From the Frankly Spooking Outtakes
Virkar squinted his eyes and looked at the monitor, concentrating deeply. His face wore his usual frown when he was deciding something. Saakshi sat beside him and stifled a yawn. She looked up at the clock. 2.30 AM. Gosh. But this profession was such. And she knew what it meant to be Virkar’s assistant. He was a hard task master.
They were looking at screen-tests of candidates for Virkar’s new movie.
“Sir, which one do you think fits the bill?” She said finally, unable to control herself. Virkar didn’t like interruptions when he was at work.
He frowned some more and muttered something to the tune of ‘rich kids, useless, they think they’re all salman..’ etc.
He reclined in his seat finally and stretched, a loud yawn escaping his lips.
“I don’t know Saakshi. What do you think? I go with number 23. For the guys, I’ll put my money on 16. He’s not the best, but much much better than the rest. Everyone else is shit.”
Saakshi moved the cursor back to number 23. The girl was reading out from the script, and then she was enacting the scene as told to. Saakshi looked at her test for a while and pursed her lips, nodding.
“You’re right. She’s got the right kind of look, and also it doesn’t look artificial. No?”
Virkar nodded and rose. “Ok, I’m off. Do you want me to…?”
“No sir, I’ll doze off here itself. I’ve informed Saahu, he gave me the keys,” Saakshi said with a tired smile.
Virkar shook his head and waved at her before walking out of the studio.
Saakshi decided to look at the applications again before hitting the sack. She settled down on the couch and grabbed the writing pad with the applications from the center-table, resting the sheets on her chest, flipping through each one. The test video was still playing on the system. Some guy was doing his ‘salman’ act.
She came to no. 23. She read the details about the girl. Then she slowly sat up with a puzzled look on her face. The girl in the photo looked somewhat different from the one in the video. Was it the hair?
She pulled out the sheet from the lot and got back to the laptop, pulling up the test video again.
She saw the girl in the video and looked at the photo in the application. It was a totally different girl. How on earth did that happen? She looked back at the screen.
The girl was now looking straight at her, her eyes piercing Saakshi's.
“She fell ill, Saakshi – so I took her place. I’m good, no?” She said, coming very close to the camera now.
Saakshi's heart felt like a huge piece of lead, trying to thump its way out.