Rudaali (1993) Script

The professional Mourner

Gifting a cow is a most beneficent act Gifting a cow is a most beneficent act It assures one salvation

Go. Take it away

You gifted a cow You will attain heaven And 11 Brahmins are to be fed at the temple Why 11 ? Would five lessen my accumulated virtue?

Get lost! You hind of a dirty buffalo!

As you command

I've been put out of my own house And thrown here to rot under this pavilion!

May thieves take his accursed mother!

I know very well No one'll cry over my corpse when I die tomorrow Father, you'll get perfectly well I sent for the city doctor. He should be here soon Oh, your city doctor'll bring the fabled Sanjivani like some god!

It's I who am paying for all your sins!

Where's that wretched Kalia gone!

Hey, Kalia!

You hind of a buffalo! Yes, Hukum (liege)

Couldn't I call out from here, you fool Go there and call him

Even this wretched death doesn't come too soon!

Kalia Hey, Kalia come quickly He's making merry His life isn't hanging by a thread, is it!

Were you dead, you wretch!

You stuck to me like a shadow when I was alive And now, you vanish out of sight!

I'm but your dog, sir. Where'll I go May God give you long life. Command me, sir Come here Sit here by my side Look, I don't think I'll ever get up from my bed That Pandit may say anything He just babbles Clutching a calfs tail, I had invited the god of death But even he hasn't come I won't die so easily because the god of death has no time for me And you'll also see I gasp out my breath, and they'll distribute sweets!

God forbid!

The young Master is most worried about you Very worried, I'm sure! Just you wait and see He'll not shed a drop of a tear when I'm dead

You sent for me, Hukum (liege)?

Will you cry when I die?

How can you say such a thing, Hukum!

Tell me why you called me Oh, yes As I was saying You too won't cry Fetch a Rudali (Professional mourner) from the village a special one who leads the mourning in rich houses Now, don't fetch an expensive one Get someone cheaper At least, she'll cry over my death She'll mourn even she's hired for it But she'll cry Well, you heard me Go now. Why're you still sitting here!?

Hey, Munim (Accountant) ...! Hukum?

Will you cry when I die? I feel like crying now!

No Your wretched face always look weepy!

I won't be a burden on you I'll help cook and clean. And bring vegetables I mourned at a wake before coming here. I've money May be I'll have to stay here with you for a while

Can't trust the Zamindar to die soon Even life is a matter of chance Who can say what happens after death ...!

May I ask you something?

Who gave you this name Shanichari (Saturnine)?

Shanichari The folks here started calling me that Unlucky to be born on Saturday Accursed because she ate up her father as soon as she was born!

Didn't your Ma give you a name?

When did I ever see my Ma's face ...!

She ran away after I was born with some actor from a touring company

It's said she was a born wanderer

You think it'll rain?

I grew up I was fair and pretty A drunk won me in a game and brought me to this place He married me And ever since this has been my heaven and hell

Where have you come from?

From Dongri Those who're dying send for me I'm a Rudali (professional mourner), you know Here today and elsewhere tomorrow

Looks like it'll rain

You don't seem to belong here but come from elsewhere Sometimes I wonder if you're really mine!

You're born to a wanderer like my mother

I forgot! I've to take home medicine for Dadi (Grandma)

Let's stay for a while, Ma We've been here for so long. We'll come again, Budhua Dance, Ma!

Are you crazyl? Please dance Oh, I'll fall off! Dance, Ma You've got used to play-acting, haven't you!

Should your Dadi know, she'll hit me Please dance You'll come home if I dance? Yes, I will

Oh well, I'm dancing with my son!

What happened, Ma?

I fell down, you crazy boy! Let's go Oh, it looks like it's going to rain

She'll rain abuses as she does everyday So you're home, you witch! Yes Did you bring my medicine? Yes She won't even let me breathe What happened? Who broke this pot?

I did.

What could I do ...! I was dying of thirst

Was anyone at home to give me water, tell me!

I had to get up myself And I fell down But what am Ito do? Tell your son to sit beside you Then who'll work in the Zamindafls fieldsl?

It's I who slog and slave! Does he do anything!

He'll be lying drunk Then I go searching at the temple and the liquor den Oh! And here he practically stood by my side for a week!

Well do I know! You'll be at peace only when I die!

Forever maligning my son, are you! You accursed!

The Zamindafls men will whip him one day He'll know then! May the worms eat your tongue!

You always speak evil, you black-tongued bitch!

That's why you're named Yes, Shanichari!

Born on a Saturday to eat up her father at her birth Accursed wretch, I know!

Let Ganju come home. See if I don't have him skin you!

Budhua, come and eat your bread.

Still picking your nose? Coming, Ma

What did the Vaid (herbal doctor) say?

He gave medicine. I'll give you Will the medicine make grandma all right?

God forbid The clouds're really thundering tonight Yes, they only thunder. When will it rain

The fever's still high hasn't come down

When'll Ganju come home It's two days since I saw his face Why do you worry? Now, sleep well I'll go search for him in the evening Don't worry

Gflniu ...!

Have you seen Ganju? No, I haven't

Oh God! Where'll I search for this drunken sot!

Gflniu ...!

Tanne Singh Tanne Singh You saw Budhusfls father anywhere?

Ganju? He was here the past 2 days Musfve run away in fear this morning You're lying! No, it's the truth There was a theft at the Zamindafls. They suspect him His Ma is so ill and there's no news of him Send him home if he comes And you send him too

"My love who's so false, they say he's coming..."

"So say these rain-laden months"

"O my love, I want to walk on the clouds"

"Sway me high on my swing, O my love"

"The cuckoo in the woods cries out my love's name"

Ma, come and see!

It's raining so heavily after years This barren earth is soaked! I danced like one possessed Look at my clothes!

They cling as if they don't want to leave my skin

Look, Ma Ma, look

Gflniu ...!

Panditji, did you see my husband?

He's not come home for 2 days. What happened?

My mother-in-law I'm searching for him Well, keep searching! He won't be home for 6 months He's in a police lock up. He stole from the Zamindar.

Go, you accursed wretch! God forbid Kamli Chanchali

Kamli ! Shanichari?

My Ma-in-law is dead This time of the night!

It's a sin to keep the body overnight. I must cremate her If the Pandit comes to know, he'll make me spend 1O rupees There isn't a grain to eat but folks'll be ready to say perform all sons of rites! Come quickly

I didn't cry Not a tear would moisten my eyes Even time was against me

Oh, don't you have to go there?

I will go after a while He isn't going to die this night, is he And if he had died You'd have seen vultures circling in the sky

Beg pardon, my liege

Bhikni There's no lack of food at ShanicharFs, I hope No, Hukum. I have everything there Shanichari is well, I hope?

Yes, Hukum

Tell her to come here to the palace if she needs anything Tell her to meet me She's an old retainer of the palace Yes, Hukum

Hey, Shanichari ...!

Look at all the things I have brought for you!

That mean old Munim really got what he deserved today!

Here, come and see one kilo lentils One kilo rice and then this oil And 25 rupees cash!

We'll make merry now

How did you like the palace?

The palace was nice And so was the owner of the palace!

He was not much bothered about me It was you he was worried about!

Was there some special attachment in your youth?

Come on, tell me That smile seems to hover round your lips! Why?

Look up! Look up when you speak

Come on, girl. Let me have some water to drink

Have you gone crazyl?

Who're you giving water to?

You said give water. So I'm giving some water I said, give me water. It's I who am thirsty And you give the camel the water!

How can I give you water! I'll have to raise my head Why? Have you sprained your neck?

Yes look up Look up, you silly girl Look up, I said

Such piercing eyes! I find you beautiful

What's your name? Shanichari Where're you going? Home Listen I didn't stop just to look at you I was thirsty I saw the pot on your head. Thought you'd give me water My flagon is empty Your flagon's empty ...! Yes, give me water Don't you understand! It'll pollute your caste It won't harm me to drink water If it harms you to give me water, well then don't!

Enough, Hukum?

Yes, enough for now Ma}! I go, Hukum?

I'll take you there. Where have you to go?

Barns. Then get on the camel You add glory to the camel You're born to ride the camel I'll sit forward and you sit behind me This glory you spoke of will lead so, come on I'll be buried alive should anyone in the village see me Don't you worry So long as this Lakshman Singh is alive No one'll even dare raise his eyes at you!

Beg your pardon, Hukum!

What's the matter? Forgive me, Hukum!

Listen to me, will you

Why've you tied me up and brought me here? Whafve I done!

How do I know! Hukum told me to bring you

Come on Walk

Hukum, he is Ganju. ShanicharFs husband

ls Ganju your name?

Forgive me, Hukum! I beg your pardon I've done nothing wrong, Hukum I was working and Kalia brought me here, all tied up He beat me up really thrashed me Hmm Have you had liquor?

No, Hukum. I I I haven't had any liquor I swear on my son. I've given up drink, Hukum!

I can smell liquor on you!

I my joints were aching last night And I massaged it, Hukum And then ll just took one little gulp, that's all Kalia didn't let me bathe. That's why there's the smell

What's your daily wage? 2 rupees and 8 annas You drink away the 2 rupees and give the 8 anna at home No, Hukum! You've got it totally upside down!

I give 8 annas at home and 2 rupees for liquor

You give 8 annas at home and drink away2 rupees!

The young Malkin (mistress) of the palace needs a maid

She'll get food and clothes. Send your wife She won't even need your 8 annas then

I'm Moti. Malkin (mistress) has been waiting so long Come walk quickly

My head is humming! Humming?

It beats so hard! I'm afraid There's nothing to be afraid of. Malkin is very kind That's the way it is with high born landed Thakurs If you ask, you gel everything But if you don't ask She'll not let you touch even the twig of a tree And don't you even dare go near the temple It'll be a calamity if you touch the image of any god

I'll have a slim waist if I go up these stairs daily!

Did my waist get slim that yours should! Come on

May I enter, Malkin? Come in Shanichari is here. Who Shanichari?

You had sent for a maid A maid? For what?

Kunwar Sahib told you about her. Shall I send her in?

All right. Send her in. Come

Oh, Moti Do they use so much water everyday to bathe?

The good fortune of the big folk!

Silly girl! What do they lack?

They have wells and ponds of their own!

Poor Budhua! He must be fetching water himself now

Be quick now May I just wash my face and hands?

Just a little Quickly

Hey, Moti Yes Tell me this. You're like us but why do you live with them Why not live with us I came here along time ago. I was even younger than you I came to serve the elder Malkin I couldn't bear hunger and poverty So what else could I do I stayed here

Now I'm old Who needs this old bag of bones ...!

Yes. What you say is true Once a woman comes to live here Folks don't think well of her

Hey, Shanichari Yes We used to play hopscotch as children Tell me what game did you play as a child?

When did we ever play, Malkin!

Fetched water when it was time to play and worked in fields otherwise Grandma used to pack me off with bread and an onion And she'd say, drink water before and after eating That way the belly would feel full!

You talk of poverty when I asked you about playing But one game we did play What?

We'd hide under the Zamindafls buffaloes And suck milk straight from the udder!

From our herd? I'm not from this village I was born in Jasod on a Saturday and at birth Kantha Rani Go tell him I'm bathing And ask him what he wants Yes, Malkin

Malkin (mistress) is bathing Whenever I meet you, you're drenched She asks if you want anything Up !

Look at me when you speak You want anything

"What sickness does posses me so"

"When I look into the mirror ..."

"... your face gazes back at me"

"My restless head cajoles and beguiles me"

"Deluded and crazed, it often says I am !"

"Your black eyes, I remember again and again"

"I look into the mirror and darken my eyes again"

"My friend, my love. does my head call you"

"My love who's so false, they say he's coming"

"So say these rain-laden months"

Look up! Look up at me You're breathing fast No, Hukum! NO! This is sin, Hukum!

You poor innocent From the day I saw you I have wanted you I find you lovely

Hukum! Please give me my Chunni (Shawl like cloth)

If I don't?

I'm not Moti, Hukum


It's not difficult for a Zamindar to abduct women But this Lakshman Singh is not Ramavtar

But you're a Zamindar. I'm a low-caste

Hukum, it'll be a sin even if my shadow falls on you!

I'll go to hell!

Sin hell

Do you know what sin is?

Virtue and sin They're but false myths created by Brahmin logic

If one were to strictly follow their teaching There wouldn't be a bigger sinner than I

If this life that I'm living is one of sin Well, what's wrong in that?

It's much cleaner than your virtuous life, Shanichari!

Hungry, naked and diseased You keep rotting in that filth And assume you're accumulating virtue?

What son of virtue? And for whom?

Have you ever thought of it?

Your hell is where you are!


Think again I make you this promise You'll never go hungry or thirsty again You'll have nothing but good in store But yes. There's one thing You must give up Budhua and Ganju

Rani, Shanichari serves you most diligently Serve me sometimes! Yours to command, Hukum

Well, let it pass. Each one to his lot !

Kesar Bai is in Sipla these days I thought we could call her here For the baby's birthday. She sings very well There'll be singing, Rani. One even better!

But there's no need for Kesar Bai This Shanichari here She will sing Kalia told me you've a lovely voice How can I, Hukum?

You know better what and how to sing, not I!

What I meant was If my shadow falls on the little Thakur on such an auspicious occasion!

Don't you bother about that, Shanichari The celebration'll be at night. And so, no shadows!

Look, all this matter of high and low caste of pollution through shadows I neither know about it nor believe in it Besides, you sing so well!

Don't you want to share our happiness?

That's not it, Hukum Whatever be the matter

You had asked for my command and this then is my command!

--- Hukum ---

"My head hums with fear"

"And rises to a roar like the thunder"

"Oh that a drop of water ..."

"It sometimes lets fall from mine eyes"

"To you may I offer ..."

"... the dried leaves I gather"

"At the ineffable touch of your breath ..."

"My withered bough is greened"

"The body that knew your touch"

"Would I... that I hide this body"

"The head that felt your eyes"

"To whom shall I show that head!"

"O my lovely moon ..."

"Your moonlight burns my limbs"

"So high is your pinnacle"

"That my wings were cut"

Shanichari, what is your desire?

Your grace, my liege All right Your hut stands on our ancestral land The two acres around it are yours as of today

And that night I got everything

Kunwar Sahib really set me free

But what I lost that night I have never forgotten You never met him after that night

How well you understand, Bhikni!

All these years, no one even knew this Shanichari And in two days, you Bhikni

The Thakur Sahib is dying. Come quickly. He calls you Wait, I'll come At once? Now, at once!

It's almost night. Can't he wait till morning?

Are you mad!

Does death look at the clock before it comes?

Hey, Bhikni! Whafre you doing? Quick!

Panditji (priest)

Give me the holy Gangs water ...! Soon Munimji, go bring the Gangs water My Lord Gangs water It's coming, Hukum You've made me sit here for four hours!

Why did you send him to fetch me?

The Thakur isn't going to die so soon Give me alight

Who can save a dying man, you tell me, Bhikni

The city doctor you brought here ...!

You've ruined my business, you have!

How does it matters to you? Stay at Shanichari's place

Shall I tell you something?

It's a good thing the Lord prolonged Thakur's life

Shanichari is so good!

She says, Shanichari the one born on a Saturday ate up her father at birth Shanichari the accursed, withered, wretched, unlucky!

It's the plaguel! The plague has spread!

"My head hums with fear"

"And rises to a roar like the thunder"

"O that a drop of water ..."

"It sometimes lets fall from mine eyes"

"To you may I offer ..."

"... the dried leaves I gather"

"At the ineffable touch of your breath ..."

"My withered bough is greened"

"The body that knew your touch"

"Would I that I hide this body"

"The head that felt your eyes"

"To whom shall I show that head!"

"O my lovely moon ..."

"Your moonlight burns my limbs"

"So high is your pinnacle"

"That my wings were cut"

Why can't I cry!

Today I'll cry till my head breaks

Cry! Shanichari, cry!

Cry!! Shanichari, CRY!!

CRY! Shanichari, cryl!

You hear me ...! Shanichari can cry Shanichari hasn't dried up. She'll cry for Ganju's death!

You wretched widow!

You'll cry, will you! You wretched widow!

Have your eyes ever turned moist!

It's 10 days since Ganju died Shameless woman, you haven't performed his funeral rites You didn't do it for your Ma-in-law!

Ganju was your husband. Atleast perform his rites I had made the ritual offer of sand and water Yes, she did. God forbid!

You made offerings of sand and waterl?

Your seven generations'll rot in hell if you don't have me perform the rites!

You'll be cursed!

Ganju'll be damned to hell No, Panditji! NO! Please, revoke your curse What peace did my man find in this world Atleast, may his soul rest in peace Take back your curse! Get lost, you witch!

Putting on a chaste act, are you!

It's all your doing Nothing happened when he drank everyday, you wretch The one day he has the temple Prasad with you, he dies!

All because of you. You accursed wretch!

No! Whafd you order me?

My orders? Well then, listen I'll take 30 rupees to perform the proper rituals Not a paisa less!

I'll take 50 for both if you add your Ma-in-laws's rites From where'll I get so much money!

From wherever, Borrow it Or steal it Commit a dacoity Or beg And listen! Those two might yet be saved

But your soul will not find place even in hell!

Accursed wretch that you're

Munimji Yes, Hukum Oh damn! How often have I told you! Don't let me see these beggarly faces first thing in the morning!

It ruins the entire day!

These people are here asking for a loan, Hukum One wants 10, another 20 And Shanichari wants a loan of 50 rupees!

Hmmm loan You know what a loan means?

Along with the money, you've to pay interest!

Can you pay it? It sends you back to your Grandma, I bet.

Go now I said go, didn't I? Get lost But Shanichari! You're the owner of your own house Whafll you do with a loan, eh?

Oh, you'll build a palace over your hut, eh!

My liege, my husband died... and I must perform his funeral rites Mohanlal Pandit says it'll cost me 50 rupees But Shanichari, how'll you ever pay back 50 rupees?

I'll pay back somehow. Just command me What use are you to me ...!

If you've anything else, tell me

Hukum, she has the hut which Kunwar Sahib had gifted her No! Hukum, no! It's my home. I can't give it up!

Who else is at home?

No one else but this my boy. He's eight Hmm Munimji Take them all as bonded labour for 15 years I'll die, Hukum! 15 years is very long Whafll I eat if I don't even get a wage, Hukum!

You have a son, don't you He'll earn for you. Send him to me I'll put him on a job

"O time, go slowly"

"Vanished is the shade that sheltered my path"

"So far is the village where my love is"

"Go slowly. oh, go slowly"

Budhua O Budhua ...!

Where're you hiding, you rascal?

Have you seen Budhua? Yes Where is he? Over there

Budhua ...! I'll thrash him today!

Let me just find him

You boys, tell me where he is. Truthfully

Oh Budhua! Playing pranks on me, are you!

Why do you tease your poor mother so!

Oh, let me go, Budhua!

Whafre you doing, Budhua!

You aren't a child any more Have you no shame!

Atleast tell me before you go

Oh Ma, forgive me. I said sorry, didn't I

Don't play pranks, son. I worry over you You worry? Whether you're alive or no Okay, I won't go Don't you play pranks I'll go only when you tell me to go Again ! Oh no, no! I won't go

Whafre you doing! Put me down You've grown heavy in your old age!

Who says it's expensive. Buy it. Your wife'll be happy

Ah, Shanichari! Come, Lala Show me your quilt. It's warm, I hope Are you blind! Why should I show you? See it yourself That's why I say give it to me too It'll keep away my cold!

How about kerosene? Sprinkle it on yourself and light it!

It'll keep away the cold for ever!

Get lost, you bitch!

It's demeaning to argue with the likes of you!

Shanichari, send Budhua to the Thakur's palace tomorrow Yes, sir Whafre you doing here, Ramji?

Preparing to ward off the winter Wonderful! You've chosen the best place for it, Ramji I must applaud you well, I must be going We'll meet again. Here!

Listen, Shanichari. I've some bad news for you When did one ever expect good news from you!

Look, Thakur Sahib's days are numbered And Kunwar Sahib has decided to sack all workers and sell off the property And the lot of people like you'll be hell. Know that?

Whafre you saying, Munimji!

Where will we go! What will we do?

As you well know She isn't fit for the oldest profession in the world now

Ramji, what you said's worth a million!

You wretched widow! Think of something soon Or you'll starve to death No one'll lend you even a paisa!

Munimji, I've never seen anyone as foxy and mean as you Wonderful! How am Ito blame The Master is seriously ill! And you're least concerned You just fill your pockets You're so worried about me! Why?

You sucked us dry for years! And pilfered from the Master So you built a mansion and filled your coffers You think you're a Zamindar, a Thakur!

Whore! Take care what you say Whore !

How can I forget you're neither a Zamindar nor a lowcaste like me!

You're a pimp, Munimii!

A pimp whose only religion is dishonesty who warships money!

I know that we poor will die this Zamindari (feudalism) will end But you the pimp will live! Yes, you misbegotten bastard Shut up, you whore!

Your tongue grows insolent with age!

Know who you're talking to?

Take care what you say or I'll cut your tongue out Please come away. I'll boot her out in public!

Let her be. She has become old I said, don't handy words with the likes of these!

Oh, Budhua, you're home Stop that playing! come here Lift it up. Let's go to the market You put me to work already! Get up

Take care, Budhua!

I can't lift it!

Have someone else lift it for you. I can't Hey you, Budhua Yes Aren't you ashamed! Do some work sometimes alteast I won't call anyone else. Get up Wait, wait! I'll call if you won't I shall call

ls this some joke, Budhua?

Get up It's not a joke, Ma Have you gone mad! You want to make this a brothel!

You didn't marry this whorel?

Have I done anything without asking you?

All right. Throw her out Throw her out! Out of this house!

Leave her, Ma! Listen, Ma! Throw her out!

You bring home a whore and turn it into a brothel!

Sit down and please listen to me, Ma Listen! Don't be angry. Please listen Budhua, I'll listen to every word you've to say Throw this whore out first!

We'll become outcastes should folks see her Don't you understand?

When were we ever welcome here, Ma Everyone knows that I lie drunk all day at her place And come home at night, to you Because you pity me yes, out of pity No, because I'm afraid of you you'll come after me and flay me before the world Ma, please listen to this one thing I've to say Yes, I'm listening to you Please listen, Ma. Why' re you afraid of folks Let them bark like dogs You walk upright and ignore them Just listen to what your head says Budhua Yes?

My head says only one thing one thing Throw this whore out of the house, now!

Shall I throw both of them out?

Bothl? Who are they? the two?

Your grandson too is in her womb She wanted to abort it I said, don't be afraid. Ma'll take you in You'll keep her here, won't you, Ma! Please Ma

"You persuade my beguiled head"

"You play the game of hope and despair"

"Whether one lives or not this brief span of life ..."

"Whether one breathes or not this poisoned breath ..."

Look at the times we're living in, Lala!

Whores do business openly in the market!

She sells quilts by day and at night Something must be done. Well, Panditji Earlier, Rajas and Zamindars used to take care of them Rajas've lost their kingdoms and Zamindars their fiefdoms We're now forced to fawn over labourers Who'll care for these whores now!

Hmm Just look at that wanton Mungri, will you!

Isn't she juicy like a ripe mango!

Just pluck and peel it!

Why do you call her a Mango? Ever suck it?

So you too have lined up, have you, Panditji!

Lalji, I want 8 annas worth salt, sugar and a biscuit And I want Mungri!

I don't see you in the whore-street now Where've you set up?

Hey, softly What if my Ma-in-law sees!

Whose Ma-in-law? Yours or mine?

Mine. See her over there?

Shanichari is your Ma-in-law! From when?

I'm married to her son, you know So don't you talk smutty to me! I'm a married woman!

Get lost, you bitch The wretched widow has set up a brothel!

God forbid! What immoral times have come to pass!

I must ask the Thakur to throw the mother and son out How dare this lowly wretch!

She sneaks a whore into her house as a daughter-in-law!

Make another one like me your daughter-in-law You can't reap more merit than this in life!

Your 7 generations“ go to heaven!

Say this again and I'll cut your tongue out!

You'll have to touch me And that's not written in your scriptures Aren't I right, Lala?

Mungri! You go from here So tell me. How much sugar and jaggery do you want!

It's a good thing Budhua has come home He's taken care of your old age!

He has brought home an entire shop!

Both'll be happy now you and your son as well You take care of your shop, Lala How can I! My head's not in it!

You've kept your goods hidden at home!

I swear on your goods I'll turn over my entire shop to you if you let me Lala ! Whore Madam!

Let go! You damned whore ...!

You run a whore house and show off outraged decency!

Shut up!

You've a wife at home and pant and slaver after whores You sneak under their skins!

When my son rescues her and gives her a home and respect You can't bear it Whatever he did, my son did it bravely like a man!

He didn't hide like you. lmpotent bastards!

If I don't have you both mother and son thrown out of the village, don't call me Mohanlal!

Stop it! Stop playing that!

Didn't I tell you not to send her to the market!

When do you ever listen or understand!

What happened? Ask her! Go on, ask her She rubbed our nose in din! The village spits on us She showed what she is! What happened? Tell me Whafll she tell you! Shame has cut her tongue out She sniffed like a bitch round Lala and Pandit With tongue hanging out! Hers and theirs Ma !

A whore's always a whore! With a harlot's ways Harlot! Your Ma's a harlot! If she says anything more Stop it! You shut up!

I'm a fornicating whore! Yes, you are!

She who slurps from every glass can't be a chaste wife You're the only chaste wife on this earth, aren't you!

Stop it or I'll slap you!

Who're you calling bastard! He looks a bastard to you?

He looks a bastard You whore! If it weren't for my grandson in your womb I'd boot you out!

Come Grandson How do you know it's your grandson in my whore's womb

lmpotent bastard!

Crawl back into your Ma's belly and hide there!

Budhua ...!

Oh, where are you!

Budhua !

Tuliram, did you see my Budhua anywhere?

Which Budhua?

Where's Mungri? Inside Mungri Mungri Budhua didn't come back Mungri! What's happened to her?

Mungri aborted her baby

Did you have to cut off your own flesh for what I said!

You could've given it to me. I'd have brought him up

But you were worried about your trade

He was your grandson, Ma

"The wind has blown it all away"

"It has swept away the caravan marks"

"Where will I find what the wind has blown away"

"Will someone show me my love's footsteps"

"O time , go slowly"

"Vanished is the shade that sheltered my path"

"So far is the village where my love is"

I lost my grandson with it, my blood line

And my Budhua did never come back

He went off with some touring company !

Just as my mother had

He inherited my mother's wandering ways

What was your mother's name?

Peewli folks say that was her name

No one was sad for me that my son had run away But Ramavtar Singh was sad for losing his bonded labourer

But I haven't been able to decide till today Was it for good or bad that Budhua ran away

When I think of him I feel it was a good thing

What was here for him anyway

He'd share my scraps and die slowly, inch by inch

When I think about myself I feel what happened was bad Who'll gather the dust into which I have mingled

Bhikni Hey, Bhikni

You are crying! No... I'm not crying You've fallen into the trap of attachment for me !

A Rudali cries only when she's paid to mourn!

Cry for me when I die. But you'll be paid nothing!

Go fetch a comb. I'll comb your hair You wept on hearing my tale So much happened to me and yet I did not cry!

What could I do? I hardly found the time

Now I have nothing but time

The tears don't come Dried up Shanichari! Unfortunate Shanichari Born on Saturday and ate up her father at birth!

Bhikni, I am afraid of this attachment for you

You too will go away I know Whoever was bound to me either died or went away

Will you too go away? yes, go away after Ramavtar dies

This too I shall bear I have that strength

And now, I have got used to it

But memories of you will keep coming

Will you stay for always

here in this house?

Stay back, Bhikni Yes, stay here with me

Bhikni! Hey, Bhikni

I looked all over and you're here!

Is he dead? Then why're you here?

You don't know when he'll die. Another job for you Will you mourn? That's what I do!

But a Rudali mourns after death It's unlucky otherwise See how Ramavtafis life is stuck Yes, I know. Where do I have to go?

To Nathuni Singh's house in this very village He's Ramavtafis distant relation But they're estranged Nathuni Singh died in the night I thought you're here waiting for Ramavtar to die You may as well earn money and pass on some of it to me You better know that I don't haggle over my price I take 25 rupees, besides jaggery, oil and flour To beat my breast and roll on the floor Ten rupees a piece Extra If that suits you, tell me and I'll go They'll give what you ask. They've to show the village How, under his very nose, they used his own Rudali to do the mourning

Pigs, all of them! Such hypocrites!

I've contempt for them They try to humiliate one another even during death!

Oh, stop grumbling It's yes then?

Yes You go. I'll follow you Listen, I'll give you two rupees your commission Make it five All right. Take five

OH! MY Master! My liege!

Alas! Oh, Godfl How cruelly unjust of You!

Why have You taken my liege so early! Why, Oh, why!?

You have made everyone in this village homeless!

Oh my Masterl! Oh my liegel!

You bastard, let me go in! Who are you to stop mel?

Bastard! Alas! Oh my Masterl!

But she's Phoolbano! His keep from whore-street

She was his keep all her life O Mayi, you know why they called you And pay you money to mourn himl?

And he used to run even from your shadow when he lived!

Because you are pure, that's why You are not a whore, that's why!

All his life he stayed clung to my body And now that he's dead, let alone touch him I can't even cry over his dead body!

Can she cry the way I can!

How can she ever weep the way I can!

Oh my Master!

Kick this whore out of here!

Where were you all when I served the Masterl?

It's an insult to you when a whore cries over your dead ls it nothing of no value how you insulted my body when he lived

You sit. I'll cook No, you eat And I'll serve you food

You have a house a family I have no one I have never cooked for anyone or served Let me do it for a few days Then I can fulfil this desire too

Bhikni May I ask you something?


You've been crying at wakes for years You have to weep a lot, I suppose How does this stream of tears flow from your eyes?

That is the miracle how I can summon up this stream of tears!

Wait I will show you

Where're you going?

What are you doing?

This is my magic box!

Kohl No it has magical tears I apply a little in my eyes like Kohl You then watch its splendour!

Water just gushes out!

Oh! How Whafve you done, Bhikni!

My head's splitting! I can't see anything!

Hey, Shanichari Oh Bhikni! You've blinded me!

Oh Shanichari! You look just like a Rudali!

Like a Rudali? How? Look

The sorrow in your head has hardened like wax

No one has warmed it till now That's why it has not melted Your tears have dried up Cry, Shanichari Cry

On the death of those who oppressed you make a pretence of mourning!

And as the dead bodies of these sinners grow cold so will your strength grow Find this new strength and make a new path A way to bring out your contempt

But Bhikni I will not I can't make a pretence of mourning Yes, Bhikni You can do it, Shanichari! Yes, you can And then, this is not real weeping, is it You just have to make a show of it Have you gone mad?

Mine own have died and run away Not a tear came to this dried up ShanicharFs eye Can I now cry over someone's deathl?

Yes. You can cry

You'll become a Rudali You'll get both money and respect

We'll perform at mournings together There'll be two Rudalis in the place of one!

And then this hunger, this thirst and this loneliness Nothing will remain! not this loneliness

Bhikni Who? Kalia?

Me Purushottam! It's you, Purushottam!

Bhishamdata is very ill. He wants you to come at once Nothing to fear, is it?

I can't say but he has been vomiting since yesterday Come for a day and return the day after tomorrow Make it quick

Quick. There's very little time Wait. I'll tell Shanichari I'm going

Shanichari Shanichari Hmm I~\ \ \ I~\

All right.

Oh, Bhikni! So late at night!

Where're you going, all covered in a blanketl?

Someone has come for me. I'm going to Dongri

Who's come to take you?

Pu ru sh ottam Bhishamdata has sent for me Bhishamdata ! Who is he?

I'll tell you when I come back There is so much I have to tell you I heard only your tale till now When you hear mine you'll surely weep

When'll you return?

The day after tomorrow By evening Come back soon It's only a matter of two days Sleep now Go back to sleep Don't worry

Masterl! Hukum!

Go and call the Rudali

Bhikni Hey, Bhikni 1

Bhikni Where is she?

Kalia ? What is it?

Hukum is dying ! But not yet dead!

Come warm yourself The young Master has sent for her But Bhikni has gone to Dongri for two days Some Bhishamdata sent for her

Bhishamdata !

You know him?

The whole world knows him. He had his own touring company It had created a stir all over this area But what has Bhikni to do with a touring company!

Didn't she tell you anything?

Oh, what did Bhikni ever tell me She only heard my story Well then, you tell me Bhikni was romantic and crazy after Bhishamdata She left her home and family And became his kept woman Kept woman! Yes

Let her come! I'll ask her

But how did she become a Rudali?

Then came the bioscope It put an end to touring companies They all had to retire But one has to earn a living So she became a Rudali Play-acting there And play-acting here too


After the elder Zamindar dies the young Master will not live here any more Why not meet him at least once

Beg pardon, Hukum It's okay

How are you, Shanichari? I'm all right I was very sad to hear about the Thakur Sahib All of us have to go one day or the other

Someone goes early others later That's how this world is a fair Why're you standing so far? Come here

What have you done to yourself, Hukum!

How do you know?

Have you even looked at me?

Look up ...!

Look up, I said

Your eyes are exactly the same Honey brown like the desert I haven't forgotten, have I?

Budhua ?

About your daughter-in-law I had so many complaints against her Mohanlal And Lala they had all wanted me to throw her out of the village How could I let that happen, Shanichari?


I heard that you were leaving the village, Hukum Hukum, someone has come to see Shanichari

To see me! Here?

From Dongri from Bhishamdatsfs place Call him here. Yes, Hukum

This palace seems desolate now, Shanichari What did I have of my own here anyway ?

Beg your pardon, Hukum Shanichari I have bad news for you

Bhikni died

The plague took her As she was dying, she said she was not Bhikni She was Peewli She was your mother

Ma !

The Master has passed away, Hukum

Oh! Bhikni is dead!! She has been taken away!!!

Ma Ma !

B h ikni deceived me!

She has forsaken me!

Oh, Bhikni !

Ma O Ma My Ma !!