Silly Sunday Post: Happy 25 Days to SRK’s Birthday! 25 Characters in Need of More Story

I was tempted to do one long post for one of these, but that would break the list pattern.  Plus, be harder to write.  So some will be longer, some will be shorter, but there will be a full 25.  And that will give you all a lot to talk about in the comments.

1.1. Rahul in Dil To Pagal Hai

When we meet him, he is a successful producer with no family around.  But, how did he get there?  How did he and Karisma meet?  How did he put on his first show.

My interpretation, he was raised by grandparents who died when he was young.  Even as a boy, he used to be bossy and force his friends to put on shows for the neighborhood, and would sell tickets and then give the money to household expenses since his grandparents were struggling on his grandfather’s pension.  In college, he fell in with the crowd we see him with now, putting on more and more semi-professional shows.  Finally, he dropped out of school entirely and convinced his friends to take a risk and put on their first real show.  The night of the opening, his grandmother died.  He put on a front and put on the show anyway, and never really let anyone inside after that.  His grandfather died a few years later, and he was all alone.

Karisma was a friend from college, he helped teach her to dance, she was part of that first show and comforted him when his grandmother died.  And she welcomed him into her family, she became something more than just a friend to him, the warm home place he could escape to.  Which is why it was such a shock to him to learn that she loved him-loved him.

 

2. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai-the time between Rani and Kajol

Sure, one life, one heart, one love, but there’s options besides love, you know?  And if you remember, when he listens to his messages and learns that little Anjali is sick, there is another message from a woman asking if he is coming to the party.  And a bit of a naughty smirk on his face as he listens.

As I see it, 2 years at least of striaght up mourning.  He is all about rushing home to the baby and late night sobbing sessions.  But then there is a new client at work who is a little flirtatious, and he finds himself being flirtatious right back.  Next thing he knows, she has asked him out for a drink.  He is nervous when he tells Farida that he may be home late, but she encourages him, tells him that his daughter will always come first in his life, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a life.  They go out for the drink, she invites him up to her hotel room, they have fun-fun time.  And then she leaves town the next day but says she might give him a call when she comes back.

(Just feels like a guy whose got this much game couldn’t have been sitting on the bench for 8 years)

So, I think, while he comes home most nights to do homework and spend time with Little Anjali, a few times a month he might go out for a drink with a lady or to a party.  Especially if Little Anjali has a sleepover or something so the house feels empty.  And when she leaves for camp with Farida, Shahrukh naturally falls in to staying out late every night.  Until he meets Kajol again, and then there is no interest in any other woman.

 

3. Har Dil Jo Pyar Karage-Shahrukh and his coma wife

This is such a brilliant cameo.  Salman is lying that he is Rani’s husband, when suddenly Shahrukh bursts in saying that HE is her husband.  And, INTERVAL.  And then post interval, Little Anjali shows up and explains that her father has gone crazed with grief and thinks everyone is his dead wife.

The poor man!  Let’s give him a happy ending.  And, heck, let’s give Rani a happy ending!  She wakes up from her coma, gets a crush on Salman, only to learn that he doesn’t really love her and loves Preity instead.  But what if she goes on vacation at a resort to recover, finds a doll, looks for the little girl it belongs to, meets Little Anjali, befriends her.  And, eventually, Little Anjali introduces her to her father, who has completed his treatment and is now recovering in the resort.  They slowly talk and become closer and closer, there is a momentary miss-understanding when Rani thinks he has had a relapse because he says something about her being Little Anjali’s mother, but then it is resolved when he explains that he meant her STEPMOTHER, not her real mother.

 

4. Mohabbatein-What happened after Aish?

As a teenager, Shahrukh was a student at the best prep school in the country.  He fell in love with the principal’s daughter, got thrown out, and she killed herself (breaking his heart).  And then many years later, he shows up again as a music teacher with credentials and stuff.  What happened?

So, Shahrukh is thrown out.  He goes home in shame.  And, shortly after getting back home where his family is angry and depressed over his failure, he learns that Aish has killed herself.  The darkest time of his life.  And in this darkness, as he is considering suicide, he hears the beautiful sound of a violin.  He follows it, and finds an old woman playing it in the house down the block.  She offers to teach him.  He finds new hope in music, and in the life lessons she teaches him.  She is a widow, but has learned to live everyday as though her husband were still alive, keeping him in her heart by fulfilling his dreams.  This inspires Shahrukh, he goes off in the world to teach music to others, but comes back regularly to visit her.  Finally, she dies of old age, and it is this death which triggers Shahrukh’s decision to go back and confront Amitabh and try to teach him to love too.

 

5. Asoka-After the Battle

We know generally what happened.  He became a devout Buddhist, dedicated himself to good governorship, etc. etc.  But what about Kareena??????  She’s been longing for him for years, he has been mourning her, now they have met in this terrible situation, will that be the end or can they get back together?  Not to mention that he already has another perfectly nice wife.

Well, I’m an optimist!  Not that it would happen overnight or anything.  But Shahrukh will help Kareena bury her brother.  And then, while she is still in shock with grief, kindly bring her back to his palace.  His saintly wife will be happy to see her, knowing she is the woman her husband has loved and that she is a sad grieving person.  Shahrukh does the Asoka thing and starts to re-organize his empire along peaceful lines, and twice a day goes to visit Kareena and gently talk to her while she stares out a window silently.  It is Shahrukh’s child who brings her out of her grief, the baby comes to play with her and makes her laugh and smile and finally speak.  She starts to leave her chambers and wander around the palace, Shahrukh gives orders that she is not to be disturbed.  She starts coming to Shahrukh’s chambers and watching him every day as he goes about his life doing good works. He notices her when she enters but doesn’t acknowledge her beyond a brief glance, letting her just watch him.  Finally, one night he comes back to his lonely chamber to find her waiting for him on his bed.  He is surprised and starts to leave, but she tells him “no”.  And then explains that she could never again love the young soldier, the man of violence, the one who lied to her.  But she has come to love this new man, of peace and wisdom.

 

6. Saathiya-Tabu and Shahrukh romance

Such a great cameo appearance!  Just perfect.  We see right away a long marriage with a lot of love.  Shahrukh is a successful older police officer, Tabu is his mature wife.  We don’t see any children.

This is just for kicks, but I kind of want them to have the opposite romance to Viviek and Rani, just to show how marriages can be different.  Shahrukh, a respectable quiet type, had an arranged marriage.  A semi-late one, because he was so career focused.  He is already late twenties/early 30s.  Tabu is a young woman who doesn’t say much but was secretly reluctant to get married because she had just been offered a scholarship for further dance studies.  She can’t bring herself to object, and Shahrukh likes her at first sight, so they get married.

Image result for shahrukh khan tabu

It takes them a long long time to get comfortable with each other.  It makes a big difference when Shahrukh finds out that Tabu had a dance scholarship and matter of factly tells her that she should take it anyway, he is gone all day, why should she just sit at home?  He is supportive, brings home take-out when she is late preparing for her performance, watches her rehearse, slowly they become closer and closer.  On the night of her final graduate performance, Shahrukh is in the front row, even though it meant he had to take time off work, and gives her flowers.  That night, she asks for his help taking off her outfit and taking down her hair, and they finally have sex.

This is all years before Saathiya, now they have been married happily for years, but there is a sadness because they still have no children.  Tabu was coming back from another visit to the infertility doctor and was crying and upset, which is why she hit Rani.  After the whole Saathiya thing works out, they go home closer than ever and decide to look into adoption.

 

7.  Chalte Chalte-After the fight

So, where are we at the end of this film?  Shahrukh is still bankrupt with no business, Rani is still isolated in a country far away from the rest of her family, they still have no kids or family support in the city with them.  And they still fight all the time.  There are still problems to solve.

First, most importantly, they decide to try this new thing called “couples therapy”.  Rani’s cool aunt Lillette Dubey is the one who suggests it, Shahrukh resists, but he is so terrified of losing Rani again that he eventually agrees.  While he is initially silent in sessions, letting Rani talk, finally he opens up.  And has a breakthrough, sobbing out all his feelings of not being worthy, of being a failure because he cannot provide for his family, cannot give Rani the life she used to have.  Rani cries to, says that she doesn’t want that life, she just wants him, she trusts him and knows he will always take care of the two of them, etc. etc.

(Yes make-up sex is nice, but you know what is even better?  THERAPY!!!!)

Thanks to therapy, even before his breakthrough they are closer, as he starts to understand how much Rani needs him and so on.  They have sex, Rani gets pregnant, which adds stress to Shahrukh’s efforts to restart another business.  They fight again, but it is ultimately good because it leads to his breakthrough in therapy.  Post-breakthrough, he is able to slow down, enjoy this time.  Accept Lillette’s offer to help pay to make over the baby’s room, buy baby clothes, look at the ultrasound and go to all the doctor’s appointments.  And to be sincerely happy when Rani gets another contract and her career slowly starts.  He takes a job working for another company so he can have regular hours and be less obsessed with work.  Finally, the baby comes the same day he is offered a partnership in his company and Rani turns down another contract, because money isn’t everything and she wants to enjoy her time with her baby.

 

8. Main Hoon Na-The New Family forms

This is a quick one.  Everyone is all happy and loving at the end of the film.  Brothers Zayed Khan and Shahrukh are reunited.  Kirron Kher has finally embraced Shahrukh as her “second son”.  And Amrita Rao and Sushmita Sen are there too.  But, what happens afterwards exactly?

Shahrukh is an army man, he isn’t going to settle down and move in with Kirron and Zayed.  So I think he will go back to the army, but stay in touch by phone and letter and encourage Zayed to finally graduate and to treat Amrita well.  But also not to get too serious with her, to keep her as his “friend” first and “girlfriend” second, at least for now. And Kirron will worry over him and send him care packages.  And Sushmita will send him steamy love letters and he will fantasize about her.

(Picture this, but he is in an army camp when he suddenly imagines the tropics and all after receiving her letter)

But finally he will get his annual leave and come back to see Zayed and Amrita’s graduation ceremony.  Zayed will want to ask his advice afterwards, saying he wants to give Amrita a promise ring.  Not an engagement, but a promise that they will think about being engaged in a few years, while she goes off to further studies and he gets a job.  Shahrukh gives his blessing.  And Zayed gives his own advice, saying that Sushmita Ma’am isn’t the type to wait around forever.  So Shahrukh surprises her late that night and proposes.  She babbles on, giving all kinds of objections, but he just keeps proposing until she finally agrees.  Kirron Kher is told the next day, Shahrukh is terrified she won’t approve, but instead she just asks what took him so long.  Zayed goes off for his exciting traveling job, Kirron and Sushmita are set up in a shared household with Shahrukh’s army pay, Sushmita keeps working and Kirron sends her off with a packed lunch every day and washes her fancy lingerie without any eyerolls.  5 years later, Zayed and Amrita finally get engaged-engaged for real, and at their engagement party, Sush tells Shahrukh that she is finally pregnant.

 

9. Kabhi Alveda Na Kehna-New Kind of combined Family

There aren’t many open questions left by this ending.  Abhishek is getting remarried to a woman who loves him in all ways.  Preity and Arjun are taking it slow by moving towards a romance.  And Shahrukh has proposed to Rani.

Let’s just play this out a few years down the line.  I think Rani and Shahrukh will probably stay in Philadelphia.  Good for her to start fresh somewhere else.  I think there will be an adjustment period as they get used to feeling happy and loved.  And Preity and Shahrukh will both be very cautious about introducing Rani into the life of their son.

But, I think a few years down the line, when they have a routine in place and everything has settled, maybe around the time that Preity and Arjun finally get married (Preity!  You’ve got to LOCK THAT DOWN!!!), Rani will realize that even with a life that is happy in every way, she still finds herself craving motherhood.  After a lot of discussion, they will decide to try as foster parents.  Shahrukh will be initially reluctant, but as they jump through the hoops and get closer to having a child, he will become more and more committed.  Finally, they will get a difficult child, let’s say a boy and girl sibling who were with their grandmother until she died and now have been bounced around group homes for a few months.  Rani will try to be warm and wonderful and supportive, but Shahrukh will be the one who really breaks through, especially to the boy who is all tough and angry just like him.  After a lot of struggle and anger and tears, they will finally ask they kids if they are willing to be adopted, and become their children “for real”.  And it will end happily, Preity is pregnant again, Shahrukh’s son with her is about to start high school and talks to his Dad on the phone every night, and at Thanksgiving they all get together for a big meal Kirron Kher cooks, Preity and Arjun and Preity and Shahrukh’s son, Rani and Shahrukh, and their two kids.

 

10. Don-Where did Don come from?

In my songs post, there was a wonderful lengthy discussion of the “Aaj Ki Raat” song and how it expressed the power shifts in the room.  That’s one of the things I find fascinating about Don, how we can fill in all this motivation and backstory for our lead character based on what is happening in the background.  Because that’s the real story, what he wants and plans, even though we don’t see it until the end.  But when I put together the clues, and some imagination, this is what I get.

(The way Shahrukh tries to greet Singhania as an equal, standing at the top of the steps, and Singhania immediately cuts him down to size with a hair ruffle, that tells a whole story)

Shahrukh was a small time criminal.  I could even believe call boy.  A pickpocket, a con artist, young and living by his wits.  He was “adopted” by Singhania.  But it was a poisoned adoption.  Singhania used him, abused him. Shahrukh put up with it and hid his anger.  But it has been growing for the past few years, especially as he sees that he is more and more running the entire criminal empire while Singhania does nothing.  He started plotting years ago, looking for an opening.  One of the first things we see is how firm he is that his gang must remain totally loyal to him, no one else.  He is building up a power base without Singhania realizing it.  And he is looking for and ready for his opening to do more.

Boman hands him that opening.  While Boman thinks he is coordinating a take down and a take over of his arch-rival, he doesn’t even see the greater danger.  Remember that Shahrukh only started working for Singhania after Boman had gone underground.  Boman doesn’t realize just how vicious he is, and how clever.  And so Shahrukh uses that, first thinking he is truly a noble cop, then later figuring out his real identity and just shifting his plans slightly.

So Shahrukh takes on another identity, ready to use police help to take out Singhania, and then shed that identity and be reborn as himself again.  Priyanka shows up, he sees her as a new employee who is less likely to realize his charade and keeps her close.  He comes to care for her like you would care for a kitten, cute and sweet and amusing.  But his main goal remains the same.  To take out Singhania and take over.  Only, then Boman dies.  And he has new problems and has to scramble to escape from “Vijay”s issues.  He has to take Boman out too, because if he doesn’t, that will be another threat for control of his gang.  Until finally at the end he has reached where he wanted to be, free of all he can oppress or control him, thanks to playing the sides against each other in the way only an underling who is overlooked by everyone else (first as Don, Singhania’s chamcha, then as Vijay, Boman’s tool) can control things.

 

11.  Chak De India-What did Kabir Khan do for 10 years?

We see him thrown out of his home, hated by the country.  And then we see him waiting to be given the position of coach for the female team.  But what happened in between?

As I see it, he took his mother away to somewhere that they wouldn’t be known.  Perhaps to relatives farther away.  He never really let go, because it wasn’t in his nature, but he sank into a controlled depression, watching old matches on the TV over and over again.  Occasionally he would try to get some kind of a job, just to get out of the house.  But it never lasted.  He feels like he is the worst off person in the world.

Until one day he is sitting in the park and he overhears two girls in school uniforms talking about their struggles to play hockey.  They love it, but their father’s want them to study, their mother’s want them to stay out of the sun, they have to give it up.  And Shahrukh wakes up to the fact that everything he is suffering from now, there are people who go through the same and worse.  He goes home and starts obsessively researching the woman’s Hockey league, tracking players and statistics and game play.  Until he finally gets that interview and tells them the truth when he says he has been preparing for this job for years.

 

12.  Om Shanti Om-Do Sandy and Om Get Together?

This is a very difficult question!  I am going to say “yes”.  But not for a long long long long time.  Because Om has a lot of work to do on himself, and Sandy needs to learn to see him as a real person, not just the star she worships.

I think the ending moment, not just the kiss on the forehead but the fear he felt when he thought she was in danger, that kind of woke him up that he cared about her as more than just a tool in his revenge.  But that’s just the beginning of things.

(He is so revenge focused here, but as soon as he realizes Arjun has figured things out and Sandy is in danger, he switches to being protection focused)

I think he will probably retreat to think about himself and what he wants after all of this.  Build a new better relationship with his parents, go on an apology tour to everyone he has abused, think about what he wants out of his career, start a charitable organization, etc. etc.

But I bet Kirron Kher will stay in touch with Sandy, just in case.  And several months later, she will arrange for Sandy to be there when Shahrukh visits her and bully them into having lunch together.  And, slowly, they will build a real normal relationship.  Until finally he proposes, and Sandy loves him enough to say “no, not unless you are sure you love me for me, not just for my face”.  And after Shahrukh has a long night of the soul, he is finally able to go to her and truly list off all the reasons he loves her for who she is.

 

13. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi-Where did Suri come from and where is he going?

We meet Suri when he is already 40 or close to it.  He has an empty house, one good friend, a responsible job, and nothing else in his life.  Oh, and a teacher from college who loved him.  So, I am going with only child of elderly parents.  So loved and happy at home in his childhood that he never really learned how to get out of his shell outside the home.  Same in college, so happy with his classes and his professors, he never really bothered to make other friends.  Bobby was the boy down the block who was his first and last friend as a child, let’s say he was the youngest boy in a family of girls.  As the years went by, Bobby’s sisters married and left home and he stayed around.  Shahrukh moved back home after college and got a good job, cared for his parents as they fell ill and died, and his life never really changed.  Still lived in the family home, occasionally would go to a wedding or other event for distant relatives, but the only person really “in” his life was Bobby.

Then the whole movie happens.  And after the movie, there aren’t a lot of loose ends.  Anushka will have a baby, Shahrukh will be a very nervous but sweet father.  I am still a little worried about Bobby, but let’s say eventually Anushka insists that he move in to the house with them and becomes a loving uncle to their babies.

 

 

Okay, that’s a lot!  I’m gonna take a break so we can all easily discuss these, if you agree or disagree with what I said, if you have your own ideas, and so on and so on.  And then I will be back later today with another 12 ideas.

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10 thoughts on “Silly Sunday Post: Happy 25 Days to SRK’s Birthday! 25 Characters in Need of More Story

  1. “Shahrukh’s son with her is about to start high school and talks to his Dad on the phone every night”
    Do you really think that Shahrukh’s son in KANK will ever have a good relationship with his dad. He refused to see him at the end of the movie when Shahrukh was moving to Toronto. Plus I feel like if their relationship does improve, it would be when the son is older not when he’s only in high school.

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    • I’m hopeful! Let’s give it 4 years. 4 years of Shahrukh being a patient constant presence. I imagine once Rani is in his life, he feels more centered. And she can keep him on track, tell him to be patient and regular and give it time instead of expecting an overnight change. Plus, his other much more difficult children will help him understand his son.

      On Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 11:15 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. A random collection of thoughts about Don’s backstory …

    Two sets of dialogue from the standard trailer of Don 2 are instructive on Don’s background (which I link below):

    First, a boring bit – the way I use English alphabets, below in a translation of parts of this trailer, is not based on any of the conventional standards; also my translation is more literal than the figurative emphasis used by the “official” trailer:

    Now the start of the fun bits –

    Set 1 (in the police interrogation room):
    Don: Agar aapko saaree information, saboot samayhat, chaaheeyay mayray khilaaf saaray “chaarjjis” waapis lay leejiyay
    Don: [If you want all the information, along with proof, please withdraw the “criminal charges” against me]

    Malik: Tumhaaree taalaash to duneeyaa kee saaree pulis departments ko hai
    Malik: [All the police departments in the world are searching for you]

    Don: Aaj yayh sunkay meree maa kitnee khush hotee
    Don: [My mother would be so happy today to hear this]

    Malik: Apnay haatthon say hee tumhay golee maar daytee
    Malik: [She would have used a gun, with her own hands, to kill you]

    Don: Mister Malik, aap mayree maa ko naheen jaante tthay
    Don: [Mister Malik, you did not know my mother]

    Set 2 (in the sports stadium):
    Man in the hat: I am just a big fan, sir
    Man in the hat: {no translation really required: I am just a big fan, sir}

    Don: Sir? Sir bahut shareef saa lagtaa hai.
    Don: [Sir? Sir feels too noble]; Don, importantly for the purposes of this discussion, follows this up in English by instructing the man in the hat to, “Call me Don” [English is the typical language of authority in Hindi films, since it is the official administrative language of that nation’s central government]

    Set 1 indicates that either:

    (a) Don’s mother reared him in an abusive fashion, eventually making him a misanthrope to a growing degree (that he perfected via his subsequent experiences with Singhania and Vardhaan), which could be why he thought that hanging around the likes of a criminal like Singhania was a more pleasant environment than his domestic situation as a child, or

    (b) Don was saying something outrageous about his own mother to test Malik, via noting Malik’s subsequent reaction, where Malik stood on the limits of free speech in a civilized society, hoping that the resultant information is useful; notice he does not call Malik by his professional title of Inspector, he uses the usual “Mister” and that Malik is not wearing a police uniform (neither is Roma, who is witnessing this conversation, although she is wearing a gun-holster). This is not a conversation between a policeman and an alleged criminal. This is a very polite conversation between someone and someone in the presence of someone else, i.e., a social conversation. Worldviews are being consciously and subconsciously exchanged or discovered.

    Considering the facial information when Don articulated his ‘mother’ sentence in Set 1, the first one is more likely, although both can be true because we know after watching the Don remake that Don can act because he took on a Vijay persona previously and did not fail in that acting performance.

    Set 2 indicates that Don not only has a problem with authority (an instance of the director making it obvious), but also is comfortable with it (considering the way Don says it), which suggest that either:

    (x) his mother’s abuse was the reason why he had a problem with authority nurturing him into a misanthrope as noted in observation “(a)” above, or

    (y) his political philosophy includes the advocacy of classical anarchy (the theme of the sequel, to the extent that the sequel has a ‘theme’, instead of being a straight-up heist movie)

    Both (x) and (y) can be true, in addition to (a) and (b).

    So I get random thoughts …

    (m) Cloistered, single-mother household, if Singhania is the eventual father-figure? Don grew up too fast and too quickly but not completely, because he was still behaving in an immature fashion in Aaj Ki Raat? He wants to be called Don, clearly slang for a father-figure. (based on the existence of The Godfather in popular film-lore). Notice how self-reliant he is? How many people did he tell about him acting out the Vijay role? Is Don trying to be his own father-figure, if he is of the opinion that both the XX and XY chromosomes he’d encountered while growing up were not to his satisfaction? He does want the man in the hat to call him Don. Also, the thematic lyric across both soundtracks is “Men hoon kaun? Men hoon Don!” [Who am I? I am Don!]. {Think of this, in reference to U.S. popular culture, as similar to “Who’s your Daddy? I’m your Daddy!,” which was used to escalate the drama when Ms. A Jolie’s character asks Mr. B. Pitt’s character in Mr. & Mrs. Smith after kicking is butt in a fight, “Who’s your Daddy, now?”}

    (n) Privately-schooled, given his accent when he speaks English in these two movies conforms to the way some Indians are schooled (Mr. S.R. Khan character speaks in English in this film the way the actor speaks English in real life)? Don did not grow in poverty, the typical petri-dish/school of hard knocks where smuggling-obsessed criminals, like the original Don, are raised in, given his accent.

    If (m) and (n) are combined, is it possible that Don was a bastard child with a Roman Catholic mother? Was she shamed into hiding and taking out her societally-sanctioned punishment on her child, while her child is educated in a Catholic school – an institution that the mother was familiar with – that Don hates? The word “Don” is of Italian origin in popular crime movie culture, I recall.

    (o) Don is a fan of Hindi movies, given how he uses a combination of Hindi, Urdu and English when he speaks to Malik and the man in the hat (‘Hindi’ films can use all three languages in the same sentence of dialogue, and have been doing so for decades, if needed for dialogue expediency, which has reinforced speaking in that manner for fans of Hindi movies that grew up in India; it is obvious to me that people such as a young Don had enough economic wherewithal to watch films, which adds to the belief that Don lived for some time as a child in a private school world; the rest on the dockyards of his hometown, a port town, where he met Singhania. It reminds me of Mr. A. Bachchan’s role in Deewar, another port town smuggling story which was probably the motivation for Mr. C. Barot creating the original Don film; this is somewhat conformed from a news article in The Hindu (caution: it is a minor digression from the Don world:

    http://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/my-first-break-chandra-barot/article3631520.ece

    Deewar fans also spawned the two-set Once Upon A Time In Mumbai … which shows children growing up in a Indian port town full of smugglers… maybe Don’s backstory, after he left his catholic schooling behind, was spelt out in those films by Mr. M. Luthria (single-mother household, worth-a-watch crime/noir films made by his father Mr. R. Khosla).

    The Roman Catholic faith does have a noticeable presence in the port towns (the main smuggling towns) of India, via the “convent school” model. His mother, however, did give him money or did not stop from giving him permission to watch Hindi films.

    Maybe there was not enough backstory because Mr. F. Akhtar, the only writer on both scripts, grew up in a port town and did not think it was worth commenting on the personas of such “townies” because it is the boring usual type of person (i.;e., drama free, so won’t sell tickets) that is the norm for people on his view of earthlings.

    Then I get even more tangential thoughts, related to whether this two-film set is talking about the limits to which human beings decide to curb their natural instincts in order to live together in a civilized fashion, i.e., a political debate:

    The left-of-center argument of handing over more authority to a centralized bureaucracy (Inspector Malik did let Don know that it is now an era where police forces coordinate globally to stop violent misanthropes like Don) … vs. …

    The right-of-center argument of emphasizing family, local church/temple/mosque/synagogue, local club in the community, local government to prevent the creation of misanthropes by socially helping or shaming, for instance, Don’s caregivers when he was a child, via a more immediate and proximate presence.

    Don’s political preference for testing free speech and advocating anarchy (by stealing the currency plates of a government authority in the sequel) is clearly anti-left. He also “loves the things that shine”, to quote a line from an old, old Bruce Hornsby and the Range song, so he thinks material wealth accumulation is worthwhile on its own merit, another anti-left sentiment. The left is proud to defecate on materialism (in case someone has not been paying attention to political debates since the French Revolution), so the contrast of his political preferences is there to typically lefty positions.

    By contrast, the most morally sound personality in this Don world is, possibly, Roma who thinks it’s a good thing for police forces in different countries to work with each other, i.e., greater centralization of power, which is clearly pro-left; her getting assigned to work with Interpol is commendable in her worldview.

    So I’m not really sure whether Don was just a great character in a great set of stories of Mr. F. Akhtar (the only person involved in writing both pieces) or whether Mr. Akhtar just needed a legendary icon (Don) and an undisputed moviestar (Mr. S. R. Khan), in order to recoup the money he needed to spend to make these movies, in spinning a two-part story about a centuries old political debate, where the interesting bits of characters’s backstories were not really relevant.

    Also, thank you for your work.

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    • Thank you for your comments! One thing that comes to mind, both from the real stories of Hajji Mastan and others and from Deewar and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai and other “rise of the criminal” films, is that it is a standard part of the story that they started as children. We just sort of accept that without thinking, that the top criminal will be begun young, possibly as a reaction to not having a father figure, or any parents at all. So with Don, as you say, it goes without saying in the script that he would be another lifelong criminal who started small as a child. If nothing else, to have risen so high in the gang at a comparitively young age would indicate that he began as a child.

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      • Now I’m picturing a daiper-clad baby-Don, in a Disney-produced feature-length cartoon, pull out his pacifier with his left hand with a ‘pop’ sound while brandishing a rattler (not the snake kind) in his right hand as the opening sequence of the Don: Origin prequel. This is the point in his life where he utters his first words, “Don ko pakadnaa mushkil hee naheen, naamumkin hai”/[Catching Don is not only difficult, it’s impossible] in a manic high-energy chortle (the one that is now a S.R.K. hallmark), before crawling at top-scramble-speed under the nearest table to avoid a spanking.

        All this because because he conked the head of the visiting girl-next-door, baby-Roma, on their first play-date with his rattler, because she pounced on him and went “meow” (her voice is still too squeeeeeeky to roar) to show how Shere Khan attacked Mowgli in The Jungle Book cartoon (a subtle self-product-placement by that corporate entity), the best thing that she had experienced ever (her parents had recently shown her that cartoon, in a flashback). While baby-Don is muttering to himself under the table, that “life better be better than this, or else” in his existential angst moment, he vaguely hears baby-Roma in the background primly stating, “I did nuthin’. I was being a cutesy ‘jungle billi’ (‘wildcat’), which is age-appropriate, not a vicious violent tiger, which I know is a no-no on play-dates.” Somehow, the ‘jungli-billi’ phrase gets stuck in baby-Don’s baby-brain.

        The parental authorities quickly concluded that permanently separating these two from geographic proximity would be a good thing and executed that consensus policy, little knowing that supernatural force known as Hindi movies will conspire to bring them back in each other’s vicinity, eventually.

        Regards.

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  3. I loved the Mohabbatein one, and I don’t even like that movie! Chak de, KANK, and Main Hoon Na as well. But thank you for Chalte Chalte! While it is one of my all time fave movies, I always feel a bit guilty being glad that Priya came back. But I love the idea that a condition of her staying is that they get couple’s counseling. I can even believe Anna Maasi becoming more of a force for good in their lives, if she gets over her classism and Raj gets over his insecurity/false pride. 🙂

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    • Yes! I am much happier with that ending if I think of it as the beginning of really working on their marriage, instead of just the end of all their problems. The kind of moment of clarity when they decide this marriage is worth fighting for, but then know they still need to actually put in the time to fight for it.

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