Silly Sunday Speculative Post: What If Our Favorite Historical Characters Were Allowed Happy Endings? Rang De Basanti, Asoka, Mughal-E-Azam

This is semi-inspired by a conversation I had in the comments on the Rang De Basanti post with Shaily about what would need to change for Siddharth and Soha to end up together.  Essentially, the whole movie except for the characters.  Which got me thinking about all the Indian historical films that I really wish could have historically inaccurate happier endings.

Rang De Basanti.  In the original, it all goes terribly wrong and sad for everybody in a way that resonates with the freedom struggle.  But what if we took this same group of college friends and made things happen slightly differently?

Before the politics come into play, the biggest “conflict” among the friends is that Madhavan, who they idolize, is in love with Soha and she is in love with him.  But, everyone kind of knows that Siddharth is in love with Soha too.  Even Madhavan knows.  He will never do anything about it, because he thinks Madhavan is by far the better man, but it is a little heartache for him, and his friends kind of join together to give him support over it.  Just, watch this video, and even if you haven’t seen the whole movie, you will get what I am talking about.

 

And then a bunch of stuff happens and this unrequited love is just sort of there in the background as one of the many things that makes it an interesting film.  But what if instead the unrequited love story took front and center?

Madhavan in this is the most decent guy in the world.  And he is a fighter pilot.  And his father, also an army man, died in the service when he was young leaving his mother a widow.  Putting all of this together, don’t you think he would have some kind of plan for taking care of Soha if he also died young?

What if he died in a clean simple way?  And left behind a letter to be delivered to Siddharth, telling him he has Madhavan’s blessing to marry Soha, Madhavan doesn’t want her to spend her life in grief the way his mother has, his last wish is that someday he will be a fond memory as her first love, but not her only love.  Siddharth would have this weighing on him, not feeling like he has the right to interfere in the Madhavan/Soha love story even now that he is dead.  Throughout the funeral and everything else, he would be looking at Soha, who wouldn’t even seem to notice him.

Until after the funeral, Siddharth and the other boys are over at Waheeda’s house helping with something (because now that Madhavan is dead, the other boys are always over there helping out) and Soha suddenly blurts out “so, when is our wedding?”  Siddharth is shocked, but Soha, still kind of awkward and blunt in her grief, explains that she has been waiting for him to bring it up.  Madhavan and she talked about this the night of their engagement, he made her vow to marry Siddharth after his death and she was there when he wrote the letter.  It was her last promise to him, and she wants to carry it out and get it over with.  The other boys immediately object.  Sharman is all upset, how can they have a wedding when the funeral is barely over with?  Kunal looks hot and understanding and doesn’t say anything.  Aamir is furious, asks Soha how she can forget Madhavan so easily, how could she defame his memory like that.  Siddharth kind of slowly moves over to stand next to Soha and answers for her, says that it is what Madhavan wanted and Soha wants to carry out his wishes, and that is all that matters.  Which is a nice supportive statement, but also shows how he sees himself, just an extra in Soha and Madhavan’s love story.

So, wedding happens, the friends have come around by then and are the only guests in attendance, plus Waheeda.  Oh, and before that, Siddharth kind of tells the whole thing to his father Anupam, who is supportive and explains he has known Siddharth was in love this whole time, and he knows his son has the strength to make a success of this marriage.  So post-wedding, Soha and Siddharth move into his family mansion, Soha manages to be nice and smile a little at Anupam, but the “wedding night” is her staring at the ceiling in grief while Siddharth smokes and paces around outside.

The marriage continues in this cold kind of way.  Soha does the proper daughter-in-law and wife things, Siddharth starts working at his father’s company now that he is a married man, but they don’t really connect as a couple.  Especially because Siddharth feels like he doesn’t have the right to even talk to her, since she is still Madhavan’s in his eyes.  Finally, the friends take a hand.  They declare they are taking them on a honeymoon, all 5 of them together.  They go off traveling and somehow manage to jolly Soha into being young and laughing and happy again just for a little while, which makes Siddharth happy too.  And that night they arrange for Soha and Siddharth to have to spend the night together in the same room at the hotel.  And Soha kind of indicates that it is time for them to have their first night, finally.  She may not be fully over Madhavan, but she trusts Siddharth and is married to him now.

Soha gets pregnant (of course) and things slowly get better after they return home.  Siddharth comes home earlier from the office so they can have dinner together, plans little treats for the two of them like movies or day trips when he isn’t working.  Soha is excited about the baby and increasingly happy in her life in general.  And the friends are always around, helping to build the nursery and stuff, and also constantly teasing Siddharth and Soha and throwing them together and trying to make them kiss and so on.  Until one day Siddharth comes home to find Soha sobbing, she runs to embrace him, and when he asks what is wrong, she can barely speak, finally indicates Madhavan’s garlanded photo, and Siddharth realizes it is Madhavan’s death anniversary.  He comforts her and puts her to bed, and then goes out and smokes, and finally goes to Waheeda’s house and sits out front until she wakes up.  And then tells her that she has to take her daughter-in-law back.  Siddharth will take care of her financially for the rest of her life, and the child, but this is Madhavan’s child and Waheeda’s grandchild, not his.  His only role was to get Soha pregnant, that is what is making her happy, let her go back and live with Madhavan’s memory as the child’s father and her husband, that will make her happier than staying with the living Siddharth.  He is going away now, to make it easier for them, he trusts Waheeda to come and pick up Soha.

Siddharth goes off to Foreign for Business, and there is a sad song with Soha moving in with Waheeda with the help of the friends, them building a second nursery in Waheeda’s house, and so on.  Until finally, months later, Aamir “casually” bumps into Siddharth in Foreign and seems strangely tactless, saying he really should come home and see the baby, so cute, everyone is over there all the time to look at it, Waheeda is so happy with her grandson and Soha is so happy with her son that she hardly misses his father.  Although of course, she will always miss the great love of her life, a baby can’t make up for that.  Siddharth, being the guy he is, accepts all these emotional blows and decides that he should go home, so Soha doesn’t think he is unhappy with her.

He arrives at Waheeda’s house, is nervous about going in, but then does.  Waheeda blesses him and takes him in to see the baby.  While he is looking down at the baby (a son, of course), Soha comes in behind him and bends down to take a blessing from his feet.  Siddharth backs off, alarmed, and asks what she is doing.  Soha says she has to take a blessing from the man who gave her so much happiness.  Siddharth still looks uncomfortable.  And then Soha says that sometimes you don’t realize how much you need someone, how much you love them, until they go away.  If you love them enough, even their memory is so strong and bright in your mind that it is like they are with you always.  Her son hasn’t missed his father, because his father has been there with them everyday.  Siddharth is trying to be accepting and kind, but this is too much for him, and abruptly he turns to leave.  Only to see as he is going, his own photo hanging over the crib!  He asks “what is this?”  And Soha says, “the image of my husband and my son’s father.  He may not have been with us these past few months, but he was always here in spirit.”  Siddharth looks all thunderstruck and surprised and says “But, you were crying….”  Soha says “I was crying because I forgot.  I forgot that whole day, I was thinking about you and I forgot about his death.  It was what he wanted, his last wish had finally come true.”  And Siddharth looks slowly happy for the first time and reaches out to embrace her as the camera pulls back to show the other friends and Waheeda watching and crying themselves.  And then, Happy Ending Montage!  Baby grows up, is joined by another baby, friends are always around as happy uncles, Waheeda is the grandmother always, and Siddharth and Soha smile and hold hands and are clearly always in love.

 

Next one!  Asoka!  I can’t STAND the stupid near misses and misunderstandings and mistaken identities in the “real” plot.  And I know it’s a plot based on real history, but I don’t care, I would rather they had made it based on fake history and given me a happier ending.

So, keep most of it.  Shahrukh is the most promising and angry and determined prince.  Which is why his brothers and his father hate him, because he is a challenge to them.  He is banished and goes off with his horse to wonder, pretending to be a mercenary.  Meets Kareena, who is living in the forest with her young brother and old protective servant type.  Shahrukh falls in love with her immediately, and teaches her to fight, because she wants to be able to protect herself.  She falls for him as well, especially once she learns that she is really only an adopted child of her family (a royal family, her parents were killed which is why she and her brother are on the run), meaning that she is the same status as this lowly wandering soldier.  They marry secretly, he goes to tell his mother of their marriage and then plans to return to get Kareena and her brother and bring them back to the palace, revealing his true identity.

And then it all goes terribly wrong in a very frustrating way that I don’t like.  So I am taking the same characters and situation and changing everything else entirely!

Kareena and Shahrukh get secretly married with her thinking he is a mercenary, yes!  But, before he can go home, word comes that his mother and younger full brother were killed by his evil older half-brother, noooo!  Shahrukh has a long angry night considering multiple options while wandering in the forest.  Then he returns to Kareena and her brother and guardian just in time to save them from an attack.  He fights viciously and without mercy, which disturbs Kareena, but he isn’t willing to listen to her concerns.  And, when it is over, he declares that he is tired of them running and hiding, he swears that they will go back to her kingdom and he will win it for her and her brother.

Shahrukh is brutal in battle, puts the little boy on the throne as promised, and then tricks him (because he is just an innocent boy) into making Shahrukh his chief minister, running the country for them.  Shahrukh declares that they should continue their conquests, not just be happy now that they have gotten the original kingdom back, but expand it.  Kareena disagrees with him, they have a big (sexy!) fight about it.  They seem to have made up, but the next morning she has left him.

Then Shahrukh continues his conquests, eventually coming close to taking over his own kingdom again.  And at that point, he is injured, rescued by innocent Buddhist girl Hrishita Bhatt, her care for him ends up breaking her marriage, and Shahrukh marries her to make up for it, although he is also honest and tells her that he is already married and will always love his first wife first.  Hrishita is okay with that, but not okay with all the violence, holds on to her Buddhist faith and tries to convince him to give up his constant fighting.

Finally, they take back his kingdom, in the process he kills all his remaining family.  And then takes the throne.  Only to suddenly break down as the emptiness of it all and all the conquests strikes him.  Hrishita finds him and comforts him and he listens to the philosophy she gives him and really hears it for once.  He places Kareena’s little brother on the throne, tells him to rule well, better than he could, with Hrishita to advice him, and goes wandering to find Kareena. Finally, in the same place where he first saw her, he sees a little boy, practicing sword fighting.  He recognizes a move and asks where he learned it.  The little boy says that his mother taught him.  And she learned it from his father.  And just then Kareena appears, more mature looking but still beautiful, sees Shahrukh, he holds up the practice sword he was using with the little boy, and then carefully throws it away, signifying to her that he has given up violence.  Kareena starts to cry, they embrace, eventually pulling their son into their same embrace.  Happy Ending!  Not historically correct, but Happy Ending!

 

Mughal-E-Azam.  I don’t care about Prince Salim and Anarkali, they can have their same doomed love story so far as I am concerned.  No, Durjan Singh (Ajit) the noble Rajput and best friend of Prince Salim, and Anarkali’s spunky sister Surraiya (Sheila Dalaya), those are the ones who deserve a happier ending!

So, again, keep the situation and the characters, just change all the other stuff.  Prince Salim is dreamy and emotional and drags his steadfastly loyal friend Ajit along with him, while Ajit keeps preaching restraint and duty.  Anarkali is dreamy and emotional too, but too dreamy to ever think of acting.  Her sister Sheila Dalaya is the one who tells her to just go for it, stop being so dreamy and afraid.

And so Ajit and Sheila have this immediate spark in their one and only scene together.  Ajit is preaching caution and duty to Salim, and Sheila shows up and sings a taunting song to him suggesting that instead he (Ajit, not Salim) should just give in and admit the power of love.  And I think all of us watching it immediantly went “Hey!  Ajit and Sheila totally have an opposites attract thing going on!”  But then the film swings back to the boring central lovers and forgets about that.

But not my alternative film!  In my alternative film, it’s all about Ajit and Sheila.  We see those conversations with Ajit and Salim/Dilip but with the focus on Ajit.  He is pragmatic and doesn’t believe he will ever fall in love.  He gets to explain further, say that for royals like himself and Dilip, love is a matter of duty like everything else, he expects that his father will pick out a bride for him someday and he will learn to love her, because that is his duty.

Meanwhile, Sheila gets to talk a little longer in her conversations with Anarkali/Madhubala.  She says that she has no patience with love that bows to duty, what is the purpose of life without love?  Love is the highest duty!  She will never put anything in front of her love.

By the time Sheila and Ajit have their first meeting, the audience is primed for their conflict of views and we can fully enjoy this confrontation between Sheila’s fearless support of love versus Ajit’s dedication to duty.  And then they keep meeting, passing letters back and forth between Madhubala and Dilip.  But as they meet, without realizing it, their own relationship grows.  They fight back and forth all the time, but Sheila finds herself dressing specially for their meetings, and Ajit finds his mind wandering in important state meetings to the last conversation they had.

And then Dilip and Madhubala mess everything up, as they are wont to do.  Sheila learns her sister has been arrested and goes to the secret meeting place to talk to Ajit and try to get a message to Dilip.  Ajit tells her it is already too late, Dilip is going to war to save Madhubala.  Sheila is shocked, asks what will happen to her sister, can this end well?  Ajit tells her he doesn’t think so, his father and all the important supporters have remained loyal to the king.  Sheila asks about his own loyalty, Ajit says he doesn’t know, Dilip is his friend and his prince, but his father is his father.  Sheila asks “and what am I?”  Ajit doesn’t answer.  Sheila continues “If I am anything to you, then let your duty to me weigh in the balance.  I beg you, save my sister.”  Ajit looks torn.

And then, of course, we see him doing that, saving Madhubala over and over again.  After that first time, when he brings her to the camp, he sends for Sheila.  The sisters embrace and Ajit and Sheila’s eyes meet over Madhubala’s shoulder and something unspoken passes between them.  Sheila stays at the camp with Madhubala and before Ajit leaves for battle the next day, he comes to her awkwardly and asks if she will bless his sword.  She immediately grabs it and slices her hand on it, saying that he can take her blood as blessing.  He slices his hand in the same spot as she did and uses the mixed blood to give her sindoor (yes, this is super dramatic, but it’s Mughal-E-Azam, it is supposed to be dramatic).

In the battle, Ajit is surrounded on all sides, but fights bravely to save Madhubala.  Not because Dilip ordered him to, but because it is what he promised Sheila.  He brings her back safely, but is deathly injured himself.  But does NOT die, because Sheila is there.  While all the other stuff is happening, Sheila is hiding Ajit in her chambers and nursing him back to help without anyone else’s knowledge.  Until she gets word that her sister will be freed and she and her sister and her mother can all live free so long as they never return to the kingdom.  Ajit is healthier now, so she goes to him, pretending to be casual, and tells him that he can leave some jewels and things in gratitude, but it is time for him to go now, back to his palace life.  He has his duty, after all.  And she is just a servant girl, all she ever wanted was some jewels and flattery, that is love to her.

Ajit is confused and hurt, but leaves as she told him, to be welcomed back joyfully by his father.  Only, he can’t forget Sheila.  He finds himself constantly wandering to the places where they were together.  Until he happens to see another messenger coming in secret.  He comes closer, jealous, thinking it is another lover.  Which is how he overhears Sheila being told where she and her mother should go to meet her sister in secret, and then leave the kingdom never to return.

And so, when Sheila and her mother and Madhubala run down the secret tunnel, around a turn Ajit suddenly appears, sword drawn, saying he cannot let them leave.  Madhubala and her mother are terrified, but Sheila steps forward, asking if this is what his duty tells him, to terrify three women?  Ajit says yes, because it is his duty to rule his kingdom and he finds he cannot do that.  Without her blood on his sword, he will never be able to find victory, without her by his side to challenge his thinking, he will never be wise.  And so, Madhubala and her mother can leave, but he cannot let Sheila go.  She once said that love was the greatest duty, will she step away from her mother and sister and put her love for Ajit ahead of her duty to them?  Of course, Sheila does.

And then happy end credits historical text!  Ajit ruled wisely and well for many years with Sheila by his side.

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37 thoughts on “Silly Sunday Speculative Post: What If Our Favorite Historical Characters Were Allowed Happy Endings? Rang De Basanti, Asoka, Mughal-E-Azam

  1. There is a special place in hell for Indian filmmakers who take the most glorious bits of our history and turn them into saas-bahu themed films. Like am I supposed to remember Akbar, THE Akbar, who basically invented modern Indian society and laid the foundation for Hindustan as we know it, through a fictional love story which is basically the same as everything on Indian TV? The same with Ashoka and the same with Mughal-e-Azam! If you take the opulence and novelty factor out of Mughal-e-Azam, it’s really an insult to Indian history. It seems like our filmmakers cannot think beyond romance and boy meets girl and enter villain. It makes it feel like we are incapable of falling in love unless it’s under duress! Which is sort of true actually. LOL (Cue existential crisis)

    Onto RDB now. I really really really like Siddharth! OMG drools!!! But seriously, when pitted against Madhavan, he was never gonna have a chance was he? That casting was not a coincidence! Madhavan’s character in the film, even today, is 110% boyfriend and marriage material. No girl in India would pick Siddharth’s character over Madhavan’s if the choice is real! Karan is basically the opposite of marriage material in the film.

    If I was friends with this bunch I would really tell Karan to go get a job for a decade, move out of parents’ house for good and get his rich boy angst out of his system and basically forget Soha. Guys like Karan are bad news in relationships. With them it’s like “I love you buddy but stay away from my sister/friend!” Their USP is angsty rich boy. Once they don’t have ‘rich boy’ in their name, they’re just angsty. I don’t imagine Karan being able to handle Soha’s household budget woes and her problems with the maid who skips work twice a week! The only love stories worth cheering on, in India, are the ones where you see the guy handling real life better than the girl.

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    • I love that last line. You know who has been my ideal Indian film husband basically since I started watching the movies? Arvind Swamy. Roja or Bombay, either way. He’s supportive, he’s reliable, he has a job. Sure, he’s not as sexy as those pretty boy types, but he is absolutely the guy I would want to come home to.

      Or Shahrukh in the second half of K3G. Good job, nice house, has breakfast with the kids, responsible Jeeja, perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

      • In that case I think it’d be best for me not to introduce you to Arvind Swamy’s recent return as the suave and educated villain in the 2015 critical and commercial smash hit Thani Oruvan and the upcoming Sathuranga Vettai 2.

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        • Yes, that is correct, I will pretend that this role, and all other roles post-Bombay, have never happened. Arvind is young and sensitive and responsible and middle-class with a mustache, and that’s all I want to know.

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      • Arvind!!! My cousin’s husband sort of looks like him! He’s my favorite jiju too! hehehehe

        Agree. He has such a marriage material face doesn’t he? He has turned out to be sort of hot though! My mom was watching some movie the other day and she recognised him and i was nah! that guy’s too edgy to be Arvind. then i googled the film cast and it WAS him!

        Sidenote: The Roja making coffee sequence from Roja is my all-time fav ladki dekhna scenes in films across industries!

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        • He was definitely hotter in Roja than in Bombay. Although, in Roja he was just a software engineer (okay, yes, software engineer is a great husband job), but in Bombay he was a crusading free thinking type reporter. Roja, live in mother in law. Bombay, nosey landlady, I don’t know! I’m torn!

          So long as we’re talking marriage material heroes, Ajay from Hum Dil. Aish SOOOOO made the right choice.

          Liked by 1 person

          • After giving the good guy so much grief! I hate how misogynistic and downright racist that film is. They needed the less good looking stable brooding guy who knew he won the lottery with such a pretty wife to make the sacrifice because a better looking guy would have just dumped the girl and found someone prettier in two weeks!! I really hate the message of that film. It’s very superficial.

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          • HAH!! Sometimes I hate myself for ever liking the film. But then I convince myself that I only like it for the music. It’s one of those films you look back at and go like “what the hell was wrong with me back then?!”

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        • Replying to a different message of yours because M has limited the length of any single reply thread to 5.

          I wonder if it is the viewer who is racist to call the makers racist for casting Ajay allegedly because they wanted to differentiate him from fair skinned Salman as much as possible. Frankly I myself never saw it that way in each of the multiple viewings of the film all of which were even before I “grew up” and became aware of such things (which is to say that even for my then-innocent mind it never occurred for one second that Ajay is ugly compared to Salman just because of darker skin which leads me to give the makers the benefit of the doubt you’ve now manufactured).

          And what misogyny lol, they have Ajay himself redefining manliness to his dad as being able to face and accept the truth (that Ash wants Salman) rather than his dad’s definition of being able to control a woman.

          Kuch bhi.

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          • Not kuch bhi actually. I, as you can imagine, am free to have an interpretation of a film and it’s setting. If you can present an alternative explanation for my claims, great! If not, you dont get to mansplain how I feel about a certain film.

            The misogyny in the film, AS I SAW IT, came through the role of Aish. Who was this perfect submissive little thing who waited till she was married to have her rebellion. It was probably discussed on another post but the point remains valid for this film as well— IF YOU DONT LIKE THE GUY, DONT MARRY HIM! But she does. Because Bhansali cannot imagine a woman having a voice of her own.

            As for the racist bit, well I dont think Ajay Devgn has even been called beautiful BY ANYONE! I dare you to find a single link where the man is called that. That casting is appealing to the racism in us. You may choose to not see it as racist and that’s a view you’re entitled to have. But do present your views as your own without intruding on another’s right to their own. That’s a very annoying habit you have buddy!

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        • Yaar what mansplain again (that’s the very first time I’ve had to use that word or it’s counterpart ever myself), you used that word earlier for some other post of mine as well. I’d have posted that exact same reply if it was a guy also.

          But anyway, I thought I did just present an alternative explanation for your claims. And well, how can a disagreement be voiced without being in direct conflict with or appearing to disparage the original idea/thought/interpretation I don’t know.

          Ok maybe by saying something like I respectfully disagree.

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          • I highly doubt that yaar. 😁

            Anyways, there’s a thin line to tread when one’s talking about misogyny and sexism especially within Indian entertainment segment. When I call you out for mansplaining what I’m really saying is please don’t tell me what I as a woman am supposed to feel about an issue like misogyny which is as common as oxygen in our country and our films. There’s nothing feminist or empowering about Aish’s character. I say that as a girl who watched that film as a schoolkid and BELIEVED that’s how good girls are supposed to behave. I hope you see how damaging and wrong the message of that film was in the long term. When you dismiss my anger over that particular issue, I do feel you getting a little mansplain-y. I’m not going to apologise for that. If I were trying to tell you you’re wrong on what a guy is supposed to feel about a male character (not gender-less themes like racism though), you can call me out for woman-splaining and I’d be a sport about it.

            Let’s leave it that though. I enjoy your views on this blog. Cheers.

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          • Just jumping in to say that I appreciate how both of you were able to disagree without falling into personal insults.

            On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 2:15 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I would choose Durjit Singh-Surraiya any day over piney Dileep and Madhubala any day.If Surraiya hadn’t prodded and nagged her, Madhubala wouldn’t have even thought of sending a message to Dileep.Dileep and Madbhubala loved the idea of a doomed dramatic romance rather than the real thing.Next on line, an alternative ending to Devdas.

    I’d like to nominate Avinash Wadhavan from Balma (1993) in the best filmi-husband category.Granted he’s a fortune-hunter (albeit a noble one) and Ayesha Jhulka’s daddy had to give him a job.But Ayehsa really put him through the paces and he came through every time.She got her money’s worth all right.

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    • Alternative ending to Devdas would really just be the same, only everyone involved gets over themselves and gets therapy. Paro realizes she’s got a pretty sweet deal with her nice husband and loving stepchildren, Dev goes to AA and stops drinking and gets a job, Chandramukhi retires on her savings and opens a dance school.

      On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 2:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • RIGHT???? I couldn’t believe rewatching it that they only had the one scene together. Because they had so much chemistry and were so interesting as a couple right away, versus drippy Dilip and Madhubala. Speaking of, thank goodness Madhubala married Kishore instead! Seems like a lot more fun as a husband. And I bet Saira livened up Dilip a bit too. It all worked out for the best after all.

      On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 10:58 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Amazing post!! I liked your idea of Soha-Sid getting together but Sid was too much into self-pity. Kunal Kapoor hot a single mention of being hit and understanding… not done!! He needs a romance. What about Konkana?

    I enjoyed the discussions here. And true that Sid was so not marriage material type. Dude needed to get his shit together.

    And Arsine Swami and SRK from K3G are my favourite husbands too. Have you seen K3G deleted scenes? There’s this whole sequence about SRK teasing Kajol about not being able to wear a sexy dress and later she seduces a bespectacled working SRK on fast beats of ‘Soniya’ song. It was amazing.
    Too bad that Arsine Swami took a long break from movies.

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    • Oh I have definitely seen the K3G deleted scenes! I love that little indication that he has turned from the crazy romantic young man to more of a settled guy who jokes with his wife. But at the same time, when she chooses to turn up the heat, he is just as in love as ever.

      Boy, hot Kunal with a romance! Now you’ve got me thinking. He was kind of the most and least mature. I feel like he was the most mature in emotional intelligence, he could really understand what everyone else was feeling and how to help them. But he was the least mature in being able to know what he himself wanted and go after it. Not ready to stand up to his family fully, not ready to stand up for himself against the Hindutva types, and so on.

      I bet if Soha Bhabhi arranged it, that would be the only way. How about this? Soha through some NGO she volunteers with meets a spunky young Muslim woman Konkona who is outspoken and also loves books and can recite poetry although she admits she can’t write it herself, but really loves reading it. She is sure this is the perfect girl for Kunal and arranges a meeting, at which he is shy and hot and Konkona is really talkative. They don’t hit it off, Konkona thinks he is conservative and boring, Kunal thinks she is shallow. But then he sees her later (let’s say they met at a coffee shop in the mall and he stops by a store on the way out) at a bookstore asking for his just published book of poetry. The owner of the store is all “no one wants poetry books, I’ve never even heard of this guy” and Konkona is all “you are a fool, he is a genius, I’ve been following him since he started publishing in his college magazine, someday he will change the world with his words and you are going to be just a shopkeeper”. Kunal, naturally, is intrigued. And decides to send her a copy of his book along with a personal note that he had heard she was a fan and he is delighted his words have touched someone. Written in like high Urdu poetic style, of course. They start writing back and forth, he writes high poetry to her, and she writes gushy happy fangirl stuff back about, like, her regular life and how her little brother teases her and her mother is trying to teach her to cook but she keeps letting things boil over because she is reading poetry. And meantime he bumps into her when Soha is hosting some event, she is all sniffy and not interested in this boring conservative guy, and he gets caught up in the moment and surprises her by doing a big dance number for her.

      And then he starts courting her as “himself”, sending her little gifts and dropping by the office with Chai when he knows she will be there and dropping her home after he drops off Soha. He starts sort of bringing up the future, talking about how he would want a wife who works, he lives in his own place not with his parents, he wants two daughters (no sons), and slowly Konkona realizes he isn’t traditional at all and might be the perfect guy for her. Plus the little hands meeting moments and stuff. And he is incredibly handsome. Finally, he and Soha and the other friends come to present his proposal to her parents. He tells them that he is a modern man, he doesn’t need a wife who cooks (he will do that), or who is silent (he is silent enough for both of them), but he needs one that fills his gaps. Konkona, naturally, is won over. Although she has a long night considering her letters from Kunal-the-poet, which have come less and less frequently. Finally, she puts them away and agrees to the proposal. But, on the wedding night, she comes to the marriage bed and finds a poem on her pillow. She turns to see Kunal standing behind her looking a little shy and realizes everything, and starts hitting him with the pillow, asking why he didn’t just tell her. And he finally admits that the poet is just one small part of himself, he wanted to make sure she loved him for everything else as well.

      How’s that?

      On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 11:29 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • That is bloody awesome! Kunal… Oh just imagining him in these scenes had a full blown smile on my face. Specially his proposal scenes to her parents. Aww!! That was amazing. You excel at proposal scenes. Take a bow!

        Now to the characterisations. Yes Kunal was dichotomy. Intellectually he understood it all with his poet’s heart but when it came to real life, he was a bit inexperienced. Can’t we keep Konkana a Hindu/Christian ? Loved the spunky Koko.

        I absolutely adore their chemistry. How they reverse the gender roles. Koko is beautiful no doubts with those big eyes and Bong beauty but yet not considered extremely beautiful by film standards and Kunal is a beautiful man, both inside and out. And the movies they did were so interesting, one had Koko smitten (Aaja nachle) and the other had Kunal smitten(Laga chunri). I Laga chunri, he was a klutz but extremely loving and supportive.

        And yes to all about SRK in K3G. His transition to a grown-up man is brilliant, so in sync with his character. Never knew KJo could actually think this deeply. Actuary K3G is my favourite married couple story, it is my dream culmination of all SRK-Kajol romances. How I wish KJo had kept those scenes in the mobile and reduced some Hrithik-Kareena scenes instead.

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        • I kind of want Konkona to be Muslim, because I feel like in his own way Kunal in RDB is deeply devout, and would want a wife who was like that. Not that he wouldn’t marry for love if she was something else, but if it is a semi-arranged marriage, that is what he would look for, and Soha would be on the look out for a Muslim girl for him (you know Soha is going to be the one who takes care of all her “boys” marriages if they don’t take care of it for themselves. If Madhavan had lived, she probably would have found someone for Siddharth too eventually).

          What I love about the Konkona/Kunal chemistry is that she is never thrown by his beauty. Even in Aaje Nachle, she didn’t know how to approach him, but she also wasn’t conflicted about going after this man who kind of seemed way out of her league. Plus, on one of my rewatches, if you look for it, Kunal kind of noticed her all along, even before Madhuri took a hand. It might not have happened as fast or as smoothly, but I bet Kunal would have fallen for her eventually anyway.

          On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 12:23 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes Aslam was a believer but he did not believe informing his religious beliefs on others. So a semi-arranged thing works totally .
            In Aaja Nachle, even I noticed Kunal watching her through the corner of his eyes but pretending to be this rough-tough guy. And there I get my inter-religious story, Kunal was a Muslim again but Koko was a Hindu. The whole romance was so cute.

            And another good role of Kunal was in Bachna-ai-hasino. I loved him so much. (I hated Ranbir in the movie though. ) Kunal was so innately decent, specially when he offers Monisha a kerchief after she cries post a confrontation with Ranbir. He was just there for her throughout. I adored him and so wished that the Bipasha got a guy like him

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          • I can’t believe that was Ranbir’s breakthrough role. Yes, he is super entertaining in it, but he is such a horrible person! And Kunal is so decent and fine and good.

            Yeah, I want Bips to get someone too. Oh heck, I’m bored at work, and you are patient with me, I’ll give her someone right now.

            Arjun Rampal is her friend/manager, he teases her sometimes about how hard and heartless she seems, and there is a slight implication that if she seemed open to it, he might want to be more than just friends. Only she always shuts it down, whenever he says something general like “do you ever think you might fall in love?”, Bips will say something like “Love is a fantasy young people believe in, I am too old for that.”

            After Ranbir comes and kind of helps her resolve some of her issues, she starts to think about Arjun in a new way. Let’s say she has been calling him on the phone all along (he is traveling for business), and realizing things like “you are the only person I can be honest with, the only person I know likes me for me”. And eventually when she says good bye to Ranbir, she realizes that the person in her mind, the one she wants to see everyday just like Ranbir is missing Dips, is Arjun. She is all excited to meet him at the airport and try to change their relationship, only to see him get off the plane with a much younger woman who he is clearly “with”. NOOOOO!

            Arjun is delighted to see her, and excited to tell her all about his new arranged fiancee. He wasn’t into it at first, but he went alone with it because his parents and her parents are old friends, but then they got to talking, and she is so sweet and loving and smart and pretty and so on and so on. Poor Bips is dying inside. But, she toughens up, decides this is her punishment for ignoring Arjun all these years, and agrees to take the poor girl under her wing, help her buy wedding clothes and get used to Arjun’s life. But, the girl (let’s say Alia) just doesn’t like it. She is homesick, she doesn’t like going to all these parties, she isn’t comfortable in the skimpy clothes they wear here, and she doesn’t like how Arjun acts, sitting around and talking instead of running on the beach, or going to a fancy nightclub instead of dancing in the street. Bips keeps trying to fix things, to convince both of them to try to make it work, to become more like the other one, because she thinks that is what Arjun wants. Until finally Alia is complaining about Arjun to her again (after she has just seen Arjun leave the house, shoulders sagging because he knows he is failing) and Bips blows up at her about how Arjun is perfect just as he is, and she is too young and naive to see it, but there will come a time years from now when she will suddenly realize just how wonderful he is and it will be too late. And Alia tweaks to what is happening and is all “I shouldn’t be marrying him, you should be marrying him!” Bips tries to deny it, but her feelings are obvious, and she ends up sobbing out how he was right in front of her all these years and she was too blind to see it, and now she is old and ruined and he just wants a young perfect wife. Which Alia, you can see, silently disagrees with.

            The next day, Alia invites Arjun and Bips to lunch and takes control of the conversation, handing him his ring back right away. And then saying that she is leaving for India immediately, however she knows she has left him in a bind since all the wedding preparations are under way. So, rather than waste all that money, why don’t he and Bips get married. Before Bips can respond, Arjun leaps in all “she doesn’t want me, she is still heartbroken over the one man she ever truly loved, I could never measure up.” And Bips jumps in too, “What do you mean you could never measure up? Just because this little girl can’t appreciate you doesn’t mean another woman couldn’t, you are kind and intelligent and twice the man Ranbir ever was. Any woman would be lucky to marry you!” Alia grabs on that and asks “So, does that mean you will marry him?” Bips is all trapped and gets flustered, Arjun notices and gets hopeful and gives her the love eyes, she gets up and runs away from the table. Arjun follows her and, against a beautiful vista, admits that he has been in love with her since the moment he first laid eyes on her, he was happy to just live in her shadow all these years, he only agreed to marry Alia because he thought it would make Bips happy to see him move on, if her feelings have changed even a little bit, it would make him the happiest man alive. And of course Bips turns and gives him the love eyes and embraces him so he knows that she really really loves him and he isn’t second choice. And then wedding!

            On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 1:10 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Ranbir was a jerk. The movie reales in my 12th standard. And all my classmates were gushing over Ranbir and calling Deepika a horrible woman to break his oh-so-poor heart and I was like what is wrong with you girls! Ideally Ranbir should have been left alone by the movie’s end. And though I liked Kunal-Minisha, it has been my personal gripe that she took 12 years to see the man who loved her and even then it took the guy who had jilted her to make her realise the same. I was like WTF? Seriously there should have been another resolution to Kunal-Minisha. What if Ranbir never came back to wash his “sins”? Would she be blind throughout her life, cleaning cupboards every night? I so wish Ranbir had encountered a Minisha truly happy with Kunal and her muchkins and would have scoffed his apology off like ‘Who even are you? Just some guy I met ages ago who is drowned in self-importance that without his blessing I can’t move on in life? Huh!’.

    I liked your ending for Bipasha-Arjun. Bips was truly amazing in the movie. Arjun was similar to his role in KANK, right? Alia would look so out-of-place between Arjun n Bips but it works.

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    • Yes! Manisha makes me so unhappy! Because they wasted all those happy years of early marriage and everything with her thinking this wasn’t true love. I have to convince myself that really they were mostly happy, they had jokes and happy moments and everything, it would just be every once in a while that Manisha would have a moment of feeling unloved and Kunal wouldn’t know what to do. Because otherwise TOO SAD.

      KANK! That’s why I could picture Arjun so clearly as the supportive friend waiting until the time is right!

      On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 2:44 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Sorry but I think that’s what exactly happened. She was truly unhappy in the marriage or maybe never really realised that she had all joys around and she only needed to reach out to have it all. But she spent all those early years pinning about her broken heart and ‘what-ifs’. What-if she never met Ranbir or fall for his fake charms.

        Kunal’s rant to Ranbir at the forest painted such a sad picture of their life together. Where he craved her happiness, she dragged life as a burden, a duty. That line was so sad when he describes that he wants to talk to his wife after a long tiring day and she remembers to clean the cupboards. No jokes, no lovey-dovey moments just duty on her side and muted understanding on his. What could be more sadder than the fact that he had the girl of his dreams by his side only to realise that she killed that girl before becoming his.

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          • Oh man, now I am picturing those little boys with their spunky personality and Kunal’s looks breaking hearts all over the Punjabi countryside in about 10 years!

            On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 3:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Pity y’all missed Kunal in Veeram.He is smouldering,especially when he swishes his urumi (flexible sword).He’s so unapologetic about his misdeeds and believes that the end justifies the means.He believes he’s using the women in his life.But he ends up being manipulated by the woman who would become his wife later.Oh yes and the creepy oracle(female?) too.

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      • The Malayalam version came out 5-6 months ago and didn’t do well at the box-office.The visuals are spellbinding-especially Kunal’s final duel in the rain.Character development is zero.The characters should have come with tags attached – prodigy cousin,childhood sweetheart,uncle,enemy’s niece etc.But full marks for pro-active heroines who refuse to give up.In a man’s world they would do whatever they have to do to win -whether it’s using their beauty, or skill in arms,black magic,whatever.

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  6. Pingback: Wednesday Watching Post, You Get to Pick My Next Posts! | dontcallitbollywood

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