This is a private page for people invited to contribute to the creation of this film. Later I’ll make a separate website for it, as well as adding it to my “catalog” of films on my website. — Jonny
Possible collaborators include Jason Ferrell, my usual cinematographer, and Erik Fenz, who spent 10 years living in India, some of that time being spent in Dharamshala, where most Tibetans fled to when China invaded their country. My Indian friend Carlyle Carvalho has already given me some excellent cultural advice that will allow us to make a movie that will not offend large portions of the subcontinent. (Much of coastal India was once conquered by the Portuguese, hence Carlyle’s name.)
The siddhis are “yogic superpowers.” The sage Patanjali tells us that these siddhis can be attained by ingesting certain drugs, through contemplation of sacred symbols, repetition of mantras, ascetic practices, or through a fortuitous birth.
As Buddhist scholar Alan Wallace says,
“In Buddhism, these are not miracles in the sense of being supernatural events, any more than the discovery and amazing uses of lasers are miraculous— however they may appear to those ignorant of the nature and potentials of light. Such contemplatives claim to have realized the nature and potentials of consciousness far beyond anything known in contemporary science. What may appear supernatural to a scientist or a layperson may seem perfectly natural to an advanced contemplative, much as certain technological advances may appear miraculous to a contemplative.”
(At this early stage, some notes may contradict each other, as this is essentially a one-person brainstorm at this point. Ideas from Jason may override some of these notes later. But this is a place to start from.)
Dr. Katya “Don’t Call Me Kate”) Kartovsky is a psychobiologist who has had strange dreams since she was a girl where she was inside other people’s heads. Now three-star General John G. Winston is asking her to use her talents to save India from a local uprising the Indian prime minister believes may swallow the whole subcontinent if not stopped soon.
It is said the ancient magical powers known as the siddhis can be obtained from birth (extremely rarely), from herbs, or by devoted practice for decades of meditation and yoga. Now a local sadhu (holy man) who is only 34 years old seems to have these powers. Moreover, it is said he is imparting the powers to some of his followers. The legendary ability of a master to instantly pass powers to his students is called shaktiput, but it has always been presumed to be a myth.
Has Dr. Kartovsky lived in India in a past life? She doesn’t believe in such things. But why are scenes of India showing up in her dreams?
Dr. Kartovsky’s research deals with “nonlocality”—using scientifically controversial methods to remotely view and influence objects (and people) at a distance. By their very nature, nonlocal techniques mean she can do her work from home, and she rejects the general’s request. But does she really have a choice whether to go to India? Or is it her destiny?
Katya is divorced. As she continued her research, her abilities grew. This led to her divorce, because “when you can see into the mind of your spouse, your marriage will either become really good, or completely insufferable—depending upon whom you chose to marry.” She wasn’t able to see into his mind all the time, but occasional flashes were enough to make her realize she had chosen the wrong person.
Katya got her clearest flashes on her husband when they were having sex. Obviously, that’s not a technique she can use on just anyone. Although…the Sadhu is very handsome and charismatic. And it has been many years since Katya has had sex. Plus, being a humanist, Katya does have sympathy for the poor, whom the Sadhu claims he is trying to help. Could that actually be true?
People are rarely black-and-white, all good or all evil. The Sadhu developed his powers early. He did use yoga and meditation heavily, but what gave him breakthrough and “growth spurt” of his abilities was herbal concoctions in high dosages. He then used his collaboration with the Sikh chemical engineer to turn peak experiences into a nearly constant state of enhance consciousness. But, lacking the wisdom that comes with years, he does not always make the best decisions about how to use his powers.
Are the Sadhu’s followers involved in some way in blocking her mental inquiries?
Might be cool to have a child in the story—someone with innocence as well as some level of precocious wisdom and/or abilities.
With such high stakes, when Katya and the Sadhu are together, it becomes a test of will, which involves ego, which is not conducive to the powers. Thus it behooves her to relax and silence her mind, which is difficult because of the sexual tension. With her husband, she began to get flashes of insight into his mind during sex. But the final and deciding revelation actually came one time during the afterglow, when she was completely relaxed and not thinking about their problems at all. It is likely that such a state achieved with the Sadhu would give her all the information she needs. But how can she relax with the fate of the subcontinent at stake?
As Katya’s sympathies seem to drift toward the Sadhu because of the poor people he is trying to help, General Winston reminds her that a destabilized India is not good for peace with Pakistan or China, and therefore for peace in the world.
Perhaps a sporting contest of some kind can raise her psychosexual energies to the level required to break into the Sadhu’s mind, without requiring a sexual encounter. In their day, they were each junior fencing champions.
The Chemical Engineer and the Potion
The Sadhu has been close friends since adolescence with a woman who is now a chemical engineer.
She has always had a crush on him. But he declined to be involved—first because he was on the path to being a holy man (sadhu). Then they did become involved romantically, but as his ego grew, he turned his gaze away from Indian women—especially Muslim women, which she is.
With the Sadhu’s knowledge of herbs and the chemical engineer’s knowledge of chemistry, they began making herbal potions to speed up the process of acquiring the siddhis. But it was a poor villager who actually ran the mechanism. One day the villager made a mistake, accidentally changing the ratios of the herbs. This resulted in a super-potion. Sadhu has used this super-potion to enhance his own powers. He parceled it out to his minions in whatever dosages and frequencies as he saw fit. The engineer no longer had access to the process, but she guessed what had happened when she saw how powerful the Sadhu was becoming. Rejected by her erstwhile love interest, she becomes jealous and vengeful. She now wants to know the new altered process to become a multimillionaire—after all, it would not exist without her—except she does not know the exact formula. She will do whatever it takes to find the altered formula and steal it.
Although the potion does indeed have magical effects, these effects can only go so far with a person with low spiritual attainment. The effects will be temporary, relying on the continued consumption of the potion. They may also be “glitchy“ in their manifestations.
There is also the matter of attenuation. With time, the body and spirit of the individual will adapt to the potion. Higher and higher dosages will be necessary to achieve the same results. And at a certain dosage, manifestations will suddenly go awry, shortly after which the individual will die. It will not be a calm, quiet death, but more like an explosion of the mind, which the body cannot tolerate, succeeded by nearly instant physical death. Like a train suddenly derailing.
Below are some early sample scenes. They are at this time exploratory. They may not all end up in the film, but they are helping to set the tone.