City of Joy

Synopsis: Hazari Pal lives in a small village in Bihar, India, with his dad, mom, wife, Kamla, daughter, Amrita, and two sons, Shambhu and Manooj. As the Pal are unable to repay the loan they had taken years ago from a moneylender, their land and property are auctioned, and they are rendered homeless. Hazari and his family re-locate to Calcutta with hopes of starting life anew, save some money and go back to Bihar, as well as get Amrita married. Things do not go as planned, as they lose their entire savings to a con-man, Gangooly, who took their money as rent by pretending to be a landlord. Then Hazari gets an opportunity to take up driving a rickshaw manually through a local godfather, Ghatak. He gets to meet a American, Dr. Max Lowe, and together they strike up a friendship along with a local social worker, Joan Bethel. Misunderstandings crop up between Joan and the Godfather, resulting in the shutting down of their shanty medical clinic. When Hazari sides with Joan, his rickshaw is taken away
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Roland Joffé
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
132 min




Heat that has mass. That rises off the parched earth inshimmering waves. After a moment, we see what appear tobe figures coming out of the haze, one by one. A familywith their few belongings: HASARI PAL, 33, his wife,

ALOKA, 28, and their children, daughter, AMRITA, 13,

sons MANOOJ and SHAMBU, 11 and 9; HASARI'S MOTHER and

FATHER. They embark toward the night, the rising sunbehind them.


Hasari's Father passes a gourd of precious water. Hasari

serves the children first. Shambu gulps entirely toomuch, the others forcing him to stop by a unified forceof will. Embarrassed, he passes the cup to his brother,

who sips, as does his sister. Aloka barely wets herlips, insisting on leaving the last drops for Hasari.

And now, a rooster tail of dust rises up behind theapproaching bus and the old parents bid farewell to theirson's family. There is an intense sadness at leavingthe land and Hasari's Mother clings to him...


I'll send money soon.

His Mother nods, as Hasari erupts in a small cough which,

by habit, he suppresses. His Mother crushes Aloka to



Don't let the children out of yoursight. Not for a moment.

Now the children. She wants to keep them here even asthe old man touches her, reminding her she must let them



Help your parents. Don't fightwith each other. And, Manooj,

stay away from the cinema, do youhear?

Shambu, his eyes big as saucers, whispers to hisgrandma...





I don't want to go. There are bad

men with long knives who stealchildren.

That does it:
Hasari's Mother dissolves in tears, but

the old man nevertheless unlooses her insistently fromthe children. Aloka and the children get on the bus asthe old man embraces his son.


A man's journey to the end of hisobligations is a very long road.

Yours begins here.


There's not an empty inch inside the little vehicle or

on top. The passengers are silent. A woman breast feeds

a baby. Several passengers fan themselves. Many sleep.

The Pals squeeze wearily into the rear seat.


(to his neighbor)

Our farm has died, so we are

moving to Calcutta to become rich!

Hasari and Aloka look at each other: If only it were thepursuit of wealth and not survival. The woman understands.

And now the BUS GRINDS forward and the Pals look

back. Hasari coughs, suppresses it... as silence falls.

The elder Pals stand huddled together in the dust and wesee, nestled behind a boulder at the roadside, a tiny,

blue flower -- beautiful and fragile, but like all thingsalive, determined to live... and we hear the sound of a

DOZEN VOICES CHANTING a quiet mantra in unison as we -



This flower floats gently in a bowl of water. The TITLES

END as we PULL BACK SLOWLY to reveal a dozen Anglos,

several Indians, and one Kenyan seated cross-leggedbefore an aging Yogi, who's quietly urging the supplicants

to find "their light, allow your white light tofill your spirit's eye." Above, ceiling fans move theair.




As we PAN the group, we see that everyone has his/hereyes closed in earnest meditation... until we COME TO anAmerican, MAX LOEB, 29, who pops open first his right eye-- looks to his right and left -- closes his right eyeand opens his left eye -- looks left and right... andthen, instead of continuing the mantra and the search forhis white light, expels a stream of air through hispursed lips, making a vibrating, flatulent sound, oneindicative of sizeable frustration and dismissal.

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Mark Medoff

Mark Medoff is an American playwright, screenwriter, film and theatre director, actor, and professor. His play Children of a Lesser God received both the Tony Award and the Olivier Award. more…

All Mark Medoff scripts | Mark Medoff Scripts

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Submitted by aviv on November 01, 2016


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"City of Joy" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 11 Jul 2020. <>.

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