(Gift of God)

To have each other is to have everything!

A screenplay inspired by the charisma of Mr Shahrukh Khan



The idea for Devadutt has two major strengths. At the heart of the story are two lovable characters. Amol, a teenage boy from a wealthy family, witnesses his parents’ brutal murder. He runs away to a poor district in Mumbai, is unable to speak or respond to anybody, and represses all his memories. He is renamed Devadutt. Here he meets four-year-old Prisha, the daughter of a prostitute. Everyone assumes Amol can’t hear, but he can. Through Prisha’s words, Amol finds the will to live and hence decides to continue with the deception of his deafness. The two children forge an indestructible bond and go everywhere together with little Prisha hanging around his neck like a monkey. As they grow into adults, circumstance attempts to drive them apart and their true feelings for each other surface. To be together, Amol must conquer the demons of his past and earn Prisha’s forgiveness in regards to his deception.

The second strength of the film and what I’m really excited about is that the mute character of Devadutt is a vehicle for the comedic genius and magic of Mr. Shahrukh Khan. I wrote Devadutt especially for him. He was my inspiration for this story and the reason I’m convinced that Devadutt will be a winner. While watching Om Shanti Om, and the scene where besotted Om Prakash gazes intoxicated at his dream-love Shantipriya sitting at the balcony at her premiere, it hit me - Shahrukh Khan is the Indian Charlie Chaplin.

In that instant I saw the great silent actor in Mr Khan’s face and it was a revelation. I’m a huge fan of silent movies and, needless to say, of Mr Khan. The main difference between a silent actor and a mute character is that in silent movies every character is a mute. The challenge for me was to come up with a situation that would enable Mr Khan to shine and steal the audience’s hearts by the power he commands through the expressiveness of his face and body. In other words, through pantomime, the idea for Devadutt was thus born. The story is timeless and seemingly simple. It encompasses many classic Indian film plots while being a universal fairytale. It is a story about family and the meaning of identity through love. What truly interests me is the potential for brilliance in its telling, one of which is the pantomime sequences. Indian people use expressions and gestures to express themselves more colourfully than in any other culture. In my mind’s eye I see an Indian Charlie Chaplin, a Harpo Marx and a Marcel Marceau all in one. But of course I see that unique image that is Mr Khan and I know he will come up with a completely new and arresting creation in the form of Devadutt. The challenge of creating this character with him is what drives me to make this project a reality.

The screenplay is completed and I would be very happy to send it to you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Anna Kannava

+61 3 9557 1144 - Melbourne Australia









































Amol is a 15-year-old youth from a wealthy, old family in Mumbai. Despite his affluence, he’s kind and considerate to all. Writing a love-letter on behalf of his nursemaid’s son who wishes to win his beloved’s heart, he sings ‘No matter what riches I am promised, I’ll never trade your love for them! Only with you I’m whole, you are who I am - you are home!’

On his way to his room, Amol overhears an argument between his father and his business partner. Fearing ruin, the partner stabs Amol’s father, and mother who happens to be there, killing them both. Amol, who witnesses the brutal murders, flees in shock and ends up in a poor neighbourhood, unable to speak or remember much because of the trauma. A prostitute, who has a four-year-old daughter, Prisha, takes him in to look after her daughter while she’s at work, and Amol finds solace through the child. He also becomes the neighbourhood’s god-sent gift. They call him Devadutt, which means just that, and he takes Prisha with him everywhere he goes to do odd jobs while she hangs from his neck like a monkey. As he’s unable to speak, everyone including little Prisha, presume he can’t hear either.

Amol gets work at a small eatery washing dishes and waiting tables, and when they teach him how to cook, it’s obvious he’s a natural. He delights in spoiling Prisha with his tasty dishes. The loss of his speech and identity disturbs and haunts him, but he gathers strength from her being his special interpreter and protector. Prisha, who is a chatterbox, tells Amol everything that’s on her mind. Amol writes fantastic stories to amuse her and teaches her to read and write. He also mesmerises her with his performances of gestures and graceful movements. Though young himself, he is both a mother and father to Prisha to make up for her increasingly absent, drunken mother. One day a crowd is gathered around a body and when Amol goes to see who it is, he realises it’s Prisha’s mother and she won’t be coming home any more.


Amol is a man and Prisha a beautiful girl of nineteen. They are travelling on a bus to go to a temple. There’s trouble with seats, and when someone wants to pick a fight, cheeky Amol outsmarts and confuses his opponent, while amusing the travellers in the process. Prisha is angry for she’s the one always left to do the explaining about him being dumb and deaf to get them out of trouble, and it’s pretty embarrassing to a proud, young woman. As a result she tells Amol, she’ll be praying for a handsome, rich youth to come and take her out of their dingy rooms and into a big mansion where she won’t have to put up with her miserable life. But at the temple, she asks the gods for forgiveness, crying because what she wants more than anything in the world is for the two of them to never be separated.

Amol likes to paint his face white and perform to amuse the neighbourhood’s children. At the eatery where he works, clientele come to watch him entertain just as much as they come to taste his delicious dishes. One day he meets and becomes friends with a gentle Greek mute whom everyone calls Dost. The establishment is owned by the sassy, young widow Ruchika who has desires for Amol and tries tirelessly to seduce him. It’s not that Amol is immune - it’s just that he’s not as confident with women as he is playing the fool. But when Amol buys Prisha a new dress and she comes to his work to show him, she notices the attraction between Ruchika and him and becomes obviously distressed and confused. As a result, something changes in the nature of their love.

Prisha delivers Amol’s delicacies to rich families for extra money. Sohan, a young man at one such house becomes besotted with her. His father suggests that they get Prisha to move into their house on the pretence that she will be cared for like a daughter. Believing it’s for her own good, Amol tells Prisha he has fallen for Ruchika to encourage her to go. Prisha, heartbroken, goes to live at the mansion, but Amol misses her unbearably. Similarly, Prisha is lost without him and sends him letters inviting him to come and see her. But, when Amol arrives at the mansion and sees the father out the front, all his suppressed memories resurface. He realises the mansion is his own ancestral home and the man is his parents’ murderer. Amol runs for what seems like an eternity and ends up near the hills where his scream of anguish reaches near-by villages and towns, and even Prisha in the city. Amol’s scream is one of recognition of his identity and he calls out ‘I AM AMOL!’ (I’m priceless!)

An elderly woman at a village near the hills, reminds Amol of his old nursemaid and he befriends her, but decides to continue pretending he’s a mute. Prisha, lonely and distraught about Amol’s disappearance, also finds solace in the company of the old nursemaid in the mansion. Prisha doesn’t know the woman is Amol’s old nursemaid. She tells Prisha stories of the boy who used to live there and how it is believed he got kidnapped and killed by thieves when they killed his parents. She tells of his kind nature and incredible intelligence and how cheeky he was. In Amol’s old room, Prisha now teaches poor girls working as maids to read and write, but when she realises the wealthy son’s dishonourable intentions for her, she escapes. Prisha reunites with Amol and scolds him for leaving her. She explains that no matter how poor they are, she never wants to be with anyone else. However, their happiness is short-lived. The wealthy man’s son and his gang come banging on their door. Amol sneaks Prisha out and before she leaves, he whispers in her ear, ‘You are the reason I am because I love you!’ Prisha can’t believe her ears and thinks she has imagined his words because she could always read his mind. When the thugs break down the door, Amol acts like an ignorant fool and pretends to know nothing about the whereabouts of Prisha. As a result they beat him up badly but he’s luckily found in time by Dost.

It is days before Amol can meet Prisha, and when he does, he must leave her in the care of the old woman in the hills. He wants to tell her the truth about his hearing, but is afraid of how she’ll react to his deception. For her own safety, he doesn’t tell her he’s now able to speak either. Amol conveys to her instead that he must leave her for the very last time to go somewhere far away as there is something he must do. Amol explains that no matter what, he will return, and if she still wants to be with him, nothing would ever separate them again. Their separation is heartbreaking for both.

Amol goes to live in a modern part of Mumbai taking faithful Dost with him. To investigate further, he gets a job at one of the offices of his father’s ex business partner and in his spare time writes a novel that suggestively identifies him as corrupt and a murderer. Amol, concerned about Prisha’s safety, visits her in secret. He even leaves her, her favourite savouries that he’s cooked especially for her, which confuses her. In his letters he tells of struggles to survive somewhere south, but Dost doesn’t appreciate Amol’s lies and no longer wishes to be his friend. In fact, Amol is now a completely different man from lovable Devadutt, and living a completely different and affluent life-style. His book is a best seller, though nobody knows he is the writer, and even Prisha reads it. When she must make a trip to the city to get some medicine for the old woman, she hears that the book’s author will be revealed that evening.

At a reception a suave Amol plays the piano and flirts with a gorgeous, blonde-wigged woman. He gives his opening speech exposing who he is and how he escaped from death as a child. He talks of the special person in his life and how he never felt worthy of her. He says he was a terrible man because while she thought he was deaf, he had access to her every thought and was too selfish to let her know. He proclaims that one day he will be able to offer her all the riches that she ever wished for, and deserved; and if she would have him, he’d be the happiest man on earth.

When Amol looks up, Prisha is standing there with hurt and shock in her eyes. She says to him that even though he heard her words, he never understood them, and she no longer knows who he is. The corrupt businessman and his son are there. They recognize Amol as the mute Devadutt. Amol is shot. The gorgeous woman he was flirting with is in fact an undercover policewoman and she whisks devastated Prisha away. As the whole presentation was a set up by the police to capture the businessman and his gang, Amol must go in hiding and continue with the lie of his death.

After the murderers are brought to justice, Amol returns to the village to find Prisha, but she’s nowhere. With Dost’s forgiveness and help, he finds her working in a rundown home for girls. With a painted face, Amol pretends to be a clown that has come to entertain the children, and becomes again the Devadutt of the old days, putting on a performance that expresses his foolishness in regards to their love and Prisha wishes. She is just thrilled he’s alive and all the girls go to live with them in Amol’s old big house where he teaches them to read and write.

© Anna Kannava 2010