November 2008 - April 2009
Screenplay Contest - Full-Length Series
Written by Muhammad Ali Hasan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Muhammad Ali Hasan graduated with a Master's in Film Directing from Chapman University in 2007. Hasan's latest film, RABIA, which he wrote and directed, won over 35 awards on the film festival circuit and is currently being distributed worldwide by Elypse Films. Opening to controversial reviews, Rabia is a dramatic biopic about Palestine's first female suicide bomber, Wafa Idris.
A former regular guest on CNBC's The Dennis Miller Show and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Hasan ran as a Republican for Colorado's State House in 2008, gaining 47% of the total vote. An advanced snowboarder, Hasan would refer to his puppy dog, Deelya, as his first love and his snowboard as his second. At this time, Hasan is actively developing BENAZIR, with plans to direct it in 2010.
Additional writer information:
Embezzler. Manipulator. Murderer. Hero.
The story of Benazir Bhutto, the Prime Minister of Pakistan who brutally murdered rival politicians, manipulated superpower countries, and embezzled billions from foreign investors, all for the sake of helping her people.
The BENAZIR screenplay, copyright, and story idea below is owned by Muhammad Ali Hasan. No copying of any of the pages below is allowed, unless approved by owner.
EXT. BHUTTO'S KARACHI HOUSE - NIGHT
SUPERIMPOSE: Karachi, Pakistan - December 2007
We're approaching a large house, made of stucco, all windows
shining bright. THREE LARGE POSTERS hang outside the walls of
the house, each of BENAZIR BHUTTO's face.
The house is guarded by TEN ARMED GUARDS and FOUR JEEPS,
lights on, parked in front. A BRITISH RADIO ANNOUNCER'S VOICE
plays from a stereo inside one of the jeeps:
...the world is watching Pakistan
today, as Benazir Bhutto attempts
to become the nation's Prime
Minister for a third time, with her
first rally tonight...
INT. BHUTTO'S KARACHI HOUSE - BENAZIR'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS
We are in Benazir's bedroom, as the radio announcer's voice
continues from a stereo inside. The room has a cold marble
floor and a large vanity, but is bare of decoration,
cluttered with papers and folders like a small office.
BENAZIR (53), a tall woman, with light skin and long black
hair, sits in front of the vanity applying makeup. She wears
a traditional Pakistani outfit.
With her are IQBAL (53), a short, balding man in a suit and
TARA (49), a Pakistani woman wearing formal ethnic attire.
Iqbal rifles through a memo, pacing back and forth, sweating,
as Tara takes notes on a pad.
RADIO ANNOUNCER (CONT'D)
...victory this time will be
difficult for Bhutto, due to past
charges of corruption, including
embezzlement, nepotism, and
possible murder charges...
Turn that off.
RADIO ANNOUNCER (CONT'D)
...but many note that Bhutto was
never expected to win her first two
elections, causing some to...
I said off!
Tara turns off the radio.
Benazir combs her long hair, not answering. Iqbal appears in
her vanity mirror, standing behind her.
President Musharraf doesn't want
you going out tonight.
Benazir continues combing her hair, ignoring him.
They can't do a full security
screening at the outdoor rallies.
It's suicide bombers, Bena, we
(slamming her hair brush
to the table)
So we give into terrorists!?! Ruin
our lives so they can win?
Benazir hastily puts a white veil on her head and starts
wrapping it, covering her hair, but not her face.
How are people supposed to feel
safe if their own leaders can't?
Iqbal turns away, taking a deep breath.
I beat the Army. I'll beat the
terrorists. The Taliban. India.
America. We won't fear anyone.
She gets up, looking one last time into the mirror.
Benazir exits the bedroom and briskly walks down the hallway,
Iqbal and Tara trailing behind.
(to the servants)
Get the jeep ready!
EXT. KARACHI TOWN SQUARE - SAME EVENING
A MOB of PEOPLE stand outside, flooding the town square, as a
STREET BAND plays. Large POSTERS of Benazir are everywhere.
Benazir steps onto a small stage, bullhorn in hand, to the
CHEERS of the adoring crowd. MEN and WOMEN push themselves
closer to the stage, as the street band quiets. Benazir
surveys the crowd, eyes blazing with confidence.
(speaking into the
We're not terrorists! We're not
murderers! But we won't die at the
hands of America finding
The crowd CHEERS.
We don't need America to solve our
problems. We'll build schools and
bring teachers to every village,
and we'll defeat our terrorists!
Not with missiles, but with
education! With opportunity!
The crowd ROARS.
And we'll work with America, but we
won't fear them. We won't bend to
the demands of Osama Bin Laden.
We'll succeed together, as one
Pakistan! Pakistan, zindabad!
The crowd CHANTS "Pakistan, zindabad" repeatedly, as the
brass band excitedly PLAYS an upbeat folk tune.
As the crowd chants, a MAN, standing next to Benazir's stage,
opens his dark coat. Strapped to his chest are thick rows of
DYNAMITE and a SILVER DETONATOR in his hand.
FADE TO BLACK.
In darkness, we HEAR an EXPLOSION, followed by SCREAMS of
All sounds fade to silence over black.
EXT. LARKANA VILLAGE - DAY
We HEAR OLD PAKISTANI FOLK MUSIC.
The village is dusty, with small adobe structures dominating
the area and chickens running wild everywhere.
A YOUNG BENAZIR (26) sits inside a muddied MERCEDES SEDAN,
her long black hair draped over a stylish t-shirt and jeans.
She looks like a British hipster, displaced in a village.
Her father, ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO (51), captivates a SMALL
CROWD of impoverished VILLAGERS with his speech. Ali, a short
and handsome man, has a perfect haircut and freshly shaven
face. He wears tattered Pakistani clothing, doing his best to
blend in, despite an immaculate appearance.
...and as your guardian, your
Communist leader... I will give
your bread, your water... your
shelter. And as Pakistanis, we will
serve as guardians to this Earth.
Guardians chosen by Allah!
The small crowd CHEERS.
ALI BHUTTO (CONT'D)
And guardians never fear! Never
fear the Soviets in Afghanistan!
Never fear India's invasion! If
either invades, then we'll put up
our arms and we'll fight! We'll
fight to protect Pakistan! We'll
fight to protect this Mother Earth!
The SHOUTS of the crowd grow louder.
ALI BHUTTO (CONT'D)
Guardian Pakistan! Pakistan,
zindabad! Pakistan, zindabad!
The crowd CHANTS "Pakistan, zindabad" repeatedly.
Ali points to Benazir. She turns the car stereo's volume UP,
loudly playing FAST-PACED PAKISTANI MUSIC. Ali starts dancing
in a hyper manner and laughing, as the village crowd joins
him. Everyone DANCES and CHANTS in unison, celebrating.
Benazir claps her hands, dancing inside the car.
As they dance, a MILITARY CAR pulls up near Benazir. Two men,
GENERAL ZIA UL-HUQ (54) and GENERAL GHULAM ISHAQ KHAN (64),
step out. They're dressed in Pakistani MILITARY UNIFORMS,
each decorated with many ribbons.
Zia stands in front of Ghulam, sporting a black uniform and a
gigantic handle-bar mustache, his arms crossed against his
short, muscular frame. Ghulam has a wise appearance, with
white hair, glasses, and a tall body, dressed in a tan
uniform. Neither is amused by the dancing.
EXT. LARKANA VILLAGE - DAY - MOMENTS LATER
Ali approaches the Generals, with Benazir following. Ali's
car is running in the background, as FIVE VILLAGERS practice
dance steps, listening to music from the car stereo.
Generals! Working too hard, yes?
Welcome to Larkana!
Ali shakes their hands enthusiastically. Zia lightly giggles,
warming up to Ali.
(to Ali Bhutto)
Prime Minister, I'm worried about
Lahore. The riots are growing.
Police and Army forces are
They know the elections were
rigged, Ali, it's obvious.
(to Benazir, smiling)
Bena, leave me with the Generals?
Benazir smiles and walks back to the car. Zia waits until she
is out of earshot.
(to Ali, whispering)
Let Lahore have new elections and
Ali crosses his arms and shakes his head in disagreement.
How am I supposed to stop thousands
of rioters who know their Senate
seats were stolen!?!
(to Zia, whispering)
Yes, shoot them!
(pointing his finger into
Don't question me! Just get me my
An uncomfortable beat. Ali steps back.
ALI BHUTTO (CONT'D)
I can't change the Constitution
unless my Party has seventy percent
of Parliament's seats. We want a
nuclear program, right?
Zia and Ghulam are silent, speechless by his orders.
ALI BHUTTO (CONT'D)
I need full power if you want
nuclear missiles! We're not giving
those Senate seats back.
Ali walks back to his car, leaving them alone.
Something needs to be settled.
We're not killing people.
You realize that Bhutto is the kind
of man who will kill you if nothing
A beat. Zia watches Ali, his eyes full of furry.
I don't have to kill innocent
people to get nuclear weapons.
Ali's car leaves with Benazir inside.
INT. BHUTTO'S KARACHI HOUSE - GAME ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT
Ali Bhutto sits at a table with THREE MEN. They play poker,
drink wine, and smoke cigars. In front of them, TWO BELLY
DANCERS dance to slow, ARABIAN MUSIC.
Ali surveys his cards and frowns. RAZA (60) a tall, handsome
man, sits with MOHSEN (50) and KHALID (55). All three men are
dressed in European three-piece suits, looking more like
English aristocrats than Pakistanis. Raza, despite his dark
complexion, speaks with a hybrid British and Pakistani
accent, hinting at his Cambridge education.
Bhutto, your turn!
Ali smiles, putting down his cards.
The other men throw their cards to the table in frustration.
Ali laughs, as he rises from the table and starts drinking
from the wine glasses of the other men, drunkenly taunting.
ALI BHUTTO (CONT'D)
Third time tonight! Beyond luck!
Completely beyond luck!
Ali stumbles towards the belly dancers and dances with them.
Suddenly, LIGHTS turn on and Benazir walks in. Dressed to
party, Benazir wears a sexy pink blouse and tight jeans, with
hair in curls and thick makeup on her face.
Game over! Time for bed!
Just one more drink!
Raza stands, smiling at Benazir, a glass of wine in hand.
Bena, my gorgeous woman... please?
Benazir smiles at Raza, reconsidering, due to his charm.
Benazir suddenly notices her father flirting with the
dancers. She immediately shoots a dirty look at the belly
dancers, arm stretched with pointed-finger:
Out! Everyone out! Now!
INT. BHUTTO'S KARACHI HOUSE - GAME ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Ali sits at the poker table with Benazir standing behind him.
She rubs a hot towel against his forehead and massages his
shoulders. Ali melts with every caress. The stereo is off.
You need to be in good shape, so
you can build democracy here!
I should make the decisions, Bena!
Like Chairman Mao... I know best!
They both giggle. A beat.
And you should have it. Take it,
Larkana! Everything we saw today.
The entire family ranch. All of its
thousands of acres. All yours.
ALI BHUTTO (CONT'D)
Yes! You'll be Bhutto Sahib! Like
me! You'll own the farmers, the
people... the votes.
And the money?
You want Larkana for money!?!
Ali, agitated, removes her hands from his shoulder and grabs
the wet towel, finger pointing, drunkenly lecturing:
Yes, we make millions off the
farming, jaan, but the votes! When
every one of your farmers votes for
you, your seat's always guaranteed!
Men give billions for such
influence... to be a Sahib!
Benazir smiles. She grabs his lecturing hand and sits down
next to him, massaging his wrist. Ali smiles proudly.
My daughter's seat is guaranteed...
Papa, I'm not running.
No, I want you to--
Politics is corrupt and--
No! You'll stay and take care of
Larkana! Become its Bhutto Sahib!
Promise me, Bena? Promise?!?
Benazir brings him closer and caresses his shoulder,
encouraging him to sleep. A beat.
Did you rig the election, papa?
No. Never. Never, Bena...
She kisses his forehead. Ali smiles, nuzzling his head into
Benazir's shoulder and falling asleep.
NUSRAT (50), Benazir's mother, walks into the room with her
dark eyes leering at Benazir and her father. Nusrat is a
Persian woman, but looks more like a Parisian, wearing
European clothing and shiny jewelry.
Don't you have a party?
I'm going soon, mummy.
Your papa had another gathering?
Benazir holds Ali closer, away from Nusrat, caressing him.
He had a long day.
EXT. YACHT ON KARACHI HARBOR - LATER THAT EVENING
AMERICAN DISCO MUSIC plays from a small yacht floating in
Karachi's glistening harbor. A group of YOUNG ADULTS, dressed
in chic European clothing, smoke cigarettes, drink martinis,
and dance. Benazir dances with a British boy, WILLIAM (25).
(imitating a British
Marry me, William! I love you!
They both laugh, kissing each other.
I'll miss you, Bena.
But we're getting married?
Nonsense! You're a candidate here--
No, no! Stop it.
Benazir puts a CIGARETTE to her lips and William lights it.
I'm just here to help papa. I'm
going back to London and joining
the foreign service. Honestly.
Bena, you'd be brilliant here.
Brilliant!?! Is this Pakistan's
next great politician?!?
They both giggle, as they continue dancing.