, as we slipped our perfectly designed rings on each other's finger, I felt fireworks all through my body. The smile on his face and the happiness in his eyes was what I was living for. He held me close and whispered "It happened!" Later that evening when we met for the first time as fiancé and fiancée at our usual hangout we realized that nothing has changed. Expect for the rings on our finger. I didn't need anything more then. My world was here.

Yes, yes, Cal and I got engaged. Woohoo! I can't describe the event out here because it was so magical. It remains embedded in my mind and it stays there forever. All I can say is that I probably am more in love with him now. And he more crazier. For all those who said that things would change once we were committed, "Up yours!"

~ Soumya