Hmm. After the full flush of creativity last week, I don’t really have much this week. I need ideas! Give me help in the comments! Your favorite movie, book, actor couple anything to start me off. For instance, this week I am starting off from a casual comment DilDeewana made about how she loves Emma for the you’ve-been-standing-in-front-of-me-all-along-and-I-just-realized-I-love-you! trope (also, DilDeewana, make sure to watch Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na if you haven’t already). So, let’s work with that!
Shahrukh and Juhi Best Friends and Business Partners Who Fall in Love:
Well, this is totally cheating, I’m just basing it on real life! But a slightly different real life.
I want the weight of a long time friendship, so we are going to see little important moments in quick flashes at the beginning, instead of just one longer flashback. Way back 20 years ago, Shahrukh and Juhi met when they were both applying for the same internship. They hated each other at first sight, Juhi thought Shahrukh was too loud and immature, he thought she was too girlish and dreamy.
(they didn’t like each other much in real life at first either, but for different reasons. More that Shahrukh felt shy around an actress who was a lot more experienced than him)
2 years later, they meet again, now working for rival ad agencies that are about to merge. Juhi is now married and slightly more adult seeming, Shahrukh is ducking phone calls from girlfriends. They still don’t much like each other, but Juhi cooly helps him cover when one of his girlfriends shows up, and he half-embarrassed tells her “thanks”, she smiles slightly and says “mention not” and a truce happens. 2 years after that, they are sitting in their shared office, now creative partners, going back and forth about ideas for the next campaign, when Juhi goes into labor! Shahrukh rushes her out the door, then pauses, says “wait a minute” and runs back inside to write down the idea they just had while Juhi yells at him from the doorway. 10 years later, back in the office which is clearly just Shahrukh’s now, he is giving her an enthusiastic pitch, she is brilliant, he is brilliant, their greatest success was together, they should come together again! And leave this agency, start their own! It will be great, they can do their own thing, not worry about the bosses and the business and leaving their best ideas on the table because they won’t fly with the corporate office. Juhi mentions that she hasn’t worked in 8 years, not since her second child was born. Shahrukh says that doesn’t matter, she is as smart as ever, his last great idea for the Frooti campaign was just something she said when he was over visiting in her kitchen. And finally Juhi says “is this just pity? Is it just something to distract me now that Jay is dead?” Shahrukh gets serious and leans forward and says “If Jay were alive, I would never ask you, because you were happier with him than with me. But now I am asking you, can you accept me as second choice?” And now, 8 years later, big fancy offices with big sign “Juhi and Shahrukh Agency”, going past secretaries and busy people, Juhi is moving through secretaries and everyone else, taking messages and giving orders, and finally reaches the office she and Shahrukh share to find him pacing around tearing his hair out saying “What do we do? what do we do? What’s a fresh idea for Honda?” And Juhi calmly sits down and starts asking him questions, and in about 5 minutes they come up with a perfect idea and Shahrukh says casually “that’s why I love you, you make me brilliant.” And Juhi says casually back, “that’s why I love you too, you are brilliant.”
(they do seem happy, I feel kind of guilty for killing him off)
And then the rest of the movie happens. Let’s say, Juhi’s oldest, the 18 year old, gets pregnant by her college boyfriend. Juhi leans on Shahrukh to help her through the trauma. And one night, while he is comforting her in the office, he casually says “I love you” and she says “I love you” back, but we can see in her face that she has suddenly realized how true that is, because he has once again said the perfect thing to calm her worries and make everything better. Only, before Juhi can figure out how to act on this new feeling, Shahrukh surprises her! Part of their new closeness is Juhi confessing that she had a college love too, back before she met Jay. Shahrukh, after talking with her 16 year old about how lonely Juhi is and how she never goes out at night or has fun, decides that the solution is to track down this college boyfriend, Akshay. Turns out, he’s divorced and is still interested in Juhi (of course, Juhi is awesome). Juhi is all excited when Shahrukh asks her out for a special dinner, after talking things over with her 18 year old, she thinks maybe Shahrukh feels the same way as she does, the 18 year old says he looks at her like he loves her, and points out that he has been there for her for 20 years, even if he doesn’t say anything at this dinner, she should! Shahrukh will definitely be interested. And then when Juhi shows up, just as she is working her way up to saying something, especially because Shahrukh is talking about old loves and remembering youth and stuff, there’s Akshay! Shahrukh is all proud and excited about setting them up and arranging this romantic meal, and happily leaves them alone to “catch up”. Juhi is, of course, heartbroken, but manages to cover it.
(they’re cute together too. Someday I will write a post where Akshay actually gets the girl. I think Dil To Pagal Hai and Jaan-E-Mann may have somehow turned him into the permanent love loser for me.)
She goes home that night and talks to her 16 year old, who is all excited to know how it went and starry eyed about the romance of old lovers getting together. So Juhi is convinced to give it a try. Although she isn’t really over Shahrukh, we get a series of scenes in which Shahrukh unknowingly rubs salt into the wound, helps her put on a necklace, casually takes her hand to help her into a car, all kinds of things that make her feel all fluttery and look at him with longing, and he just doesn’t even see it, treats her like a friend just like always.
She and Akshay start seeing each other regularly, and one day he drops her off at the office and gives her a hug and a kiss before leaving, and Shahrukh sees and is all bitterly smiling. And then, TWIST. For the audience. He pulls out a drawer of his desk and starts going through mementos. Going all the way back to the pencil she lent him at that very first meeting when he didn’t even seem to like her. HE LOVED HER ALL ALONG!!! And we see those flashbacks from the opening with a slightly new perspective, him smiling and putting away the pencil after she angrily walks away from him, then when he sees her again 2 years later, calling his girlfriend immediately to cancel their date. Then calling back again to put it back on when he notices Juhi’s mangalsutra. Which is the confusion that makes the girlfriend angry, causing Juhi to have to cover up for him. Seeing him dropping her at the hospital, and then going to the temple and praying while she gives birth. And fiddling with an engagement ring under the desk the whole time he is trying to talk her into a business partnership, until finally he puts it away when he can see from her face that she isn’t ready to move on. He still has the ring in the drawer, he takes it out and leaves the office and goes to Akshay’s office.
Akshay is surprised to see him, Shahrukh is anxious and blunt and says “are you planning to marry her? A woman like that, she deserves marriage”. Akshay looks surprised and says that, not that it is any of his business, but yes, he was intending marriage. Shahrukh is still anxious and sort of brittley says that, in that case, he has a ring to give him. Akshay looks really confused. Shahrukh pulls out the ring, says that he bought it years ago for a girlfriend, but then she left him, not much you can do with a diamond ring, why doesn’t Akshay take it off his hands. Akshay doesn’t really know what to say in response, Shahrukh just leaves the ring on his desk and says “think about it”. And then goes outside and takes a moment to brace himself against the building and breath deep into his breaking heart.
(Yes yes, like this)
That night, romantic dinner, everything perfect, Akshay proposes. Juhi takes a minute and then says “I’m sorry. I thought I could, but I can’t. If I were ever to marry again, there is only one man I could marry. And if he doesn’t want me, I don’t want anyone else.” Akshay nods sympathetically and says “I think I understand”. Juhi goes back home, seems strangely calm, her 18 year old daughter (now heavily pregnant), looks at her curiously, and then Juhi opens the fridge and sees a Frooti and bursts into hysterical tears. Her daughter rushes to comfort her and Juhi sobs out “I thought my heart couldn’t break like this again. But for 20 years, he’s always been there, and I don’t know if I could handle it if he ever went away.” The 18 year old hugs and comforts her, the 16 year old comes down to see what is happening, hears the sobbing, and runs up to call Shahrukh and tell her that Akshay broke Juhi’s heart and she’s crying in the kitchen. Shahrukh, incensed, rushes over to Akshay’s apartment and tries to fight him. Akshay (because he is Akshay), easily ducks his swings and grabs him in a wrestling hold. But every time he lets Shahrukh loose, Shahrukh just goes back to swinging at him, until finally Akshay has no choice but to hit him. Which sobers Shahrukh up, he hits the floor in pain and Akshay gets down and says “Are you finally ready to listen? I didn’t hurt her, you hurt her! That woman has been in love with you for I don’t know how long.” Shahrukh is all “she loves me?” And just then, Juhi bursts in! Her younger daughter confessed that she called Shahrukh to go talk to Akshay and fix things. And now she sees Shahrukh punched on the floor and Akshay standing over him and immediately starts hitting Akshay and fussing over Shahrukh until finally Shahrukh gets her attention by loudly saying “JUHI! I love you!” Juhi automatically says “I love you too” and then it hits her, and she turns back with stars in her eyes, all “you LOVE me?” Shahrukh kind of shyly nods, she goes down on the floor next to him to hold him, and Akshay silently leaves the room.
(Yes, this is awfully similar to the end of Yes Boss, but that’s a great movie! Why not end the same way?)
Jump forward 2 months. Juhi and Shahrukh are back in their office, trying to come up with a campaign idea. Juhi is wearing a new mangalsutra. It’s the same as before, except this time Shahrukh is teasing her a little saying “well, Mrs. Shahrukh, if you help me solve this, I will give you a kiss.” And Juhi teases back “well, Mr. Shahrukh, if you are smart enough to solve this, I will indeed give you a kiss.” But in the middle of the flirting, Juhi gets a phone call, her daughter is in labor! She and Shahrukh hustle out the door, but before they leave he says “wait, one minute” just like he did 18 years earlier when her daughter was born, Juhi rolls her eyes and says “what, do you need to write down an idea first” and Shahrukh says “no, I need to do this one more time before you are a grandmother” and kisses her.
So, what do we think, does this work? Should someone famous play Juhi’s kids, or should they just be TV actors? Should I EVER let Akshay get the girl, and if so, who should he end up with?
Prabhas is a boring protective older brother type to his wild younger cousin Anushka:
(yes, in many ways this is similar to the second half of Mirchi. But we all LOVE the second half of Mirchi! Why not?)
I’m sorry, I don’t remember my little vocabulary lesson so I can’t give the exact word. But it’s the good cousin relationship, Prabhas’ father’s sister is Anushka’s mother. Oh heck, let’s make it his father’s female cousin, so us non-South Indians don’t get too creeped out. Oh, and Anushka is adopted. There, does that take care of everything? We are all over our incest hang-ups?
Okay, moving on. We start with Anushka sneaking out of her girl’s hostel. We think she is going to do something terrible, meet a boy she is in love with or break into a bank or something. But then instead, she and her friends break into a movie theater so they can watch the new Rajnikanth film before the official release. And then the cops arrive. All the friends are freaked out, don’t know what to do, can’t call the college or their parents. Please please, Anushka, just call him! Anushka says no, she can’t, not after the lecture she got last time. But her friends beg, so she finally gives in and pulls out her cell phone and calls Prabhas. Who is in an nightclub hitting on a woman when his phone rings. At first he ignores it, but then he sees it is Anushka, rolls his eyes, excuses himself saying it is his word-that-means-cousin-and-also-traditional-fiancee, the woman he is talking with kind of raises her eyebrows, he half smiles and says “It’s not like that”, then takes the call, says “WHAT? AGAIN? This time I really am telling your parents.” Anushka on the other end is all “okay okay! Just get us out first.”
Prabhas goes to the jail, all hot and buttoned shirt wearing, pays the bail, gets the girls out, they are all super grateful, he is all bored by their youngness and rolling his eyes, drives them back to the hostel, reluctantly stops by the back gate so they can sneak in again, but when the other girls get out, he tells Anushka to stay back. She sighs and sits back and listens to another long lecture from him. But, arty-like, his voice fades out and a song starts playing in her head, a fantasy of her running around free and happy on a beach, and every time he pops up to stop her, she throws a coconut at him or something and makes him go away. And then, song over, he says “so, do you understand how important it is to be responsible?” And she gives him a bright smile all “yes, of course I do!”
(This. He looks like this)
Hmm, let’s see, where do I want to go from here? Oh! I have it! Anushka goes to stay with Prabhas’ and his parents over the school break at their big house in the city.. Prabhas’ parents are putting a lot of pressure on him to marry a nice boring woman they have picked out for him. He tries to get out of it without directly saying anything, but his parents don’t pick up on his hints. Only, Anushka gets it! Because she knows him well enough, and she confronts him and forces him to admit that, no, he DOESN’T want to marry the boring woman his parents picked out! Anushka is thrilled, says now she has a chance to pay back all his favors, she will break him out of this “jail”. And she goes way way over the top at the next meeting, being as “bad girl” as she can be, trying to break the engagement because his family has such a shameful person in it. Prabhas’ parents keep trying to get her to be quiet or at least convince the other family that she really isn’t that bad. Until in the middle of it all something comes out about her being adopted, something casual like “I promise, ever since she came to our house from the orphanage, she has always been caring and sweet and loving, I don’t know where this came from!” And that is what breaks the engagement, the other family gets all upset about a girl that they don’t know where she “came from” being related to them. And Prabhas stands up and speaks for himself, saying that he doesn’t want to marry into a family that won’t accept this wonderful woman, and his parents back him up. And Anushka looks at him with new eyes.
(He says it looking like this)
Anushka still isn’t sure how she feels about him when they go back to town, there is a kind of “what is happening?” song. But then, in the middle of it, she gets a letter and she doesn’t know what to do, so she calls him because she always calls him for help. He doesn’t want to come until he hears that she is crying over the phone and walks out of a big business meeting to rush over. She just got a letter from the matron of the orphanage, her biological mother is looking for her. She doesn’t know what to do, didn’t know who to talk to, so she called Prabhas. Prabhas is silent and strong and supportive and says they should do it, because any woman who gave up the opportunity to know and love Anushka should be pitied and helped. So, they go to meet her, she admits that she made a mistake, she was wild in college, running out at night and so on and so forth (all the things Anushka does now). She fell in love with a boy and didn’t think about the future. He left her, and she was forced to give up their child. But then, two years later, she married a wonderful man that her parents picked out for her, and her only regret is that she resisted so long, she took so long to grow up and see what had real value, she hopes Anushka doesn’t take as long. Anushka says she won’t, and looks at Prabhas sitting there all tall and silent and in a button shirt and you can see that she is finally in love and knows she is in love.
(I haven’t used this one yet, have I?)
She is silent on the way back to the hostel, and Prabhas looks at her occasionally all concerned and finally when they get to the hostel, he reaches over and takes her hand and says “you know I love you, don’t you?” Anushka looks all butterfly-y and happy, and then Prabhas continues “ever since your parents brought you into our family, we have all loved you”. Anushka’s face kind of falls, and she asks “do you think you would love me more if I was different? If I stopped running away and listened to mother and father more?” Prabhas looks all solemn and serious and says “I think you might be happier that way. You’ve been putting off growing up for a long time, the longer it takes, the harder it will be.” Anushka looks all thoughtful.
Makeover! Anushka gets her friends’ help and buys a sari and puts on make-up and does her hair and everything and is all excited to show off her new look to Prabhas when they go to the ancestral house for the holidays after she graduates from school. Only, Prabhas is traveling out of the country and isn’t there to take her home, and isn’t there when she arrives. She waits and waits until finally his car arrives, she dresses carefully and goes downstairs all excited. Prabhas is there with a bunch of other people, notices her, and she signals him to come into the hall and is all half-afraid to meet his eyes and asks “how do I look? Did I grow up enough?” Prabhas is happy, says “You did grow up. You look old enough to be a bride. Which is especially good today”. Anushka looks up, all shy and happy, and Prabhas continues “Come, let me introduce you to my friend from Australia, I’ve brought him hear to meet you, your parents already love him.” NO! Shock! Heartbreak! Anushka sadly goes, meets the guy (Rana, because why not?). He seems nice enough, but she is still kind of sad. Until she corners Prabhas later and asks, is this what he really really wants for her? Prabhas is all “Of course! Rana is a great guy, it’s time for her to get married, and Rana is exactly like she always wanted, tall and handsome and adventurous and exciting too. And she can go live overseas in Australia, like she always wanted, instead of being stuck in Hyderabad.” And so Anushka sadly agrees to the engagement.
(Just for a change, have some Rana!)
Back in Hyderabad, Anushka is staying at Prabhas’ parents’ place again while they prepare for the wedding. She and Rana go out on arranged “dates” and it all seems okay, he takes her on adventures, speedboats and motorcycles. Although she is kind of tired, she asks him if they can’t just go on a normal date sometime, and he just laughs and says that he is just getting started, after marriage in Hyderabad, there will be even more of this. Prabhas’ parents are no help, they just keep talking about how perfectly matched the couple is, and Prabhas sits in the background and doesn’t seem to notice her glances for help. Until the night Rana shows up to take her out and introduce her to his friends, and gives her a dress as a gift, something for her to wear that night. It’s the classic super short black dress that guys are always giving girls in movies that make them uncomfortable. Anushka wears it and tries to smile, but in the background Prabhas looks concerned and finally speaks up saying “maybe that is appropriate in Australia, but I don’t know if it is something you should wear in India”. Rana goes right over him saying “I’m the fiance, right? If I say it is appropriate, it is appropriate. Right, Anushka?” And Anushka looks at Prabhas, and says “He is my fiance that you picked out for me, so how can you object?” And then leaves.
At the club, Rana introduces her to his friends, then goes to get them drinks. Anushka goes along but gets separated from him in the crowd, tries to get his attention and he just waves back from the bar like “you’re okay, right?”, and turns away. She stands there awkwardly, movie-goons come up and leer at her and kind of fondle her, she pushes them away, they push back, and suddenly Prabhas! He is shoves them away hard, they say “hey, who are you?” He says “She is my [word that means cousin and also traditional bride]” Anushka is all “no, it’s not worth it!”, but Prabhas is furious now and when they movie-goons pass one more remark, he starts throwing punches.
(For the nightclub, he wears an untucked shirt. But otherwise the same as always. Why mess with perfection?)
Fade in on Prabhas in jail looking all embarrassed, and Anushka striding up to the bars, saying “well well well. In trouble again! When are you going to grow up and start thinking about your family?” Prabhas just sighs. She signs him out and gets him in a car. He asks her “where’s Rana?” She shrugs. He says “Did I really sound like that when I came to pick you up? No wonder you always found me so boring, who could like the person who lectures them like that?” Anushka is silent. Prabhas keeps talking, “Not that it makes much difference. I knew since you were young that you would never like someone like me. You were made for adventure and excitement, and I was made to help you climb down out of the mango tree and cover up when you broke grandmother’s vase.” Anushka says “Is that why I should marry Rana? Because he can have adventures with me?” Prabhas is all “No! Rana was a mistake. You need a man who won’t want to change you, who will be happy following your lead.” Anushka nods, “You are right. So, who should I marry then? Who would accept me if I went back to wear jeans and staying out all night and getting arrested?” Prabhas looks uncomfortable. Anushka changes tactics, “Who do you think will marry you? Now that you’ve gotten into a fight at a bar and been arrested?” Prabhas shrugs. Anushka keeps going, “Really, it would be a shame to the whole family, the two of us unmarried. If we are dutiful children, we should come up with a solution for this.” They pull into the driveway in front of the house and Anushka puts the car in park and turns to him, “what did you call me in the bar? Your [word that means cousin and also traditional bride]? Is that how you think of me?” Prabhas looks silently at her. Anushka gives up and says “Well come on! Am I going to have to do all the work here! You just got into a fight for me, you’ve always been there for me, I don’t know why it took me so long to see what was right in front of me, but that’s no reason to punish me and send me off to Australia and…” And then Prabhas cuts her off by grabbing her and kissing her. And inside the house both sets of parents watch and smile and Prabhas’ mother says “well it’s about time!”
(I knew you were all waiting for this)
Is Rana good for the semi-evil fiance, or should it be someone else? Should I add in a scene somewhere clarifying that Prabhas has loved her all along as well, a secret drawer of love tokens or something?
And, as always, if we could make any movie we wanted, but only one of these two, which one would you pick?