Angie asked on Monday if there were any female Devdas-type stories, and we couldn’t come up with something exactly right. So obviously, I have to write it.
Straight-Up Devdas, But Modern and Gender Flipped
Devdas (Devdasi?) is Rani Mukherjee. She grew up next door to a little boy two years younger than her, Aamir Khan (maybe?). He was always sweet and sincere and kind. She was the slightly wild one. Her parents sent her to study overseas living with her aunt and uncle when she was a teenager and they lost touch. She came home to discover he had grown up handsome and the parents started talking about maybe getting them married. Only, before it could move forward, his parents overheard hers talking about how she would never marry a poor younger boy and decide not to move forward. Instead, he is married off to a very wealthy woman while Rani, lonely and miserable, goes off to the city.
In the city she meets Aditya Roy Kapoor, a young male dancer and part-time prostitute. Her friend from college (Lisa Haydon) takes her to a male strip club to distract her, and she is distressed when Lisa invites Aditya to join them for a drink, ending up by throwing her wallet at him and running back home. Only to find that Aamir Khan has just been engaged to someone else. She is angry and strikes him, forever marking his face.
She returns to the city to stay with Lisa Haydon at first and spend more time hanging out with Aditya, but slowly begins to drink more and more. She tries to forget herself with Aditya but, even after she comes to love him in her own way and knows he truly loves her, she still can’t sleep with him. Instead she just gives him long drunken monologues.
(Aditya would be an awesome male stripper dancer character)
Meanwhile, Aamir discovers that his new wife didn’t want a husband so much as a replacement father. Her father died recently and she felt threatened and controlled by the rest of her family, didn’t know what to do with the massive company she inherited. She is also naturally childlike and sweet, would never have been able to handle a “real” marriage. So she turns to Aamir to run the company and head the family and take care of her. Aamir becomes old before his time, turning into a boring authoritarian type with his passionate youthfulness hidden away.
Rani travels the country with her old servant Waheeda Rahman, the only person who ever seemed to really care for her. Aditya has quit his job and gone back to a small village with his savings to live a simple life. In the end, Rani has drunk herself close to death and takes one last journey, to Aamir’s huge highrise apartment because she promised to see him one more time before she died. She can’t get inside, and dies slowly outside on the pavement as the various drivers and guards and so on gather around. And Aamir only finds out when it is already too late and her body has been taken away.
Why has no one thought of this before? It makes SO MUCH SENSE!!!!! Vidya is Devdas, she is in love with Kalki (she already played Chandramukhi, why not Paro?). When their families catch them kissing as young girls, Vidya is sent overseas. She comes back, but as soon as the families realize they are getting close again, Kalki is married off to an older man with kids who doesn’t want a “real” marriage. Meanwhile, Vidya goes to visit Lisa Haydon, her fellow lesbian friend from college. Lisa takes her to a gay bar, where she meets Rani, sexy headliner dancer.
Vidya can’t forget Kalki no matter how much she drinks, or how attracted she becomes to Rani. She takes off on an epic journey through India to get away, while Rani quits her dancing job and takes a “Straight” boring job and moves into a respectable woman’s hostel. But then, because I hate the tragic Lesbian trope, everything changes and everyone gets a happy ending!
Kalki bonds with her stepkids and tries to live the “proper” life but is dying inside. Vidya, after ALMOST dying, realizes that she shouldn’t let what everyone else thinks change how she feels and runs to Kalki. She stands outside her building and makes a huge scene, yelling out her love. Until, finally, Kalki (with the blessing of her cool step daughter even if her husband doesn’t understand) breaks free from her family and runs down to her and they embrace and kiss.
While Vidya was on her journey, Rani was living her straight life and bumped into Lisa Haydon. Lisa kept her secret, her sexuality and her past as a bar dancer, from her new employer and just asked for a dinner as a thank you. At dinner, they start really connecting, instead of just the over the top flirtation they used to indulge in. They get more and more real with each other, Lisa admits that she has enough money from her dead parents to live on her own but she still misses the family which rejected her when she introduced them to her college girlfriend. Rani admits that she has never had a real relationship. And, eventually, they fall in love and finally share one magic kiss.
The happy ending is Vidya and Kalki getting married on the beach while Lisa and Rani hold hands and watch, and Kalki’s stepdaughter is there too, and so is Vidya’s old servant Waheeda Rahman, the only one who ever loved her for who she is.
Okay, that’s all I got, but I really think filmmakers should get on it, especially the Lesbian version (but only with a happy ending)