EXODUS by Shyam Popat 'Pilot' email@example.com +44 7912 623 323 18.01.20 ii. Commemorating 50 years since the journey of the Ugandan Asians in 1971/72. Inspired by true events. DIALOGUE NOTE: The dialogue will alternate between English, Gujarati and Swahili, depending on context. ARCHIVE -- UGANDAN ASIAN CRISIS -- 1971 Queues of restless UGANDAN ASIANS clutch British Protected Persons Passports -- Stores with Asian names host CLOSING DOWN sales -- Row after row of CARS and BUSES clog the way to Entebbe -- The beaming GENERAL IDI AMIN DADA, covered in medals -- A POLICE CHECKPOINT, luggage looted and left to rot -- APCs roll through a village, loose SOLDIERS open fire -- SYCOPHANTS dance in the street -- Crates of possessions spread the airport tarmac -- Confused CHILDREN watch take-off, jets loaded with REFUGEES -- Then, DARKNESS. And out of the mist, a familiar sight, seen from above -- ENGLAND crawls into view -- Ugandan Asian FAMILIES disembark, windy grey drizzle -- Rows of British VOLUNTEERS take down the details of the arriving weary families -- Endless queues, that great British tradition -- CHILDREN, scattered, a new confusion -- As we pass a sign at the city limits, reading: WELCOME TO LEICESTER CUT TO BLACK. INT. BARRACKS. RAF STRADISHALL - DAWN SUPER: RAF STRADISHALL, SUFFOLK. NOVEMBER, 1971. Morning dew on the windows, pale skies outside. A dozen REFUGEES sleep in a dozen beds, fit for soldiers. MAN (O.S.) What if I can’t? 2. WOMAN (O.S.) You can. I know you can. The voices are quiet, soft, spoken by lovers in the morning. Nestled in the corner of the room, the Woman sits up in her cot. 28, loyal to a fault, her cogs always whirring. This is ARCHANA MEHTA. ARCHANA You just have to believe it. The Man rests his head on her lap. 28, all surface confidence and exposed nerves, the weight of the world on his shoulders. This is PRATIK MEHTA. PRATIK You don’t know for sure. ARCHANA I saw it in the stars. PRATIK You’re an astrologer now? ARCHANA Only for you. A small kiss between them -- too many people around for any more. Pratik sits up, yawns, shakes off the sleep. PRATIK Goodbye, lazy mornings. Archana looks deep into his eyes. Measuring him. ARCHANA Ready? He returns the gaze. Determined. PRATIK Ready. EXT. LANE - MORNING A row of FAMILY MEMBERS, lined up for the goodbye. A MINIBUS idles beside them. 3. Wrapped in thin layers, Pratik drops his heavy suitcase before his father KARAMCHAND (60s, perpetually grumpy) and mother ROOPAL (60s, acerbic). Pratik dips low to touch their feet and gain their blessing. They touch his head, their blessings confirmed. ROOPAL Call us every day, you hear me? PRATIK I hear you, Ma. She hugs him tight. ROOPAL My good boy. KARAMCHAND He’s going to miss the bus. Pratik releases, turns to his father -- KARAMCHAND (CONT'D) You have the address? (off Pratik’s nod) Show me. Pratik digs into his pocket -- has he lost it? -- pulls out a slip of paper, an address scribbled on it. KARAMCHAND (CONT'D) His uncle was a good friend. He’ll treat you right. Remind him about the uncle. PRATIK OK, Pa. A thin, awkward embrace. They release quickly. Pratik moves on to -- NIKHIL, 19. Long hair, denim jacket, taking to the 70s as well as anyone. Doing his best to stay strong. Pratik takes him by the arms, eldest to youngest sibling. PRATIK (CONT'D) Take care of them, yeah? I’m counting on you. CHHAYA, 23, LEAPS into Pratik, knocks the air out of him. 4. PRATIK (CONT'D) Woah! Easy. CHHAYA I’m gonna miss you, bro. PRATIK Hey-hey-hey... you’ll be joining me in no time. Chhaya doesn’t respond, deep in his arms. Pratik relents, eases into the hug. PRATIK (CONT'D) I’ll miss you too, chick. He looks beyond her, last in line -- To Archana. Uplifted. Proud. Quietly devastated. She holds their son MAHESH (2) in her arms. Pratik kisses him softly on the forehead. Holds them close. A silent farewell between husband, wife and child. INT. MINIBUS - MOMENTS LATER The engine revs, the DRIVER fit to go. Pratik squeezes past seated UGANDAN ASIANS, all young men of working age, to find a seat by the window. The bus departs. Pratik waves goodbye to his receding family. EXT. GATE - MOMENTS LATER The minibus crawls to a stop before the wide gate. A handlebar-mustached VOLUNTEER pulls the wire fence open. The bus continues its slow progress out of the disused air force base. The gate shuts firm behind. SUPER: EXODUS 5. INT. MINIBUS The English countryside flies by the B-road outside. Pratik’s eyes are fixed straight ahead, out through the windscreen. It’ll go faster if he wills it. He roots into his pocket, takes out the slip of paper. It reads: 14 ST ALBANS ROAD, LEICESTER. VISHAL CHUDASAMA. On its reverse, a crudely-drawn map. All shaky arrows and indiscernible street names. The rumble of the engine makes it impossible to decipher. Anxious, he pockets it again, returns to his vigil. EXT. TRAIN STATION CAR PARK - DAY The parked minibus door slowly opens. The tired Driver lights a cigarette. Pratik is first out. He drags his heavy case across the tarmac. The rest follow at a leisurely pace. A few wary eyes land on this group of nomads. Pratik does his best to ignore them, speeds on to the entrance. INT. TRAIN CARRIAGE - DAY Pratik sits by the window. He keeps his case between his legs, one hand glued to it. This time, he’s lost to the rolling fields outside. EXT. PLATFORM. TRAIN STATION - DAY The train departs, after dropping off its load, to reveal -- A weary Pratik and a sign: CITY OF LEICESTER. Pratik shivers as he drags his case along. It’s colder in the Midlands -- his thin layers won’t cut it out here. INT. TRAIN STATION ENTRY/EXIT - DAY A banner reads: UGANDAN ASIANS WELCOME! In the corner beneath it squats a trestle table, manned by two VOLUNTEERS. On the table, a mound of donated COATS. 6. Pratik emerges from his platform, focus fixed on the map drawn on his slip of paper -- As the Volunteers tend to a large FAMILY, who search through their wares for the right sizes -- And Pratik passes them by, missing the stand entirely. EXT. ST. ALBANS ROAD - DAY A long row of identical terraced homes. You can barely see where they end. Pratik marches down the pavement, searching -- PRATIK Fourteen... fourteen... He lands on it. Squeezes through the knee-high gate. Raps on the door. Nothing. He tries to peek through the murky front room window -- but the curtains are tightly drawn. He can just about make out a single mattress on the floor. He knocks again. Anyone home? Movement... Footsteps... Pratik readies himself... The door opens to reveal VISHAL (24, curt, businesslike), dressed in the sparkling white t-shirt-and-cap-combo of the local chippy. VISHAL You’re late. Not the welcome he was expecting. PRATIK Sorry. Trains, isn’t it. Pratik slides in past him. Vishal checks out for nosy neighbours, shuts the door firm. 7. INT. FRONT ROOM. VISHAL’S HOUSE - DAY PRATIK (O.S.) How’s your uncle? VISHAL (O.S.) Always had a scam, that guy. I’m sure he’s doing just fine. Vishal leads Pratik inside, hits the lights, to reveal -- The mattress on the floor, a small chest of drawers and a wall-mounted heater have converted the lounge into a passable bedroom. VISHAL (CONT'D) Rent’s £2.50 a week. Two weeks max. You’ll need to have found your own by then. No late check-outs. I’m fully booked til the new year. Pratik checks out the digs. Not great -- but it’ll do. He tries the heater. No luck. VISHAL (CONT'D) Kitchen is yours. No dishes left in the sink overnight. Here’s your key, I don’t have a spare. He passes the key, shuts the curtains fully -- VISHAL (CONT'D) Toilet’s out back. Shared. Not recommended. There’s a pub across the road that has one, indoors, a nice one, but they don’t like you using it -- especially if they’re watching football. Always buy a pint if you do. Pratik tests the mattress. It’ll do. PRATIK Anything else? VISHAL That’s it. Follow the rules and we won’t have a problem. You got your work permit? Pratik lies on the mattress, stretches, moans in pleasure -- PRATIK Yep. The hunt starts today. 8. VISHAL Alright, well, the job centre’s not far -- but don’t use this address on your forms, or else it’s my head. I’m already taking a risk having you lot here. And you can’t work at the chippy, they’re already overstaffed. (reining it in) I’m just saying. Everyone’s always asking and the answer’s no. PRATIK Vishal. Relax. I’ll make my way. A brief lull in conversation. Pratik’s glad for it. VISHAL I think I saw you a few times? Back in the day, at school. You were a few years ahead. PRATIK Maybe. I didn’t go much. I was always in the kitchens with Dad. God, those teachers hated me. Vishal chuckles. Toys with his cap. Unsure how to phrase it -- VISHAL Sorry. About the business. PRATIK It’s... It is what it is. VISHAL Is he OK? Your Dad? PRATIK The camp’s not good for him. For any of them. I just need to -- to settle. VISHAL (grins, nostalgic) He used to give me those cassava after school -- you know, the coal- roast masala ones? You guys, honest to God, you made the best cassava in Jinja. Your mum didn’t even charge me half the time. Pratik acknowledges the irony. Vishal chooses not to. 9. Instead, Vishal dons his cap -- VISHAL (CONT'D) Lock the door when you leave. And then he’s gone. The front door SLAMS shut. Pratik sits in the memory for a beat. A life now past. Then he’s on his feet, swiftly digging through his suitcase, tossing clothes, toiletries -- PRATIK Come on... He finds his prize. Pulls out an ENVELOPE. Opens it. Inside are six PLANE TICKETS. Different departure points, different arrivals, all across the Western world. EXT. COMMERCIAL STREET. LEICESTER - DAY A busy road, leisurely PEDESTRIANS window shopping. Pratik stands at the window of the job centre, browsing opportunities stacked in the shop window. A large queue of CLIENTS waits beside. One gives him the stink eye. No jumping the queue. But Pratik’s not in the queue. He’s got eyes on the travel agency opposite -- Inside, a happy CUSTOMER shakes the hand of the MANAGER and leaves. The Manager gives instruction to an AGENT and retreats into the back office. INT. TRAVEL AGENCY - MOMENTS LATER Pratik tap-tap-taps his foot, a nervous tick. He’s sat at the Agent’s desk, complete with model airplane. His eyes glued to the backroom -- The Agent speaks to her Manager, his tickets in her hands -- Tap-tap-tap -- A decision is made -- Tap-tap-tap -- 10. The Agent returns to Pratik -- Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap -- AGENT So. We’ve had a discussion. PRATIK Yes? AGENT (sighs) I’m sorry, Mr Mehta -- Pratik’s heart sinks into his shoes. PRATIK No. No ‘sorry’. AGENT I -- apologise -- but we’re no longer able to sell these back to the airline. PRATIK I don’t understand. I paid two hundred -- She passes the tickets over. Pratik doesn’t take them. She places the tickets on the desk. PRATIK (CONT'D) This is a mistake. Call them. AGENT I can’t do that, I’m afraid. PRATIK Listen to me. I need this money. I’m not leaving without my money. A tense beat. The Agent tightens. Pratik tries to rein it in. PRATIK (CONT'D) This is everything I have. (softer) Please. She sympathises, but her hands are tied. Pratik sees it in her eyes -- he’s got no chance. AGENT I’m sorry, Mr Mehta -- 11. PRATIK Stop. MANAGER (O.S.) How are we over here? The Manager bobs over. He tries to keep it cheerful, but his body language says otherwise. MANAGER (CONT'D) Nearly finished? Pratik is a stone. Rooted to the spot. He folds his arms. AGENT He’s not -- he doesn’t accept the decision. PRATIK Last week, you take the tickets. I’ll call my friend and he will tell you -- last week, you gave him the money. MANAGER That was last week -- PRATIK So what? You want more? You want a bribe? MANAGER (hushed) Alright, voices, please. PRATIK How much? Pratik GRIPS the tickets. MANAGER They still in the camps, are they? Pratik doesn’t answer -- he doesn’t need to. The Manager sizes him up. MANAGER (CONT'D) (sighs) Listen. You seem like a decent chap. But it’s over. It’s finished. The airlines complained, Government got wind and that was that. (MORE) 12. MANAGER (CONT'D) I’m not saying I agree with it -- Lord knows I did well out of the whole... but there it is. We all knew it was coming. Pratik’s can’t compute -- or he won’t. AGENT (softly) You could do it last week. But you can’t do it anymore. PRATIK But I paid. Full price. MANAGER You paid for exclusive access to an expired loophole. That’s all. You gambled and you lost. OK? (beat) Anything else? Pratik SLAMS a fist on the table. The Agent JUMPS in her seat. The model airplane FALLS. The Manager is totally unfazed. MANAGER (CONT'D) Listen to me very carefully, Mr, uh... AGENT Mehta. MANAGER These are not a means of currency retention for fleeing Africans or whatever you are. They are not travelers cheques. They are plane tickets. They are for flying. Yes? He takes the tickets, reads -- MANAGER (CONT'D) So if you’d still like to travel from -- Paris to Toronto, departing next Monday at four in the morning, then -- you’re free to do so. Pratik looks ready to kill him. The Manager looks him back, dead in the eye. 13. The Agent can’t make eye contact with either one. MANAGER (CONT'D) I think you’re looking down the barrel on this one, mate. He holds the tickets out to Pratik. After a beat, Pratik takes them. Admitting defeat. The Manager strides away, after a confident pat on the Agent’s shoulder. AGENT ...Can I get you some water? Eventually Pratik nods. The Agent scurries away. EXT. COMMERCIAL STREET - DAY Pratik emerges in a red mist. He marches across the street towards the job centre queue, dazed. A less-than-satisfied CLIENT exits, their JOB CENTRE WORKER calls out for -- JOB CENTRE WORKER Next! The queue moves forward one. The Clients shuffle forward. The Job Centre Worker gives a wary look towards -- A Luton van parked up, its DRIVER (40s, a Midlands Del Boy with yesterday’s five o’clock shadow) haranguing some of the waiting Clients. This is HARVEY. HARVEY (O.S.) I ain’t got all bloody day. Who’s interested, eh? No response. No-one wants to deal with him -- or lose their spot in the queue. WORKER Oi! HARVEY Oh, leave it out -- (calls out) (MORE) 14. HARVEY (CONT'D) Cash in hand! That’s what you’re all bloody here for, ennit? Pratik’s all ears. He hurries over, but he’s got ground to cover -- PRATIK Hello! The Worker BANGS on the van door. WORKER If you don’t move right now, I’m calling the police. HARVEY What ya waiting for? WORKER I will. I’ll do it. HARVEY Do it then! The Worker recedes, back inside -- Harvey blinks first -- HARVEY (CONT'D) Oh, for fuck’s sake -- (to the Clients) Ungrateful bastards. And SPEEDS away -- PRATIK Hello, sir! Stop! Pratik PACES after the van, but it’s already on its way. An engine against a pair of legs. No prize for guessing who wins. Pratik runs and runs and runs -- PRATIK (CONT'D) Hello!!! But it’s no use. The van accelerates. Pratik starts to struggle. Winded, he gives up the chase. He turns back to the onlooking queue. All eyes on him. One more indignity in a day of -- BEEP-BEEP! The van, up ahead, is now parked by the side of the road. 15. Off Pratik. Not sure he’s seeing straight. Harvey pops his head out the window. HARVEY Come on then, get a move on! Pratik catches his breath, jogs up and hops into the passenger seat. The van pulls out and speeds away. INT. BARRACKS - DAY Archana sits at a desk, working through a loan application. ARCHANA One-four-two-six. One-four-two- six... She cross-references papers strewn across the surface. After a search, she finds what she’s after. ARCHANA (CONT'D) OK. Good. ROOPAL (O.S.) (sing-song) Who’s my favourite? You! Behind her sits Roopal on her cot, playing with Mahesh. Karamchand sleeps soundly beside them. ROOPAL (CONT'D) He needs feeding soon. ARCHANA I’ll make chai in a minute. ROOPAL (to Mahesh) Mummy’s making chai! Oooooh! KARAMCHAND (as he sleeps) Chai... A soft knock at the door. A look between Roopal and Archana. ARCHANA Who is it? 16. FATIMA (40s, cheerful, timid) limps in. Her hands clasped in respectful greeting, loose papers caught between them. FATIMA It’s me. Archana’s straight out of her seat -- but Roopal gives Fatima the stink eye. ARCHANA Fatima! Come, sit -- (finds a chair, takes the papers) What are these? FATIMA They always want more, these banks. ARCHANA Leave it with me. (drops them on the desk) I was just about to make some chai. You’ll have some? (to Mahesh) And for you, huh? FATIMA Oh, no, that’s not necessary -- KARAMCHAND (wakes up) Chai? Mahesh whines and stretches his arms out to Archana. She can’t resist. ARCHANA Oh, my baby. Come here. Archana takes Mahesh from a disappointed Roopal. ARCHANA (CONT'D) Tea, Ma? ROOPAL There’s no sugar. ARCHANA Sugar. OK. Sugar. (to Fatima) Give me two minutes. I want to hear all about Kamal’s wedding, hm? 17. Archana rushes out, Mahesh in her arms. Easy enough with the weight of her duties. Karamchand goes back to sleep. He never really left it. Leaving Roopal and Fatima, alone. FATIMA So how are you finding it here? Beat. ROOPAL Too many people. EXT. BARRACKS. RAF STRADISHALL - DAY Row after row of barracks, organized in a grid. Archana hurries across the lane to the block opposite. A few REFUGEES smoke by the door. ARCHANA Do you have sugar? REFUGEE Sorry, we’re out. She tries the next one. ARCHANA Sugar? A few shakes of the head. Archana rocks Mahesh, put out... As she spots two COOKS, across the way, ferrying washed pots and pans, into -- INT. KITCHEN. MESS HALL - DAY The kitchen is ABUZZ with activity. VOLUNTEERS and CAMP DWELLERS, all women, working together to prepare lunch. ARCHANA (to Mahesh) Shh... Archana passes through them, unnoticed. She finds what she was looking for: a small bag of sugar -- 18. And DROPS IT -- As she turns straight into SHERMAN NORRIS (65, ex-colonial Camp Administrator, answerable only to God and the Home Office). Flanked by AIDES on his daily inspection. ARCHANA (CONT'D) Mr. Norris. The floor is COVERED. All eyes fall on Archana. Norris doesn’t blink. ARCHANA (CONT'D) Sorry -- Archana puts Mahesh down and starts to clean up the spill with her hands. Norris and his Aides pass by. One makes a note. Eventually, Archana is handed a dustpan and brush by one of the other Women. ARCHANA (CONT'D) Thank you. Archana cleans up, ashamed. Mahesh rubs his hand in the sugar. EXT. MESS HALL. RAF STRADISHALL - MORNING We trace a woman’s HAND -- Along her fingers, across a stainless steel spoon -- To a mound of bright red CHILLI POWDER. The hand belongs to Chhaya. She scatters the spice over a huge POT of simmering curry. Reds and yellows and greens -- you can almost taste it. She’s among a dozen other Ugandan Asian AUNTIES, quietly preparing cauldrons served by gas canisters. The kitchen’s not big enough to feed the sheer numbers here. Chhaya adds another spoon of chilli, as one of the older Aunties comes over to taste -- AUNTIE Needs salt. She throws in a heaped spoon of salt -- and another -- 19. Chhaya watches on, put out -- And another -- CHHAYA OK, enough! The Auntie kisses her teeth, leaves her be. Chhaya angrily stirs in the sodium. INT. MESS HALL - MORNING Karamchand, Roopal, Nikhil, Archana and Mahesh sit, eating their Indian breakfast in silence. Chhaya arrives, apron on tight. CHHAYA How is it? KARAMCHAND It’s good. Sit. CHHAYA Maybe later. KARAMCHAND Sit down. You can’t skip breakfast every day. A tense moment between father and daughter. Archana senses it, cuts through -- ARCHANA Chhaya. You need to eat. CHHAYA I will. I promise. A shared smile between sisters-in-law. CHHAYA (CONT'D) But the taste is good? ARCHANA The taste’s perfect. They all turn to Roopal. Judge, jury and executioner. ROOPAL Too much salt. Chhaya’s perk fades. 20. KARAMCHAND You’re not going to that factory. CHHAYA Not this again -- KARAMCHAND Roopal, tell her. ROOPAL What do you want me to say? It’s not like she listens. CHHAYA We need the money. End of discussion. Chhaya notices the Diners -- the queue’s not moving -- CHHAYA (CONT'D) I’ll be back in a minute. She rushes off. KARAMCHAND (to Nikhil) See that? That’s initiative. ROOPAL Oh, let him eat. KARAMCHAND Sure, eat, eat, eat. Does he do anything else? Nikhil picks at his food. Not hungry anymore. INT. BATHROOM - DAY We look up out of the toilet bowl at Chhaya. She squints down at us. Looking for something. She pokes around the toilet with a pencil. Her free hand holding her nose. It’s a thorough search -- CHHAYA Shit. -- but she can’t find what she’s looking for. 21. EXT. BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS Chhaya marches away, back to the mess hall -- She stops in her tracks. Because there’s a MINIBUS parked up ahead of her. And it looks just like Pratik’s. Out steps a large group of TEXTILE WORKERS, women young and old, back from a long day at work. They’re tired but cheerful, chatting amongst themselves. Chhaya watches for a beat, envious of their casual company. She wants to join them... But instead, she keeps up her lone walk. INT. DISUSED OFFICE - DAY Two sets of feet. Two bare legs. Two writhing bodies. KATHY (O.S.) I love you -- NIKHIL (O.S.) I love you -- Nikhil has sex with KATHY (18, camp volunteer, proud hippie) on the floor. Only their discarded clothes to cushion them. KATHY I fucking love you -- NIKHIL I love -- fuck -- (he’s close) Oh God -- KATHY Wait for me -- NIKHIL Oh -- KATHY Yeah -- Nikhil bites down on his own underpants to keep from screaming. Kathy does no such thing. KATHY (CONT'D) NIKHIL Yes! Yufff! 22. LATER The calm after the storm. Kathy pins a badge to her lapel. Quiet as mice now, the two tip-toe to the door. NIKHIL Wait, wait -- KATHY Shh. INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS Kathy pokes out of the office. She checks both directions. There’s no-one. NIKHIL You first. They share a lover’s kiss, deep and affectionate. NIKHIL (CONT'D) My KitKat. KATHY My sweet curry. NIKHIL Tomorrow? KATHY Can’t wait. She sets her hair, steps out and walks away. INT. DISUSED OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Nikhil sits on the desk, grinning ear to ear. He lets out a little laugh. His first love. He lights a cigarette, looks absently out of the back bay window, to see -- Another VOLUNTEER (20s, a bear of a man) stood outside it. His face tells the story: he’s been watching for a while. The Volunteer GRINS, baring two gold teeth. This is TREV. 23. EXT. OFFICE BLOCK - DAY Trev waits, patiently smoking. Nikhil emerges, looking worse for wear. He tries to get away fast, but -- TREV She’s a good girl, Kat. Nikhil’s a deer in headlights. TREV (CONT'D) Be a shame if anyone found out. They frown on that ‘fraternising’ up at the Board. Trev’s got him in his pocket -- and he knows it. TREV (CONT'D) Oh, Romeo. What are we gonna do with you? INT. HARVEY’S VAN - DAY Pratik sits in the passenger side of the cabin. A little restless, he glances over at the driving Harvey -- Who uses an underarm crutch to work the clutch, his left leg resting lame beside. Harvey meets Pratik’s eye. Pratik quickly looks away. HARVEY You speak English? PRATIK Of course. HARVEY Alright. Only asking. An uncomfortable beat. PRATIK What’s wrong with your leg? HARVEY You don’t wait about, do ya? (after a beat) It were Sunday League. Football. 24. PRATIK (laughs) Football? HARVEY Last fella I hired liked making jokes an’ all. That’s why he’s the last fella. Another, more uncomfortable beat. PRATIK You pay every day? HARVEY Tomorrow’s for tomorrow. Let’s see how you do today. Pratik sits back, content. That’s a yes. EXT. STREET CORNER - DAY The van slows to a stop on a quiet residential corner. A couple of OAPs, a WORKING MUM on her way home, the first returning SCHOOLKIDS... INT. HARVEY'S VAN - CONTINUOUS Harvey scours the neighbourhood, eagle-eyed. HARVEY (opens his door) Alright, follow me. Harvey shuffles out, taking his crutch with him. Pratik tries the handle -- HARVEY (O.S.) (CONT'D) You’ve got to -- push it -- Pratik pushes -- pulls -- HARVEY (O.S.) (CONT'D) Put your back into it -- Pratik YANKS it -- it opens with a CREAK -- HARVEY (O.S.) (CONT'D) Good lad. 25. EXT. STREET CORNER - CONTINUOUS Pratik takes in the scenery. His first glimpse of an urban white working class neighbourhood. Green lawns, council housing, a small church to one side. Harvey limps to the tailgate. Pulls it open. HARVEY Right. Pratik heads over. Now his first glimpse of Harvey’s wares: crate after crate of fresh fruit and veg. Harvey pulls out a trestle table, a couple inches. HARVEY (CONT'D) That one -- put it there. The rest, here and here. Pratik gets to work, as Harvey clears his throat -- HARVEY (CONT'D) (pure market trader) Carrots, cabbage, sprouts! Eight pence a pound! LATER The CUSTOMERS are out in force. A queue of middle-aged HOUSEWIVES line up, spilling off the pavement. Harvey, behind a square of trestles full of produce -- HARVEY Half a pound, right you are, my darlin’. (to a Customer) Giz a kiss and it’s a penny off. Service with a smile. They love a bit of it. INT. BACK OF VAN - CONTINUOUS Pratik works at pace, organizing the inventory, discarding empties, pulling out stock -- HARVEY (to Pratik, for show) Cabbage, my good man! (off) Ten B&H, there ya go duck. 26. Pratik seeks it out. Cabbage... cabbage... HARVEY (CONT'D) (next Customer) What can I do for ya, love? (to Pratik) Anytime you like. Cabbage! Pratik drags the crate, hops down to the street and hauls the box from truck to table. It’s not easy work -- but Pratik’s capable. Harvey takes note. LATER A few salad leaves spread the tarmac. The Customers are long gone. Pratik finishes loading up the empties, while Harvey whips through the day’s takings, cigarette hung off his lip. HARVEY Here. He passes Pratik a few notes. Adds an extra one. PRATIK Thank you. HARVEY Nah, none of that. No ‘sorry’, no ‘thank you’. A car idles past. At first, Harvey doesn’t notice -- Until it stops. Two YOUNG MEN, their eyes GLUED to Harvey. He FREEZES. Recognizes them instantly. They drive on. Harvey pockets the cash, suddenly anxious -- HARVEY (CONT'D) How we gettin’ on? Pratik sweats as he loads the last trestle table. PRATIK Done. HARVEY Alright, off we pop. Harvey swiftly hops into the cabin and guns the engine. 27. Pratik, off-guard, barely has time to shut the tailgate and join him -- And the van ZOOMS away. INT. HARVEY'S VAN - DAY Pratik, weary, watches the world pass by. Harvey yanks out his cigarettes from his top pocket, offers one to Pratik. Pratik shakes, no. Harvey lights up, hands off the wheel. HARVEY You one of this new lot, then? Africa, ennit? PRATIK Uganda. HARVEY That’s the one. You got that gorilla in power. PRATIK Idi Amin. The General. HARVEY The General. See, I like that. It’s got a nice ring to it. PRATIK (impassive) He is a very bad man. HARVEY Yeah, who ain’t. Pratik examines him. Harvey’s in his own world. HARVEY (CONT'D) It’s good, though. You wanna work. Pratik returns to his vigil. Done with the conversation. PRATIK Yes. Harvey slows, traffic up ahead -- HARVEY (out the window) Move! 28. INT. PUB - LATE AFTERNOON Thick smoke, mahogany walls and low chatter. Pratik exits the bathroom. The LANDLORD throws him a look, as do a few PUNTERS watching the footy. There are only two WOMEN in the place, sipping G&Ts in the corner. Pratik strides past, picks up his fresh pint, passes over a few coins and joins a corner table -- Where Vishal and a few other Ugandan Asian MEN nurse their drinks. MAN 1 It’s the Jews and the Irish. Only ones who’ll give you a hand. Mark my words. VISHAL Exactly. They know how it is. MAN 2 Sure. They know. They know how to squeeze you dry. VISHAL They learn from the best. Pratik squeezes in beside Vishal. A long day behind them. VISHAL (CONT'D) What did I say about the football? PRATIK When you gotta go, you gotta go. Pratik takes the first refreshing swig of his pint. VISHAL You found a job, then? PRATIK It’s something. Vishal’s quietly impressed. VISHAL How’s the family? PRATIK Shit. I forgot to call them. (stands) Where’s the nearest phonebox? 29. VISHAL It’s just one day, man. What’s going to happen? INT. RECEPTION. NORRIS’ OFFICE - LATE AFTERNOON Archana twists her shawl through her fingers as she waits. Across the room, Norris’ receptionist EVE (50s, cold, calculated) types up a memo. Her in-tray heaves, unread. ARCHANA Excuse me -- Eve puts up a finger, finishes typing her sentence. EVE Yes? ARCHANA How long will it be? My son... Eve sighs, heaves herself up to the heavy door beside her. She knocks, pokes her head in. Inaudible voices. Then -- A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN rushes out of the office. Despairing. Archana reaches out to her as she passes -- but she rips away, rushes out. Eve watches her go, zero sympathy. EVE (to Archana) Go on, then. Eve grunts as she sits back down. Archana treads into the lion’s den, under Eve’s watchful glare. INT. NORRIS’ OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Archana enters the large, high-ceilinged office, every piece in its place. A deified portrait of Ted Heath MP rests on the back wall, behind -- Norris, making notes on the document before him. Archana shuts the door. Norris doesn’t acknowledge her. She clears her throat. He flits his eyes -- He gestures for her to sit opposite him. She does as she’s told, tense and alert. 30. Beat. ARCHANA If this is about the sugar -- Norris places his document down, just so. Then, he carefully pulls out a large manila folder and plants it before her. NORRIS Care to explain these? She looks through the papers inside. Her loan applications. ARCHANA ...I don’t understand. NORRIS Is that your hand? ARCHANA You read our mail? Norris isn’t used to answering the questions. NORRIS Did you complete these forms? ARCHANA Yes. I did. Beat. ARCHANA (CONT'D) Why do you have these? They are for the banks. NORRIS Reports have circulated of Ugandan migrants conducting false applications to a collection of regional building societies. I had once been proud to say none of these had originated from Stradishall, nor from any of our previous inhabitants. But it seems I was wrong. It dawns on her. This is an interrogation. NORRIS (CONT'D) Was I? Wrong? 31. ARCHANA No-no-no-no. NORRIS Then enlighten me. ARCHANA This is not right. They are for -- Mr Norris, you misunderstand. NORRIS These are legitimate applications? All eighteen? Exasperated, Archana folds her arms -- ARCHANA Yes. NORRIS You, a young mother, are the focal point of official correspondence for a camp of six hundred? She wouldn’t put it that way, but... ARCHANA I was an accountant. Before. Norris purses his lips. NORRIS Accountant. ARCHANA ACCA, ICWA. He looks her over, like he’s inspecting a prize bull. NORRIS Your mother is in the camp, is she? ARCHANA Mother-in-law. NORRIS Good. (beat) I’ll send your applications. But I want something in return. Archana shuffles in her seat, covers her ankle with her sari. 32. NORRIS (CONT'D) An administrative position has just become available. She clocks it. A job offer. ARCHANA I saw the previous occupant. NORRIS Yes. She was not fit for the position. You on the other hand might just be. ARCHANA I’m sorry, Mr. Norris. I have a young son -- NORRIS As do I. He’s pushing and she knows it. But she’s tempted... ARCHANA I want the application sent. Today. NORRIS That’s not possible. ARCHANA If we can’t apply to the banks, we’re finished. Job or no job. NORRIS It’s half-past-five. Last post is at four. ARCHANA ...Fine. Tomorrow. First thing. NORRIS Not a problem. Norris offers a hand. After a beat, Archana takes it. Beaming from ear to ear. INT. MINIBUS - MORNING The bus is full of energetic TEXTILE WORKERS. Chhaya steps on, sheepish, and passes a filled-out form to the DRIVER. He scans it, uninterested, passes it back. 33. Chhaya takes a seat. Scans the others. They’re chatty, friendly, open. Chhaya gets comfortable as the doors close. EXT. MINIBUS - CONTINUOUS The engine turns. The bus departs. INT. HOSIERY - DAY Dozens of TEXTILE WORKERS hunch over sewing machines. Asians, West Indians, White British women toil for their wage. Chhaya and the others cut through the throng, led by HIMESH (30s, disheveled, pot belly). An ARM attaches to her own. Chhaya jumps -- As JALPA (20s, precocious, wizened) locks arms with her. JALPA Brand new! And they’ve already put you to work. (off Chhaya’s confusion) I saw you cooking with the masis. Bit too salty for me. Tasty, though. When did you arrive? CHHAYA Last week. JALPA Three for me. I started on my first day here. It’s hard work, but you get used to it. They walk on, arm-in-arm. Chhaya stiff, Jalpa relaxed. The group stops. Himesh checks his notes, confused -- JALPA (CONT'D) That’s Himesh. He’ll try to sleep with you -- don’t do it. I know it might seem like there’s something to gain, but I’m telling you, it’s herpes and nothing else. Chhaya giggles. Jalpa smiles too, enjoys making her laugh. The group moves on -- 34. INT. MANAGER’S OFFICE. HOSIERY - DAY Stuffy, packed, barely space to open the door. Chhaya sits opposite Himesh. He roots around, in drawer after drawer. HIMESH Know how to write? CHHAYA ...Yes. She examines the room around her -- schedules, purchase orders, accounts in disarray. A total mess. HIMESH Ugandan? CHHAYA British, I suppose. HIMESH Sure. Finally Himesh finds a form, passes it over. HIMESH (CONT'D) Know how to sew? CHHAYA Mm-hm. HIMESH I don’t mean by hand. CHHAYA I took a course. She passes back the form. He gives it a cursory look. HIMESH Makerere College. They allow women now? CHHAYA For a while. He looks her over, defensive. She’s the picture of professionalism. HIMESH Start time is nine, you finish when you finish. (MORE) 35. HIMESH (CONT'D) Pay is linked to performance. One of the girls will show you the ropes. CHHAYA Not a problem. Beat. HIMESH You’re smart. I can tell already. CHHAYA (wary) Thank you. HIMESH Any problems out there, don’t worry. Just come and see me. She doesn’t respond. He senses resistance. HIMESH (CONT'D) There’s a lot of gossip around here. I suggest you stay out of it. People get bored. CHHAYA I’ll bear that in mind. Chhaya’s immoveable. Himesh gives up the chase. ...Is that it? HIMESH What are you waiting for? CHHAYA (stands) Thank you for the opportunity. Himesh STAMPS the form as Chhaya leaves. He picks at his teeth as he watches her go. INT. HOSIERY - MOMENTS LATER Everyone around is hard at work, focused, disciplined -- Chhaya ambles into the fray. Unsure where to start. Jalpa waves, a free station next to her. Chhaya takes it, grateful. She looks over her work area with pride. 36. JALPA How’d it go? CHHAYA He asked if I know how to write. JALPA That’s Himesh. Jalpa senses, spots Himesh leaning in the open office door. Watching them. She swiftly gets back to work. But Himesh only has eyes for Chhaya. INT. MESS HALL - DAY It’s lunchtime and the hall is full, FAMILIES eat together. A queue of the waiting hungry is served by VOLUNTEERS, Kathy and Trev among them. Karamchand and Roopal hold full plates. Nikhil, next in line, takes a mound of rice from Kathy. An imperceptible smile between them. He moves on, to -- Trev. That grin. He’s got Nikhil in his pocket -- and they both know it. Trev checks his watch. TREV Better eat up. Nikhil nods, solemn. Trev doles him out a meagre portion of curry. Nikhil starts to protest, thinks better of it. Kathy throws them a glance. What’s going on there? LATER Nikhil slurps up his food, barely swallowing before his mouth’s full again. ROOPAL Chew your food, beta. But Nikhil ignores her. His mind entirely elsewhere. He finishes, stands immediately -- NIKHIL Got to pee. And he’s off. 37. KARAMCHAND You always spoilt that boy. ROOPAL Oh, how would you know. They continue their meal in silence. INT. DISUSED OFFICE - DAY A group of hungry-eyed TEENS (female, aged between 14 and 18) huddle around quietly, knelt or sitting on the floor. Nikhil lays out a thick bundle of cloth before them. NIKHIL Ready? They nod. Nikhil pulls, to reveal -- Velvet miniskirts. See-through tights. Floral blouses. The best that British fashion has to offer. The Girls SHRIEK! They’re instantly at them, chatting excitedly, comparing sizes. Nikhil keeps one eye out the window -- and one hand outstretched. NIKHIL (CONT'D) Two pounds. (next) Two-fifty. (next) Two... three pounds. Fine, two- fifty. His hand swiftly fills with notes and coins. INT. BATHROOM - DAY Trev counts the money Nikhil had made. Nikhil nervously smokes a cigarette, keeps his distance. TREV (pockets the cash) Good. NIKHIL She’s safe? No problem? 38. TREV Why wouldn’t she be safe? Trev drops a single note on the side. TREV (CONT'D) See ya tomorrow, Romeo. Trev flashes his signature smile, leaves. Nikhil slumps. He takes the note, looks it over, pockets it. He chucks his cigarette in the sink and slinks out. Embers spray, fizzle and slowly die. EXT. MESS HALL - DAY The food prep area, now empty but for scattered pots and pans. Nikhil anxiously smokes among them. Kathy emerges from the hall. Nikhil whistles -- Kathy JUMPS -- KATHY Jesus, Nick. She checks for any onlookers. They kiss. She notices -- KATHY (CONT'D) What’s wrong? NIKHIL Do you love me? KATHY What d’you mean? ‘Course I do. He weighs up whether to tell her. Can’t decide. KATHY (CONT'D) Nicky, what’s happened? (clocks it) Trev? NIKHIL ...He knows. She backs up. Away from his touch. KATHY Oh, fuck. (beat) Oh, fuck, oh, fuck.