Interior. Modestly furnished living room. Mid-morning. Scene opens on two men. One (HT City representative) looks supremely confident, the other (RB) looks cheery. A little bit too cheery.
HT: Hi, Mr Bose. Well, we wondered if you’d be interested in writing a column for us.
RB: Gosh, that’s awfully nice of you! When would you like me to start?
HT (smoothly) : Well, before we actually discuss that, we wanted to ask a few questions.
(shifting nervously): Uhm. What kind of questions?
HT: Well, for starters, we’d like the column to be funny.
(Long pause. RB shifts awkwardly under the penetrating gaze of HT)
HT: Well, can you?
HT: Can you be funny, Mr Bose?
Can I be funny? Are you serious? Of course I can be funny! I was once adjudged the funniest boy in class!
HT: I see. And were they laughing at you or with you?
Ha ha! That’s funny! Laughing at you or with you…
HT: I’m sorry Mr Bose, but I don’t have much time. We really have to make a decision quickly. Can you give us some evidence that you have a sense of humour?
You want to hear a joke? I’m very good at that!
HT: Well, jokes aren’t really what we’re looking at.
(interrupting) No, no! Wait till you hear this! How many journalists does it take to screw a light bulb?
(HT takes a deep breath)
Are you kidding? It’s much more fun screwing politicians, actors and sportspersons!
HT: I think I should be leaving…
(now in blind panic): No! No! Wait! I get it, I get it! You want me to be funny, but not over the top. Witty, sharp, satirical!
HT: Yes, precisely but really, I think we’ve come to you at the wrong time…
(wild look in his eyes): No, no! It’s the right time! It’s exactly what my career needs at this point! You think I like doing art films that nobody watches? Social causes that I don’t really care about? You don’t understand how I look at all these actors who write for you and think — now that’s fame! If only I got a chance! What couldn’t I do! And then…
(All this while HT has risen, picked up his laptop and opened the door to leave. He stops, turns, a look of deep boredom mixed with pity on his face)
HT: And then what, Mr Bose?
And then what? Are you kidding? The sky’s the limit! Who knows? A dancing contract, a playback singing offer, a
show …I’ll be unforgettable!
(getting into elevator): You are, Mr Bose, you already are.
(Fade to black)