I will be putting up detailed posts on Karan’s book later this week, probably Wednesday and Friday. But in the meantime, I immediately got distracted by his declaration that he doesn’t believe in marriage any more and will never marry. Because that’s always what the rom-com hero says at the beginning, right? And then there are elaborate plot shenanigans and coincidences and he changes his mind?
(this is fiction, so just assume it all takes place in a world where Indian laws and society have moved forward and Karan actually could get married if he wanted to)
Okay, based on what I have learned from the autobiography, I have three options for my elaborate coincidences and schemes that will get Karan to his happy ending with a wedding and babies.
1.1. Manish Malhotra: Towards the end of the book, Karan talks about his closeness with Manish and refers to him as his “Sunshine” in his life. They’ve been friends for 20 years, ever since DDLJ. While Karan is all about cuddling and love stories and long-term relationships, Manish is all about shallow happy sex and nightclubs. And now that they are older, Karan and Manish go for long walks or sit on a bench together and talk about their lives.
So, that’s the “real” set-up. Now, here is how I would make it a happy film ending! First, I would have Hiroo call up Manish, as Karan’s best friend, and beg him to set Karan up with someone, even though Karan claims he doesn’t want love or marriage. Manish, although slightly regretful for reasons he doesn’t want to investigate, drags Karan out to a nightclub (club song!). And while there, he manages to introduce Karan to Sidharth Malhotra, who is young and handsome and perfect for him.
Karan is intrigued, and Manish keeps pushing Sidharth at him, and finally Karan and Sidharth start dating seriously. Karan tells Manish how happy he is, and isn’t as available for their daily walks. Manish considers having another one of his little one night flings, but he can’t manage to get interested in it. Noticing his failure to seal the deal, is Jitesh Pellai, fellow older and powerful gay industry figure. Jitesh comes over with a drink and asks if Manish is similarly getting tired of this whole scene. They bond over how suddenly everything that used to make sense for their lives suddenly doesn’t work. And the next day, Manish works himself up to call Jitesh and invite him out, just for coffee. Love song cutting between Karan and Sidharth and Manish and Jitesh!
It all looks like it is working wonderfully until Karan calls up Manish to ask for help surprising Sidharth with a proposal. Manish agrees, but it makes him sad. Jitesh notices, and they finally have heart to heart about how Manish maybe loved Karan all along.
Meanwhile, Karan proposed and Sidharth of course said yes (who wouldn’t?). Film second half! Sidharth has terrible taste so Karan asks Manish to help with the wedding planning. They plan, they bond, Manish is sensitive and kind to Hiroo, and understands the priest, and knows just what Karan wants. Until finally, after all these weeks of re-discovering how happy they are together, They are up late finishing the centerpieces, and they have a moment, and almost kiss. Manish leaves immediately apologizing, and saying he will be there the next day for the wedding. They both have long nights of the soul. And then, the next day, Manish is planning to stay home, but Hiroo calls him and begs him to come. He can’t say no, so he comes, all sad, and walks in and Hiroo grabs him and asks one more favor, they need to prepare for the photos, can he sit by the fire so they can check the lighting. Manish does, feeling all sad, but looks up when the priest starts. He is all surprised, but Karan is there next to him! And reaches out and holds his hand! And Hiroo is there too, smiling her blessing at both of them! And so is Sidharth! And Karan tells him “I realized, I couldn’t live without my sunshine.”
And then happy wedding song! In which Sidharth finds love again in the background with Jacqueline (he’s bi). And end photo of Manish and Karan a year later with their baby.
2. Ayan Mukherjee: From the book, Karan talks about how out of nowhere this young man came up to him and said “I loved Kal Ho Na Ho and what you did with gay culture and I want to work with you.” Karan was a little thrown, but they exchanged phone numbers. And then Ayan sent him the most beautiful message he has ever gotten in his life on his phone, Karan kept it for ages because it was so lovely. And he called him up immediately and brought him into Dharma and insisted that he start writing a script because he was meant to be a writer.
So, obviously, in my movie version, Ayan has been in love with Karan from afar for years. He saw him when he came over to the house once to see Kajol, when Ayan was just a young boy. And, just like in all those movies with the young girl who falls in love at first sight, Ayan never recovered from that first glimpse and has been in love with Karan ever since.
That first meeting, he failed to convey his real feelings. And has continued to fail since then. But, after years of this, with the encouragement of his best friend Ranbir, Ayan is finally ready to make his move. He starts by pretending to be in love with Ranbir and vice versa. Karan at first seems delighted.
But Ranbir gets all sneaky and keeps pushing, because he is sure that somewhere deep down Karan must feel something for Ayan. So he escalates it, and at a dinner party Karan throws for them, he fake proposes to Ayan. And then he has to leave for a shoot and he pressures Karan to work with Ayan on planning the wedding (yes, I am re-using the plot from the last option, I liked it).
Karan and Ayan work together on the planning. Again happy planning montage. But this time, instead of having a “moment” together, they actually have sex. The next day, Ayan can’t wait to get to the office to see Karan again. But Karan is gone! He’s left on a retreat. And he left a letter behind for Ayan. Saying he is sorry, they should forget what happened, he hopes Ayan has a happy life with Ranbir. Ayan is heartbroken.
And so is Karan! He is off traveling in Europe in a sad song montage. And as he travels, he keeps seeing Ayan in front of him, he can’t get him out of his head. Finally, late one night, he sees Ranbir at a bar with a woman! Making out with her!
Karan is FURIOUS! Fisticuffs! He beats up Ranbir, and a bunch of random extras who join in (I just want Karan to have an unrealistic hero fight scene). The next day, Karan is nursing his bruises in his hotel, when Ranbir knocks on the door wearing a sling. He says he doesn’t want to fight, he wants to explain.
Cut to, Ayan walking out of the office, past the parking lot where he first met Karan. Only, there’s something there! A sign that says “this way”. He turns the corner and again and again, and finally goes to the soundstage, where there is an elaborate display, and Karan in the middle of it! Karan reads off that first text message, which he still has on his phone, and then ends with the thing that we saw Ayan type and then delete “I Love You”. Only Karan actually says it. And embrace!!!
And end credits happy song! Wedding, then a honeymoon in Europe visiting all the places Karan went to before when he was sad and alone, and then back to Bombay to be blessed by Hiroo as they move into the house, and finally a shot of them in the hospital with their new baby (by surrogate, of course, I’m not insane).
3. Stranger With Baby Option: Karan ends the book by talking about how more and more he is thinking about becoming a father, either by adoption or surrogate. This is, of course, a wonderful idea! But it also got me thinking about how we could magical baby connection this thing.
Karan adopts a perfect a little baby from an orphanage. But, later that day, a man comes rushing up (John Abraham, Arjun Rampal, I have no strong opinions. You decide in the comments!). His sister just died in childbirth and her baby was taken to the orphanage. He is here to get it. Too late! Oh no!!! But, later that night, he breaks in and and looks through the records and finds Karan’s info.
He goes to Karan’s house and tries to get in, but is turned away by the guard. He keeps trying for weeks on end. But finally he gets his chance when Karan has to go away on business and needs someone to help Hiroo with baby care. And so, instead, he applies for a job as nanny. While at first Hiroo turns him down, he argues that if Karan can be a parent and a man, than he can be a nanny and a man. Happy baby song!
And then, while they are happily playing together, Karan comes home. And sees them from a distance and smiles. And then we have an old school Rajshri style slow build of their romance. Karan appreciates how “homely” in the Indian sense the new nanny is. He stays up to serve Karan food when he comes in late from the office, he takes care of the baby when she (it’s a girl) gets sick. He even takes Hiroo to the doctor when she has shortness of breath!
But then, TWIST!!!! It all falls apart! The police arrive to take the nanny away! Karan tries to stop them, but when they say he is being arrested for murder, Karan isn’t sure if he can risk the safety of his daughter with this stranger. But, after a long conversation with Hiroo, he decides to believe in love and what is true today, not what was true in the past. And they go and bail him out. After returning to their home, the nanny tells his flashback past. He and his sister lived a perfect happy life together in their small house. But then, she is raped! NO!!!! By a politicians son, so the police won’t touch him. So our nanny has to kill him (isn’t that always the way?). He goes to jail for a year, but breaks out when he hears that his sister is giving birth. And now, she’s dead and all he has left of her is his little niece.
Karan and Hiroo are touched, and decide to help him. And then, Eeeeevil! The politician is trying to take custody of the baby because it is his granddaughter! Now the family has a reason to fight together! The usual elaborate plotting to get a confession on tape and broadcast it on TV ensues. And also, a fight scene. The nanny is captured, Karan goes to rescue him and beats up a bunch of anonymous guys in a factory. And then just when it looks like Karan might lose, the nanny is suddenly inspired while watching his plight and bursts free to rescue him in turn.
In the end, wedding! With baby there of course. And freeze frame on the happy family, and THE END.
So, which do you think is the best option? And any casting comments or suggestions?