Happy New Year’s Eve!!!! Obviously, I have to do a theme post. I considered stories that revolved around New Years celebrations, but then I wasn’t sure what that would look like in India, so instead I am going with my sister’s suggestion and doing New Year’s combined with time travel.
Shahid Kapoor Travels Back to 1948
This has two inspirations. First, Shahid looks really great in period clothing. And second, I want to do some cheeky in joke stuff about film history and the Golden Age.
(See? He looks good!)
In 2017, Shahid Kapoor is a spoiled actor with a girlfriend he doesn’t appreciate (Vaani Kapoor, they will costar after all if only in my dreams!). They have a fight on New Years, he storms out of the fancy party they are at, and gets lost on the grounds of the old studio where it is being held. He is struck by lightening as the clock strikes midnight, and wakes up to find people bustling all around him, dressed in clothes from the 1940s. At first he thinks it is a period film being shot, he goes around yelling at people to pay attention to him, he is a big star, etc. etc. Finally, a very dignified older woman Juhi Chawla) comes over, he is all “who are you? Are you a secretary? Send for my car?”, everyone else is horrified, she just laughs and gently explains that she runs this studio and she understands he had an accident on their grounds and has woken up confused. She is going to send him to her home to recover since it is, in a way, their responsibility.
Slowly through many misunderstandings Shahid comes to realize that it is 1948, not 2018. And that Juhi Chawla is Fictionalized Devika Rani, who he learned about him film school (back before he got stupid and superstar, when he was at IIFT). Before that though, he keeps trying to escape from her house and meets her cute daughter, Aditi Rao Hydari (she looked so good at Anushka’s wedding, I just want her to be in things). Aditi is trying to sneak in while he is trying to sneak out. She lies for him that he must have gotten confused and wandered from bed, and he lies for her that she was helping him back to bed. And then she sneaks into his room that night to thank him and explain. She wants to be an actress, but her mother wants her to go away and study in Europe and be a doctor or a lawyer or something “respectable”. She has been sneaking out to go to other studios and ask for work, but no one will hire her because they are all afraid of her mother.
(She looks good in traditional, so it’s a good fit)
Shahid slowly gets more and more drawn into the life of the household. He helps Aditi by giving her acting lessons and make-up and everything else. Eventually he helps her break into the studio and shoot a screen test, but more of a test reel like in modern times, with every emotion shown and so on. Back at home, he starts working as the cook’s assistant, and stumbles in to various narration meetings and song sittings and stuff when he is sent to bring in snacks. He gives good advice and, in a humorous sequence, also drops in little bits of film plots and songs that he knows from “the future” which make him look like a genius because they are so original and good. Juhi is fair minded and acknowledges his contributions and offers him a job as her official assistant. He agrees, and says that his first recommendation is that she hire a new face for her next movie, he has a screen test for her to look at, but she has to promise to watch all the way through. And of course, it is Aditi, and after first angrily threatening to walk out, Juhi keeps her word and watches all the way through and ends up in tears at how good she is and agrees to launch her. But also wants Shahid to direct, since he did such an amazing job shooting the screen test.
Everything seems great, Shahid and Aditi start to fall in love as they shoot the movie, and Shahid has turned into a dedicated fulfilled artist instead of the shallow star he was in the present, the more open experimental attitude of the early era of film has let him blossom, but then he goes to sleep the night after his first shy kiss with Aditi, and dreams of Vaani! INTERVAL
We come back in the present. Vaani is desperately begging a police officer to keep looking. The police don’t care, they assume it is just some movie star whim, but Vaani is sure something must have happened for Shahid to have disappeared for two months, since New Years. Vaani goes home where her supportive friend Ranveer tries to cheer her up. We met Ranveer way at the opening, he was introduced as her friend from IIM who is an advertising executive, Shahid was all rude and dismissive of him for being such a boring office worker, Vaani defended him, Ranveer looked awkward and clearly unhappy with how terribly Shahid was treating Vaani. But now he is being all sweet and supportive and kind, and acknowledging that he didn’t much like Shahid, but he believes Vaani when she says something must have happened to him.
(Cute together! He can make her happy)
Back in the past, Shahid is wracked with guilt. Not just for forgetting Vaani now, but for how he suddenly realizes how terrible he treated her all along. He talks to Aditi, who is all fluttery and happy after their first kiss, and breaks her heart. Tells her that he has suddenly remembered a commitment to a woman back “where he came from” and he can’t be unfaithful to her, even if he never sees her again. Which Aditi translates to a wife back in his home village and is heartbroken. So she agrees when Juhi asks her to start meeting grooms, husbands who will support her acting career and protect her from the dangers of fame. She agrees to a marriage to an older star, Akshay Khanna (I think he would look great in period clothes too), and sadly hands the invitation card to Shahid. Sad song, Shahid and she keep making their movie and their eyes are meeting and they are both heartbroken. And at the end of the song, Juhi comes to visit the set and sees what is happening and pulls Shahid aside. She asks how long this has been going on, he is all “what? Nothing! I don’t even like her! Girls are stupid!” but Juhi gets through that and finally he admits that he fell in love without realizing it, and he had no right to do that, there is another woman who loves him and he owes her his faithfulness. But Juhi gives him some straight talk, tells him that if she really loves him, all he owes her is his own happiness. And Juhi knows her own daughter, and can tell that she is in love, real love, right now. He can’t break two hearts to save one. And who knows, maybe setting her free will let this other woman find someone who can truly love her. And Shahid looks thoughtful.
Cut to the present day. Vaani is explaining to Ranveer that she and Shahid always went to the old film showings together at the IIFT archives, it was how they met. It’s clearly not Ranveer’s thing, but he is pleasant and interested and asks about the film they are going to watch. Vaani pulls out the flyer and tells him it’s an old romance, a first film from this classic director. It’s interesting because he married the heroine shortly after filming completed, and some say that you can see him falling in love with her through the camera. It’s also the only time he appeared on camera, right at the end he plays the tax driver who takes the young couple to the train station. They file in, and we see bits of the film (obviously, Shahid and Aditi’s film from the past) mixed with Vaani and Ranveer’s reaction shots. During the comedy, they laugh together. During the love songs, their eyes meet, and then they look away, clearly feeling something. And then at the end of the film, Aditi and Akshaye (the hero) get in the taxi and the driver turns around to ask them “where to?” and it’s Shahid! Vaani gasps and grabs Ranveer’s arm, and then as Shahid smiles out of the screen at her, the final song of the film starts, all about “find someone worthy of your love, don’t let your heart die, life goes on” Ranveer is all “what’s wrong? What’s happening?” and Vaani just sort of stares in shock for a minute, and then suddenly turns to him and grabs him and kisses him. As behind her onscreen Akshaye and Aditi kiss and it slowly fades into a black and white silhouette with the words “THE END”.
Hero: Shahid? Or Imraan? Or Ranbir? Or Ranveer? Really it would be fun to see any of the young batch attack it.
Present Day Girlfriend: Vaani? Or Anushka? Or Dips? I want someone with a really strong personality, like you can believe that she would survive and flourish even after losing the man she loves.
Past Love Interest: Aditi has a really interesting face, and could play a college student type. Possibly also Alia.
Present Day Consolation Guy: Ranveer? Or Ranbir? Or Imraan? Basically whoever doesn’t play the hero.
Not-Devika Rani: Juhi Chawla? I like the idea of this short soft voiced woman being the powerful head of a studio. Could also be Jaya Bachchan, or Rekha, or Dimple Kapadia. But I like Juhi best.
Shahrukh Travels Back in Time to Find Love
In the present, Shahrukh’s wife Sushmita Sen has just served him with divorce papers. He is all “why?” and her response is “this was a mistake from the beginning. We never made sense together, we will be happier apart.” Shahrukh refuses to believe her, says “there must have been some moment when we were happy together, some moment when you loved me! You just have to remember!” He gets drunk after she leaves and sadly talks to his Krishna idol about how he needs Krishna’s advice and help in love. And then he falls over asleep, the Krishna statue glows, and he wakes up in The Past. The early 90s, the day he is going to meet Sushmita for the first time. Only, he is in Sush’s household, not his. And he is a ghost. Able to see everything and be everywhere, but no one can see or hear or feel him. Everyone is running around very excited about the groom coming over, but Sush is bored with it all. She is talking to her sister Mahira Khan about how she doesn’t want this NRI groom, she has a chance to be a model, she wants a career, freedom, a room of her own. Her younger sister is sympathetic but says she doesn’t understand her. This sounds like such a nice guy, his photo was so nice. Sush laughs and says that is why she had her sister pick from the photos, she is much more interested in this kind of thing. Maybe Mahira should be the one to marry him! Mahira is shocked! She would never! Sush laughs and says “I know I know, you would never. You will marry some nice man Papa picks for you and love him just because he is your husband.”
Young Shahrukh arrives, and Sush drags Mahira to sneak a look at him over the railing before they are fully ready to go down. Young Shahrukh notices them, Sush runs away, but Mahira can’t look away from his eyes and he can’t look away from her, for one long moment their eyes meet and hold. And then Sush calls for her and Mahira turns away. Both girls come down together, with Sush clearly dressed as the potential bride. But Young Shahrukh still turns to Mahira and addresses her as “Sush” clearly thinking she is the one. Their mother leaps in and corrects him that Sushmita is the one he should look at, that is “just” Mahira, their younger daughter, still in school. Young Shahrukh is properly turns to Sushmita but keeps looking at Mahira. Sushmita doesn’t seem to notice, has her eyes modestly down. The young people are sent out to talk together, but as they leave the room, Sush asks for a moment and signals Mahira to come with her. And then begs Mahira for help, Young Shahrukh is so handsome and she doesn’t want to go through the whole bridal viewing a second time, but she is always such a fool when she talks, what is the perfect thing to as Shahrukh during their alone time? And Mahira gives her the perfect thing to ask, “what is home to you?” Young Shahrukh is immediately struck by the question and clearly in love, but Old Ghost Shahrukh is thoughtful and turns to follow Mahira with his eyes and she runs from the room.
(Basically this if Shahid and the younger sister had fallen in love at first sight and it all went terribly wrong)
And then it is 5 years later. Shahrukh is now watching himself and Sush in a car traveling to her family home. She is irritable because he forgot their anniversary, but he brings her around with an expensive necklace and they are more or less happy. Until she mentions that part of the reason her father wanted them to come was that Mahira has a prospective groom arriving and they need to make a good show. Shahrukh is immediately irritable, asks “Why didn’t you tell me that? Mahira is too young to get married.” Sush is all “she is 2 years older than I was when I married you! And I would have told you if you were ever around, but you spend all your time in the office.” And Shahrukh snaps back, “Maybe I would be home more if you made home a more pleasant place to be!” They both sit in angry silence for a minute, and then Shahrukh says “I can’t believe Mahira is marrying someone. It just doesn’t seem right, somehow”. Sush stays facing away from him, but Ghost Shahrukh can see her face, and can see a sudden thoughtful worried expression in her eyes.
Jump ahead again, it’s Mahira’s wedding day! Shahrukh and Sush have arrived together, but are barely touching, let alone looking at each other. Shahrukh greets her family properly and smiling, and then as soon as they are past the receiving line gets an angry bitter look on his face again. Sush says something about “you could at least try to smile” and Shahrukh says “why? My sister-in-law is getting married, and my wife is cheating on me?” Sush rolls her eyes “It’s not cheating, he is a friend of mine, that’s how friends act in my circles. You would know that if you ever bothered to spend time with them.” Shahrukh just gives her a look and says “I know what I saw” and Sush looks guilty. So clearly he isn’t imagining it. And then Shahrukh sees a glimpse of Mahira through the window upstairs, and turns back to Sush to say “Enough, you are right. This is a happy day. I am going to give best wishes to your sister and forget our fight.”
Shahrukh goes up the stairs to Mahira’s room, everyone is surprised to see a man there, but she explains it is her brother-in-law. The women offer to leave them alone, Mahira and Shahrukh try to stop them, but they all leave. Shahrukh suddenly seems awkward, says “So, you are getting married!” Mahira says “yes”, looking at him with her heart in her eyes. Shahrukh is moving around the room, picking things up as he talks to her, playing with the bits of jewelry and things, “I remember my wedding day. Your sister looked so beautiful, so many jewels you could barely see her face. And I remember look at her, and then looking past her and catching a glimpse of you. And I thought, ‘how amazing. With no jewels and no make-up, she looks even more beautiful than my bride.’ I thought you were the most beautiful woman I could ever see that day, but now, I look at you with your jewelry and henna, and you are even more beautiful”. Now he is facing her fully, looking into her eyes, as he says “Your husband will be a lucky lucky man. You are the best bride a man could wish for, the only bride a man could…” and then he stops himself and tightens his lips and he realizes what he was about to say. Mahira is still silent, just looking at him. And then Shahrukh laughs it off and says “So, my little sister-in-law, on your wedding day, what gift should I give you? My checkbook is open, whatever you want!” And Mahira looks up at him and says “a kiss”. Shahrukh looks blank, doesn’t know how to react. Mahira slowly continues, “I am about to marry a man I hardly know. Tonight will be our first night together. Before that, I want just one sweet memory, one moment with a man I……care about. Something to help me get through it.” She looks up at Shahrukh, “do you understand?” Shahrukh nods, “I do.” And then he bends down and very softly kisses her on the lips. And Ghost Shahrukh suddenly finds himself outside, standing next to Sush, looking up with her at the window where she sees her husband kissing her sister.
(Such great chemistry! I want them together again)
Flash forward again. 5 years later. In a big fancy apartment. Sushmita and Shahrukh have run into each other at the breakfast table and are casually catching up. They haven’t seen each other in a week, and are talking like polite strangers. Clearly they don’t even care enough to fight any more. She mentions her family might be stopping by that evening if he can manage to be home from work, he says he doesn’t think he will be able to make it, who all is coming? She mentions her mother, her brother, oh and Mahira too with her new baby. Shahrukh says “you know, I haven’t seen the baby yet, I might be able to arrange to get off work after all.” Sush gives a tight smile and says “I thought you might”, Shahrukh is oblivious.
That night, Sush and her mother are laughing together, her brother keeps trying to talk to Shahrukh about business, and in the corner Mahira is quietly holding her new baby and entertaining her older son. No one seems to notice her, but Shahrukh’s eyes keep drifting over that way. Finally, he excuses himself from the brother and goes to sit with her and quietly ask to be introduced to the new baby. Mahira hands over the baby and Shahrukh is charming with him, bouncing him on his lap, happy and smiling. And he says how sorry he is that he hasn’t seen the baby before this. Mahira keeps a smile on her face but lets slip “you have seen him more than his own father”. Shahrukh looks concerned, asks “He is still working in Dubai?” Mahira gives a tiny nod. Shahrukh frowns “should I speak with him? Or your father? Do you want to go there to join him?” Mahira jumps in with a quick “No!” and then goes on “I shouldn’t have said anything. I have a good life, he supports us well, the children have a nice home. Really, I don’t want to complain. He can stay in Dubai as long as he wants.” Shahrukh carefully doesn’t look at her, maintaining eye contact with the baby instead as he asks “You don’t miss him?” Mahira is quiet for a long time and then says “no.” Shahrukh is called back to the rest of the group by his father in law, but as he walks away, Ghost Shahrukh stays behind and hears Mahira whisper softly “I miss other people. But not him.” Ghost Shahrukh looks thoughtful.
Finally, a jump to just a few months before the present. Sushmita has come to see Shahrukh in his office. He is all irritated with her for interrupting him, she says the only way she can see him is if she makes an appointment and this was important. Shahrukh irritably sits down behind his desk and leans back in his chair all casually, and is all “fine, what is it that was so important?” Sush gives him a look like she knows this is going to hurt and she is enjoying it and then says “Mother just wrote me. Mahira is getting a divorce”. Shahrukh slams the legs of his chair down on the ground, but then gets control of himself when he sees Mahira smiling at him, and says casually “oh yes? I knew she was unhappy in the marriage. Probably best for her to leave him. Make sure she knows we will provide any financial assistance she might need.” Sush gets coldly angry, “That’s it? She is unhappy, so she can leave him? No lecture on the sanctity of marriage and the beauty of wifely sacrifice? No story of a wife who learned to love her husband? None of that? That’s just for me, is it, not the saintly Mahira????” Shahrukh stands up to meet her, saying “What do you want me to say? I want your sister to be unhappy? I throw her out of the family for shaming us? What made you think I would ever be that kind of man?” Sush bursts out “The way you have treated me!” and storms out of the room. Shahrukh in the flashback glares after her, then turns and throws a glass at the wall. Ghost Shahrukh looks after her and mouths “I’m sorry.”
(Also great chemistry! But chemistry I could believe turning suddenly bitter and angry)
And then Shahrukh wakes up! He is looking at the same Krishna idol, and he starts babbling to it about how he sees now where he went wrong. Love isn’t something that can be forced, and it isn’t something that can be denied either. He is going to apologize to Sushmita and do whatever it takes to make her happy, giver her her divorce and help her start her career however she wants. He never should have married a woman he didn’t really truly love, who didn’t really truly love him. He should have married someone that he would think about every waking moment and dream about while he slept, who he could look at and see the most beautiful woman in the world whenever he saw her face. Who was…..Mahira. And as he reaches that revelation, the statue glows brighter and brighter and finally fades back to reveal a different room. And Young Shahrukh. He is starring at it going “what just happened?” And then his mother calls him to remind him it is time to leave and go see that girl with the proposal.
Young Shahrukh is kind of in shock and looking around trying to understand, until they get to the house and he looks up and sees Mahira and Sush looking down at him and he and Mahira lock eyes for a long long moment. Later, the two girls come down the stairs and he goes to Mahira. Her mother corrects him, but this time he stays firm, says “I am sorry, but since the moment I saw her, I know that Mahira is the only woman I can ever marry. I will wait as long as you ask me to, but I will not marry anyone else. That would be a tragedy for all of us. Mahira looks all scared and hesitant, her parents look furious, but Sush suddenly reaches out and pulls the dupatta off her head to drape it over Mahira’s. Then turns to her parents and says “Mama, Papa, I don’t want to get married! I want to be a model. I have a job waiting for me in Bombay, I will go with or without your blessing, but I would rather go with. Let Mahira get married, she is the one who picked out his picture and she is the one who will make a wonderful wife. She may not have your blessing, but she has mine.” All the parents look stunned, but Shahrukh steps forward and says “Let your daughter go. Please. Marriage should only be for those who want it. I know I do. And I hope your other daughter will, someday, want marriage with me.” The parents are still stunned, but the old grandmother speaks up “Let the young people do what they want! Get Mahira married to Shahrukh and send Sushmita off to Bombay with them. At least they can try to find her a nice husband there once she gets this modeling over with. And if not, she can help with their babies.” This startles the mother back into action, she suddenly gets all smiley and happy and says “Of course, I am just flattered you liked either one of our daughters! Let me just take Mahira away for a moment to get her dressed and then you can meet properly.” Cut to, Mahira and Shahrukh standing alone on the terrace, just like he and Sushmita had, and her asking him “what is home to you?” and him looking at her and saying “you”. And then there is a sudden flash as all the memories of the future 20 years flow through his head, the arguments with Sush, her wedding day to another man, playing with her children, and then they flash out to an image of Krishna, and Young Shahrukh suddenly smiles and the audience knows he has forgotten everything that happened before and they have a fresh start.
Young Shahrukh: Aryan? Shahid? Shahrukh in heavy make-up?
Young Younger Sister: Mahira. She can play anything. Or else Alia, or maybe Parineeti Chopra? Oh! Or Kareena!
Young Older Sister: Diana Penty maybe? Or else Sush herself.
Older Bitter Glamorous Wife: Sushmita Sen. Or a naughty little voice is suggesting, Kajol!
Older Sad Lovelorn Sister-in-Law: Mahira Khan. Or a naughty little voice is suggesting, Rani! Or Karisma!
So, which of the two would you pick? I think I might like the Shahid one better, it’s lighter all around. Although the other one does have Shahrukh, which is a plus.