As you know, if you’ve been following along, I just got a new kitchen cart! And then reorganized my kitchen to take advantage of it. And then cooked chicken, soup, and a pie. So I am very kitchen focused right now.
I don’t want cooking stories, not like food and chef type stuff. I want warm cozy kitchen stories about people eating and making food in their homes and everything around it.
Unemployed Engineer Hired as Cook
Great role for one of the younger crowd, Varun or Ranveer or even someone like Rajkummar or Ayushmann. We start with a happy graduation scene, followed by song. Our hero is thrilled to have finished his degree, and goes out with his friends all happy about conquering the world. Followed by reality, a montage of a series of interviews and rejections, there aren’t any jobs. Finally, the same day he comes home to find his possessions thrown out on the street by his landlord for unpayment of rent, and a letter from his parents about the expenses of his sister’s education (I know marriage is more realistic, but I like putting messages in my fake films, so sue me!). He has one more chance, his favorite professor has arranged for him to meet with another former student who might need an engineer, but he is leaving town today, so he has to go to his house and catch him there. Our hero rushes over, can’t get in through the front gate so goes around the back. He is in his casual clothes because he didn’t have time to change, he falls in the dirt and gets dusty, and then he runs into an eccentric older man (Nawazzudin Shah? Anupam Kher?), he greets him happily and declares he has been desperate to get the positioned filled, glad to have him onboard! And, of course, it turns out he has been hired as a cook because he went to the wrong address.
(Yes yes, Bawarchi, but wait! It’s different!)
Of course he is desperate to keep the job, at least long enough to get some money for his parents and get back on his feet. Especially since it is a live in job. The family is humorously difficult, eccentric father, adorable naughty small child, complaining grandfather (Rishi Kapoor), even more eccentric artistic mother (Ratna Pathak), and wild teenage boys who keep coming in and eating everything in the kitchen and demanding more.
Now, the most obvious solution would be for him to fall in love with the daughter of the house, learn about her through his position as servant, meet her outside the house in a different persona, and so on and so on. But we’ve all seen that movie before! I want a different movie.
What I want to happen is that the female cook at the house next door starts helping him out and they have a little romance. At first she has a crush on him and he kind of know sit, but keeps his distance, and just uses her for cooking tips. But slowly he starts to see the true beauty of her personality, her generosity of spirit, her intelligence, and begins to fall in love, spinning an ever more elaborate backstory for his fake cook character when he is with her. At the same time, a casual remark she made starts him thinking about a new kitchen device he could build. He shows her what he is working on, and she gives suggestions for little additions and improvements. He builds a model and takes it to his old professor and finally gets to meet the man who was going to hire him in the first place, the eccentric engineer entrepreneur type, who thinks it is a brilliant idea but insists that he go into the lab immediately and start working around the clock to get a workable prototype made and ready. Which means he has to leave his cook job with no warning, and only a pretty picture left behind for the maid next door (she is illiterate) to indicate his feelings. Until weeks later a messenger hand delivers to her a flyer, advertising their invention, with a big headline describing it as “Created by [Hero’s Name] and [Heroine’s Name]”. And just as she is enjoying this, she hears his familiar signal from next door, and runs over to see him waiting for her, they embrace as his employer and his kooky family all watch and applaud.
Hero: Dhanush? Ranveer? Ranbir? Varun? I want someone who can do comic tricks on the family, and a sweet romance.
Heroine: Alia? Kalki? I want someone who is a skinny little person with bright eyes that you only slowly see is pretty and smart and everything else. You know, Kareena 10 years ago might have been perfect!
Falling in Love Over Kitchen Renovations
Brace yourself, I’m doing it, a woman who ACTUALLY LEAVES HER HUSBAND FOR HER LOVER AND IS HAPPY!!!!! A wife and mother whose live revolves around the kitchen. She gets up, makes chai and breakfast for everyone, then spends all day working on elaborate dinners tailored to everyone’s specific demands. Her husband is not unkind, he just doesn’t seem to much care for her. He was an older widower who needed someone to run his household, help take care of his parents and his children from his first wife. He is very respectful of what she has accomplished and gives her free reign in her own domain. And so when the kitchen ceiling suddenly falls in, he tells her to hire whoever she likes to fix it up however she likes. Oh, and all of this has to happen in America, where this kind of work would involve a contractor and possibly an architect, so an educated person.
(Happy without the punishment of two miserable years of sad carrots and impractically precise pillow placement first)
Our heroine is not an educated person, doesn’t speak fluent English even after years in America. Oh, and our heroine is Tabu. So, Tabu is looking for a contractor and is confused by all the fast talking American guys who show up. And immediately responds when Shahrukh appears and offers to talk in Hindi if she prefers. Shahrukh is quiet and slow and serious, like she is. She enjoys the way he explains his plans, and shows her blueprints, and takes her requests seriously. Over long days together while her husband is at work, her stepchildren are at school, and her inlaws are staying with another one of their children because they didn’t like all the noise and confusion, Tabu and Shahrukh get closer and closer. He learns about her life, a good student through 12th grade but never good in English, missed her chance for marriage as she had to stay home and take care of her much younger brothers, and then offered this marriage with a wealthy older man who lived in America, her family rushed her into it, only for her to discover that her husband wanted a housekeeper and babysitter, not a real wife. He tells his story, he came to America to study architecture but was always more interested in the hands on part of it and ended up being a contractor. He also fell in love with and married a white woman, who died suddenly a few years back and he’s just been drifting since then.
Finally, he shows her something he built just for her, a cleverly constructed vent that lets him put a window over the stove so she can look out through the window while she is cooking. And she is so overcome that, as he is looking at it and pointing out how he built it and the features he added for her and so on, she suddenly grabs him and kisses him.
(We know she’s willing to do a hot scene with Prakash Raj in a similar emotionally deep way, why not again with a more attractive actor?)
Their long afternoons together become kissing and sex and love. Until she is suddenly brought to reality one day when they are laying in bed together postcoital and Shahrukh calmly asks her “when will you leave him and come to me?” Tabu hesitates, asks for time, Shahrukh gives her time, but finally tells her that he loves her and he wants to live with the woman he loves, not this halflife. And one day Tabu comes down to her kitchen to find it is finished, and there is a note from him saying he will be waiting.
Tabu starts to see her life in a new light. Her stepchildren barely seem to notice her and treat her as a servant. Her husband is kind but not loving, he’s never actually touched her in a romantic way, or even seemed to enjoy talking to her. Her inlaws treat her as worse than a servant. She had always thought this was a good life, her husband wasn’t cruel to her, no one was actually cruel, she had freedom and could live in America, plenty of people would have been jealous of what she had. But now she is beginning to realize that no one in her life truly sees her for who she is, let alone cares about her.
Until finally one day she looks out the window in her kitchen and gets a vision of sunlight and freedom, and we cut to Shahrukh working at another construction site, giving instructions to various people. And then turning to see Tabu standing there with a suitcase and he smiles and walks over to her and she smiles back and they kiss. Happy Ending!
Hero-Heroine: Tabu-Shahrukh? Parvathy-Prithviraj? Anushka-Shahrukh? Rani-Aamir? Someone Else-Someone Else?
Female Intergenerational Bonding in the Kitchen
Have to do a women focused plot, that’s the best part about kitchens, crowding in to them with all the women in your family. So, I know it’s obvious, but I want to do a career woman-homemaker-young girl plot. But maybe shake up the generations a bit. Oo oo! I have it! Former movie star! She left her husband and raised her daughters alone, in between running off to movie sets. Her oldest daughter married and moved to America and ran her household. And now her granddaughter is a college student. Oh heck, let’s just cast Tanuja and Kajol. And Nyssa for the daughter if she’s old enough.
(Don’t you want to see them onscreen together? I want to see them onscreen together!)
The 3 generations come together when the daughter’s husband suddenly dies. Let’s say, just to feel it, we get a good 15-20 minutes intro of seeing them all in their normal interactions. Oh! A meta thing! We start with Tanuja being the perfect loving mother in a kitchen, and then the director calls “cut!” And she returns to her real self, elegant and glamorous and sitting there flipping through gossip websites on her tablet and talking to her secretary about scheduling her public appearances. And then we cut to a real household, not the perfect one in a film, where frazzled Kajol is trying to deal with a broken refrigerator while her husband (Ajay, obviously) is distracting her and her daughter is calling in on Skype from college. We keep going back and forth, Tanuja preparing for a charity award, Kajol picking her daughter up at the airport and bringing her home, Tanuja giving a speech at the children’s charity about how it is so important to her as a mother herself, at the same time Kajol is laughing over dinner with her daughter and Ajay about “Grandma” who wasn’t a usual mother, coming to kiss them in bed wearing so much make-up they couldn’t even recognize her, showing up at their boarding school and whisking them off to fabulous vacations with no notice. Kajol’s daughter sighs about how she wishes she could have skipped weeks of school to go on a film shoot in Switzerland, and Kajol turns serious and sad looking and says “I think I would have rather had a mother to come home to every night.” Kajol’s daughter (because she is sweet), says “me too.” That night, Ajay talks with Kajol, reminds her that her mother had no choice and did the best she could, and suggests they invite her for a visit again, Kajol doesn’t realize how lucky she is to have a mother, Ajay has a dream sometimes of coming down to the kitchen and seeing all three of them working together. Kajol agrees to consider inviting her mother, maybe over the summer when their daughter is home from school. And then Ajay gives her flirty eyes, and there is a love song. That fades into Ajay smiling and walking down the street and suddenly clutching his chest, and then Kajol in the hospital holding her daughter’s hand, and finally Tanuja getting a call on yet another film set and walking off without even looking back at the director.
Tanuja arrives and Kajol tries sort of helplessly to host her, apologizing for not having her room ready, or any of her special foods, and Tanuja keeps saying its all fine. That night, Tanuja gets up and hears crying down the hall, sees Kajol alone crying in her bed, and her granddaughter crying in hers, and goes in to comfort the granddaughter.
(Or maybe Hema Malini for the mother? Anyway, I want Kajol to be broken like Rani is in this scene)
Tanuja and granddaughter bond, Tanuja teaches her how to have fun, tells her stories of her glamorous youth, even gives her a make-over to 60s style make-up and they have a cute remix song together, which makes Kajol half-smile, but then she wanders out again. So Tanuja and granddaughter start scheming together, trying to think of something that will make Kajol talk to them, and they decide to ask her to teach them to cook.
Kajol doesn’t believe at first, but they are both so sincere about it, and make their own attempts and failures in the kitchen, that eventually she agrees and starts cooking lessons. The 3 women cook and finally Tanuja, remembering a casual comment Kajol made early on about how “every mother knows how to make her child’s favorite food”, makes her her favorite and feeds it to her and finally Kajol is able to break down and be comforted in her grief.
Oh, and then I guess it has to get happy again. Hmmm. Oh heck, catering business for Kajol’s daughter’s college! That seems simple enough. The daughter brings food to school, all her friends grab it and ask for more, she starts selling boxes, Tanuja helps with the organizing and business of it all, and also drives a hard bargain with the school and the buy-in-bulk suppliers, Kajol resists the idea but they drag her in on it and she starts to get excited when she realizes they can make real money, that her work has value, that people love her food. And finally the happy ending is Tanuja, after a fake-out, choosing to turn down a wonderful part in a movie in order to stay in New Jersey with her daughter and granddaughter, and then the next day as they work together in the kitchen, Kajol looking up and suddenly remembering Ajay’s dream and smiling because they are all together, all 3 generations, just like he wanted.
Grandmother/Mother/granddaughter: Tanuja/Kajol/Nyssa, Sharmila/Soha/Sara, Dimple/Twinkle/???, ???/Sridevi/Jhanvi, Jaya/Rani/Alia?
Dead Husband: Ajay? Shahrukh? Akshay? Abhishek?
Is the first one about the cook/engineer more of a Hindi movie, or more kind of Tamil/Malayalam?
Is the second movie realistic or do we need to wait another 20 years for a wife to say “Why should I stay with a man I don’t love just because of a promise I was forced into? Why can’t I just go off with the hot guy who loves me?”
Is the third movie too sad?
And, as always, which of these would you make (if you could only make one)?