It’s 1971 and the Indo-Pakistan war is in full swing. Muslim guerrillas are fighting Indian regular soldiers along the Line-of-Control in Kashmir. Ishmael Kashani (30s) is one of those guerrillas, who ambush an Indian patrol. It’s close and brutal hand-to-hand fighting. Ishmael slashes a throat – blood splatters across his face. Close on him.
When the camera pulls back, it’s the present day and we see the face of Rashid Kashani (nicknamed Kash – 20) with blood splattered across his face. He’s killed a guard-dog that’s attacked his brother Salim (nicknamed Sal – 17). Kash is very protective of Sal, who he’s been looking after all his life. The brothers are robbing a warehouse and they escape after Kash kills the dog.
Next morning, we’re introduced to the Kashani family. Mr Kashani is a mild-mannered and peaceful man, unlike his father and Kash’s grandfather, Ishmael. However, Kash has more respect for his violent grandfather than he does for his pacifist father. Mrs Kashani is an emancipated Muslim woman, living the “western” way in her adopted country. There’s also a younger sister, Yasmin. Kash wants to talk to his father about his grandfather, Ishmael, who’s a bit of an enigma to him – but Mr Kashani doesn’t want to discuss him.
The Kashani brothers try to sell the spoils of their robbery in a street market. The market is controlled by a Sikh gang called The Scythians, whose leader is Baljeet Singh (nicknamed Big Bal – 25). There’s a confrontation between the Scythians and the Kashani brothers. The brothers are saved from a serious beating by Mr Singh, Big Bal’s grandfather. Mr Singh is estranged from his grandson because of a family argument. When the dust settles, he begins to substitute Kash for the grandson he misses and Kash begins to substitute him for the grandfather he never knew.
Over a short period, the bond between Kash and Mr Singh grows. There is a real connection between them. Mr Sing fought in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, but on the opposite side to Ishmael Kashani. Kash is fascinated by this and imagines the two men fighting in hand-to-hand combat. After the war, Ishmael became an assassin for hire. Mr Singh came to Britain and worked for the government.
In the meantime, Kash meets with an enigmatic American woman called Sharifa (30). There seems to be a romantic connection there, but the audience isn’t too sure what way it will go.
Kash’s father was a talented musician in Pakistan, but he had to flee the country when Ishmael assassinated a powerful man. His career went up in smoke and he’s now a musical instrument wholesaler, in partnership with Mr Hakim, whose daughter, Mahidan, is a firearms officer with the police and a woman in a man’s world. Kash’s father is trying to arrange a match between his wayward son and Mahidan, as he believes this would settle Kash down and be a good influence on Sal.
Climax of Act 1
There’s a big wedding, with everyone attending. Kash comes face-to-face with Big Bal, who’s not too pleased about the amount of time Kash is spending with his estranged grandfather, Mr Singh. A fight starts and, in the confusion, Mr Singh gets stabbed and dies later in hospital. Kash is blamed for the killing and Big Bal vows to kill him in revenge.
Kash’s relationship with Sharifa deepens and we get some of Sharifa’s backstory. Her mother was an American soldier in Saudi Arabia and her father was an Arab man. Her mother got pregnant and was kicked out of the army. Sharifa lives in Washington DC and teaches at a university there. She’s in Britain on a student visa.
Kash gets fed up with his father trying to fix him up with Mahidan, so he moves out of the family home and in with Sharifa. Sal feels abandoned by his brother, having had his protection all his life. He gets involved with a teenage Bengali gang called The Bangla Boys who are trying to take over the markets from the Scythians. They give Sal a gun.
Kash realises he has to find Mr Singh’s killer, to stop Big Bal from killing him. He gets hold of a photograph from the wedding, showing Mr Singh talking to a young man dressed in traditional Muslim clothes. Nobody knows who the young man is. Kash decides to find out. He goes to the mosque with his father to see if anyone there knows him. To his surprise, he finds Sharifa there, giving a radical speech to a group of young Muslims.
Sharifa begins to indoctrinate Kash, with rhetoric and images of atrocities in the Middle East. Kash begins to fall under her spell.
Before Kash can find the mysterious stranger in the photograph, Big Bal catches up with him and almost kills him. Kash barely escapes with his life and ends up in hospital. When he leaves the hospital, Sharifa is waiting for him. She takes him to a secret Islamist cell – they say they can help him, in return for his “loyalty”. Kash is intrigued by their rhetoric, he’s always been a “rebel without a cause” and these people are offering him one.
While this is going on with Kash, Sal gets involved in a clash between the Scythians and the Bangla Boys and is killed. Kash blames himself for not being there to protect his younger brother. There’s a funeral and Kash begins to realise his life of violence has brought nothing but pain to his family. Mahidan helps him through this and they grow closer. Kash is changing, beginning to see the trail of destruction violence leaves in its wake – his grandfather, his father, then Mr Singh and now Sal.
At this time, Kash sees the man in the photograph at the Islamist cell. He realises it was they who killed Mr Singh. They say, because Mr Singh worked for the British government, he had information they wanted, but he wouldn’t give it to them. He knew too much about them and threatened to go to the authorities, so he had to be killed. Sharifa tries to justify the killing to Kash, but he won’t have it – he leaves the Islamists and also her flat. However, just like Mr Singh, he knows too much about them now and he also has a close connection with Mahidan, a police officer who they fear Kash will talk to.
Climax of Act 3
Kash reconciles with Big Bal, once he can prove who really killed Mr Singh, but he’s not out of the woods yet. The Islamists kidnap his father and lure Kash into a trap. They are about to kill both of them when Mahidan and an Armed Response Team turn up to save them at the secret location. Kash wants to know how Mahidan knew where they were. She says she got a call from Sharifa. While the rescue is taking place, we intercut with Sharifa leaving a hotel room in a modern business suit and getting into a car with American diplomatic plates.
The final scenes are Kash and Mahidan visiting Sal’s grave. Mahidan tells him they tried to trace Sharifa at the university in Washington DC she said she was teaching at – nobody there ever heard of her.
Kash goes alone to Sal’s grave and begins praying. We intercut with an IS convoy somewhere in the Middle East (Syria or Iraq). The IS guerrillas are also chanting a prayer. We close on the convoy and see that Sharifa is among them.
We intercut between Kash and Sharifa – chanting the same prayer.
We know they’ll meet again.
A Gypsy couple, Girondo and Lola, arrive at night on a remote estate in New Jersey, with a large manor house, called Foreverland. Next morning, Girondo goes to the big house to offer his ‘services’ in return for being allowed to camp on the estate for a while.
The couple who live on the estate, Redfield and Rachel Rolle-Hampole, are American ‘aristocrats’, in the sense that are descended from Network TV, Hollywood and Wall Street parents.
Redfield and Rachel are frustrated and arguing, before Girondo arrives, and we find out that they have only ten months left before they get evicted from the estate by the owner – a sinister man called The Godfather, because they were given 5 years to produce a male ‘heir’ for The Godfather and they have failed to do this in 4 years and 2 months.
When Girondo arrives, he is met with hostility from Redfield, but he tells his story and Rachel sees his ‘potential’. She plies him with champagne, while Redfield slopes off to seduce Lola, who Girondo has left on a remote part of the estate.
Girondo embarks on a clandestine affair with Rachel and Redfield does the same with Lola. As they sneak about the estate at night, to keep their secret rendezvous, they narrowly miss each other and sometimes even collide and try to make excuses for their activities.
A private detective called Laurence Menendéz arrives on the estate and we find out that The Godfather’s name is Thomas Shelbourne, who was raised in a New York orphanage. His mother didn’t know who his father was and chose the name Shelbourne from a telephone directory. When Thomas grew up, he traced the surname back to the Revolutionary War and found out that King George III made the man he thinks is his ancestor (an anglo-American carpenter) King of America, in an attempt to avoid the revolution. However, the rich aristocrats in the colonies wouldn’t accept a carpenter as king and Thomas now feels he’s been cheated of his birthright.
Thomas works as a chauffeur for two families, both of which he considers to be ‘aristocratic’. He has two affairs with the ladies of those families which result in two children being born – a boy and a girl. Thomas grows rich himself through illegal means and becomes a very powerful, sinister man. He ruins the families he used to work for, by way of revenge for what the earlier aristocrats did to his ‘ancestor’.
Thomas cheated one of the families out of Foreverland, in a crooked game of blackjack and Laurence Menendéz was hired to put things right. He was shot during a run-in with The Godfather and has only now recovered enough to do the job he was hired for.
In the meantime, Rachel and Lola have both fallen pregnant. Girondo knows he’s the father of Rachel’s baby, but he can’t figure out how Lola got pregnant. The same goes for Redfield, only the other way round.
A backpacker called Mirabeau Molke arrives on the estate. He’s the son of a personal secretary who used to work for one of the ‘aristocratic’ families ruined by The Godfather. He remembers a young girl called Rachel, who he used to play with when he was little. It transpires that Redfield and Rachel are, in fact, the two children produced by The Godfather and he’s brought them together to produce an ‘heir’ to his fortune. He reckons the child will have his genes from both sides and he’s not worried by the closeness of the parents’ blood.
The truth has to come out, that the baby Rachel is carrying is not Redfield’s, but Girondo’s. The Godfather doesn’t know this and he’s advised by his ‘doctor’ that there could be complications with the birth of his ‘heir’ due to Rachel and Redfield being so closely related. He kidnaps Rachel, so he can have the baby delivered artificially by his ‘doctors’.
Lola goes into labour. Both Redfield and Girondo travel to the hospital with her. Once there, only the father is allowed to be with her during the birth. Redfield stays, while she has a baby boy. Girondo wanders about the hospital. He strays into a private wing and finds Rachel having her baby there. He stays with her – she also has a baby boy. Girondo smuggles Rachel out of the hospital and takes her back to Foreverland.
Back on the estate, it works out that the two baby boys are identical twins. Completely by accident, they get dressed in the same clothes and nobody can tell them apart. The Godfather arrives to take his ‘heir’ away with him and is confronted with the two babies. He doesn’t know what to do – which one is his genetic ‘heir’?
The couples ask him which one he wants to take. He can’t decide, he is enraged, knowing his plans have backfired. He threatens to have them all evicted, but Laurence Menendéz has a copy of the contract between himself and the Rolle-Hampoles, and although this states that Redfield and Rachel must have a son, it doesn’t say that they have to have a son with each other. Redfield’s had a son and Rachel’s had a son, so the contract’s been honoured.
The Godfather has to concede defeat and both boys inherit Foreverland, with their parents being legal executors until their coming of age.
A young man from London travels to the wilderness of Africa to seek closure after the death of his Father; but the deeper he ventures into Africa’s heart of darkness, the further he finds himself entangled in a web of deceit, murder and Muti… the trade in human body parts.
“This is Africa!”
Shades of Darkness is a unique and original movie that spans the dynamic and spectacular settings of the Salt Pans and the dramatic Skeleton Coast of Namibia. From disparate beginnings in Namibia, Zimbabwe and London, three different stories slowly intermingle as circumstances draw them together in a deathly trilogy of deception, murder and “muti” (the practise of using human body parts in traditional African medicine). Follow us into the darkness and witness a sinister and atmospheric struggle, as one man’s sadness mixes with another’s vengefulness in a cauldron of desire, trauma, deception and devotion. Throughout this rite-of-passage, suspense-filled drama, you will be wondering just who will make it out of the murky triptych alive. This dark and moving screenplay is a roller-coaster of emotion you won’t be able to forget. Once you stumble into the Shades of Darkness, the light will never feel quite the same again….
In pre-production. This project is attracting the attention of several film producers, both in the UK and US.
Francis Page is in Broadmoor Secure Psychiatric Hospital. He’s chained hand-and-foot and sitting between two big guards. He’s also wearing a suit. Francis is a schizophrenic ex- bouncer and he’s being taken to court to be sentenced for killing a warder in Pentonville Prison. The psychiatrists at Broadmoor have been gradually reducing the regime of tranquilisers and neuroleptic drugs that have been keeping Francis is a stupefied state.
Everything seems strange to Francis at the court. The faces of the judge and barristers are grotesque and their words are incoherent at first. Gradually, Francis begins to focus. He sees his teenage daughter Fiona in the court, but doesn’t recognize who she is, just that she’s a friendly face. Also Hatchet Harry Kane, a criminal who was in Pentonville with him. Harry seems to be mouthing the words “toilet” and “testicle”, but Francis can’t understand why. He also sees D.S. Spencer, the policeman who put him in Pentonville.
The judge sentences Francis to be detained at Broadmoor until he is capable of serving a life sentence in a mainstream prison. He tells Francis he has no chance of parole. The guards take him down. On the way out of the court, they pass the ‘Testate’ Office and something clicks in Francis’ head. He asks the guards if he can go to the toilet. They’re annoyed about this, but take him to the nearest men’s lavatory. One of the guards checks out the toilet and it seems safe and empty. While Francis is in the cubicle, Hatchet Harry Kane bursts in and starts to overpower the guards. Francis is confused about what’s going on, but he helps Harry. Harry gives Francis a small axe to chop through his chains, then they dress in the guards uniforms and make their escape. Outside, James Greenwood, a young mouthy punk, is waiting for them in a car. They drive to a remote, derelict house in Essex.
Inside the house, Kane and Greenwood begin to interrogate Francis about thirty kilos of cocaine he smuggled in from New York and for which he was sentenced to six years in Pentonville Prison. Francis is still groggy from the tranqs and neuros, but he remembers the cocaine was confiscated by D.S. Spencer and his superior, D.I. Dunne. Kane doesn’t believe Francis and shoots him in the left kneecap.
Francis falls to the ground and Kane threatens to shoot him in the other kneecap, then he’ll be “a cripple as well as a ‘windowlicker’”. As Kane bends over him, Francis swings the axe and chops Kane’s gun-hand off. Francis prizes the gun from the severed hand and shoots Kane in the face. Greenwood is petrified and Francis now begins to interrogate him. Francis’ questions are confused and meaningless to Greenwood and Francis strikes the boy with the axe every time he can’t answer, until he’s nothing but a bloody pulp on the floor.
Francis rips up a curtain and bandages his shattered knee. He returns to Kane’s body and retrieves a packet of cigarettes. He lights up a cigarette and sits down and surveys the carnage in the room.
SIX YEARS EARLIER
Francis Page is patrolling outside the Pink Peacock nightclub in London. He’s working the door with Matthew Moore, a young Irish bouncer and Agnes D’Argensola, a South American woman who wants to stay in Britain. The schizophrenia hasn’t taken full hold of Francis at this stage, but he hears voices in his head – the voice of Alienchrist, which tells Francis that Jesus Christ was an alien and tries to explain love, also the voice of Animalkhan, which tells Francis about hate. Alienchrist and Animalkhan continuously contradict each other. And there’s another voice, that of Jeanne of Dreams, which talks to Francis about suicide.
Agnes wants Francis to have sex with her and give her a baby, so she can stay in the country, but Francis isn’t interested. He’s a little scared of women – his mother was schizophrenic and Francis believes she gave him the condition – his marriage to his wife Angeline is almost on the rocks, the only reason they stay together is because of their two young daughters, Fiona and Sinéad. The only woman Francis really cares for is Glendora, a young black croupier who Francis rescued from the gutter after she overdosed on heroin. Glendora was abused as a child and has AIDS, she now depends on Francis to defend her against the world, which he does.
Francis is also having problems with one of the other bouncers, John Nightingale, a gay American. Nightingale resents the fact that Francis is considered the main man in the door game. He constantly riles Francis about getting too old and, though Francis isn’t afraid of the man physically, Nightingale is a college graduate and Francis can’t combat his sarcasm, which makes Francis feel inadequate and angry. Francis realizes he’s getting past his shelf-life in the bouncing game and is just looking for one big score to buy into his own club.
Things get worse between Francis and Angeline – she finds out about Glendora and leaves him, taking the girls with her.
Percy Shillinger, the owner of the Pink Peacock night club and a big shot on the London scene, is arranging front-of-stage staff for an up-coming heavy metal concert by an American group called the Antichrists. The Pink Peacock bouncers agree to do the job, including Francis, Matthew, John Nightingale and a big bouncer called Jack Black, who’s got a reputation for eating too much.
However, during the concert, Pigg, the lead guitarist of the Antichrists, begins to urinate on the crowd, working them up into a frenzy. Some of the urine splashes on Francis and Animalkhan tells him to kill. Francis wades into the crowd, leaving a trail of bloody and broken bodi