Silly Sunday Speculative Post: Golden Girls Edition!

You know the concept of “narrowcasting”?  Where you target your content to a tiny tiny audience?  Welcome to a very narrow cast version of Sunday posts!  Just for those of you who are both Indian film megafans, and Golden Girls fans! (also, unrelated, don’t forget to vote for the next tweetalong/watchalong movie on Friday’s post!)

For those of you who are still reading this, I will start by giving the main theoretical underpinnings for my concept of a Golden Girls feature film, and then 3 separate casting options because I just couldn’t decide!

Firstly, as I see The Golden Girls, each of the main four characters have different times in their life when they truly felt their best, when everything was perfect.  I think this is one of the best parts of how the show presents end of life, because most people do have those times at some point.  And when you are in your 50s/60s, those times are usually behind you.  And all you can do is refer back to them in stories and try to remind the people around you of what you once were.

For Rose, it was her childhood, they even give a little backstory to explain it with her early years in the orphanage, that just served to make the later years of her childhood after her family adopted her that much sweeter.  And she has never quite lost that adorable childish side of her.

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For Blanche, it was her young adulthood.  It’s established that her childhood was not that happy, she never felt as loved as her siblings or like she belonged anywhere.  But once she hit puberty and started attracting and being attracted to boys, everything fell into place.  And she had all the love and support she always wanted.  Which is why she has never quite lost that wild teenage girl feel to her.

Image result for golden girls blanche

 

For Sophia, I think it is now.  Notice most of her stories of the past are made up.  She has no interest in her “real” past, she would rather live in the moment when she can be as rude and wild and irresponsible as she wants.

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But for Dorothy, that time still hasn’t come.  She was an awkward child, she lost her young womanhood in marriage and kids, and now she is in late middle age, still unloved and lonely and trying to find her place.

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And therefore, my Hindi movie version will have Dorothy as the main character, as she tries to find her happy ending!  With Rose and Blanche and Sophia in supporting roles with their own little b-stories.  And all of this based firmly on real episodes of the show.

Blanche’s b-story first, because it is the simplest.  Blanche isn’t really about deep emotions and inner conflict, she’s there to give amazing one-liners and physical comedy.  And, in the Hindi version, obviously a sexy item song.  I want to do just a quick variation on the season 1 episode 9 story “Blanche and The Younger Man”.  As in the original, she will be asked out by a much younger man (let’s make him her dance instructor so we can have a steamy dance number).  She wears herself out getting ready for the date, and when it finally happens, she learns in the middle of dinner that he just wanted to spend time with her because she reminds him of his mother.

But, in my Hindi version, after her date leaves, the maitre’d/restaurant owner comes over and asks her out, because he is so struck by her beauty.  And while he isn’t quite as young as the original date, he is still a good 5-10 years younger than her.

 

Rose’s b-story, I want to use a few of her interactions with Miles.  Their first meeting of course, at a community dance in episode 6, season 5 “Dancing in the Dark”.  They love to dance together, but she thinks he is too intelligent and sophisticated to be interested in her.  She embarrasses herself at a faculty party with his university colleagues and feels like he has more in common with Dorothy when they spend time as a group.  But, in the end, he convinces her that her beauty and sweetness and special Rose-ness is all he wants.

That can be the beginning of her story, but I want to add on a couple of bits in the middle, just so we see Rose again.  Maybe something with the episode where she gets sick of how cheap he is and goes out on a double date with Blanche just so she can go to a nice restaurant, and then Miles catches her and they end up talking it out?  I like all the cheapness jokes in that one.  Or else the one where Rose feels like Miles has become boring and they go skydiving at the end.

 

And as usual, Sofia doesn’t get an actual story, she just hangs around and makes wise-cracks about everyone else’s stories.  And then gives words of wisdom at the very very end.

 

Now, Dorothy’s story is the complicated one!  I am going to combine 4 separate episodes and 3 separate storylines to give her the ending she deserves.

First, there is season 1 episode 14 “That Was No Lady”.  Dorothy is passionately in love for the first time in her life.  She’s never felt like this before.  She and a fellow teacher are sneaking out for long lunches and meeting in hotel rooms in the middle of the day.  But then she finds out he is married and won’t leave his wife for the sake of the kids.  At first she continues the affair because she loves him too much.  But in the end, she realizes she doesn’t like what she has become.

Now, as I picture it, Dorothy in my Indian film version goes through this romance pretty quickly and early.  And Rose’s first meeting with Miles is scattered into the middle of it. And then Dorothy’s first story is over and she returns to form as a somewhat acerbic and entertainingly unhappy person.  At which point, she gets a call out of the blue from her ex-husband, the man who ruined her life, Stanley.

Image result for golden girls stanley

And now we go into the two part “There Goes the Bride” from season 6.  Stanley has returned, and he is different.  Considerate and mature and caring.  But still the man she was married to for 38 years as well, familiar and safe.  She agrees to marry him.  Only on the day of the wedding, he asks her to sign a prenup, showing that he still doesn’t appreciate her and everything she does for him.  INTERVAL

Post interval, we have Blanche’s little filler story with the younger man while people get popcorn and find their seats again.  And then we go straight into a Dorothy story by a back way.  It seems like a continuation of Blanche, she is all excited about her new lover and doesn’t want to entertain her uncle who is coming into town, her father’s youngest brother.  So she tricks him into going out with Dorothy and they have a terrible time together.  Until they decide to play a trick on Blanche and pretend to be in love just to mess with her!  And then in the end, they really do fall in love of course.  But when they tell the news to Blanche, she refuses to accept the relationship, Dorothy is just too different to fit into her family, and to marry her uncle and become her step-aunt.  Her uncle is willing to live with her objections, but Dorothy can’t go against her friend, even if it means breaking her own heart.

Image result for golden girls leslie nielsen

Which brings us to “Cheaters” (season 5 episode 22) in which the married lover returns!  This seems like her happy ending, the first man she ever really fell in love with is now free and wants to marry her.  It’s all perfect!  Except that wise Sofia keeps giving him a hard time, and Rose and Blanche aren’t really sure either.  And then my little twist on the plot, in the end Blanche tells her that she is too good for him, she deserves a man who isn’t just marrying the first woman who comes along because he doesn’t want to be single after a divorce.  And while talking, Blanche realizes that Dorothy is wonderful like that and she was blind not to see it!  And rushes out to call her uncle and have him fly down and propose again.

And finally, Dorothy gets her happily ever after!  Married to a wealthy important man who adores her, about to start a new wonderful life, leaving her friends behind her.  And, of course, Rose and Miles and Blanche and her new beau are at the wedding too, and Sofia even gets a vision of her dead Sal in the big wedding dance number (think “Bole Chudiyan”).

Image result for golden girls leslie nielsen

(In my version, Dorothy’s wedding dress is considerably less hideous)

Beyond the general plot tweaks, it would clearly be set in Goa instead of Miami.  Rose would be from rural Tamil Nadu instead of rural Wisconsin.  Sofia would be a Punjabi partition refugee instead of an Italian immigrant, and Dorothy would have grown up in Delhi instead of New York.  And Blanche would be..what?  A local Christian Goan, I guess!

So, obviously, this is the perfect movie.  But who to cast?!?!?!?!?  I have been over and over this, and I am still not happy with all my choices.  And I had to come up with multiple casting configurations to make it all work (oh, and remember Estelle Getty was the same age as the others just wearing make-up!  So all 4 actresses should be the same generation):

Really really old classic 60s-70s actresses cast:

Blanche: Saira Banu

(I feel strongly that Blanche has to be played by an actress that was truly stunningly beautiful in her youth, just like Rue McClanahan was)

Rose: Waheeda Rahman

Image result for waheeda rehman

(Southern, sweet face)

Dorothy: Sharmila Tagore

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(Confident, powerful personality)

Sofia: Helen

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(So cute!)

Blanche’s younger man: Shahrukh

Image result for shahrukh and saira banu

Blanche’s slightly younger man: Jackie Shroff

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Miles: Dharmendra

Image result for dharmendra waheeda rehman

Dorothy’s Married Boyfriend: Prem Chopra

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(Obviously, he’s always the bad guy)

Dorothy’s ex: Amitabh

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Dorothy’s final husband: Dilip Kumar

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(Look how good they looked together!  Also, I’m pretending he doesn’t have severe dementia and can still act for this casting)

Sofia’s Sal in a vision: Salim Khan, obviously

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Kind of old 80s era cast:

Blanche: Shabana Azmi

(Remember, has to be stunningly beautiful in her youth!)

Rose: Sridevi

Image result for sridevi 2016

(Obviously she also fulfills the “stunningly beautiful” Blanche requirement, but Rose is a much harder role.  You need to be able to play silly-but-lovable, which Sridevi is particularly good at)

Dorothy: Ratna Pathak (so excited for her to get a leading romantic role!)

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Sofia: Kirron Kher

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Blanche’s younger man: Hrithik

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Blanche’s slightly younger man: Shahrukh

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Miles: Amitabh!  He is the perfect impressive professor type!

Image result for sridevi amitabh

Dorothy’s married boyfriend: Naseeruddin Shah. I know, you think he would be the husband, but I think he can pull off charming but weak better than anyone else.

Image result for ratna pathak naseeruddin shah

Dorothy’s ex-husband: Boman Irani. Perfect as a the lovable yutz!

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(I don’t know what’s happening in this photo but I love it)

Dorothy’s final husband: Jackie Shroff. The perfect man, always.

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Sofia’s Sal in a vision: Anupum Kher, of course.

Image result for kirron and anupam kher

 

Really too young for these roles 90s edition:

Blanche: Madhuri

(Just in case we needed proof that she was stunningly beautiful as a young woman)

Rose: Juhi Chawla

Image result for juhi chawla 2016

Dorothy: Dimple Kapadia

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(I know she seems older than the others, but she isn’t really.  Was just launched a lot younger)

Sofia: Rani Mukherjee (picture like in Dil Bole Hadippa.  Heavy make-up just frees something insane inside of her!)

Image result for rani mukherjee dil bole hadippa

Blanche’s younger man: Tiger Shroff?  But really, who is too young for Madhuri?

Image result for tiger shroff

(Most importantly, he can dance really well!  I want my Madhuri item numbers!)

Blanche’s slightly younger man: Ranbir Kapoor

Image result for madhuri dixit ranbir

(I fully believe that he would fund and produce this movie himself, if we gave him a chance to play opposite Madhuri)

Miles: Shahrukh!  I want to see him playing a glasses wearing professor

Image result for juhi chawla 2016

(Plus, he and Juhi always have a great time together)

Dorothy’s married boyfriend: Rishi Kapoor, clearly

Image result for rishi kapoor dimple kapadia

Dorothy’s ex-husband: Boman Irani (still the perfect yutz)

Image result for boman irani dimple kapadia

(Maybe we give him a bad wig to help with the characterization?)

Dorothy’s final husband: Sunny Deol!  Or Jackie Shroff?  I can’t decide.

(Who seems better with her?)

 

So, which cast is best?  Or would you mix and match between them?  And are there better options I missed for certain roles?

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20 thoughts on “Silly Sunday Speculative Post: Golden Girls Edition!

  1. The 80s era cast would be sheer perfection! As I read your plot rundown, I was actually picturing Sridevi as Rose-she would knock the comedy and sweetness out of the park. Ratna Pathak is SUCH a Dorothy (and I’m such a fan, I’d also selfishly love to see her play a romantic lead). Shabana is such a great actress that I’m sure she’d nail the Blanche role and she was definitely stunningly beautiful as a young woman (and still is, really). And Kirron Kher as Sofia is a stroke of brilliance! I also enjoy the idea of throwing real-life partners in the mix for the male casting. Love the story lines you chose as well. This would be a delightful film!

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    • Wouldn’t it be fun? I would love to see these ladies get a movie built around themselves with real romances and comedy and dance and all of that. But mostly, I want Dorothy to get her happy ending and a better wedding dress!

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  2. The choice with Ratna Pathak as Dorothy!! Sridevi also a brilliant choice as Rose. I love the whole combination you have with Ratna. I would dearly love for her to play all acerbic, and still get her HEA.

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    • Yes! My only question is if Jackie Shroff is as good a HEA as Leslie Nielsen (I just watched the series finale again last night, and he doesn’t have much to do, but he does it so well, you really believe he is going to be the man that finally makes her happy).

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  3. I had a random thought in the shower today (not sure why I was thinking about Hindi Golden Girls, but I was). One of the most memorable episodes was ’72 Hours’- the one where Rose discovers that a blood-transfusion from years earlier may have contained HIV-infected blood and she has to have a test done and wait for three days for the results. Even the most casual fans seem to remember this episode. Two things really stuck with me over the years: Rose feeling sorry for herself and insinuating that Blanche should be the one in that situation because of her promiscuity (and Blanche subsequently delivering a beautiful, eloquent speech about how it isn’t a disease for the wicked or God punishing people for their sins). And also, Sophia handling it poorly and marking an ‘R’ on Rose’s coffee mugs (before eventually coming to terms with it and supporting her friend). As usual, they tackled a very serious issue in a delicate and thoughtful way, teaching tolerance and kindness with humor and grace.

    For the Hindi version, instead of a letter about possible HIV-infected blood, maybe Rose is sent a different kind of letter. She was adopted, right? What if Rose receives a letter from a distant aunt in regards to her birth parents. I was thinking something along the lines of the Sairat story, where a Dalit boy and a high caste girl elope and have a child together. Unfortunately, her family discovers them and they become the victims of an honor killing. The murderers don’t have the heart to kill the child, but also don’t want to raise the little girl, so they leave her at an orphanage. I would play it exactly the same as the original. Sophia, older and set in her ways, would be the most affected. Blanche, who’s dated men of all castes and religions, isn’t phased and can deliver the heartfelt speech. Dorothy would be wrapped up in her own story but would provide unconditional emotional support for her friend. Obviously, unlike the HIV episode, the mixed caste issue won’t just be a “scare”-it will be a new reality that the women will have to accept and deal with. The film could touch on both issues-untouchability and honor killing-delivering an even more powerful message of tolerance and acceptance. I’m not sure where it would fit (second half, probably) and it may be a little dark in tone, but perhaps the social issues could give the film a bit more weight and reach an even larger audience.

    Am I crazy?

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    • I love this idea! And can I add on another episode to combine with it? Once in St. Olaf in which while volunteering at the hospital, Rose discovers that one of her patients is her biological father and that her mother was a woman she knew in her youth as the town “simple” woman (if I am remembering correctly).

      So instead of getting a letter from a relative, we could keep the exact same opening. Rose is helping at the hospital and meets an ill priest. Finds out he is her biological father, and her biological mother was a dalit woman from her town. That they couldn’t be together because he would have lost his status as a priest. And now Rose has to deal with being angry with her father for abandoning her and her mother, and with the knowledge that she is a dalit. And you could have Blanche present an alternative version not just as a woman who has loved and known many people, but as a Goan Christian (as she would be in this version), meaning her religion teaches her to reject caste, and she would have been raised in a community where Dalits were welcomed. Along with a whole variety of other “outsiders”, since Goa is such a polyglot society.

      Dorothy would be similarly progressive and beyond caste thanks to her education and general liberal mindset. But Sofia could believably still be stuck in the habits she learned as a young girl and have a hard time getting past them.

      Ooo! You could even use the hospital setting! Maybe Sofia seeing how an uppercaste patient makes a stink about getting blood donated that might be from a dalit which opens Sofia’s eyes to how silly this all is and she gives the patient a lecture?

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      • That’s perfect! It could drop a bit of the darkness with the honor killing aspect but still retain the important conversation about caste issues. And it seems like the story arc would fit in seamlessly with the histories and upbringings of all the individual characters in this Hindi adaptation.

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      • Oh and maybe Miles could be played by Anil Kapoor-with gray hair, glasses and basically the same outfit he wore in Mr. India. I’d just love to see him and Sridevi together again!

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        • Yes! Only, while I can barely believe that Sridevi might not feel she is good enough for Amitabh, I really can’t believe she would ever feel inferior to Anil Kapoor! I love Anil, but come on, it’s Sridevi. She is clearly the prize in that relationship.

          On the other hand, I do love to see Anil and Sridevi together too!

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          • Oh I know. I just really want to see a middle-aged update of the “I Love You” song from Mr. India! Maybe Badshah could do a cool, synthy remix, a la Tamma Tamma Again or The Humma Song!

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