Fire (1996) Script

A long time ago...

...there were people living high up in the mountains.

They had never seen the sea.

Though they had heard about it, but never seen it and this made them feel very sad.

Then an old woman in the village said:

"Don't be sad".

"What you can't see, you can see".

"You just have to see without looking".

Radha, do you understand?..No.

When his beloved wife,...

...his one and only true love, Mumtaz, died,...

...the great Mogul Emperor Shahjahan was heartbroken.

On her death bed, she made him promise...

...that he would build a monument...

...that would be the symbol of their eternal love.

And this is it, ladies and gentlemen.

The great Taj Mahal.

A monument to the everlasting love...

...that Shahjahan and his wife Mumtaz had for each other.

When the Emperor died...

...his last wish was to be buried next to her.

Now they lay together, again,...

...united, even in death.

Now, let's go forward! Please, come.

Did you know...

...the greatest movie "Taj Mahal", was filmed right here?

It's my absolute favourite.


Do you like romantic films?

Nah. Then what kind of films do you like?

Kung Fu, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan.

From Hong Kong.

Shahjahan had the architect's hands cut off... he could never design another Taj.

Naturally the architect was very upset.

But, being a clever man...

...he drilled a hole... the beautiful Taj roof one night.

Afterwards he told the Emperor...

...that the symbol of your eternal love...

...was now flawed...


Thank you very much. Let's go forward, please.

Don't you like me?

Look, we've only been married for three days, ok?


I'm going to heat the milk and give it to Biji ..and don't forget to wash your hands!

Drink, Biji.

Please, Biji.


Biji refuses to cooperate.

Mundu takes such good care of you. Please be nice to him...come.


Why all the fuss? It's....oh...


Have a long life Touch your brother's feet That's alright Come, meet our mother.


Sita Memsahib, our Biji is the victim of a major stroke.

No talking, but much listening.

Mundu..shut up!

Look, finally Biji sees a baby boy in this family

Just hold on

Jatin Sahib, how was the Taj Mahal?

Beautiful Even I will go there for my honeymoon Agra is not only famous for the Taj Mahal is also very famous for the lunatic asylum.

Maybe that's where you'll end up.

I have to go..

I have a meeting with the Kung Fu video wholesalers.

I'll go.

All good things must come to an end.

Back to work.

Mundu, who's going to open the bloody shutters?

Coming, Jatin Sahib!

Come, I'll take you to your room.

If you want anything, I'm downstairs preparing the evening meal.

If Biji rings the bell, it means she needs something.

But how would I know what she needs?

You'll know.

Biji's been ringing her bell.

I just didn't hear the bell.

That's OK.

She's upset.

Perhaps your...outfit.

If I have to blow dry the hair of one more fat cow...

...I'll puke.

Will you hold still? It'll smudge.

If you'd married me...

...somebody would have been doing your hair.

Silly boy!

Do you know what the word 'hunt' means?

It's my favourite word.

It means to pursue,... chase for a game,...

...or a kill.


...when we stop hunting,...

...all excitement fizzles out.

You don't want that to happen to us, do you?

But at what cost?

At all cost.

I can't live without you.

Desire Night is the love of power.

As I was telling you,...

...desire night... the love of power, and ...

...aspirational light is the ...

...power of love.

Desire night...

...wants to devour and destroy the entire world.

While, aspirational light...

...wants to feed...

...and immortalise the whole world.

Now,... do you expel...

...this desire night?

You start by keeping...

...all the objects of temptation around you.

And then, test yourself against them...

...until all desires leave your mind and body.

Desire is the root of all evil.

Is this onion golden enough?

Just a little bit longer.

The accounts are in tip-top shape.

There's money in the cash register.

I have to leave.

There is Kirtan at Swamiji's ashram.

Maybe she shouldn't be working so soon after her wedding What do you think, Radha?

Would you like to go upstairs and watch a video with Biji?

No, thanks.

I mean, I'd prefer to stay here and help if that's ok..


...take Biji upstairs and show her"Ramayan".

Biji really likes religious movies, and "Ramayan" is her favourite.

Be careful, Mundu!

It's nice that you want to help.

After all, if family members won't help each other, who will?

But once you have a baby, that will become a full-time job.

A child is a gift from God...

...and deserves full-time attention.

Why does Ashok keep going on about me having a baby?

Because I couldn't have any.

I'm sorry.

No eggs.

No eggs?

That's what the doctor at Safdarjung hospital said.

"So sorry Madam,... eggs in ovaries".

Did you see another doctor? Get a second opinion?

I mean there are so many doctors...

We did. Same result.

You know there is one Mr. Prasad in Kanpur...

He left his wife because she could not have any children...

...and he married again.

And the second wife, she couldn't have a child either.

So he married again, to a much younger girl.

The first wife killed herself, she had poison.

I'm so glad Ashok is not like that.

He's really a saint.

Yes, he is.

Oh yes...oh yes... I like this woman.

I like this woman..

Oh yes, oh yes......

Shut up!

Oh my God, oh my God!

Oh my God!


Are you OK?

What me? Oh yes Madam.

The film is ...too emotional.

What's happened to Biji?

Like I said Madam, the film is so emotional, I mean....

The God Ram has just told Sita:

"You're an impure woman".

So the Goddess Sita...

...she walks into the flames of this huge bonfire and says:

"Let the flames be my witness".

"If I am impure.

...then the flames will destroy me".

"But if I'm not, they can't touch me".

In this scene Madam, Biji cries every time.


I've cried what to do?

It's so sad...

Tomorrow you can give it back to me You can pay me tomorrow.

What's up?

Oh Hi! Long time!

Any new stuff?

Yeah sure, just for you I kept it. Here.

A cold drink?

Mundu, an ice-cold crush! In a hurry!

Coming Jahit Sahib.

One number 22 - ready!

The bill please. Thanks.

Can you pass me that please?

No, that's run out.

Do you have this?

That's not so good.

Why don't you come here more often?

Two tandoori roti, one paneer and one cream dahl.

Two Tandoori Roti - ready.

Where's the drink, Mundu?

Coming Jatin Sahib!

Order 23 ready!. -Please.

Go back to your kitchen!

For you, no problem.

Ah, sorry.

Get lost.

Empty bottles.

What are you doing?


I have seen Delhi.

I've also seen the Taj Mahal.

Maybe next... Bombay.

Maybe I'll run away.

To join the movies?

Oh no. I just...

I just want to see the ocean.

When I was a little girl...

...I tried to see the ocean once,...


Why don't you eat?

Jatin said he'd be home late tonight.

No, I'll wait.

Maybe he'll come home early tonight.


Can I call tonight?

I want to talk to my mother.

Of course.


Are you still seeing Julie?

Yes, yes I am.

I love her.

We told you we had no objection to you marrying a Chinese girl.

But you said no to Julie and yes to Sita.

Now what does that mean?

What the hell do you mean by that?

It was Julie who said no to me.

She didn't want to get stuck in a joint family...

...and become a baby-making machine or something.

And as far as saying yes to Sita is concerned,...'re forgetting that you and Biji...

...made my life bloody hell.

Calm down.

Day in, day out, nagging....

"Jatin you must get married, Jatin you must have children".

What could I do?

Did I have a choice?

Living in a joint family, having a joint bank account!

Jatin, breathe.

Take a deep breath and try to relax.

And why the sudden concern for Sita?

What did you think, some kind of miracle would happen after I got married?

That I'd put Julie in my back pocket and start loving Sita?

I mean, why feel sorry only for Sita?

It's not easy, being a yoyo...

...between what I want and what I'm expected to want.

I'm sorry, Jatin.

But..miracles do happen.

You must give a chance to Sita.

Your duty as husband demands that you do.

My duty?

And what about your duty?

Everything you do is for that bloody Swami of yours.

I hit him.

I shouldn't have.

Forgive me, Radha.

My choices have made life difficult for you.

What is there to forgive?

Are you ok?

Listen, Sita.

If you...


...don't worry.

It happens the first time.

-When Mama? -Soon, Radha.


Biji's ringing.

Any blood?

Are you going to be home tonight?


Why don't you..wear miniskirts?

How would that change anything?

What's there to change? We're like any normal newly-married couple.


...are you occupied somewhere else?

Look, you're the one who needs to be occupied, OK.

Why don't you knit, or take up some needlework or do a beauty course or something.

I'm not talking about needlework.

What the hell are you talking about?

I don't have time for these arguments.

Then maybe you shouldn't leave this lying around like this.

Mundu, go downstairs and clean up. We'll leave as soon as I finish.

Sita, will you keep an eye on Biji?

Yes of course.

But can I come with you instead?

Yes, if you want to...

Mundu, you stay with Biji.

It's OK, we'll come back soon.

After all I do for her, she still doesn't like me.

Show her a movie from Jatin's collection.

Where's my breakfast?



Radha, take this. And this is for you.-Thanks This is for Swamiji.

How long will you keep on supporting him with your profits?

He doesn't ask for support, I give it willingly.

You have any problem?

No, I have no problem. Maybe Bhabhi does.

Could use more help in the take-out, right?

Anyway, this is for his operation fund.

He has to have his hydroceles drained.

His testicles are too large for his loin cloth.

It's not funny.

It's very painful, you know?

My mother used to say...

...that the way to a man's heart, ...

...was through his stomach.

Apparently, it's a great English saying.

My mother says...

...a woman without a husband is like boiled rice.

Bland, unappetising,...


This must be an Indian saying.

I like being boiled rice.

Go to sleep.


If we could have children,...

...would you need me the way you need me?

No, probably not..

Perhaps it was my destiny.

A sign to seek union with the universal truth.

And easier for Swamiji to help me come closer to that truth.

And how does it help me?

By helping me... are doing your duty as my wife.

Jatin asleep?

No, he's gone to meet his girlfriend.

I'm sorry.

Don't be.

Is Ashok asleep?

I needed to get some fresh air.

Someone's getting married.

Yes..again, someone....


I want to go home.

Don't cry.

Please don't cry.

Things will work out with Jatin.

It's not that.

Mama. Why are you crying, mama?


Why is mama crying?

Because she's happy.

Can't you see, Radha?

See what, mama?

Look at the fields, look what they've become.

They look the same to me.

Don't look so hard.

Just close your eyes...

...and then open them slowly.

You will see.

I still can't see.

Can you please oil my hair?

Bhabhi, Biji spit on my face.

Can you imagine?

Hong Kong, and me a heroine in Kung Fu movies.

You know Jatin...

If you're a good boy you can come with me... my personal manager now.

How about me managing you right now?

Everybody whats to leave Hong Kong...

...and you want to arrive there.

You're such a dreamer, aren't you?

Why didn't you wake me up earlier - to help?

Come and eat.

It will be dawn soon.

I think I'll just have some tea.

You might regret not eating later.


...what do we have to do today?

Wear fancy saris, heavy jewellery,...

...anything we wish.

Except eat and drink.

You don't have to keep the fast if you don't want.

Don't be joking.

My mother would kill me.

And Biji - she'd never stop ringing the bell.

Isn't it amazing?

We're so bound by customs and rituals...

Somebody just has to press my button.

This button marked "tradition"...

...and I start responding like a trained monkey.

Do I shock you?


You're lovely.

What's all this?

Today is Karva Chauth.

What Chauth? fast for my long life. look tired.

A long night with Kung Fu videos?

You know, I don't believe in all this rigmarole this fasting business, so... you don't have to suffer on my account, ok?

I don't have a choice.

In that case, go right ahead.

Are you happy?


Take it easy.

Fasting without water was difficult even for Mahatma Gandhi.

OK, I'm off now.

But remember, no work today.

I don't know how it started, but Biji told me the Karva Chauth story.

There was this king, who was so good a king,... wealthy and had such a beautiful wife...

...that even the gods envied him.

This made him proud.

Of course his arrogance was not going to go unpunished.

And so one night...


...his body was covered with millions of fine needles.

The queen was horrified, but being a loyal and devoted wife,...

...she spent a full year taking them out.

Finally, there were only two needles left on the king.

One on each eyelid.

The queen was about to take these out...

...when her maid servant told her...

...that a holy man insisted on meeting the queen that very moment.

While the queen paid her respects to him,...

...the maidservant plucked out the remaining needles from the king's eyes.

As his eyes flew open, the king embraced the maidservant,...

....thinking she was responsible...

....for plucking out the millions of offensive needles from his body.

When the queen walked back in,...

...the king demoted her to the status of maidservant...

...and promoted the maidservant to the status of the queen.

In despair the queen tried to tell the king...

...that it was she who served him.

But of course, the king had made up his mind.

The poor queen pleaded and begged,...

...but had no choice.

So she ended up sweeping the floors,...

...while the maidservant preened on the throne.


I guess the queen just couldn't leave her husband, could she?

What are you saying Sita Madam?

How could she leave?

Oh no, once you're married, you're stuck forever, like glue.


...but true.


...the holy man, who had observed all this, called the poor queen over.

He told her...

...that if she fasted without food or water for one whole day,...

...from dawn to moonrise,...

...the spell would be broken.

The king,...

...recognising his real wife,...

...kicked the maidservant out...

...and lived happily ever after...

...with his true and devoted queen.

So now you know why we fast.

To prove how loyal and devoted we are to our husbands.

What a wimp - I mean the queen.

And as for the king, I think he's a real jerk.

What are you saying Madam Sita? The king...

...was a very pious man and good looking too.

And the queen, his number one wife.

A true Indian woman, a goddess.

What do you think?

I don't know.

She didn't have many...choices.

I'm so sick of all this devotion.

We can find choices.

What I would do for a nice cold glass of water....

Sita Madam is too modern.

Oh Biji, don't worry.

I'm not going to break the fast.

Your Jatin will have a long life.

It's my parents' fault that we are here in India in the first place.

After the Cultural Revolution...

...most of the bright, forward-thinking Chinese...

...went to the West.

My working class parents decided on India.

Can you imagine?


Not Australia, not Canada,...

...but India.

I hate it here.

It's the stupid lavatories ...

...the Indians insist on using.

A hole in the ground.

When I want to shit, I want to shit comfortably,...

...reading the "Kowloon News".

Indians squat.

How can you read the news...

...when you're squatting over a hole in the ground?


-What do they call you in school? -"Chinky".

"Chinky". See?

But my Julie,... Julie's got the right idea.

Hong Kong, with an American accent.

How long did it take you... speak like number one Yankee?

Six months.

Bloody Indians.

Now that they've promoted themselves from a...

..developing country to a developed country,...

...they think they are number one.

No place for minorities.

You are right Sir We Indians are...

...a very complex people.

There's the moon.

First, the water

Then the "matthi".

And now the "aarti".

I think Ashok should keep this fast for Swamiji.

I'm so sorry.

I don't know what came over me.

You're hungry.

No, I'm just thirsty.

Could I drink some water now?

Of course, as soon as you get Jatin's blessings.

But he's not at home.



You should go back to your room.

It's OK...


...did we do anything wrong?



Even Radha Bhabhi looks like a heroine.

Now there are two heroines in one kitchen.

Why don't you two go for a walk?

It's very pleasant.

Ah, no, I think I'll just lie down.

I ate too much.

You've been cooking all morning. Let me massage you.

No, there's no need.

Yeah, Sita, do that. You are due to have a good massage.

Even treating..


I'm lucky to have such a good family.

You see, even she agrees with me.

Jatin, your food is getting cold.

Oi, Mundu, where is my Armani T-shirt?

I don't know, Jatin Sahib.

Damn it!

Bhabhi Biji won't eat.

Sita, I can't find my T-shirt.

Radha, Biji's not eating her dinner.

Why don't you feed Biji tonight?

Of course.

I have to go now. I'll be back late.

-Fine. -You're not going anywhere.

Why, Ashok?

You go out morning, noon and night to Swamiji's.

Why can't I go?

I go to Swamiji to become a better person.

What do you...?

Ashok, please let Jatin go.

He has something important to do.

Why are you so keen that I go?

It's not my fault she won't eat.

It's OK.

-Aren't you going to Swamiji's tonight? -As soon as she finishes her dinner.

Look, she doesn't want me to go.

Poor Ram.

Very good.

Please give me one more turn, please.


Just ignore him.


Please don't go.

Where were you?

With Sita.


She looks happy these days, maybe she's pregnant.

You didn't hear me calling?

Yes, I did.

Why didn't you come?

Sita says the concept of duty is ... over-rated.

She's young.

But you know its importance.

Radha, I need you.

No, Ashok.

Not tonight.


Do you need aspirin?

You don't want?



You're looking lovely.

Now, don't move. And please don't touch your face OK?

Remember, no touching!

I don't think I can do it.

You're just getting nervous. Of course you can do it.


No, wait!

I think I'm going to make a fool of myself.

So what's wrong with that?

Too much electricity.

OK guys, this is a totally uncut version.

Hot stuff, you know? Red hot, Chilli Peppers.

Is this "Basic Instinct"?

"Basic Instinct"?

"Basic Instinct" is kids' stuff in front of this This is the real thing.

We'll take it.

Mundu, get some cold drinks for our young customers.

Certain spices are good for some occasions and some for others.

Did you know, that black peppers renew energy?

Which is why it was given in such abundance to newly-wed husbands.

For better performance.


And what did they give brides?

Green cardamons... make the breath fragrant.


Radha! Order number 27.

What to do?

Times are changing.

Radha Ma'am and Sita Ma'am...

...have closed the restaurant and have gone out... have fun.

Not one thought for the business.

Not one thought for you.

The main Madam of the house,...

...alone, with her faithful son.

It's so sad.

Shall we watch a movie?

I wish we could be together forever.

I'm serious.

Let's leave.

See, Jatin has Julie...

...Ashok has Swamiji and Biji has Mundu.

They won't even miss us.

And how will we survive?

We'll start our own takeaway of course.

Look at what this man is saying.

Give it to me baby!

How dare you?

And in front of Biji! How dare you?

Put on your pyjamas and shut off that video!

Stop! I haven't finished with you!

Where did you get that, that disgusting thing?

Jatin Sahib has plenty of these He rents them to special customers.

Madam, all I do here is work, work, work.

There's zero recreation time for me.

So tell me Madam...

...why is taking such little pleasure deserving so many slaps?

Get out before I hit you again.


Let me give you some information, Madam.

That hanky-panky between you and Sita Madam... not good for the family name.

Think about it.

What did he say?

Not much.

That he's sorry.

I can manage without him. I have Sita... help me, I mean.

Just ask him to pack his bags and leave right now.

I know how you feel.

But firing Mundu is like putting a tiny bandaid on a deep wound.

Ashok, if you don't ask Mundu to leave right now...

...I am going to.

Give me one more chance.

He is still young, it's not too late.

-Ashok. -Please.

Don't interfere.


Don't worry, Mundu won't tell anyone.

See, even if he tried to, nobody would believe him.

The twisted little bastard.

Please, Radha.

Please talk to me.

You know, Mundu did what gave him pleasure.

He thought only about himself.

Not about Biji.

Not about any of us.

Is it so bad... be that selfish?

I'm not so different from him.

It scares me.

Don't let that little rat terrorise you.

No, it isn't that.

This isn't familiar for me.

This awareness...

...of needs,...

...of desires.

You fucking bastard!

It's all your fault.

Why the fuck did he have to get me involved?

When Bhabhi asked me I told her.

I don't tell lies.

-You idiot! -I just wanted to be like you.

Jatin Sahib, you're my biggest hero.

What to do?

I'm too smart to have been caught.


Ashok, he has gone and thrown all my tapes away.

Do you know how much it fucking costs to replace them? Eh?

Why the hell couldn't you be more careful?

Jatin? Mundu?

Swamiji is ready for you.

Bloody hell!

-Please forgive me! -How dare you touch her!

My batteries were overflowing and I had to discharge them.

Shut up you bastard!

Mistakes in our soul journey...

...are inevitable.

Compassion conquers all.

The sunlit way... to clearly forget and wisely forgive...'s past failures.

Swamiji said that.

He's OK, a nice guy.

Not that I'm going to become his disciple or anything,...'s just that,...

...when I heard...

...what Swamiji had to say...


It suddenly all made sense.

I had to come clean.


I can't stop seeing Julie, OK?

She's so special...

You should meet her, really.

She's so smart,... ambitious,... pretty...

And what a mouth!

Just like a rosebud.

I really do know what the future holds.

You can leave me if you want.


...I understand that life can be hell for a divorced woman.

What do you think?

The other option is that we would have a baby.

We could work on that, of course.

You see,...

...the baby would kind of keep you occupied and happy acting.

The choice is yours.

What do you have to say?

I think you are a pompous fool.


You heard what I said.

A pompous fool.

F - O - O - L.

You ungrateful fucking bitch!

You're lucky I don't believe in violence.

I like that.

I like my women with fire.

Not bad.

Who'd have thought that this coy, young demure wife of mine...

...would turn out to be a fire-cracker?

"Her eyes are like almonds, her lips are like rosebuds".

"Julie, I love you".

Does that hurt?

I'm treated like a household pet.

And I take it.

That's what hurts.

Mundu have you seen my keys?

No, Jatin Sahib.

I won't be back tonight.


Goodnight Sita Memsahib.

Goodnight Ashok Sahib.


I'm barren.

I can't have children.

What's that go to do with love?

According to Ashok,...


Desire distracts from the path to God.

And desire is the root cause of all evil.

Swamiji says the only reason... have a sexual relationship... to have sons that will carry on the family name.

And so, one night...

...many years ago,...

...Ashok found a way...

...of turning our misfortune into an opportunity.

He took a vow of celibacy.

Whenever he felt any desire for me,...

...he wanted me to lie next to him.

He said:

"I won't even touch you, I promise".

"I only want to make certain...

...that I am beyond temptation".

"And therefore,...

...closer to God".

And so I said yes.

And you know...

His face glowed with such hope...

...that I chose not to see...

...the confusion beneath the surface.

He looked like a child.

And in that instant,...

...just for a moment, I knew what it felt like... be a mother.

When did he start all this?

Thirteen years ago.

We've lived like a brother and sister for thirteen years.

Why did you go along with it?

"No eggs in ovaries, Madam".


...a need for self-worth.

A bit of both I guess.

Does he still put you through this?

Three years ago he learned to control his desire.

But he still needs to practice... make sure he hasn't lost the control.

Not any longer.

We're just not staying here any longer.


Is Biji alright?

She's alright.


...what is it?

Why don't you speak?

Pack your bag.

-Pack my bags? -You heard me.

Pack your things and get out of here.

Please Sir, I was the one who told you...

Get out of my house before I call the police!

The police?

And you know how they deal with servants!

Ungrateful bastard!

Doesn't want me to see his shame.


Don't throw me out of the house!


This is my home.

Come on, we're leaving right now.

Listen Radha, I'm glad he found us.

It really doesn't matter now, does it?

I only wish it hadn't happened by accident.

I wanted to tell him.

What would you have said?

"Goodbye Ashok, I'm leaving you for Sita"?

"I love her, but not like a sister-in-law"?

Now listen Radha,...

...there's no word in our language that can describe what we are.

How we feel for each other.

Perhaps you're right.

Seeing it is less complicated.

Then what are you waiting for? Let's go.

We'll find a place for tonight...

...and tomorrow we can figure out what we want to do.

You go ahead.

I can't leave without talking to Ashok.


You don't owe him anything.

I do.

I need to tell him that my leaving has everything to do with...

But you must leave right away.

I'll join you there as soon as I can, I promise.

But what if he doesn't come back tonight?

He'll come.

I'm not leaving without you.

How will it help?

Besides just knowing...

...that you're out there waiting for me...

...will help me,... me to finally leave.


It's going to rain.


...I'll wait for you at the Nizamuddin shrine.


Come to the bedroom.

I have to test myself.


It's really important.

Don't start again.

I said no.

What do you mean, no?

It's your duty, you promised to help me.

I'm finished with my penance, Ashok.

I'm leaving.


It's that Sita's fault.

All these new ideas in your head!

Sita? Sita!

She's gone.

So that's what it is.

Look, Radha.

What I saw in the bedroom... a sin in the eyes of God and man.

Maybe Swamiji can help you,... us.

Desire brings ruin.

I know that.

Brings ruin?

Does it, Ashok?

You know that without desire, I was dead?

Without desire, there's no point in living.

And you know what else?

I desire to live.

I desire Sita.

I desire her warmth, her compassion, her body.

I desire to live again.

If you want to control desire, ask for Swamiji's help, not mine!

How dare you?

How dare you talk like that?

Look at you, shameless !

Instead of begging for forgiveness,... give me lectures!

Want passion?

What kind of...

...wife you have become?

What kind of woman are you?

You should be touching my feet...

...and asking me to forgive you.

Touch my feet!

I said do it!

Touch my feet!

I can see the ocean.

I can see it!