NO PAIN LIKE THIS BODY

 

A Screenplay

 

by

Tony Hall

Christopher Laird

Errol Sitahal

 

based on the novel by

Harold Sonny Ladoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JULY 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no fire like passion;

there is no losing throw like hatred;

there is no pain like this body;

there is no happiness higher than rest.

 

                        The  Dhammapada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

 

 

PA, (Babwah)  Father of the family, in his thirties.

 

MA, (Roona)  Mother of the family, in her early thirties.

 

SUNAREE  Daughter, about 11.

 

BALRAJ  Eldest son, about 12.

 

PANDAY & RAMA  Twin sons, about 9.

 

NANNY  Maternal Grandmother. Born in India.

 

NANNA (Dowlat)  Maternal Grandfather. Born in India.

 

THE PUNDIT,  BENWA,  JADOO,  PULBASSIA,  JASSO,

ONE-LEG,  WHITE MAN,  CHIN, LALOO and other villagers.

 

 

 

Title Sequence

 

1. EXT: Riceland. Day. Drizzle.

 

Wide shot.  The sky is overcast. Heavy dark rain clouds are gathering. There are flashes of lightning in the distance and a fine mist of drizzle veils the surrounding forest. The sun still shines through the drizzle.

 

A flock of birds flies across the sky and lands on trees near the riceland. Camera pans following them and comes to C.U. of  SUNAREEÕS face. She squats on a rising playing (a bhajan) on a rough-hewn bamboo flute. The sound of a one-stringed instrument, an ektara, gradually fades up and blends in with her playing. She stops playing and turns her head in what she imagines is the direction from which the sound is coming.

 

Behind her and below is the riceland and their thatched ajoupa: Ma and PaÕs house.

 

Beyond the riceland and the house on Tola Trace she spies a slight figure traditionally dressed in dhoti, bare-backed, with a bag hanging over his shoulder. He carries an ektara and plucks its single string. He is blind in one eye.

 

A smile of recognition crosses SunareeÕs face. She rises.

 

SUNAREE, 11 years old, is a slight figure with long black hair. She is wearing an oversize, hand-me-down dress.

 

Beyond and below her Ma is about ten feet away from the edge of the riceland near the hog plum tree. She is washing clothes in a tub. She is small and thin with long deep-black hair. She is wearing a faded cotton dress and a white silk orhni.

 

BALRAJ, SunareeÕs brother, is sweeping his hands through the water in the rice lagoon trying hard to catch tadpoles. He chases them. They swim rapidly away.

 

He is twelve and is wearing a pair of his fatherÕs old trousers cut off at the knee, and a sleeveless flour-bag ŌTÕshirt.

 

The twins, RAMA and PANDAY, aged nine are a short distance away from Balraj running around in the water. They wear only sleeveless flour-bag ŌTÕ shirts.

 

BALRAJ looks up in the direction of Sunaree.

 

BALRAJ

             Soona! Ma, look at Sunaree again!

 

SUNAREE turns in their direction.  MA looks up at the children.

 

MA

Is alright, Balraj. Leave she by sheself lil bit nuh.

 

BALRAJ

And who holdin the bag for the tadpole an them? Chut, man!

 

BALRAJ tries to lift the bag from the water and doesnÕt succeed in getting a handful of tadpoles into it. He throws it down in a temper and stands looking defiantly at Sunaree. SUNAREE  starts down toward the house.  She runs down the hill.  BalrajÕs eyes following her. The blind beggar, SADHU BABA, stops and turns in her direction. SUNAREE stops.

 

BALRAJ

Soona!

 

SADHU turns and continues on his way. As SUNAREE watches, he disappears into the forest, the sound of his ektara fading with him. C.U. of  SUNAREEÕS face. freeze. 

 

FADE TO BLACK.

 

GRAPHIC        Tolaville, Carib Island, 1905

 

 

Fade up from black

 

2. EXT: Riceland. Day. Drizzle.

 

The children are in the riceland catching tadpoles and Ma is washing nearby.

 

THE TWINS are running close to SUNAREE splashing her dress.

 

SUN

Now Rama and Panday behave all you self.

 

SUNAREE turns with the bag hanging from one hand.

 

SUN

And stop kicking up the water so. You ain't see it

 wetting up me clothes?

 

PAN

Is not me. Is Rama.

 

RAM

You lie, is you. 

 

SUN

I don't care who it is.

 

BALRAJ turns round with another handful of tadpoles.

 

SUN

Stop it I tell you.

 

BAL

Sunaree I going to kick you! Where the bag is?

 

SUNAREE turns to Balraj.

 

SUN

The bag in the water brother.

 

BAL

AnÕ what it doing in the water?

 

SUN

It not doing nothing brother.

 

BAL

Well pick up that bag and open it.

 

SUN

Alright.

 

SUNAREE picks up the bag and opens it. BALRAJ drops the tadpoles inside and bends down in the water again.

 

RAMA and PANDAY , lifting their feet high with each step, walk  "splunk splunk", towards Sunaree.

 

BALRAJ looks up.

 

BAL

Rama and Panday all you only walking

'splunk, splunk'. These crapaud not stupid you know. When they hear all you they go run away.

 

THE TWINS do not listen, they hold on to the bag, open it and peep inside, eyes bulging.

 

The darkness of the bag's interior

 

PAN

I can't see in that dark.

 

SUN

Well they black like the dark too, Panday.

 

RAM

(sucking his teeth wistfully)

Cheups. I want to go in that bag.

 

A hand and a foot come into frame as Rama tries to get into the bag.

 

SUN

No Rama you can't go inside.

 

The bag is pulled away, RAMA falls in the water.

 

SUNAREE is clutching the bag to her protectively.

 

SUN

You go kill the crapaud fish.

 

RAMA is spluttering in the water trying to get up and PANDAY looks up at Sunaree.

 

PAN

I want to go in that bag too.

 

SUN

But I say all you can't go in that bag.

 

PAN

Why?

 

SUN

(gently)

Them is only little little baby crapaud .

 

SUNAREE is peering in the bag.

 

SUN

And all you go kill them.

 

THE TWINS try to pull the bag from SUNAREE.

 

SUNAREE tries to turn, to put her body between THE TWINS and the bag but they hang on.

 

SUN

Leave the bag all you.

 

RAM

Kill them before they come big crapaud.

 

SUN

Move all you tail.

 

RAM

Kill them! Kill them!

 

THE TWINS snatch the bag from her, lift their shirts and shake their naked bottoms in SUNAREE's face, chanting

 

RAMA  and PAN

We don't have no tail.

 

SUNAREE stands helplessly.

 

SUN

Give me back that bag.

 

BALRAJ is stalking the tadpoles intently. He bends slowly and stretches his arms. His hands sweep through the water "wash wash". He turns to put the tadpoles into the bag. There is no bag. The tadpoles fall back into the water.  He looks around. He is mad as a bull.

 

RAMA and PANDAY are dragging the bag in the water.

 

BALRAJ starts to move threateningly towards them.

 

BAL

What the hell all you doing with that bag?

 

PAN

We just playing brother.

 

BALRAJ charges towards them.

 

BAL

Bring that bag.

 

THE TWINS drop the bag in the water. They run towards the cashew tree.

 

BALRAJ stops and turns towards Sunaree.

 

SUNAREE stands and stares at Balraj.  She is frightened.

 

BALRAJ is quiet. He walks slowly towards Sunaree.

 

BAL

Soona.

 

SUN

Yes brother.

 

BAL

Why you give them two son of a bitch that bag?

 

SUN

I not give them it brother.

 

BAL

I give them it?

 

SUN

(becoming slightly defiant)

No brother.

 

BAL

(mocking her)

ŅNo brotherÓ.

Then who give them it?

 

SUN

I tell you they take it they self.

 

BALRAJ's hand reaches out and grabs her hair. He starts kicking her.

 

The TWINS laugh.

 

SUNAREE pushes him and he falls in the water. She doesn't run.

 

BALRAJ gets up.

 

SUNAREE looks at him.

 

BALRAJ grabs her hair again and pulls her, dragging her in the muddy water. Sunaree screams. Ma looks up.

 

Hidden in the banana patch, insidious, threatening , PA watches like a snake. He is dark, slim and hard muscled. He is dressed in an old cream cotton shirt, khaki trousers held up by a broad, brown leather belt.  He is barefoot. He coolly lights half a cigarette, not taking his intense eyes off the scene in the rice lagoon.

 

MA has left the clothes tub and is walking toward the edge of the lagoon.

 

MA

Let go that child Balraj!

 

BAL

I not letting she go.

 

MA

Let she go before you Pa come and see you, boy!

 

PA  is watching as he moves through the banana patch.

 

BAL

I not, I tell you!

 

MA

But ay ay! Listen to me, boy!

 

THE TWINS are squatting near the cashew tree. Dragon flies are flitting around.

 

RAMA is poking a stick in a crab hole. 

 

MA and BALRAJ & SUNAREE are in the background.

 

RAM

Today, I go catch a crab.

 

PAN

And do what with it?

 

RAM

Kill it ner.

 

PAN

Sunaree say it not good to kill nothing.

 

RAM

Wot Soona know?

 

PAN

Nutten, ner.

 

Cut to MA. BALRAJ and SUNAREE.

 

MA is at the edge of the water.

 

MA

Balraj, I is you mother. I make you. Listen to me. Let she go.

 

BAL

I not letting she go!

 

MA

I coming in that water for you right now Balraj.

 

MA starts to enter the water.

 

PA

(in a voice like thunder)

Come out of that water! Now!

 

MA stops with one foot already in the water and turns back to the tub.

 

PA is now outside the banana patch. He sucks on his cigarette. RAMA and PANDAY run past Ma, who is now back at her tub, and hide behind the rainwater barrel. They peer out from behind the barrel. BALRAJ has frozen still clinging to SUNAREEÕs hair.

 

PAÕS  voice is now lowered. He is the picture of calm.

 

PA

Let you sister go, boy.

 

BALRAJ releases Sunaree. SUNAREE walks to the rainwater barrel, keeping her eyes on PA.

 

BALRAJ is alone in the riceland. He has a look of defiance on his face.

 

PA

Now you, come out of that water!

 

BALRAJ does not move. He is looking at Pa. He is playing man for Pa.

 

PA

I not going to do you nothing boy. Just come out of the water.

 

PA takes a final pull on his cigarette and throws it  into the water. It fizzes out. He starts to enter the riceland.  BALRAJ, afraid, steps back. PA stops. BALRAJ stops. MA slowly and automatically continues her washing motions keeping her eyes on Balraj and Pa.

 

SUNAREE gathers THE TWINS near her behind the rainwater barrel and they watch shivering with cold and fear.

 

PA talks softly as if a child is talking.

 

PA

Come out of the water, beta.

 

BAL

You will beat me Pa.

 

PA

Why I will beat you, Balraj?  (Pause)

No, I wonÕt beat you. (Pause) Come.

 

BAL

No Pa.

 

PA

(slowly walking forward, Balraj backward)

Look how you wet, beta, and mud all over  you, and the rain soaking you skin. Come out the water an go inside the house. ThatÕs all I saying.

 

PA stops walking.

 

PA

Come beta. Don't fraid. I not going to beat you.

 

BALRAJ starts to walk slowly towards Pa, but trying it in a little arc. His eyes are riveted  on Pa. There is no trust here, none at all. But he moves as if hypnotised by Pa.

 

PA

You is only a little child, how I go beat you? Come. Pass Here.

 

PA indicates a route closer to his side. MA is watching. SUNAREE and the TWINS are watching. BALRAJ appears to be beginning to trust Pa a little. His arc straightens out slightly. SUNAREE senses it and tentatively voices a warning but no one hears

 

SUN

No, bhai-ji, no.

 

 

There is a cold wind blowing and the sky is black.

 

BALRAJ is watching Pa.  He is trembling and his teeth are chattering. He moves tentatively closer to Pa.

 

PA stretches a hand to him.

 

Thunder rolls in the distance.

 
SUN

(tentatively again)

Run, bhai-ji, run!

 

 

PA lunges forward. BALRAJ turns and runs through the water, scrambles up on the meri[1] and stops. The camera goes with him. From over BALRAJ's shoulder the distant figure of PA is seen running along the rice bank, stopping and jumping up and down in anger.

 

PA

Come back here, you little bitch, lemme skin you arse!

 

BALRAJ runs back into the water on the other side of the meri, away from Pa and stands near the Barahar tree.

 

PA picks up clods of mud and pelts them at BALRAJ who dodges them. PA pelts with quiet madness and intent.

 

PA

Is alright. I ainÕt pelting you. You see them snake holes? What you think waiting inside them snake holes, Balraj?

 

PA pelts the holes. The water is bubbling.

 

BALRAJ stands, looks at the water and looks at PA.

 

Cut to SUNAREE and THE TWINS by rainwater barrel. The rain is falling. RAMA and PANDAY are cold and trembling.

 

RAM

Pa stupid.

 

PAN

Hush Panday else Pa go burst you liver with a kick.

 

RAM

Pa stupid just like God.

 

SUN

(looking out to the riceland)

Don't say that Rama.

 

RAM

But God stupid.

 

SUN

(reprovingly)

Rama! (she turns to him) God will hear you and he seeing what you doing. 

 

RAM

He canÕt see me behind this barrel.

 

SUN

He have a big, big eye. Big like the sky, you know. Awright!

 

 

SUNAREE turns back to the riceland

 

PA is pelting the snake holes.

 

BAL

Oh god, Pa! It have big snake in them hole. Stop pelting, Pa! I begging you!

 

 

PAN

(voice over riceland scene)

You mean that God does see when Rama pee on me in the night?

 

SUN

(V.O.)

Yeah.

 

RAM

(V.O.)

Well somebody should hit God one kick and burst open he eye.

 

PA

You feel you is a big man?

 

BAL

No. I is a little little chile. Little little.

 

PA

Well I goin to make a little snake bite you little arse.

 

MA is watching,  going through the motions of scrubbing.

 

PA is still pelting the snake holes.

 

SUN

(V.O.)

God don't ever sleep. And he always riding a elephant in the forest.

 

PAN

A what?

 

SUN

A elephant.

 

PAN

What is that?

 

SUN

I dunno. And Nanna say god donÕt even drink.

 

PAN

(V.O.)

He does bring food for the crapaud fish and them?

 

BALRAJ is cold and trembling. He is watching Pa.

 

SUN

(V.O.)

Everybody.

 

RAM

(V.O.)

So why he donÕt bring food for we?

 

 

PAN

(V.O.)

So what he does eat?

 

 

SUN

(V.O.)

He don't eat.

 

 

RAM

(V.O.)

Then God like a stone.

 

 

SUN

God is not no stone.

 

 

PAN

How you know?

 

 

SUN

I see.

 

 

PAN

You see god?

 

 

SUN

Yes, ner.

 

 

PAN

Where you see god?

 

 

SUN

In that forest.

 

 

 

RAM

You stupid too.

 

 

MA straightens up and focuses on PA

 

MA

(to Pa)

I bleed blood to make that child, Babwah.

 

PA turns to MA.

 

PA

Now you just shut you kiss me ass mouth woman.

 

SUNAREE turns to THE TWINS.

 

SUN

All you come inside the house. Come.

 

THE TWINS hesitate then follow SUNAREE quickly into the house.

 

MA watches the children go into the house.

 

MA

Babwah, I bleed blood to make that child!

 

PA

Shut it!

 

PA turns back, digging for more clods of earth.

 

MA

You is he father but you heart is a stone.

 

 

3. INT: Kitchen. Same Day.

 

THE CHILDREN have just entered the kitchen and run to the wall to peek through its cracks.

 

 

4. EXT: Riceland. Same Day. Drizzle. (Seen through the cracks in the kitchen wall.)

 

MA, PA AND BALRAJ. Children's P.O.V.

 

MA

Well I telling you. If anything happen to that boy I walking the whole three miles to Tolaville, just to get police to lock you up.

 

 

5. EXT: Riceland. Same Day. Drizzle.

 

PA

Kiss me ass!

And the Police could kiss my ass too!

 

MA

All you could do is cuss. What kind of father you is. You come home and you want to run down you own

children and look to kill them. Jail too good for you.

 

PA is rankled by MA's talk and is pelting more dirt in the snake holes (aiming carefully)

 

A HUGE WATER SNAKE emerges. BALRAJ starts to run.

 

BAL

Maaaaa!

 

THE SNAKE moves after BALRAJ like oil on water.

 

BALRAJ doesn't look back and keeps running until he reaches MA.

 

THE SNAKE stops chasing him and turns back to its hole.

 

BALRAJ reaches MA and looks back.

 

PA is running toward him.

 

PA tramples the tadpole bag now lying against the bank. He reaches the

tub.

 

MA steps in his way.

 

MA

Behave yourself and leff me son alone.

 

PA

Shut you kiss me ass mouth woman!

 

PA grabs MA beside the tub. He pulls her as if uprooting a Sapodilla tree.

 

MA holds on to BALRAJ.  BALRAJ  holds on to the Hog Plum tree.

 

PA is trying to kick BALRAJ. MA is in the way.