Angie in the comments, my dedicated Madhavan corespondent, said that Maddy has been talking about how he wants to do another love story but no one is offering him a good script. That is so sad!!!! Surely we, as a blog community, can come up with something for him. Or many somethings.
I’m not feeling very original today, so two remakes for Maddy! Both classic American black comedies/romances.
Maddy in The Apartment Remake
I know The Apartment was already remade twice, Yes Boss and Life…in a Metro, but I want to do it again with a bit more darkness to it, and with older characters. I think that would be really interesting.
(Although this song is really dark when you think about it, since Shahrukh is trying to save Juhi from date rape)
Maddy is the chief assistant in a government office that works in trade agreements and so on. He is responsible and glasses wearing and southern, with a little grey at the temple. And whenever an important visitor comes to town, he is in charge of “hospitality”. The new clerk at the office asks what that means, and the older cynical clerk laughs and says “Women!”
We see Maddy’s life, he has a list of call girls he can call on and make arrangements with. And he has the nicest available government housing in the complex, when necessary he will spend the night sleeping on a park bench to let his boss or a “visitor” use the apartment. And he is happy about all of this, we see him go home to a family wedding and cheerfully and proudly talk about his important job and be happy about all the money he can send home to his mother, there is no guilt. The only time he seems lonely is when it comes up that he is still unmarried and he reminds his mother that the way his job is, he told her, he cannot be married.
Back in the city, his boss says there is a big visitor coming in, they need someone special for him. Not the usual girls, he wants something a bit rougher, but still with flare. Maddy says not to worry, he knows his job, he can do this. So Maddy starts hitting the streets and clubs, until finally he stumbles into dance club and can sense the building excitement as the headliner is about to come out. Swara Bhaskar! She does a raunchy fun strong dance performance, Maddy knows he has found the something “special”. He talks to the bartender, gently feeling around about the possibility of Swara being a sex worker, and the bartender picks up on what he is saying right away and says matter-of-factly “Oh yes, she’s a prostitute. She handles herself, go in back and talk to her if you want. But hold onto your wallet, she will bargain you into poverty.”
Madhavan goes to talk to Swara, and both of them figure out what is happening right away. Swara drives a hard bargain, clearly experienced in these kinds of dealings and able to tell that Madhavan is desperate. And Madhavan still manages to make his position clear, he can only pay a certain amount, but he is willing to bargain in other ways. In the end, they reach an agreement, Swara will set aside a week to “entertain” the out of town visitor, Madhavan can only pay a 3rd of her regular rate, but will pay the rest in installments and will recommend her to other high quality clients.
And then we start following Swara. She has no shame or guilt over what she does either. She sends the money back to her family in her village, pays for her sister’s educations, and enjoys her life in the city, stops by to say “hi” to the old woman who lives next door, jokes with the little boy playing in front of her building, etc. She’s cool and confident and independent and happy. Only, then she wakes up in the middle of the night when her ceiling falls in! The pipes have burst. She gets on the phone with her landlord, the old lady comes over to keep her company while she tries to clean up with her hair tied up, not looking glamorous at all. Madhavan comes by to talk about her fee, and he offers to help, but mentions it means she drops off part of her price, she bargains him down to a little less, and he roles up his pants and helps mop. Eventually, they reach a deal that she can come live in his apartment while her’s is getting fixed and she will pay “rent” in dropping off her rate. It’s cheaper for her than a hotel, and it saves him money in paying her.
And so, the odd couple moves in together! They fight over the shower in the morning, she is angry because he wakes up cheerful while she is miserable, he is angry because she plays the TV loud late at night, they fight, they make up, they talk, they cook each other apology dinners, it’s nice. We get a little bit of backstory, not much, Madhavan was trained up by the last person who had his job, it’s always been part of the responsibility of the chief clerk to find “entertainers”. He even likes his job, he likes going out in the world and meeting these women and bargaining with them, he likes that his boss relies on him, he likes all of that. He just feels a little lonely, because he doesn’t have anyone in his life who will really understand what he does and why. And Swara feels the same, she likes the people she works with at the club, she has been friends with some of her clients for years now, she makes a good living. But she can’t tell her family about her job, and her people she knows from work don’t want to know about her family. They begin to realize that they have more in common than they thought.
(How could you live with this and not fall in love with it?)
It all comes to a head when the “special visitor” arrives. At first, it is all fine. Madhavan arranges the meeting and goes to dinner with them and Swara puts on her slightly different persona, her “working” act and kind of winks at Madhavan so he can enjoy seeing it and he smiles back. After dinner, Madhavan brings them back to the apartment and then leaves them to “get to know” each other. Only, just as he is leaving, he notices something odd about how the “special visitor” is looking at Swara, how he is acting, and announces that on second thought, he is staying. Swara is confused, but trusts him, and goes along with it. The “special visitor” is furious and storms out. The next day, Madhavan gets a call before going into work, his boss is angry, he might lose his job. Swara hears his side of it and figures out what is happening. Madhavan tells her it’s fine, but after he leaves for work, she goes to the “special visitor”s hotel room and surprises him, offers him a “funtime”. As Madhavan sensed, the special visitor has dangerous tastes. He wants Swara to be afraid and fight back, she is fine with pretending, but he keeps telling her to be more real and more real until finally he is actually hurting her. It seems like he is getting the upper hand, but then she pulls a knife! Tells him “did you think I wouldn’t come prepared?” And tells him she also has been recording him, if he doesn’t want his wife to hear the whole thing, he had better call up the office and tell them that Madhavan showed him the time of his life and he is completely happy.
At work, Madhavan is called into his boss’s office for congratulations a pat on the back, and a “thank you” wad of cash from the visitor. He figures out that Swara must have done something, and rushes out to find her. She isn’t in the apartment, he goes to her old building and discovers her moving back in, the landlord fixed the place up for her. He thanks her, and asks if (since she lived in his apartment), he could live in hers?
Flashforward! Swara is being introduced to his mother and family as his new wife who he met “through work”. Back in the city, they are happily living together in her small apartment, he cheers her on every night while she performs, and during the day he runs a small agency for the women he used to hire, bargaining on their behalf and making sure they can be safe and make money doing their jobs.
Maddy in Born Yesterday
Born Yesterday has such a simple and fun plot. A powerful selfmade man businessman hires a gentle professor to tutor his ditzy crass girlfriend, make her more acceptable to the higher levels where he now moves, so he can marry her. And then the ditzy crass girlfriend and gentle professor type fall in love. With the undercurrent, and this is the special part, that the ditzy crass girlfriend has her intellect suddenly awakened and falls in love with the professor partly because of the new world he has given her and the faith he had in her ability to have a mind as well as a body.
Perfect for Maddy, right? Obviously as the gentle professor. And for the ditzy girlfriend….how about Urmila? She’s still gorgeous and could easily play the role.
So, let’s say that we open with the selfmade businessman looking at taking a run at politics. But his advisers tell him that he has to be married to even consider it, and he has to give up Urmila (who they clearly all know about it). The businessman, let’s say Jackie Shroff, goes to meet Urmila and break up with her. Only she is so sweet and sexy and everything that he can’t do it. The next day, he calls from her bright pink bedroom to tell his advisors that he is going to solve both problems at once, instead of giving up Urmila, he is going to marry her!
But there is a rush around concern, because this is not the kind of woman the voters will accept. They are going to build a backstory for her. She is an educated woman who his female cousin knew in college. She is giving up her career to marry him and have children and start a new life as a wife and mother. Only, she will have to be able to pull this off in interviews, pretending to be that kind of a woman. They are are at their wits end as to how to make this work, when Jackie Shroff happens to see Maddy in a coffee house, meeting with a student trying to tutor him. He approaches him, Maddy is an out of work philosophy professor who picks up money tutoring college kids. Jackie offers to get him a job at a university, if he can help a very special student.
So, Maddy is brought to meet Urmila. Their first meeting goes poorly, he is sincerely trying to teach her and she is trying to learn but it’s just not working. Jackie has no patience with this, he announces that it has to work, and so Maddy is going to be with Urmila 24 hours a day until he manages to make it work.
(Sensitive professor type, right?)
Maddy and Urmila are put up at Jackie’s fancy farmhouse in the country, the lessons are still a disaster, but they start to bond. Urmila shows Maddy the act she used to do before Jackie fell in love with her and took her away from the dance hall. Maddy shyly responds by reciting English poetry which impresses her. Maddy gets to know her better and figures out that he has been going at this wrong. She is smart, really, she remembers all her lyrics and can understand and explain the meaning of the songs and why she used certain expressions and so on for certain lines. It’s just that books aren’t the way for her to learn. So instead he starts showing her old movies and film songs and explaining Indian history, biology, and philosophy, general knowledge, through the films.
Jackie is thrilled with her progress, and Urmila is thrilled that she has pleased him. Their first interview goes well, the public loves their love story. He insists that Maddy keep tutoring her. Just for a couple hours a day. Urmila starts to feel conflicted, not liking the way Jackie is setting her up to disappear into his life and into his home. She is uncomfortable with being told how to dress and how to walk and how to talk, asks Jackie why he even wants to marry her if he just wants to change everything about her? It is her own journey, she doesn’t directly bring this up to Maddy, but she does ask him some philosophical questions, what he thinks is the purpose of life, what it means to be yourself, what creates your identity and self. And Maddy helps her work this out. finally, she has a huge fight with Jackie’s scary sister who is trying to tell her she can’t wear her hair loose, she storms out after quoting some of Maddy’s philosophy at her about how you have to create your own self, and shows up on Maddy’s doorstep, telling him that she didn’t know where else to go, she doesn’t feel like any of her old friends would understand what she is going through. Maddy, who has had his own fantasies about her lately but hide them from her, invites her in shyly and awkwardly. He tries to make her tea, but she stops him and makes it herself, telling him that it has been a long time since she was allowed to make her own tea and she likes doing it.
Maddy shyly helps her to his bed, changes the sheets and gives her something of his to wear, but before he can leave the room, she stops him and asks if he will talk with her a while, maybe read from one of his philosophy books. He gets into bed with her and starts reading, she naturally snuggles up against him, he is shy but slowly gets comfortable and puts his arm around her, the fall asleep together. The next day, Jackie bangs on their door, calling for Urmila. Maddy isn’t sure what to do, Urmila takes control and says she will talk with him. She and Jackie talk in the front room while Maddy listens. Jackie starts by ordering her to come home, but Urmila is calm and confident and says that she will only come home if he wants “her” not an image of her he can control. Jackie blusters and brags but is eventually worn down and starts begging saying that he will do whatever she wants, he can’t live without her, and Urmila is calmly triumphant. She calls Maddy in, tells him thanks, and Jackie says he wants to give his own private thanks. And then he pulls Maddy aside and lowers his voice and says “I don’t know what you did, but you did something. I’ll give you the job like I promised, but if I ever see you around Urmila again, you will lose that job and your life.” Maddy fiddles with his glasses and doesn’t say anything.
Time moves forward, Urmila prepares for her wedding, starring down her future sister-in-law and insisting on having the wedding she wants. She appears in TV interviews in a sari speaking intelligently, but with her hair loose and styled and her glamorous make-up on, and the public approves of it. Maddy watches all of this sadly but doesn’t do anything because she seems happy.
(Like this, traditional but glamorous)
Until, on the day of the wedding, there is a TV special, they have let the news team into the house to cover everything, and Maddy sees Urmila reading one of the books he lent her and hastily putting it away and looking conflicted, and he realizes that she is still thinking, she isn’t sure if she is happy. So he gets up and starts running, the guards try to stop him from getting in, but he fights through them, all beaten looking with his glasses falling off, he starts shouting out the lyrics for the love song she sang to him when they first met, the song she said was about the moment when you just realize you love someone more than yourself. She hears him from inside, and stands to walk away from Jackie who starts to beg and abuse, but she ignores him, and instead starts to run and to shout back to Maddy the philosophy he taught her that was about doing whatever you need to do to remain true to your own inner voice. They meet in the middle outside the gate, she fixes his glasses and puts them back on his face, he brushes her hair out of her braid so it is loose and free again, and then they embrace.
Okay, those are my two Maddy ideas! Which do you like better? And what are yours?