Sure to win Oscars!!
Multiple choices in a poor man's world.
The set is a cage, a metal affair which suggests that knowledge has moved out of the musty age of parchment and into the instant world of infotech.
The Master of Ceremonies, a man whose face combines accommodative kindness, encouragement, the play of wit and a debonair handsomeness, sits on a high stool before a computer. The studio is packed with a responsive audience. The music announces the entry of the contestant, a young man in the sort of designer jeans and top one buys on the pavements of Indian cities.
Applause. He takes his seat.
MoC: Welcome Awaaraji. Are you ready to play Kown Banega Badda Bakra?
MoC: Oh, we have a comedian here!
MoC: Are you ready?
Contestant: My neck is on the block.
MoC: Right. Whose economic policies are going to save the world?
A: President Obama, B: Gordon Brown, C: Raoul Castro D: The Credit-Crunch-VicharManch of Byculla.
Cut to exterior.
An Indian village. Day. A beautiful, fair-skinned peasant woman in a well-ironed but muddied sari faces a fat-bellied fellow with a huge moustache and cruel eyes. She is with her young children. The bright-eyed boy, 11, is clearly the young contestant of the KBBB game show.
Cruel man: If you don't pay the 5,000% interest, I shall take your bullocks away, sell your children into slavery and relax on my charpoy and watch you pulling the plough by yourself every day for entertainment — as there is as yet no TV in the world.
Woman: (Folding her hands) I can't pay off the mortgage, SubPrimeji, but I beg you don't take my son and daughter and sell them down the Ganges. I'll do anything…
Cruel man: Anything??? He waggles his eyebrows lustfully.
Cut back to the studio.
The contestant concentrates.
MoC: A, B, C, or D?
Contestant: (Mutters) Borrowing kills!
Er... D — the CreditCrunch-Vichar-Manch.
He presses a key. The suspense is "awesome". The bongs (as in percussive music) bong out.
MoC: D is correct! Applause.
Contestant wipes face with grubby hanky.
MoC: Ready for the next question?
Contestant: Keen as a sharpened knife!
MoC: Very good.
Now, who was Mahatma Gandhi Marg named after?
A: Marilyn Monroe, B: Mahatma Gandhi, C: Sir Hi Hello Goodbye Tata, D: Arundhati Roy
The contestant knits his brow. He is stumped.
Cut to interior.
A juvenile prison. Night. The urchin prisoners with the contestant, now 13, are asleep on ragged mats. He sits bolt upright in the silence. He has been dreaming. He rubs his eyes in disbelief. There in the corner of the cell, hovering above the sleeping boys, is the luminous figure of a little bald man in a dhoti with a scarf to cover the top half of his body and wearing John Lennon specs.
Luminous figure: Laggey raho Contestantji…
The figure fades into nothing. Was it really there?
Cut back to the studio
MoC: So, what is it to be?
The camera concentrates on the contestant's face.
MoC: Final answer?
Contestant: Final answer!
MoC: Final curtain?
Contestant: Final curtain.
MoC: Did you do it your way?
Contestant: I did it my way.
MoC: Computerji, your verdict. He presses a key. And the right answer is...
There is a dirty electronic belching noise as the panel lights up the correct answer in red neon. ...B!
The MoC nods and smiles.
MoC: You are getting very close to the jackpot Awaaraji. Do you want to stop now and go back to sleeping on the pavements or does a little Dicky bird tell you to continue and meet your fate as the ultimate Badda Bakra?
Contestant: Umm, I'll go on.
Next question. If your shoes are Japanese, your trousers English, the cap on your head Russian, then what is your heart?
A: American, B: Nigerian, C: Hindustani, D: Korean
The contestant stares at the question on the panel.
He looks puzzled and then breaks into a smile.
Cut to interior.
A doctor's surgery.
Day. Two men, the first called Smoothie, dressed in a clinical white coat and the other, Blackie, dressed in black with gold jewellery around his neck and wrists and a large mouth with a flashy red tongue, have collected a group of urchins from the streets and are dispensing Japanese shoes, English designer trousers and red Russian baseball caps with a Soviet Star on them to the kids. Among them is the contestant now aged 14.
First Child: These are very good people. They are giving us these things free.
Second Child: There is no such thing as a free Masala Dosa.
Third Child: But these fellows are the mother f— best sister f— people I have met in my miserable existence. Much better than the NGOs who give you nothing and brainwash you about Aids.
Second Child: There is no such thing as a free Bhel Puri. A photographer comes in and starts taking pictures of each of the children.
First Child: You see? Photographs! Everyone, say "Paneer!" Blackie: No, no, no smiles. These are for passports. Suddenly a light goes on in our hero's head.
Contestant (aged 14): Stop! I know what's going on here — Why they have weighed us and taken our blood and DNA samples. They are dressing us up and taking us to some foreign country to surgically extract our hearts as organ transplants for rich foreigners. He picks up a bottle of acid and throws the liquid in Smoothie's face and then in Blackie's face and shouts to the others. Run, they are after Hindustani hearts because they are cheap! The children overpower the photographer.
Second child grabs his camera as a souvenir of these dreadful times and they all run out.
Cut back to studio.
Contestant: I choose C: Hindustani.
The MoC nods and presses the computer keys.
MoC: Yes!! The right answer – your heart is still Hindustani. Huge applause.
MoC: Now the final question.
In a TV quiz show who gets rich fast? A: The Contestant, B: The director of a film about the Quiz Show, C: The novel writer whose idea it was in the first place, D: The TV company.
As he says this the buzzer buzzes through the studio. Ohhh! The time is up. We shall have to continue next week with Awaaraji when we play Kown Banega Badda Bakra! Rapid titles.