Silly Sunday Speculative Post: Men Surrounded By Strong Women (Shahrukh, Varun)

There was a comment on last week’s post, by Asmita I think, about liking it when men are surrounded by strong women.  Which sent me down this whole rabbit hole in a direction I don’t think she anticipated, and I have come out the other side with a simple plot in mind that can be applied to any hero.  I am excited!

You ready for plot GENIUS?  A great one size fits all option?

  1. Our hero is a super manly guy who lives a life surrounded by other men
  2. He travels to a remote mountain area for Reasons
  3. He is injured and has to stay at an all girls’ school with a strong feminist principal
  4. Lesson’s are learned, love happens, etc. etc.
  5. He returns to his “real life” having learned how empty it is and makes an effort to embrace his feminine side.

 

So, let’s take this formula and start applying it!  First, (in my heart and in all ways), SHAHRUKH!

1.1. He is an aggressive NRI type businessman.  His partners and top executives are all male.  His faithful middle-aged secretary is female, but he barely seems to see her.  Or any of the lower management women.  He is all about aggressive conversations with male business rivals, and yelling at or congratulating his male employees.  Male male male.

2. He gets a telegram, his estranged daughter has chicken pox.  He doesn’t want to deal with it, calls her school and tells the principal to call his ex-wife instead.  Principal yells at him that he is her parent too, and his ex-wife is on a research trip to inner India and can’t be reached, he needs to step up.  Shahrukh feels guilty, and also wants to prove something to mouthy principal, so travels to the remote hill station where the school is located planning to give his daughter chocolates and flowers and get a lot of adoring appreciation for it.  And then leave immediately to go back to work.

3. It does not go as planned, mouthy principal (Madhuri) is not impressed with all his efforts, and his daughter is polite but clearly would rather talk to her friends than to this guy she barely knows.  He is about to leave, after one last telling off from Madhuri for thinking he can be a good father thanks to one gesture and his daughter should fall on him in gratitude, when he casually mentions that he has never had chicken pox himself, and immediately is thrown in quarantine.  He gets adult chicken pox, complains like a little baby until Madhuri yells at him and points out that all the teenage girls are just as sick as him and are suffering in silence, surely a grown man is at least as tough as a teenage girl?  Shahrukh begins to think about this, and then his daughter is brought in, her chicken pox is a little worse than before, her fever is up.  For the first time, Shahrukh begins to worry about her and discovers all his fatherly feelings coming flooding over him.  And decides to stay, fake still being sick so he has an excuse to spend time with his daughter.

4. He asks for his bed to be moved into the same room as his daughter’s and tries to make awkward advances but really has no idea how.  Reads Mills & Boon romances, and then finds out she prefers Manga.  Listens to the latest Pritam type hits, discovers she loves class RD Burman songs.  Finally, Madhuri takes pity on him and tells him that all he has to do is talk to her, ask questions, get to know her.  And, slowly, father and daughter become close.  They play video games together, he lets her show him her favorite movies (Telugu and Hong Kong action films), and everything is great.

(Picture something like his relationship with Amrita here, only it’s the whole focus of the film.  And she never turns “girly”, she stays all interesting)

Until one day he comes back early from his doctor’s visit and notices her sneaking out of the room.  He follows her, she is going to meet a boy!  In secret!  At first, he is all upset, about to go confront the guy, but then he listens to their conversation, and they are sweetly shy together, talking about movies and books and his daughter is the one who makes the first move, suddenly kissing the guy on the cheek while he looks stunned.  And then running away.  Shahrukh is thoughtful, and goes to talk to Madhuri about it.  She says yes, she knows all about it (she knows everything always), the guy is a summer visitor with his family, he is the same age as Shahrukh’s daughter, they have been meeting in the fields but so far haven’t broken any school rules.  She is only meeting him during times when she would be allowed off campus anyway, she would be welcome to bring him back to the common area like the other girls do with their friends, but she seems shy about it.  Shahrukh is all pacing and nervous, but he has grown as a person now, so instead of making a big scene, he just asks Madhuri that if she hears through her informants that there is anything he can do, anytime his daughter is in trouble, please let him know.  And then a few days later, Madhuri asks him to come back to his office.  He is all upset, he knew that boy was no good, he probably broke her heart because he thought she wasn’t feminine enough or something.  No no, it’s nothing like that!  The boy has invited her to a formal party his parents are throwing, and she doesn’t know how to dance.  She asked Madhuri for help, but Madhuri thinks this is something she should really learn from her father.  Shahrukh is humbly grateful for the opportunity, but admits he doesn’t know how to dance either.  You see where this is going, right?  Madhuri teaches him to dance, and then he turns around and teaches his daughter, and love blossoms.  Well, different kinds of love.

(Have I mentioned I love Dr. Nene?  Platonically, of course, but I love the way he is always so happy when his wife is awesome)

On the day of the party, his daughter asks him to drop her off and pick her up.  He anxiously waits outside, watching through the windows the whole night as she has a wonderful time (without changing herself, she dances with the boy, but also plays ping pong and video games with him), and then stays back and hides in the bushes and watches her have her first real kiss.  And then makes a lot of noise and is all “I just arrived!” a few minutes later.  That night, for the first time, she gives him a big hug and says “I love you Daddy!”  Shahrukh is thrilled!  But, the next day, Madhuri calls him to her office again, and tells him it’s time for him to leave.  He is obviously over his chicken pox, she can’t excuse any more having this grown man stay on campus.  Shahrukh is devastated, how can he leave his daughter now that he has found her?  Madhuri points out that he doesn’t have to leave her.  They have 3 week holidays coming up, his daughter usually travels with her mother during that time, but perhaps, if he asks, she would like to come stay with him instead.

5. Shahrukh gets a tentative promise that she will think about staying with him over the next holidays.  And returns to Bombay, determined to fix his life.  He is suddenly aware of all the women around him who have made his life easier, leaves a thank you note and a big tip for the elderly cleaning woman who picks up after him every day and leaves him dinner every night.  Gives roses to his secretary and tells her he wouldn’t be able to survive without her.  Finally notices that the assistant to his vice-president is the one really doing all the work, promotes her and fires her boss.  And, at the same time, is making over his apartment and life to be a better father.  Calls the school at 5pm on the dot every night to talk to his daughter.  Well, he calls at 5pm but half the time he has to wait which means he chats with Madhuri.  And finally his daughter admits that she does it on purpose so he and “Principal Ma’am” will have a chance to get to know each other better.  He keeps up with watching the films she likes and listening to her music, even when she isn’t there to watch with him so he can understand her interests.  Changes his huge bachelor pad sex room/bedroom into two smaller rooms with a connecting door, one for her and one for him.  And he is at the airport, nervously pacing an hour early, the day her flight is supposed to arrive.  She isn’t there, she isn’t there, the whole flight seems to be emptied, he keeps looking around, and then he turns, and there they are!  Madhuri came too!  The daughter explains “I hope you don’t mind, Principal Ma’am is spending her holidays with her family in Bombay and offered to drop me.”  Shahrukh smiles all happy like and says no, he doesn’t mind at all.

 

SEE???  It’s the perfect formula!  Let’s apply it to someone else.  Oh!  Varun Dhawan!

1.1. Your first thought would be “campus ladies man”, right?  But no!  I want something totally male male male.  Like, he doesn’t even think about talking to girls.  So, Super Army Commando Guy.  We meet him working with his team, scaling buildings and shooting bad guys and stuff.  Mission over, they relax with manly beers and soccer playing and things.  And joke about the one guy on the team who has a girlfriend, how lame, girls are stupid.  Until his commander Sanjay Dutt calls him into his office and wants to give him a special assignment because he is the best of the best.  And we fade out without finding out what that assignment is.

2. Flashforward, Varun is in a car that crashes on a mountain road!  The next day he is found by a girl’s track team from the neighboring school.  The goodie-two-shoes girl wants to leave him there and call the police, but the tough leader girl Alia says they can’t do that, they will build a stretcher and carry him back to school.  They do that, and school Principal Madhuri backs up Alia’s decision, saying it is against the rules to have men in school buildings, but sometimes there is a greater virtue in breaking the rules.  Goodie-two-shoes girl sulks.

Image result for alia bhatt

(This kind of Alia.  Jeans and no make-up and looking straight at the camera)

3. The doctor is called and tells them that Varun has a serious fracture and won’t be up for the winding trip down the mountain for at least a month.  There is no other choice but to set him up in the school.  Madhuri declares he can stay in an empty room off the common area (not in the dorms near the girls), and the girls will take it in shifts to help take care of him, as part of their chores.  And they have to clean out and set-up his room too, since they were the ones who decided to bring him back to the school.  A routine is established, a different girl comes to check on him every few hours, bring him his meals, and so on.  At first he is a little embarrassed and protests about them helping him with everything, but then starts to enjoy it.  At least the flirty younger girls who have a crush on him and make him feel like a big man.  Not so much Alia who resents having to take time from her soccer practice to bring him dinner and slams trays around and bangs on his injured leg by “accident”.

4. But, twist!  Right before the interval, we see Alia help him to bed for the night and storm off to the girl’s dorm, and then we see Varun stand up and walk!  He pulls on a hidden tab in his cast and slips out of it.  Then follows her silently.  Watches her through the window.  Settles down in the bushes for the night and pulls out a walkie-talkie to tell his superior “All clear”.  Flashback!!!!

His super important secret mission-protecting Alia!!!!  She is Sanjay’s daughter, he has hidden her away in this school under a fake name so his enemies can’t find her.  He suspects that she has been found, but he isn’t sure, and sending in an official guard would definitely tip off his enemies.  He can’t know who the mole is at the school, so Varun will have to go in under false pretenses.  But, he can tell him that his daughter goes running every morning on a particular path.  Varun can come up with his own plan from there, no official involvement.  Varun cold-bloodedly drove the car into a tree, bracing for impact and avoiding real injury.  Then paid off the doctor to lie about his injury, and give him a fake cast.  Now, he is pretending to be the whiny patient, while secretly keeping an eye on Alia.

Only, while he is hiding in the bushes, he suddenly feels a gun at his back.  It’s Alia, all cold and practical, saying “who are you?  Who sent you?”  He tries to tell her it is her father, she is all “No, you are trying to hurt my father through me, I will kill you for that”.  Varun finally convinces her to check his pocket and she finds a photo of her and a letter from her father giving him orders.  She lowers the gun slightly and tells him he is free to go, go back to her father and tell him she can take care of herself.  She remembers what he taught her, no need to waste a soldier babysitting her.  Varun argues that he will get in trouble if he returns with out her, they go back and forth, and finally reach a bargain.  He can stay for 3 weeks, until school break, at which point she will make him take her to her father, because she is tired of hiding away from danger instead of being by his side facing it together.  Oh, and it also comes out that Alia is really like 21-22, but is pretending to be younger so she can hide out at this school (it suddenly occurred to me that a romance between Commando Varun and high school girl Alia would be icky, so let’s fix that).

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(Perfect!)

New era begins!  Principal Madhuri still doesn’t know what is happening, but one by one Alia brings most of the other girls in on the secret.  Goodie two shoes is the last to find out, when she sneaks back late at night and surprises Varun dancing wildly to girl pop anthems with the other girls in the common area.  Goodie-two-shoes isn’t even mad, because she is all crying and upset.  The other girls and Varun ask why, and find out that Goodie-two-shoes has a secret boyfriend, who used to write her lovely notes, so she snuck out to meet him, and he was all mean and horrible and tried to kiss her.  She got away by jumping out of the moving car, and then walked all the way back.  Varun doesn’t know what to say, but Alia does.  She thinks Goodie-two-shoes should never have been in that situation, a girl should know how to defend herself.  And Varun is the perfect person to help them learn!  Varun is all “I don’t want to teach a bunch of girls” and Alia is all “oh, I don’t need you to teach, I can do that, I need you for practice.”  And then, montage as Alia teaches the other girls self-defense moves, and then brings out an increasingly reluctant Varun to serve as the “attacker” and get beaten up over and over again.

Finally, the finale of this section.  Well, two finales.  First, one of the toughest girls is injured right before the big soccer match.  Not to worry!  They will put a hijab on Varun and make him play for their team.  Varun at first is all confident about being able to do it, but during the match, while he does a good job kicking the ball and everything, he is SHOCKED by how vicious the other team is with hidden finger jabs and elbows.  Especially when the captain of the other team figures out he is a boy.  At first she confronts Alia, who points out that the game is already underway, to say anything now means that it wouldn’t count.  So they agree to keep it a secret from the referee, only the opposite team is instructed to get vicious and hit Varun between the legs as much as possible.  Which causes Alia and her team to get furious and defensive, and not only fight back and win the match, but also get similarly vicious with blows to the breasts and between the legs.

And then second finale, the night after the big match, Alia leaves the celebration to check on Varun and see how he is doing, and they have a moment and almost kiss.  But are interrupted!  By gunfire!  The school is under attack.  Big Bad Suniel Shetty has arrived to try to kidnap Alia.  Varun tells her to hide and goes out to confront Suniel.  He fights off all the bad guys single-handed, but is eventually beaten down.  Suniel triumphs over him, says “so this is the big bad super commando sent to defeat me?”  And just as he is about to shoot him, goodie-two-shoes girl appears behind him and attacks him from behind, throwing him to the ground.  At which point all the other girls show up, lead by Alia, and easily defeat all the bad guys, while Varun just kind of lays there tied up like the dude in distress he is.  But, just as Alia is about to free him (and possibly they will finally kiss), the REAL big bad shows up!  MADHURI!!!!  The school principal!!!!  She has just been pretending to be the principal all this time, having stolen the identity of the real one.  Because she is the international criminal going under code name “Kali” who hates Sanjay.  And now she is going to kill Alia in revenge.  Alia looks all scared, Varun tries to break free and rescue her, until Madhuri gets close and pulls her gun ready to shoot, and Alia suddenly reaches out and grabs it and throws Madhuri off balance.  And, GIRL FIGHT!!!!  Alia and Madhuri battle it out, throwing blows and knocking each other to the floor and generally being really nasty about it.  Until finally Alia has Madhuri down on the floor, Madhuri looks at her and is all “forgive me!  I hated you at first but now I have come to care for you!”  And Alia says “No” and pulls out her gun and shoots her point blank.

5. Helicopters!  Varun has called for back up, he introduces his commando team to his new friends, telling them that these girls are tougher than they are.  In the background, friendships form (not romantic, but like setting up a video game to play together, and sparring, and talking about sports), while Alia goes to talk to Sanjay.  Varun tries to leave the room, but Alia asks him to stay.  And to back her up when she says that she doesn’t need to be protected, doesn’t need to be a innocent victim, she should be in there fighting with them.  Sanjay looks all nervous, turns to Varun, asks “What do you think?”  Varun says, “I think she should be leading the team.”

Postscript, another big action sequence.  Only this time, it is Alia calling the shots and leading the fight.  Along with the other new team member, Goodie Two Shoes!  While Varun sits back in mission control listening in and giving back-up.  After successfully bringing in the Big Bad (Suniel Shetty, who escaped in the confusion), Varun goes up to Alia and says “Good job”, and she says “You too.”  And then grabs him and kisses him, while he does the arms flailing overcome with surprise thing, until he family recovers and grabs her to kiss her back.  Fade out.

(This.  Ishq is so bad-good, I should really rewatch it)

 

Okay, I could go on and on, because really the possibilities are endless with this format (Amitabh as a new English professor transferred from an all boys school, Hema as the principal?  Akshay as a conman on the run, Raveena as principal?  Hrithik as superspy, Kareena as principal?  Saif as powerful diplomat hiding out while working on secret project, Rani as principal?), but I am going to stop here.

 

Of my two options listed so far, which is best?  Any suggest tweaks?  Recasting?  Recasting using our magical time machine so we can take any actor from any era and match them with any other actor from any other era?

 

Of the potential additional options, which would be best?

 

Or, what are your ideas following this format that I haven’t even considered?

 

Also, for minor details, who should play Shahrukh’s cool adventurous ex-wife who is a good mother but also travels to remote areas a lot and therefore put their daughter in boarding school?

 

Should Pooja Bhatt be the principal instead of Madhuri so the fight with Alia would be between sisters?

 

Who should play the goodie-two-shoes girl who eventually ends up the toughest of them all?

 

Should it be Alia or Taapsee opposite Varun?

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125 thoughts on “Silly Sunday Speculative Post: Men Surrounded By Strong Women (Shahrukh, Varun)

  1. I think, there already is a woman in the movie which is rather strong – the “estranged” wife who seems to be doing a job that has neither a feminine nor a motherly touch … and putting the daughter in a boarding school (maybe after her so “super manly” husband rejected to care for a daughter).
    The chicken pox does not make me really, really demanding a parent around…what about a bad bad accident she had while being with the young man you mention…and her mother not available (one knows the area – without net-connectivity – but as she is always on the move…)…i also think that the people (femal, male) in a hospital/rehab institution can make for a good gender-contemplation gives something to think also to this “boss-y” man.

    Eventually one gets to contact the mother and she comes telling her ex he could leave know back to his work…and he refuses! Biiiig dispute between both…a lot is said both didn’t say all the long…for the sake of the daughter (who – understandably – nurses very precise whishes in her heart) they try to play nice in front of her…and this play gives them some vibes they had at the beginning of their relation when he admired her strongness and she his way to admire her.

    No, they will not come together in a regular happy end, but Daddy will take her daughter in holidays…and if it possible for Mom, they will spend time together all three…ah, and Boss becomes less boss-y (in general) and also goes visiting her wife (with or without daughter) to know more about your current work…

    ShahRukh with whoever (because he can make every actress strong)

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    • Absolutely could see that! Only, I kind of like them as a happily divorced couple, and the daughter as needing a relationship with them separately, not together. We see that kind of story so rarely anywhere, Indian or Hollywood films.

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      • Well, she would get it seperately…yes, they keep happily dicorced…but happily divorced couples can have all sort of fun together…with kids and without…THAT kind one effectively sees rare in films.

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  2. You make me think Margaret. i love you for that but I also hate you for that. You make me think about things and this post made me think about SRK and I spent all evening yesterday writing a fanfic around the premise you gave. So there now exists a SRK fanfic which is already 5600 words long and I’m just writing the conclusion for it instead of doing propaganda for the government which is a goal we have been given from the petroleum ministry this week. I guess I’ll just post it in the comments here since posting it to WP is wayyyyyyy too much work and I don’t have the patience for that right now. So SRK fanfic dropping in this thread in about an hour or so!!! it might get stuck in moderation because it is soooooo long!!!

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  3. I had some doubts about the premise you gave. When you ask for men that are manly, manly and living in a manly, manly environment, are they normal men or are they sexists? Because if they’re sexists then we’d need a reason as to why they’re sexist. And why do they change.

    If this a simple, generic story, id think the super manly hero is a regular sexist whose sexism is shown through his actions and choices and not JUST rude words so our hero can still be “classy”.

    So here’s the SRK story: MANLY MAN SEXIST PIG SRK FANFIC. lol

    Chapter 1

    SRK owns a whiskey brand. He is a top name in the field. He has a lot of agricultural land on which he grows grains for his distillery. His world comprises of male farmhands, male staff at the distillery, male quality testers, male babus at various government offices, male vendors and distributors etc.

    His world is not high-on-testosterone because that always has strong homophobic and misogynistic vibe and I detest that. No, SRK’s world just does not have enough women for him to know what a strong woman is and what they’re about.

    He comes from a conservative family. He’s only ever seen patriarchy. His sisters are meek women who were married off when they were still in college. His father is a typical patriarchal male. SRK is 47 when the story opens. His wife is Shriya Saran and she’s 12 years his junior and she’s the kind of wife she was in Drishyam. They have two sons and a daughter. None of them have reached their tweens yet.

    We see SRK’s sexism when he tells his wife to tell the daughter to “act like a girl”. Like he brings dolls for the girl and guns and cars for the boys. The girl is scolded for laughing too loudly, running around the house etc while the boys are encouraged because ‘boys will be boys’. The wife he treats with the same sexism. He, his father and the boys dine before everyone else. The decisions are made by them. If the wife gives him a suggestion or has an opinion, she’s told to “act like a wife”. It’s basically the “go make me a sandwich” thing happening there.

    At work, he doesn’t hire women because for him “women wouldn’t know the first thing about whiskey.” He does have an attractive female secretary at his office who is very “helpful”. She’s a bitchy, pretty girl who lords her “I sleep with the boss” status over the less attractive secretaries other men in the office have. SRK often advises his subordinates to “let the girls help” when they’re stressed. He says that very matter-of-factly like it’s the natural order of things.

    He regularly attends industry events at top class resorts and hotels where his “entertainment” is paid for by the hosts.

    At one such event, he’s supposed to pick out a model for the next ad for his whiskey brand. He sits through a model selection event. He judges the girls like “too short, too skinny, not chesty enough, unshapely bum, smiles like a horse” etc. Then one girl comes along who is the right mix of everything. She’s Anushka Sharma. He tells the ad agency this girl has that special something he’s looking for. He asks the head of the agency he’d like to “have a closer look at her portfolio.”

    The ad agency guy understands the hint and has Anushka sent to his hotel room. She arrives dressed in a covering top and jeans and normal makeup. She’s very excited about the project. She’s very chatty. She tells him how much this job means for her that it would really help her out viz finances, that she can finally apply to a photography course with the money, that the ad agency were offering her a generous contract thanks to her selection.

    He listens to her stoically, disinterestedly. She starts showing him her papers, the participation certificates from the small talent hunts and beauty pageants she’s participated in etc. He interrupts her, sitting sprawling on the sofa, he undoes his trouser zipper and tells to show him how talented she really is. She is shocked. She throws his drink in his face and calls him a sexist pig and storms out. He smiles menacingly and calls the ad agency and tells them he changed his mind about her and that she wasn’t that pretty up close.

    They end up picking a slutty girl who makes the ad look shitty. But she’s slutty and “grateful”.

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  4. Chapter 2

    Back at the distillery his CEO has a heart attack and he has been advised to retire by his doctors. The guy tells SRK that he already has a whole file of potential candidates for his post ready. Turns out their business is in bad shape and new competitors are capturing their market. SRK looks over the file and he picks this guy names Ravindra K. Singh. This is the most qualified candidate and the ex-CEO claims that’s their best bet in the budget they have. SRK gives his blessings for the guy.

    But the guy turns out to be a woman. Tabu. SRK is appalled. He tells his ex-CEO who’s now in the US getting treatment that they need to fire her immediately and “get a man who would know what the job was about.” The guy apologizes saying he wouldn’t have hired her had he known she was a woman but the contract they gave her means they’d have to give her a very large severance if they terminate the contract and they can’t afford that. So SRK has to suck it up and wait out the 2 year period.

    Tabu is already well aware of SRK’s reputation and from day 1 they don’t get along. He’s very condescending towards her. She shoots him down coolly at every turn and tells him to focus on press meets and brand promotion “since they seem to love his pretty face”. More problems follow when she fires his slutty secretary saying she knew nothing about the job and her poor office management had cost them lakhs already. She tells him he can pick out a new secretary from a bunch she’s shortlisted.

    He looks over the file and finds Anushka in it. He selects her but has all the other girls called in as well. When Anushka comes in for the interview, he has her wait from the morning to the evening while he pretends to interview the other 40+ girls there. He calls her in around 5:30 PM and smiles cynically when she walks in and realizes whose office she’s in. She’s sullen and just tells him she’s see herself out. He tells her to stop and that he wasn’t done with the interview. She tells him quietly that she was sure she wouldn’t meet their requirements, wishes him good evening and leaves. He smiles cynically and smugly.

    When he’s leaving office an hour later in his chauffeured car, he notices her walking down the street. She’s changed into cheap-looking jeans, a faded long sleeved white blouse and she has an old looking crushed duppatta draped over her head and shoulders. She’s walking with a broken sandal in her hand. He asks his driver to follow her. She walks to a cobbler on the street. While her she gets repaired, he sees her eying the pav bhaji being sold by a vendor close to her. She looks at it for a while and then takes out a small packet of biscuits from her bag and eats two biscuits from it and drinks water from a plastic bottle she’s carrying.

    It’s getting dark. She takes her sandal and waits at the bus stop. All the buses that arrive there are packed and she can’t get in. She keeps eyeing her watch nervously. She stops a few autos but lets them go after inquiring the fare. SRK is watching all this from a little far off. He asks his driver to get to the bus stop. He lowers the window and asks her to get in. she politely declines saying she would manage. He asks a bunch of times again and she declines sullenly. He finally tells her to lose the attitude since the bus stop is located in a place that gets dangerous for women at night. She tells him “for a woman, danger doesn’t always come with just the night.”

    He’s outwitted but he tells her she can sit up front with the driver and he’d drop her to the next secure-looking bus stop. He insists and she agrees. On their way, all the bus-stops they come up to seem to be populated with creepy looking men and rowdy boys who are talking loudly and smoking and drinking and generally acting lewdly. He tells the driver to keep going and ultimately tells her he’s just going to drop her home “since it got late while she was arguing with him and now there won’t be any buses on that route”.

    Her house is in a very middle class area. She asks him to drop her off at the gate of her society as his big car won’t be able to turn around in there. He eyes the buildings. They look like very small apartments. She lives on the ground floor and he can see inside her flat. She sees her smile sadly to her family- her jovial looking old parents, young siblings who run to her and she gives them the biscuits she had in her bag. He sees her sit down on the dining table and circle job advertisements in the newspapers.

    As he’s driving back he looks out the window and all her can see are more women like her- women returning from work, wiping the sweat off their faces with their handkerchiefs and saris and dupattas and looking exhausted.

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  5. Chapter 3

    When he gets home, he finds a text from his ex-wife- Madhuri. He calls her back. She’s a pediatric surgeon who’s just accepted a three month-stint with Doctors Without Borders and she’s going to be in Africa. So she needs him to pick up their daughter from the boarding school and keep her with him for three months since she doesn’t want her living on her own in the city during her school vacations. He shouts at her, telling her she doesn’t know how to act like a woman, that she’s a bad mother.

    She tells him that she doesn’t have time to listen to his nonsense and to just be a man for a change and that if he couldn’t do that, their daughter would probably get home herself when no one comes to pick her up from school. She tells him she was on her way to the airport and hangs up the phone. He tries calling her back but she doesn’t pick up and then her phone is switched off.

    He’s furious and when his wife asks what the matter is he shouts at her too tells her all that feminism crap has spoilt the women in the country. Then he shouts at her because the tea she just handed him was cold and he throws that at the wall and tells her to go make him a fresh cup and focus on her job as a wife instead of wasting her time watching TV all day and gossiping with her kitty party friends.

    The next morning, still very annoyed, he goes to pick up his daughter Alia at the boarding school. He’s asked to wait in her hostel room. The school is full of chirpy young girls. As he walks down the corridor he’s nearly thrown off his feet by a bunch of 8-year olds chasing each other. He mumbles about how they don’t teach the girls any discipline at that school.

    His rant is overheard by the principal- Vidya Balan. She invites him to her office. She asks him how come he’s never been seen in the school all this time since Alia has been there for nearly a decade. He says that the school was picked by this brilliant ex-wife. He wanted the girl to go to a convent where they teach girls actual manners. Vidya smiles, she asks him what manners would those be. SRK tells her that would be how to act like girls, how to talk, how to walk, how to behave in public, how to keep quiet like nice girls should. She smiles and tells him that she thought it was funny how when a daughter is born her parents spend two years teaching her how to talk and then for the rest of her life they teach her how to stay quiet. He has no answer.

    She smiles and pulls out Alia’s file. She tells him that Alia is dyslexic and she would need special attention over the summer to pass her board exams the following year and she would need more of that when she’s applying to college after that. SRK tells her that the problem was his ex-wife’s fault since she was too busy with her career to pay attention to the upbringing of their daughter.

    Vidya tells her that dyslexia is nobody’s fault and that with a little attention now, she would do well in her exams and get into a good college and have a successful career. He tells her that if the girl is stupid anyway there is no need for college is there? He tells her that he would get her married off soon and save her from suffering the same fate as her mother. As he’s saying this, Alia appears at the office door. It seems like she’s heard it all.

    Vidya looks at SRK disapprovingly but breaks into a smile while asking Alia to come up to her. Alia is standing in her school uniform with her hands behind her back and head hung low. Vidya hands her the report card and tells her not to worry about the low grades. That she has spoken to her dad and he has agreed to get her a tutor over the summer that would help her improve her grades for the next sessions. Alia just listens obediently with her head hung low. Vidya tells her to go pick up her books from her teachers. After she leaves, Vidya tells SRK “girls learn what it means to be a woman from their fathers” and basically orders him to get her the tutor for the summer.

    He then goes to wait for her in her hostel room. It is full of amazing photographs and artwork. There are many pictures of her and Madhuri there doing all kinds of things- go kart racing, vacationing, painting the house together, cooking. He looks at that picture and scoffs mumbling “as if anyone would believe that woman would ever enter a kitchen”. He makes a face looking at all the pictures of mom and daughter. And just when he sits on her bed, he finds a picture in a frame on her nightstand. It is a Polaroid picture of a toddler Alia and a very young SRK with an inscription on the bottom saying “Daddy loves you, Princess” SRK is sitting holding that picture frame when Alia walks into the room. She’s startled. SRK asks her if all her packing was done. She replies “Yes, sir”.

    She remains quiet on the journey back home. She is greeted affectionately by her grandmother and Shriya is polite to her too. Her grandfather looks at her just once disapprovingly and tells SRK to get her some proper clothes. Alia begins adjusting her baggy top and ripped jeans looking very uncomfortable.

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    • I love Alia! Thank goodness she has Madhuri. But I am very worried about the younger daughters. Can Shriya and Madhuri run off together Fire-style and raise the kids themselves without Shahrukh being involved even the little bit he is now?

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  6. Chapter 4

    Back at the office, SRK tells his HR guy to call up Anushka and give her a typing job. The guy comes back and tells him she has declined saying the office it too far from her house. He tells her to call her back and tell her it’s only a part time job and she would be free after lunchtime. Tabu comes to his office to discuss some changes and asks him if he’s chosen a secretary. He says he doesn’t need one and “besides, the new management thinks secretaries are a strain on the company’s finances anyway”.

    Tabu smiles and tells him that another strain on the company was the exorbitant amounts they were paying to their ad agency, how the last ad had been a bust and failed to make an impact in the market. She tells him that since he started the company from scratch and he knows exactly what the brand is and what it should be. She suggests that instead of wasting money on hiring people to make crappy ads for them, she would like him to come up with the next ad campaign which they would launch at the silver jubilee of the company coming up in a few months.

    He asks her condescendingly if she thinks the company would have enough budget to even have a silver jubilee celebration. Tabu tells him that she would quit if that event isn’t a success and if she can’t turn the company around by the time. He laughs and asks her how much her “quitting” would cost him in terms of severance. She smiles and says she’ll have to get that calculated by the company’s CA since in her 23 year career she’s never had to quit.

    When SRK is leaving office later that evening, he sees Anushka hunched over her computer in her cubicle typing away vigorously with a pile of done and filed documents on one side of her desk and a pile of undone files on the other.

    When he gets home, he finds Alia sitting in the living room in front of the TV. She’s sitting with her feet up on the sofa. SRK comes in and sits down and Shriya brings him a glass of water. He eyes Alia disapprovingly and when she catches him looking at her, she slowly puts her feet down and sits more formally. She gets very uncomfortable soon and tells Shriya meekly that she was going to her room. SRK looks at Shriya and asks her “What do you do at home the whole day?”He scolds her because Alia was still dressed like a beggar, that Shriya hadn’t talked to her and told her how things work in their house.

    At dinner that evening, when the men are eating, Alia comes up and sits down with them and starts eating with them. As she is eating, she sees her little step-sister peeking from behind a curtain and asks her to come sit and eat. The girls hangs onto the curtain smiling and nods her head no. alia asks her if she wasn’t hungry and the kid says she was hungry but she can’t eat till the men are done eating.

    Alia looks at the kid with her mouth full of food and then looks at her grandpa and then at SRK. She looks down at her plate and solely gulps down her food and then looks at Shriya and her grandma for further instructions. They look on meekly. So Alia grabs her plate and takes it to the kitchen. She then calls her little sister to her room and gives her chocolates.

    The next day, we see alia going out to the store and coming back with a lot of bags. She had taken SRK’s car and he was furious that he was going to be late for his flight because of her. She quickly heads into her room. He follows her and scolds her and asks what was so important that she just had to go out. She shows him the bags. They are full of snacks and cereal cooking supplies. She says “Sorry, Sir. I’ve lived in a hostel for a very long time and I know how hard it gets for a kid to wait till meals are served. I just wanted to have some snacks for my little sister and myself. I don’t want to break rules of this house but I also don’t like being hungry.”

    SRK is still in the weird mood when he gets back to town a week later. He heads straight to the office from the airport. When he gets there he finds that his office looks different. The plants look greener, the decanters look shinier, and the office looks brighter and there is a glass domed cake stand with a lovely cake sitting inside it. It says “Welcome back, Sir.”

    SRK calls up a peon and asks who left the cake. The guy doesn’t know. SRK is still puzzled by the mystery when Anushka comes up and confesses that she made the cake. She tells him that she wanted to thank him for considering her for the position after all that had happened between them. He tells her seductively to shut the office door. She asks him why. He looks at the cake and says slyly, “Well because you baked me a cake”.

    Anushka looks puzzled and says she didn’t get what he was trying to say. She acts confused and then apologises and then gets a cake knife and cuts him a slice neatly, puts it on a plate delicately and places it gently in front of him, apologises and smiles and closes the door when she leaves. SRK scoffs and laughs and eats the cake. He seems to like it. He laughs to himself finishing it.

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  7. Chapter 5

    At home, he has gotten Alia a tutor. It’s Rajkummar Rao. He sits with Alia on the dining room table everyday and he’s usually there when SRK comes back home. He’s a jumpy fella who whispers nervous instructions to Alia and she doesn’t get what he’s saying or what she’s doing wrong. One day when SRK asks him how things are going he tell him that he didn’t think she would be able to pass her exams, that her problem was that she gets distracted sitting at the dining table with the kids playing around and people coming and going. SRK asks what the remedy for that was.

    Rajkummar says that the best thing would be to just bribe the school to pass her through internal exams and for the board exams he can “make arrangements for another girl to appear in her place.” SRK tells him the school principal is a bitch and she won’t accept the bribe. So Rao says he would continue to tutor Alia through the summer and he would teach her so she passes the school exams even if that’s just barely. But he tells SRK he’d need an environment with fewer distractions. So SRK tells him he could use his home office and that he should “just leave the door open”.

    One day, SRK comes home early and goes in to check on them. Alia is hunched over a book and she’s scribbling away and Rao is standing over her shoulder and trying to peek down her kurta even though she has a duppatta draped neatly over herself. SRK sees what he’s doing. He’s about to go into the room when he gets a work call that he has to take.

    Later that night he passes by Alia’s room and sees her light on. He goes in and sees Alia sitting at her study table crying over a workbook. Alia sees him and apologizes and tries to wipe her tears. SRK sits down beside her table and picks up her book and flutters through it and tells her “Well, economics made me cry too.”

    Alia apologizes again and says she doesn’t understand what the tutor is trying to teach her. SRK says “But I understand what he’s trying to teach you just perfectly.” Alia looks at him and SRK tells her that he had developed a system to remember the definitions of all the economic theories when he was in school. He tells her one illustrating it on her workbook. She writes and repeats it a couple of times and then recites it perfectly without looking at her notes. SRK says “guess you’re not stupid after all” Alia is crestfallen but she gives him a little smile anyway. SRK then teaches her the rest of the formulas.

    Next few weeks, we see Alia reciting SRK’s system and definitions while she walks around the house. She is seen doing this while she’s cooking, playing with the kids, singing it loudly in the shower (SRK and grandpa can hear her at the breakfast table). One day SRK walks into her room and sees that the wall has many such notes developed for all school subjects. They’re very creatively made with colorful doodles etc. he smiles looking at them sighing “women” under his breath.

    At work, he’s trying very hard to come up with the ad campaign. He now has a male secretary who annoys SRK a lot. He constantly keeps asking Anushka to fix his mistakes and do things properly that the guy has messed up. She basically takes over as his office assistant and the guy is fired. SRK brings her to meetings and events and his associates from the industry exchange looks. At one of these meetings, SRK is in the loo when another guy comes in. They’re peeing when the guy asks him through what agency he’d found his new secretary. SRK says “She’s not my secretary.” Guys asks “so what is she then?” SRK says “My colleague.”

    Anushka’s good work has also been noticed by Tabu. Anushka gets multiple promotions and by the end of two months, she has a small office of her own with her name on the door. SRK asks Tabu if they have the budget to get Anushka a company car since she was representing the company at events solo now and her arriving in an Uber sent the wrong message. Tabu tells him she’d give Anushka every perk her position is entitled to.

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  8. Chapter 6

    The ex-CEO had returned from the US and SRK calls on him with Shriya and all the kids including Alia. The guy meets Alia affectionately saying things like “you used to be a prankster when you were a kid” and asks about her studies etc. Alia says they were going good and she is hoping to get into a good college in Pune because that’s where all her friends would be applying. SRK remarks nonchalantly that she could also go abroad if she wants. Looks are exchanged between the others in the room.

    One evening, Shriya and grandma are out at a religious function in the neighborhood and the kids are running riot. Grandpa is super annoyed. When SRK gets home he tells him to tell Alia to take care of the kids. He tells his dad that the ladies would be back in an hour and they should let Alia study. Grandpa mumbles about dinner so SRK says the servants can prepare the dinner since they get paid to do that. Grandpa continues mumbling about it.

    When the ladies home, it’s past dinner time and the men have already had dinner. Alia is dining with her kid sister when they arrive and they hurriedly go about the kitchen and asking the servants how dinner went. Grandma brings the men tea in the living room when grandpa decides to let his wife hear his grudges. SRK chides him a bit saying no disaster has struck if the women of the house went out for an hour, they’re stuck at home all day every day round the year and a little outing would maybe clear their heads a bit. They’re back now and everything would go back to the way it was the next day. Grandpa mumbles under his breath that “Maybe some things won’t”.

    SRK is still in a bad mood when he passes by Alia’s room. Alia sees her kid sister run down the hall with her brothers and they run into SRK and his teacup falls on the floor. The daughter cries saying “sorry daddy, I won’t run in the house again, daddy” and holds her ears in an apology. She’s very scared and crying. SRK looks annoyed but notices her foot bleeding so he picks her up by her wrists and gently sits her down on the hallway table as he examines her foot.

    Shriya arrives and she’s panicking. She tries picking up the pieces of the cup and SRK tells her to leave that to the servants. He says he doesn’t want her to ruin her sari. He asks her if it was the same one she wore on their honeymoon. She blushes and nods yes. He eyes her intensely while he picks up the child in his arms. He tells Shriya to go put the boys to bed and that he’ll just take the daughter to the bathroom and get her foot cleaned up. He tells her to not change out of that sari.

    Alia, who is listening to this from her room makes a barf face and mouths the word “yuck” and gets up and shuts her door. SRK cleans up the child’s foot, wraps it up in a bandage and takes the kid to her room. As he’s tucking her in, he talks to her cutely and he asks her if her foot still hurt. She nods yes. So he kisses it and tells her that would make it better by morning. So the kid closes her eyes. As he is walking out of the room, the kid says “I love you, daddy” and he replies “Daddy loves you, princess.”

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  9. Chapter 7

    The next day Shriya is in Alia’s room bring her the laundry. They exchange an uncomfortable look as Shriya and Alia had seen each other when Alia had gotten up to shut her door. Shriya tries to start a conversation. She goes “Your dad…” to which alia just gestures ‘NO’ and says she doesn’t want to hear the details making a goofy face. Shriya blushes and laughs and says that’s not what she wants to talk about. Shriya and Alia sit down on her bed and Shriya tells her that though SRK seems rude and harsh, he really is not. She tells her that he wasn’t always like this.

    “He really tried in the early days. I was so young. I was just out of college. A silly, girly 22-year old. He was already a 34-year old with a 4-year old daughter going through a messy divorce and custody battle. He was sweet and sexy and so handsome. I adored him. All my friends were so jealous of me when they got to know his parents had selected me as his bride. His family didn’t want him to have another love marriage. They thought it was your mother’s career ambitions that broke up their marriage. But I guess that is something people just say when they don’t know the details of what really happened between a couple, you know?”

    Alia tells her that her mom never really spoke about why she and her dad split up. She always told her that they discovered they weren’t right for each other. But she always sensed that her dad resented her mom for picking her career over him and family life.

    Shriya says, “That’s not true.” She asks Alia is she knows where they first met. Alia says she knows they met at the hospital where she did her residency. Shriya smiles and says, “So your mom never told you that he fractured his foot just so he can stay in a ward across from the pediatric wing where she worked?”

    Alia is surprised. Shriya tells her the rest of the story. SRK had seen young doctor Madhuri at a blood donation drive and had fallen for her. He used to follow her around the hospital but she never seemed to notice him and he didn’t have the guts to go talk to her. So he had his friend run a car over his foot so he can be admitted to a private ward which was across from the pediatric wing where your mom used to be all day. He used to entertain the kids there with his guitar and eventually he won over your mom too.” Shriya smiles at the sweet story and alia says she remembers vaguely that SRK used to play lullabies to her when he tucked her in at night. Shriya says she has never heard him play or even seen him pick up a guitar but she loves this story so much and she wants to believe it.

    Alia asks “So why did they break up”. Shriya shrugs her shoulders and says, “Society, I guess. Once a boy and girl decide to get married, their relationship becomes everyone’s business. They’re given so much advice about what they’re supposed to do with each other as if two people in love who have been together for a few years cannot figure that out for themselves the moment they get married. “Supposed to” broke them up. He was told what his wife was “supposed to” be like and she was told what her husband was “supposed to” be like. They were young and they both had such strong personalities and nobody told them they were “supposed to” sit down and talk and work things out. They fought the fights and he resented her for taking you away from him but you know what, he never got over her.”

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  10. Chapter 8

    Alia caresses Shriya’s shoulder. Shriya’s eyes had moistened. “I figured out very early on that I was never going to replace your mom in his life. He used to be so sweet in the early days. He used to talk to me, he told me everything that happened between him and your mom. I was his best friend and he was mine. He used to cry for you, do you know that, Alia?” tears fall down Alia’s face when she hears this. Shriya continues with the story, “He was a lovely man until he was told what a man was ‘supposed to’ be like.” Alia asks, “how do you know all this about him? Like, how did you not fall victim to the same shit? You had to live around the same people too?”

    Shriya sighs, “I only have a bachelor’s degree but I passed it with honors. In psychology. I wanted to study further and become a psychologist but I got pregnant. And then the other two kids came and I’ve just been waiting for them to grow up enough so I can go back to my studies without worrying about ignoring them.”

    Alia tells her “But dad doesn’t like highly educated women. I mean I know he wanted to get me married off right out of school because the principal said I might have trouble getting into college. No offense auntie but my dad is sexist.”

    Shriya continues, “Sexism, like all other behaviors, is an acquired trait. It is a learned behavior. Which means it can also be unlearned. I don’t have the necessary qualifications to offer him any therapy but at least I understand where it all came from. I know the man he once was and I know the man he is capable of becoming. Maybe I resented his love for your mother too much all this time and a part of me wanted to punish him for the betrayal so I let him become the monster that he seems to be today. But I’ve seen the old him return a little ever since you came here. And I have hope that he may still be able to go back to being who he originally was. Maybe he would love himself again if he does.”

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  11. Chapter 9

    At work, Tabu has really cleaned up the place. Everything is in place. Things are working. Profits are coming in. But they are still losing market share. Tabu tells SRK in a meeting that she needs him to step up. SRK tells her that he’s getting frustrated trying to come up with the campaign.

    He tells her that everyone else in the market was making an inferior product and that is why they could sell it so cheap. They’ve captured the young office going male and college guy market that thrives on low prices. The older crowd who had been loyal to his brand now prefer wines. But he says he doesn’t want to lose this market. The posh guy sitting in a posh hotel has always been his target. He makes whiskey for the classy guy and he was not going to compromise on the quality to make profits.

    “There’s always the option of downsizing and making niche whiskeys for a niche market only,” Tabu tells him. SRK is mulling the suggestion when Anushka says “Or we can come up with a campaign that is so kickass that can still appeal to the young male price-sensitive market.” Both Tabu and SRK look at her.

    She tells Tabu that she had auditioned for the last ad for the label and in her head she had imagined that the ad would go something like “A sexy young girl walks into a posh bar and all eyes are on her. She looks around but she finds no one that’s good enough for her. And suddenly she sees a guy in a dashing three piece suit holding his hand out at the bar counter and the bartender is pouring a shot of our whiskey into his glass. The girl’s eyes follow the glass and the camera focuses on the guy’s lips as he sips the whiskey. She is instantly attracted to him and she walks up to him and drapes her arm around his waist and he looks at her and smiles. Everyone in the bar is looking at them and they’re so jealous. And then as they’re both looking deep into each other’s eyes and smiling, the classic tagline for our brand flashes at the bottom of the screen ‘For the men who only want the finest things in life.’”

    Tabu smirks and says, “Except the tagline for that ad said ‘For the man who knows what he wants,’ which is about as cheesy as it gets,” And SRK interrupts her saying, “And the girl looked like she was ready to charge less than that shot of whiskey!” They all laugh. SRK laughs and says, “What was I thinking approving that ad?” Tabu replies, “Maybe you had sampled our competitors’ product before making the decision!” SRK smiles. He tells both Tabu and Anushka that he may have an idea for ad in his mind. He just needs some time to fine tune the idea.

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  12. Chapter 10

    Back at home, Alia is sitting on her bed facetiming with Madhuri. She tells her about the conversation she had with Shriya. Madhuri jokingly rolls her eyes but Alia tells her she thought Shriya was being sincere. Just then the kids come into the room and Alia has them say hello to Madhuri and they do so chirping and shouting like kids do. The noise brings SRK to the door. He stands there listening to Alia ask Madhuri how her work was going. Madhuri tells her about the cases she has seen, how people there have to travel far to get to a proper hospital.

    Alia tells her she is very glad that she took the job, that she is so proud to have a mom who helps people. Madhuri sends her kisses. Alia tells her that her dad had helped her learn formulas to remember her study notes with. Madhuri says, “It’s lovely to hear you call him ‘dad’.” Alia says, “Well, he IS my dad so…” Madhuri flashes her a great big smile and tells her she can ask to spend more time with him over the winter break too if she wants. Alia then tells her she would ask him but right now he’s busy with the silver jubilee and a new ad campaign. She asks Madhuri if she would attend the event. Madhuri says she has an invite but she hasn’t decided yet. Alia insists and Madhuri says she’ll think about it. SRK smiles listening to this conversation.

    A few days later, some of Alia’s friends come visit her. The girls stay in her room and there’s plenty of girly giggling heard emanating from the room at night. Shriya and SRK sit in bed at night and they can hear the giggles. SRK is working on his laptop and he giggles a bit every time he hears the girls’ laughter. Shriya just sneaks glances towards his face and smiles watching him smile.
    Later in the week, SRK is returning from work and he’s driving himself because his driver got sick. He hits a trash bin as he tries to park the car perfectly in their driveway. He is annoyed and when he steps out of the car, he finds a small empty bottle of whiskey in the garbage. He picks it up.

    Alia is summoned into his home office. She arrives all happy and cheerful. SRK then produces the bottle of whiskey. As Alia stutters through an explanation, SRK says “I never expected this. I could never ever in my wildest dream and in my worst nightmare imagine this. I could never think that my own daughter would drink this… this… SWILL!!!” he says pointing at the empty bottle on his desk.
    “I make the best fucking whiskey in Asia and my own daughter is drinking cheap liquor from a brand that doesn’t even deserve to be served in the same bars as we are? In my house?!! AND you had the guts to offer this horsepiss to your friends too?!!! How dare you?!!” Alia is just staring her shoes.

    “And you’re not even 18 yet! If you had to indulge in underage drinking, you should have at least had the decency to drink our own label!” he says as he puts out two glasses on his desk. He pours two small pegs and hands one to Alia. Alia is reluctant to take it. SRK tells her “Don’t worry. I won’t tell your mom about it.” Alia takes it and sips it down in one gulp. SRK is appalled.

    He tells her, “Our whiskey isn’t like all the others out there. You should taste it, savor it, feel it. It’s a work of art. Enjoy it like that.” He hands her another shot and shows her how to swirl it, how to take little sips, how to savor the taste and aftertaste.

    He then asks her to get dressed. Takes her to the office, schools her about all the types of whiskeys they have, gives her a few samples, tells her what foods can get paired with whiskeys from what year, gives her all these little details. At the end of the tour, Alia is sitting with her face down the loo in his office. And he is sitting next to her with a funny look on his face saying, “And that is what happens when underage kids drink. I should really ground you for being a sneak but the hangover is probably going to be punishment enough I guess.”

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  13. Chapter 11

    At the office everyone is getting ready for the silver jubilee. SRK has handed over the reins entirely to Tabu and Tabu has handed over much of SRK’s work to Anushka. Anushka is seen attending many of the events that SRK used to go to. The two women are in charge of the company while SRK throws himself entirely into the ad campaign. He’s seen auditioning models and this time he picks really classy looking girls.

    While doing all this, he also takes the time to take his parents, Alia, Shriya and the kids shopping to buy them outfits for the big day. They’re all very happy. Shriya picks a sari with a decent looking blouse. SRK picks out something a little bolder for her and she is surprised pleasantly. Alia and grandma exchange happy looks. Alia comes out of the dressing room wearing a short dress. SRK, the kids, grandma and Shriya all nod ‘NO’ and SRK hands her a slightly more modest dress saying “Not till you’re in college OK!”

    They lunch and grandpa who had been grumpy all this time has a hot young waitress flirt with him so he cheers up too and everyone teases him about it.

    They’re heading out to the parking lot and the kids are running towards the car. Suddenly, the little girl collapses. SRK scoops the kid up and they all rush to the hospital. The doctors say the kid has a rare condition that requires immediate surgery and unfortunately there are no specialists in India that can perform the procedure. Alia calls up Madhuri and has her talk to SRK.

    She tells him that she has seen the procedure performed by a specialist in the US and that a surgeon can do it following instructions from the doctor through a web consult. SRK asks the doctors at the hospital but they all refuse to attempt it. SRK calls up Madhuri and tells her to get to India ASAP to do the procedure. He says he will have no one but the best doctor for his daughter and that she was the best and she knows that too.

    Madhuri flies in, performs the procedure. Everyone is there including Tabu and Anushka. Even Vidya shows up since a friend of Alia’s had posted a prayer for Alia’s little sister on Facebook. SRK is sitting in the visitors lounge surrounded by all these powerful women. It is nearly morning when Madhuri comes out and tells SRK the operation is a success. She tells him not to worry and that the doctors there are more than capable of handling things now.

    Grandma hugs Madhuri and cries thanking her and apologizing for her past behavior. Madhuri tells her, “It’s all in the past now, Maanji” Madhuri talks to Shriya and gives her instructions about the kind of care the child will need. Shriya thanks her too. SRK introduces her to Tabu and Anushka and as Madhuri shakes their hands she looks at SRK and says, “What was it that you used to say about women and whiskey?” and winks at him. He smirks at her says “You have not changed.” She smiles sweetly and tells him, “Go home. You’ve been here all night. You look like shit!” SRK says, “I wish I could say the same about you” looking deep into her eyes.

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  14. Chapter 12

    SRK really takes care of his little daughter during her recovery. At the hospital, he plays lullabies on the guitar to get the kid to sleep. Madhuri, Shriya and Alia watch him doing that from the outside and they smile. At home, he is always carrying the little girl around. He spends more time with all the kids now. They all eat together and they have servants prepare and serve dinner. Tabu and Anushka are doing well at the office. SRK asks Madhuri and Vidya to come to the silver jubilee.

    Tabu had told SRK to drop the ad launch idea and focus just on his family for the time being.
    The silver jubilee is a grand event. Everyone is dressed to the nines and the media is abuzz about it too. Plenty of A-list celebrities, businesspeople, media people etc. attend the event. Tabu and Anushka host the evening and it goes off magnificently. At the closing, the ask SRK to come up for a short speech.

    SRK says, “I want to take this moment to thank everyone who has been a part of our incredible journey. Twenty five years ago, I started this label with nothing but an idea of what good whiskey should taste like. I don’t mean to sound smug but it saddens me that nobody else in Asia has been able to beat the quality that we offer till this day.” Everyone laughs and cheers.

    He continues, “There were so many times in these twenty five years that people thought this label and I would be over. But somehow that never happened. Someone up there must like me a lot!” he smiles and the cheers get louder.

    He continues again, “The past few years have not been kind to us. As you all know, thanks to the generous and free coverage the press has given our label in the last year alone, we have been overtaken in the market by newer brands. But those are just numbers. And anyone who knows anything about us knows that numbers don’t mean a thing to us. We have always been and we will always be a label that prizes quality over profits, and THAT my friends isn’t going to change anytime soon.” The room explodes with cheers and whistles and claps.

    SRK gestures them to quiet down a bit and he’s nearly talking over the cheers, “Before I overstay my welcome at this podium, I would like to present you all with a preview of our latest ad campaign. Thank you!” The crowd cheers as SRK leabes the stage and the lights in the room fade. The screen illuminates.

    The film opens with a woman’s shapely leg appear out of a chauffeured car. She’s wearing an expense set of heels. The camera follows her shapely bottom make her way through the posh restaurant of what looks like a country club. Posh looking men in three-piece suits and cigars on their lips pause to look at her and waiters nearly lose their balance trying to catch a glimpse. The lady arrives at a table overlooking the expansive lawns and there she is greeted with kisses by a whole bunch of good-looking well-dressed women. Some are in saris and suits, some are in cocktail dresses, some are in business suits and there’s even a few in ripped jeans and trendy t-shirts. A waiter bends down and asks the lady for her order. She says, “The usual.” The waiter looks surprised so he goes to his boss who’s been observing the group admiringly from near the bar. The waiter comes up to him and says, “They asked for the usual. I’m new here. What does that mean?” The boss waiter says emphatically, “The finest!” The waiter smiles and a sommelier is seen pushing a drinks cart to the ladies table. An elegant hand with bracelets and diamond rings is seen held out delicately and the sommelier pours a splash of the whiskey in a glass and hands it to her. She takes a sip and smiles contently. The posh men at the bar who had been eyeing the elegant lady raise their glasses to the ladies at this table who smile flirtatiously and then continue to talk amongst themselves. The camera zooms to the bottle of whiskey at the centre of their table and the tagline flashes at the bottom of the screen. “For women who only want the finest things in life”

    The screen fades to black and the room explodes with cheers, whistles and camera flashes. SRK is smiling ear to ear accepting the applause. Tabu looks at him and nods her head in approval. SRK looks at the table all his ladies are seated at and they look at him and he mouths the words “thank you” to them.

    The end.

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    • Wait, where’s the moment when he kisses Shriya passionately and says “my love for Madhuri is when I was a boy, my love for you is as a man. Also, you should go back to school and finally get your psychology degree. Also, I am telling my father to shut up and not complain because it’s your house and you can run it like you want. Also, let’s have another kid and this time I want a girl”? I need resolution!

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      • That’s in the post script. The happily ever after is sort of implied in the “thank you”. I couldn’t write anymore. I had to get back to real life and get some stupid work done. But I loved writing this. And they already have three kids. They can’t have a fourth kid. He’d end up with 5 kids if that happens. I guess I wrapped the shriya-srk romance in the part where he loves their kids to bits.

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        • Can he adopt a little girl Salim Khan style? Just to make it really really clear that he likes daughters as much as sons now? Maybe there is a little charity case girl who has the same thing as his biological daughter and they decide to take her home too?

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          • This chapter is specifically written as an epilogue.

            We see SRK, Shriya, Tabu and Anushka seeing guests off. Tabu, SRK and Anushka are talking to the guests as they leave, thanking them for coming and talking amongst themselves as well. Shriya is just smiling politely and offering farewell with a Namaste.

            Tabu tells SRK she has been offered a teaching position in Chennai and she is taking it up. SRK doesn’t like it. He tells her she can’t leave the company when they’ve barely back on their feet. Tabu says she’s accomplished all she set out to achieve with this company. SRK asks her what her real reason for leaving was. She says that her husband has decided to quit his job and retire early to travel and she wants to join him.

            “We’ve both spent our whole adult lives working and now that the kids are out of the house, we can finally have some time to ourselves,” Tabu says.

            “But you can still hold onto this job AND travel. Why do you need to quit? I’m a generous boss. I’d be willing to give you plenty of long paid vacations. Please don’t go!” SRK says.

            “You see, when I say “travel” I mean spend all our free time having sex.” Tabu says winking at SRK, “My husband is convinced it’s a great cure for menopause symptoms and I kinda agree with him. So…” she laughs.

            “Does this conversation count as sexual harassment? I’m feeling a little sexually harassed listening to all this,” SRK feigns blushing and laughs. He tells her she can leave as soon as she has selected a successor. Tabu tells him she already has a successor in mind. SRK asks her who that is and Tabu points towards Anushka who is working the farewell very well. SRK smiles and nods in approval.

            With the last of the guests having left, Madhuri, Vidya and Alia come up to the trio. SRK tells Vidya that he was confident Alia would pass her internals and that he would have her sent to Canada where he’s found a specialist that she can work with before she applies to a B-school.

            “Of course her internship at the company after boards would surely help make her entrance application stellar,” he says. Alia is thrilled. She hugs and kisses him. Madhuri tells him she appreciates all the hard work he put in for Alia. He smiles. Madhuri and Shriya hug and Madhuri tells them all that they’re invited to brunch that Sunday at her house. Alia leaves with Madhuri.

            The brunch is a really pretty affair. It is set up at a sea-facing open balcony with plenty of plants and bright paper cut outs done by Alia. Everyone is having a good time. SRK keeps flirting with Shriya. He keeps pulling her aside to steal a kiss as she helps set up the table. At the table, SRK keeps drawing circles on Shriya’s knee under the table and she blushes trying to get him to stop. Madhuri and Tabu see them flirting from across the table and exchange knowing smiles. Alia sees it too and makes a barf face again. Anushka sees her doing that and laughs.

            Grandpa discovers that he never knew that Madhuri’s mom had a collection of thumris on original vinyl and he asks grandma if she would help him set up a party since he wanted to borrow some records from Madhuri’s mom and play it for his friends. Grandma graciously accepts on the condition that she can play her original rock-n-roll records at the party too. Grandpa goes “Oooo” and kisses her hand.

            Madhuri makes a little thank you for coming speech and then announces that she is engaged to a Sri Lankan surgeon and they’d be getting married that winter and invites them all. Everyone is happy and congratulates her. SRK grins widely and tells her he would supply the liquor.

            Shriya looks a little sullen watching SRK be so enthusiastic about Madhuri’s wedding party. SRK notices her hanging her head low and smiling a sad smile. As everyone gets up to dance, SRK sits back in his chair and wraps his arm around her shoulder. She doesn’t look up so he gives her a little tug. She looks up with the sad smile and he looks deep in her eyes.

            “What?” he says. “You’re not jealous of me flirting with her are you?”
            Shriya gulps down some emotion and puts up a brave face and says no.

            “Good,” he says, “because it would be really silly of you to be jealous of a boy and a girl who no longer exist.” He smiles.

            “Who exists if that boy doesn’t?” she asks him with a question in her eyes.

            “The man you built with all your love,” he says standing up as he smiles lovingly and caresses her cheek. “I stopped being anybody else’s a long time ago, baby,” he says as he leans in and plants a deep kiss on her lips.

            “I’m going to go dance with my beautiful kids.” He gets up. Shriya smiles with tears in her eyes as she watches SRK dance with the boys up on his shoulders and back, the little girl sitting on one of his arms and Alia dancing with her arms draped around his waist.

            Finito

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          • Thank goodness! Shriya deserves the good sexy mature Shahrukh! Let Madhuri marry Dr. Nene (I just assume it is Dr. Nene, having somehow crossed from reality into fiction).

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 10:55 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It’s Dr. Madhuri btw 😂 yea let her have Dr. Nene. He looks like a doctor too. I couldn’t imagine him being anything else.

            And shriya did get the sexy mature SRK in the previous ending too. Remember the bit with the sari and her blushing. Maybe I didn’t word it nicely enough.

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          • I just need more explicit that he is all in heat for her now, not just a nice moment here and there. Which this does nicely for me! Forget Madhuri, can’t keep my hands of my patient wife/mother of my children. Lovely!

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 11:02 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It’s exactly what I want him to say. You don’t have to say “nah, I never loved Madhuri at all”, but it is nice to have a clear “that’s done with, I’m all you you you now” moment.

            Also, you HAVE to watch JHMS! I know I know, it got bad reviews and all that. But he is sooooooooooo sexy! And so explicitly sexy, there’s no question what he is talking about and what he is doing to all these many many women who throw themselves at him. IF nothing else, it is a very good sign that he is now old enough to just say “heck, I don’t care about offending the aunties, I’ll go all out with the sex talk from here on out.”

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 11:37 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I’m waiting for it to come to video on demand. It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve watched an SRK film where he wasn’t bring a man-child or trying wayyyyy too hard to be a grown up. I hope JHMS has him being a regular sexy 40-something

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          • Explicitly 37, but otherwise yeah. He plays someone who is old, way too old to get sucked in to a romance, who likes to go out and troll the bars for one night stands, and is frustrated and uninterested (at first) in virginal little Anushka. But he’s also not the wise perfect guy, he’s got his own demons and stuff, just grown up demons, not “oooo, I’m afraid of commitment and my parents!” demons.

            Also, beard, tattoo, and shirts that just want to fall open all the time.

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 11:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I really want to see him do the full Amitabh. Let the hair go grey (or if it is still naturally black, dye it), let the beard go grey too. Play a widower or a happily married man of several decades. I’d love to see him in any of the great later-day Amitabh roles. Father who has to deal with ungrateful children, angry old man seeking vengeance, anything like that.

            But mostly draw that firm visual line. It sounds shallow, but Amitabh wasn’t able to really start the second innings of his career until he switched to grey hair and beard. Then audiences knew to stop looking for the “old” Amitabh and accept this new version. I am loving Shahrukh’s increasing embrace of his beard and kind of shaggy hair and suits in public life, I want him to do the same in his film roles. Plus go salt and pepper with the hair.

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 11:48 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • You understand I don’t just want this because he is super hot when he plays his own age, but I also don’t NOT want it because he would be super hot playing his own age?

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:15 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I think what’s hurting him is that he’s part of a Khan trio that’s the same age. And more than that, pretty much all the really big names from his era are doing roughly the kind of roles he is and romancing heroines with a similar kind of age gap. Amitabh did not have to worry about the rest of his generation’s actors doing the same thing while he was doing it including romancing really young heroines. They’d stepped back and Amitabh could do that alone and get criticised for it alone. Of course everything he did after that is effectively avant garde for Hindi film. SRK and co will be competing not only with younger heroes and extremely strong character artists who have cult following but also Amitabh who’s doing terrific roles that would otherwise be up for the taking for SRK and co.

            That said, he can always look towards how Hollywood guys did it. Specifically Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Both still clinging to the hotness, both not embracing their 50s like manu actors do. But they’re making memorable films. SRK in an Indian World War Z? Yes please. Can Rajamouli make it and Red Chillies and Dharma and whoever else is in his posse bankroll it? Why the hell not!! If they can spend 100+C on stupid romances, they should be able to make a 120C high tech film with a guy like Rajamouli!

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          • Absolutely the 3 Khans are making it harder for each other! Salman said that in an interview recently, which I have had no luck tracking down, that he wants to keep playing young which means he HAS to make sure Shahrukh and Aamir keep playing young too. Because all 3 of them need to move in synch or else it doesn’t work. If Shahrukh suddenly announces he is only taking character roles, while Salman is still doing hero parts, it would just be strange.

            On the other hand, and I feel kind of blasphemous for saying this, but Amitabh’s going to die someday, right? Probably? So within the next ten years, there will be a gap there for a really really really big name with massive experience and gravitas who is also willing to take funky interesting older roles.

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:28 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Dude I have nightmares about that day. There will probably be three days of national mourning or more whenever that happens. I’m still not used to Om Puri being gone and Jagjit Singh being gone.

            The khans better clean up their act or the audience would just keep switching to these smaller films with newer guys.

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          • Well, Dilip Sahib will probably go first, and then Shashi, so those will be nice little dress rehearsals. And we already had Rajesh.

            On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I did ALL of them visualize throughout your story…so much fun 🙂 actually, I visualized it as a movie…the gazes, the postures, the locations just what I imagined they could be, the clothes, the voices’ timbre…that’s what I like about stories which capture me – I immerge like I’m being in that world…in the theatre I simply enter through the screen oblivious to the world around (except for noises from the audience… which I do myself also like applauding, cheering, shouting…and when I’m dancing in my seat bcause of the space-restriction).
        With a book, it’s similar – I can forgt the space and time where I am in. Reading in the internet is more distracting because there are often things surrounding the text which get into my vision.

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          • I think the way the story ends is perfect because one intuitively knows that he would continue to be more a partner than a patriarch and I don’t think that any of the girls/women need a quasi confirmation that he loves himself in his re-discovered non-sexist manliness.

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  15. Hooray! an ending after an ending. L o v e it 😀 I bet all women would swoon over this movie with current sexy ShahRukh…but the Indian audience in general…although it would be a g o o d family film (you should send the plot to RedChillies, Asmita).

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  16. Late to the party, but I have been contemplating naughty Shah Rukh ever since I read that he liked the book “Fifty Shades of Gray”. And that was before the handcuff scene in “Fan”, which only poured gasoline on my imagination. (50 Shades is a terribly written book, so I am rather appalled at his bad taste, after liking Coehlo so much,)

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    • I am very tempted to use seriously naughty Shahrukh as a jumping off point for next Sunday. But I don’t know how much naughtier I can get! Unless I do the straight up male prostitute version? But no, sex trade always depresses me. Maybe just JHMS Shahrukh but more so? into dark twisted sex and has to gently introduce his new love to it. Okay, great, now it really is 50 Shades (haven’t read it, I swear, I only know it from reputation)

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      • I only read it because so many of my female students referred to Christian Gray as their Darcy. (Ew). It’s the downside of teaching popular culture. You have to keep current. It is an awful book, and the writing is horrible and trite.

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        • I learned a lot about it in my fan studies class, because 3 different students ended up doing their end projects on it. Which turned into a fascinating gender dynamics thing. There was one student who treated it seriously (in a good way, she looked at the female/male energies and power dynamics), and the two male students were just “ha-ha, bored housewives think they know S&M!”. And the male teacher definitely leaned on the “ha-ha” side. He also didn’t get my project (Hindi film fans) at all. Generally, it was the most “male” class I have ever taken, which fits with all the stuff I have heard about gender problems in fan communities.

          On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 5:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Thankfully we have a word for those gender problems in fan communities now- MANSPLAINING!! I find it absolutely ridiculous that men assume they have a right to tell women what they’re supposed to like or not like in fandoms or what they’re supposed to think about a piece of literature or a show or a film.

            I havent read the book. I tried watching the film. Watched it till the part where she’s first in his office. They looked so effing unconvincing. They both looked extremely fuddu.

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          • Ugh, I HATED that fan class. I ended up doing my thesis on fan stuff, and I carefully avoided involving that professor because I knew he would never go for what I wanted to study. They aren’t “real” fans unless they are into science fiction and going to conventions and so on, and certainly not if they admit to being attracted to a male star, then they are just silly girls.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 6:54 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It really is so difficult being a woman. We should set up our own country. Men can visit on a visa but they get deported for being sexist. Like a female led Saudi Arabia. Did I just justify Saudi Arabia? Dear God!!!

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        • Did you tell them it was blasphemy???? Darcy and Gray are from different planets! I would have cried, LOUDLY, had I been told that by kids I taught. (I taught 6th and 7th grades a few years and I was studying to apply for a lecturership)

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        • Now this has got me thinking again. How about this ladies–

          SRK is a Madam of a male brothel! He owns a chain of brothels across Europe and they only cater to female clients. He has a near clinical approach to training his crew. They offer services like exotic dancers, rent-a-date, the full boyfriend experience, booty calls, etc. He hasn’t personally attended a client in ages and he prides himself in the quality of their services. One day, when he arrives at work, he receives an email from a client with poor feedback on the services she had availed. SRK is super pissed. He writes back to the lady demanding a detailed explanation of what went wrong. She writes back saying something like she just didnt “feel” the guy.

          He is pissed even more. He calls up the guy who went on the job and SRK cannot find fault with anything that he says he did. SRK is convinced the lady is making the bad review up. He takes it as a challenge and tells the lady that not only will they offer her a full refund, they will also give her a complimentary package to make up for her less than satisfactory experience. And he says he will attend to this case personally. And he comes out of retirement for this one case!!!

          Haha

          And maybe the client is a middle class soccer mom who bought herself the most expensive package after having saved for a year. Can SRK figure out what this bored little housewife wants??

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          • 😂 I’m imagining SRK with crisp tuxedos-no tie. He sits with his legs crossed and takes notes on a clipboard when he sits in on “training”. He wears reading glasses. He has a little pony tail. He’s very arrogant.

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          • Co-sign everything but the pony tail. I do not like the pony tail.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:28 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • You’re not imagining the scene where much later in the film she undoes it skillfully while maintaining eye contact and caresses the back of his head with the slightly longer hair back there providing contrast for her fingers and nail color. Her fingers lost in his hair would be her losing herself in him while the undoing of the ponytail would be his liberation and him letting her take control. Does that make sense?

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          • I still don’t like the ponytail. We suffered through the pony tail era while he was in Dard-E-Disco prep, and D-E-D almost made up for it, but no! I still don’t like it. Can’t he just have like super shaggy hair?

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:43 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I just want it longer at the back. Maybe slightly curly or wavy hair. Just hair that isn’t so pointy and full-of-product looking. Running your hair through a guy’s hair and having your fingers smeared with product is gross!!!

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          • Arvind Swamy! She wants Arvind Swamy! Not really, but I want it to be that she wants more the “full husband” experience. Which she herself doesn’t realize at first, but as she and Shahrukh try various things and she doesn’t like any of them, he ends up getting more and more into her “real” life, coming with her to an emergency meeting with the principal when his phone call interrupts them in a hotel room, agreeing to stop by a grocery store on the way to taking her home, and so on. And they finally have an amazing night together after he has gotten sucked into helping the kids with homework and cleaning the kitchen and talking about how he learned how to cook for his younger siblings when his mother had to work late, and then they have sex in her bedroom with the kids asleep downstairs.

            And I don’t know what happens after that. Either she is satisfied and happy and ready to move on with her life and maybe have a real date with the nice science teacher at her kids school, and that’s the end. Or he can’t forget her and shows up at her door with roses two weeks later to invite her on a real date.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • The second!!! Definitely the second. Also, this god me thinking — if it’s a universal female fantasy that an ideal husband must cook, must be able to do housework, must be good with the kids and be skilled in bed (while maintaining a six-pack), are we really not just replaying the male fantasy in our heads?? Or are these traits somewhat gender-less and every sane person desires these qualities in a partner irrespective of their gender??

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          • I think it’s a sanity thing. Who wants to cook and take care of the kids all the time? And who would want someone who is unattractive/bad at the sex stuff?

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:37 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • This is what Indian culture has taught me. Everyone wants to be married and it is up to their parents to force that to happen.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • There was this joke on WhatsApp the other day. It went like so what if the courts abolished marriages being arranged by parents in India? Answer: then indian parents would be arranging for their kids to fall in love!!

            But I meant my question like is that a universal yearning? Across cultures?

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          • Pretty sure to some degree it depends on the person. I’ve got plenty of friends who sincerely do not want to get married, have kids, the whole experience. And then other people who do. At least in America it’s a little easier to get away without ever having the “husband” kind of relationship if you don’t want it. And of course this is unrelated to sexuality, the people I know who got married youngest (24 and 26 I think) and had a kid right away were actually two men 🙂

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I didn’t mean like the official, legal husband. More like the husband experience and the wife experience and what do people in relationships want.

            I wish I could escape marriage. I’m happy with the way things are with beau but everyone’s like it’s been 6 years make it official have kids. I wish I could just adopt and get the kid part done for now. Stupid indian culture

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          • I really want to repeat your last line, but I am afraid to be the white person on the internet who says that.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:06 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I feel you!!!

            Also, just read some curious news.

            So UV Creations and Prabhas are spending 40 crores on a three screen multiplex (one 160 feet 3D screen in a 600 seat Hall and two smaller 100+ seater halls) spread across 7 acres off a highway which will also have a massive restaurant and entertainment zone (snooker, arcade etc)

            I read this and I thought what a brilliant brilliant idea for a film production company and a working actor!! You have your own theatres so you can play films from your own banner for as long as you want!! And UV make multiple films a year!!! It’s a bit far from the city so it might be like a getaway for families, couples, school and college groups who spend the whole day there, watch at least one film, eat, buy memorabilia!! Really smart!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I was going to respond to this with a lengthy comment giving historical/industrial perspective, and then i realized it should be a post. So congrats! You have now inspired 3 separate posts in the past 7 days! A news post, the starter pack post, and a fanfic (this last being the greatest possible achievement, of course).

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:19 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I would love your take on SRK as a Madam who has to please a soccer mom!! Please write this!!!

            Also looking forward to the technical post on the business prospects of a film production company who also owns a resort style multiplex who also has a star with a major camp on their side!

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  17. joyomama, you’re sure he said he ‘liked’ it??? I’ve another version: he was asked and told that a fan had gifted the book to him but he would have read only some pages and had’nt finished it (yet)…I don’t think he liked it…and if ever an erotic movie with him (which actually will not happen, I think), I also picture him as the happily submissive one.

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  18. I still haven’t figured out how to reply to a string of posts when there is no reply-button anymore…I always fear that I will get posted at the ‘wrong’ place…

    Asmita, Margaret, basically, I think that the wish for a twosome (with additions maybe) is in our ‘nature’…what makes it difficult is the need for commitment if the couple want stay together and if one wants to have kids…marriage isn’t anything else than an official commitment which won’t have any meaning after the ceremony if there is no commitment afterwards…that’s why so many people think of marriage as a tie (which can be both: negative & positive), but what really matters is the couple’s way to live together, not the marriage.
    So yes, arranged marriage could very well change into arranging to fall in love 😀

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    • A Chinese guy in his mid 20s once told me how he met his gf in college – parents did first arrange for them to get introduced and start dating etc with the official stamp all along. He said it’s normal and common there.

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      • See, that’s what bothered me about Ki & Ka. It felt like, instead of completely breaking definitions, they just made the man into the “wife” and the woman into the “husband”. I wanted a total overthrow, no “wife” or “husband” at all any more.

        Wouldn’t it be great if a) same-sex marriage somehow became socially acceptable and b) that killed any thought of traditional gender roles because there would be no way to make them work any more? Or is b) even more of a fantasy than a)?

        On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 9:56 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • The more I read about gender roles and the more I observe the world around me, I find that words like “wife” and “husband” are nothing more than titles that you inherit. In reality, the traditional roles of these titles are played by the two respective partners anyway. Meaning, the woman could be the one taking on the husband role (providing, protecting) and the man can take on the wife role (supporting, nurturing). Within each marriage, it is up to the two people to decide who does what and they do. Except, when the “advice” starts pouring in from the outside- friends and relatives- it always comes assuming each sex is fixed within the traditionally specified role. Then, the women that don’t have a supportive bone in their body get frustrated when asked to do that since they’re used to leading from the front. The men, who have been comfortable in the supportive role, also fail in the leadership role society expects of them. And enough frustration kills both their potential and skews the balance of power between them.

          I wouldn’t want to do away with the husband and wife concept entirely because I don’t think it is the fault of the concepts themselves that the world is screwed up. The world is screwed up because of economics and laws of inheritance. What I would want is more clearly defined laws. Like in India, we have separate laws that dictate terms of marriage and inheritance for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and another that governs Muslims. This complicates everything.

          As for same sex marriages, India is still at “if your parents don’t like your partner you can’t marry them” and “the whole world is going to have a opinion about your marriage”. We’re too far behind the world to even begin having the same sex marriage debate. This is where the more clearly defined laws on marriage would help. Once we have laid down a set of laws about marriage that are the same for everyone in the country, we can make same sex marriages legal super quick. We’re weird that way. We have archaic laws for ages and then they’re replaced by something completely ahead of its time.

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          • You should check out Shubh Mangal Saavdhan if you get a chance. It’s got a really interesting take on all this, the couple is in love but the family pressure around the wedding messes up what they have just between each other. And she is very much the aggressive one, while he is the follower.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 10:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • I thought the larger point of the topic itself was to not just flip conventions on it’s head like that with who is the aggressor and follower like in Ki and Ka just because.

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          • See, that would be my ideal world, both people are just people, and one takes the lead in some things, and the other in others, whatever feels natural to them, with no social structures they have to try to fit into.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 11:34 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh, and completely unrelated, but do you know if Mom played on TV recently or something? I am getting, like, hundreds of hits a day for the past few days on my Mom spoiler post and I have no idea why.

            On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 10:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • The only hope is always the next generation, the ones of them who are enough rebellious or encouraged or determined to make the change. The ones of the current and older generation who think in terms of “partner” and “choice” and “non-judgemental” can give input, role-model-behaviour and support.
            Good ideas can only prosper in a ‘healthy’ environment…there are still far toooooo much (stupid?) adults in the world with narrow minds and/or narrow means.

            Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: Prabhas is Building Dollywood? | dontcallitbollywood

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