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.
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.