I’m excited! Lots of fun options here! Not just epilogues and alternative endings, but straight up separate movie plots following up on the same characters.
Chalte Chalte 2: the Struggle for Children
At the end of Chalte Chalte 1, Shahrukh and Rani had weathered the worst period of their marriage so far. But the strains that they had survived didn’t completely go away, would never really go away, Shahrukh was a poor boy made good who was always going to worry about money, and Rani was a rich girl who was always going to have a hard time understanding why Shahrukh felt the need to work so much and so hard.
There was one strain on the marriage in Chalte Chalte 1 that was only addressed obliquely. A shared desire for children, and yet no child present, years after marriage. They came together again in the end partly because Shahrukh reminded Rani of that desire. So, the obvious sequel would deal with their struggle to achieve this dream.
(After all, they need a sibling for their stuffed dog)
Shahrukh is now working for someone else, which he hates, but a sacrifice he made for the marriage so he can have more regular hours and be less stressed about work. Rani gave up her occasional work as a fashion designer as part of a similar sacrifice, planning to be a full time stay at home Mom for the first few years for the child they are anticipating. But, months after making these life adjustments, there is still no child. Rani can’t take up new jobs in this uncertain state, Shahrukh is resisting the urge to start another business because he promised he would be an involved father, and can’t risk the money when they will need it for a baby. Finally, they take the step of going to a fertility doctor for testing. They are told that it is not impossible for them to conceive, but it will be very very difficult.
They start the high stress process of fertility treatments. And they start to pull away from each other as they both attempt to put on a brave face for the other. Shahrukh complains to his new friend at work about the massive expense, all the money he planned for school fees and everything else for this child is draining away to medical bills. But he can’t say anything about it to Rani, just keeps smiling and signing the checks, because he doesn’t want to worry her. And Rani is dealing with the guilt over not being able to give her husband a child, the anger at her own body, the feeling of being broken somehow. She talks about it with a fertility support group she found, but hides it from Shahrukh, even hides the fact she is going to a group.
It comes to a head with Shahrukh thinking Rani is having an affair because of her unexplained time away from home, and Rani fearing that Shahrukh has lost all interest in her because he doesn’t seem to want to have sex with her any more. All of this fueled by Rani’s out of control hormones and emotions thanks to the treatments. They have a massive fight, Shahrukh learns Rani is dealing with huge insecurities that she is hiding from him, Rani learns that Shahrukh is dealing with massive stress over the job he hates which he can’t leave because they need the money for fertility treatments, and that is killing his sex drive, and then they have make-up sex.
(We know make-up sex is where this couple shines)
9 months later, we see Shahrukh get a phone call and rush away from his new company that he has started with his work friend (no longer an employee, but with a partner to share the burden so he won’t work as hard), with his friend telling him jokingly “don’t come back without your child!”. We see him rushing rushing, talking to Rani on the phone, telling her not to worry he is almost there, we see Rani panting and anxious and telling him to be sure he is on time, she can’t do this without him. And then, TWIST. Rani bursts through a door, apologizing for being late, saying her husband is on the way and sorry she is out of breath, the elevator was broken and she had to run up the stairs. The woman she is talking to says not to worry, and if she would like to come along, her daughter is waiting to meet her. Rani goes into a nice brightly lit nursery with attendants around, the social worker she is talking to points out a little two year old girl in the corner and says “that’s the one, all her paperwork is in order, the agency approved you for temporary guardianship, you can take her home today if you like while you wait for the formal adoption process to be completed”. And then we cut to Shahrukh walking in as the music swells, and he looks over to see Rani sitting playing with the little girl and starts to cry and smile, and then Rani looks up, sees him, and points to him and tells their daughter “see Daddy? That’s your Daddy.”
(Disclaimer: no judgement on couples who choose fertility treatments, or surrogacy, or anything like that. But however you choose to grow your family, it is a very stressful time. And the “happy ending” you find isn’t a one size fits all answer, I like the idea that Rani and Shahrukh’s happy ending is to just stop doing the thing that is making them miserable and switch to a different plan)
At the end of Talaash 1, Aamir and Rani had finally come together in grief over the death of their son, instead of pushing each other away, helped by their individual experiences of the supernatural and life after death. And, incidentally, Aamir the police officer had gained a greater understanding for the victims of society and the hidden injustices of the city.
Now, where do we go from here? There are a lot of threads to pull on, the husband and wife coming closer together, the supernatural now being open to them, or even just a straight cop picture. But ideally I want something that brings them all together.
How about, Rani wakes up in the middle of the night from a terrifying dream. She saw a little girl, tied up, scared, crying for her mother. Aamir tries to comfort Rani, but she cannot be comforted, she is sure this wasn’t an ordinary dream. Aamir doesn’t completely discount her, but also gently tries to suggest that she can’t be sure. Rani goes to talk to the neighbor who serves as a medium for advice. The medium asks her some questions, if she could smell in the dream as well as see (for instance), and determines that she thinks it was not a dream, but a vision. And now Rani has a responsibility to find what it is a vision of, something in the present or the past or the future.
Rani starts walking the city, looking for clues from her vision, and finds a building that seems right. She calls Aamir and insists on him using his police powers to search the abandoned building. He goes along with her, but is gently critical when they find nothing there, suggesting that perhaps Rani is looking for a purpose in life, maybe that little girl she is seeing is her desire for another child?
Rani goes to the medium for support, but she has left to take care of an ill relative, leaving behind a note telling Rani to believe in herself, even if no one else does. Rani is conflicted, because Aamir is also being super sweet to her, suggesting they investigate trying to have another baby, he thinks he wants that, if she wants it. Rani goes along with this, but while leaving the fancy doctor’s office where she went to get checked out, she sees a photo of the girl from her dream in the wallet of another woman at the office. She follows the woman home and gets her address, and then begs Aamir to check out the family. Aamir resists, but finally goes along with it when Rani says she will never bring it up again, if he just goes to the house and makes sure there is nothing suspicious. Aamir goes, and is awkward. It is a very wealthy old money family, they are polite and appropriate to this police officer who has suddenly shown up for no reason, but clearly confused as to why he is there. Aamir is about to leave, his curiosity satisfied, when he notices a photo of the little girl holding her favorite toy, the exact toy Rani described from her dream. It makes him ask a few more questions, and notice that the family suddenly seems uncomfortable talking with him.
Aamir keeps investigating and Rani keeps having dreams, it becomes clear that the little girl was kidnapped in revenge for illegal business her grandfather (who is also her guardian since her parents died) was doing. Her family has chosen to keep the kidnapping secret and sacrifice her safety for the sake of their public reputation. Her aunt by marriage, the one who had the photo in her wallet at the fertility doctor, is the only one who is torn up about this, partly because she sees in this little girl an echo of the female fetuses she has been forced to abort by her husband who wants a son which is why she was at the fertility doctor, but she is also terrified of her wealthy abusive husband and therefore not able to do anything about it. She is eventually killed, Aamir begins investigating her “accidental” death, Rani is still pushing him to focus on saving the little girl but Aamir has to tell Rani the little girl is most likely dead by now.
In the end, Aamir finally confronts the grandfather, the source of all the evil, and secretly records his confession, at the same time that Rani follows her visions and finds the little girl. She is in danger from the kidnappers, but is able to use the knowledge gained from her visions to escape, tricking them into stepping on the weak places of the floor and falling to their death while she and the little girl escape.
In the end, Aamir is debriefing his supervisor. The grandfather and the abusive son who killed his wife have both been arrested, the gangster enforcer who worked for them and kidnapped the granddaughter has agreed to testify against them, all of the family’s money has been siezed by the state. The only loose end is the little girl, the hospital says she is ready to be released, but there is no family to take charge of her and no money for her care.
Cut to Rani in a dream again. In a sunny room, laughing and smiling with the little girl laughing at her too, and then Aamir joining them and picking the little girl up and tossing her in the air. Rani wakes suddenly to the sound of a knocking on the door. She goes to open it, and finds Aamir standing outside, holding hands with the little girl, looking a little nervous about her reaction. Rani pauses for a moment, and then kneels down and opens her arms and the little girl comes running into them.
(Disclaimer: feels repetitive to have two happy ending adoption stories in a row, but I feel like both films were going there, Rani and Aamir don’t need a “replacement” child necessarily, but they also clearly enjoyed being parents in the past, and Rani’s character has a special bond with children, seems like that would be the happy ending, so long as both Aamir and Rani were ready for it.)
Bunty Aur Babli 2
In Bunty Aur Babli 1, Rani and Abhishek were young people who ran away and became conmen, stealing from the superficial rich and sharing with the other struggling poor. Then they had a child and retired to a life of safe boring respectability, with the blessing of Amitabh, the cop who pursued them. Until, years later, Amitabh tracked them down and recruited them to help him in an anti-fraud unit.
So, Bunty Aur Babli 2 is already set up! Rani and Abhishek working with Amitabh in an anti-fraud unit. Pretty straight forward where they go from here.
They have a serious of successes with minor frauds, the kind who prey on the helpless not the wealthy, door to door scam artists who take money from the elderly, fake chit funds, that kind of thing. But they get word of a big target, a wealthy man who runs multiple massive land scams, getting people to buy and then revealing they bought unusable land. An older retired man just killed himself after spending his entire savings on nothing. Rani and Abhishek and Amitabh are determined to get him, but their first plot fails, and Amitabh is threatened by his superiors for bothering such a powerful man, but Rani and Abhishek stand by him. Until their son is threatened and they are forced to scam Amitabh, setting him up so he will be fired. Amitabh is furious and disappointed, everyone is unhappy. Amitabh declares he will continue the investigation on his own, and ends up in danger. Rani and Abhishek leave their son safely hidden and then go and rescue Amitabh and finally get the evidence against the Big Bad.
The happy ending is all of them receiving offers to come back to work for the police fraud unit, and turning them down, saying they have decided to “retire”. Only to leave go to the bank, where they pull off a scam to get access to the Big Bad’s safe deposit box where all his wealth was hidden. Over the end credits, we see all the people he scammed getting mysterious checks replacing their money, and Rani and Abhishek and Amitabh starting a new scam against another big corrupt target, having become freelance avengers working outside the system.
In Ghulam 1, Aamir was a local tough who no one had any faith in except his tough female public defender, and his girlfriend Rani, a rich girl from a messed up family who clung to him as the one person who really seemed to care about her. By the end of the film, Aamir had lived up to the faith his public defender had in him, taking a stand against the local gangster/politician, and Rani and he were united.
So, sequel! Aamir and Rani and their neighborhood ended in a good place and I don’t see them getting into a bad place right away, so let’s set it years and years later. Aamir has followed in the footsteps of the public defender who believed in him and replaced the corrupt local leader he destroyed, he is a public defender and an honest independent local politician, the one everyone goes to when they are in trouble. Rani is his loving supportive wife, his most faithful follower and the one who helps him when he feels down. Although we see that he helps her in return, she struggles with alcoholism as her father did before her, Aamir comes home to find her drunk and cleans her up and puts her to bed, and the next day they talk about it and it comes out that she is mostly sober but struggles with temptation and has the occasional relapse, followed by Aamir supporting her as she fights her way back. And they also talk about her “blue” periods, implying that sometimes she struggles with depression, going to a psychiatrist for it, but not something Aamir or she talk about outside the house. It’s why they never had children, Rani wanted them but Aamir was afraid it would be too much for her, something terrible would happen.
Things change when a new tough arrives in the neighborhood, a young group of Hindutva extremists, their leader wants to challenge Aamir in the election so he has sent in his young men to do the dirty work. Aamir confronts them and tries to convince them to think for themselves, it doesn’t seem to work, but the leader (Amit Sadh would be perfect) is shown later thinking over what Aamir said. They cross paths again when Amit is arrested for vandalism and Aamir is set as his defender.
(Oh right, Amit already played this role in Kai Po Che, that’s why it feels familiar)
Aamir gets him released with Aamir as his probation officer. He takes him home to Rani, who treats him kindly and like her own son. They awkwardly form a little family, Aamir giving wisdom and direction to Amit, Rani giving him love and worrying over him. Aamir helps Amit to get a job as a delivery driver for a pizza place and Amit starts a flirtation with the waitress who works there is well, shyly getting advice from Rani on how to win her over. Things seem better, until Amit’s evil leader comes to find him at the pizza place. Amit can’t help talking to him, and somehow let’s slip something that reveals Rani’s alcoholism/depression (he came home one night to find her drunk and depressed and talking about her brother and wanting Aamir, he stayed with her until Aamir came home and helped her to bed, and Aamir sincerely thanked him and explained that it is something that “just happens” sometimes).
The evil politician starts a smear campaign about Rani, and she attempts suicide. Aamir saves her but she slips into a coma. When Amit comes to visit her in the hospital, Aamir throws him out, hits him (the first time he has resorted to violence in 20 years) and tells him that he is dead to him. Amit doesn’t know what to do, talks to his girlfriend about it, which is also when he admits how much he loves her by explaining that he can forgive Aamir everything, because he would kill anyone who drove her to suicide. The girlfriend suggests that he should try to make it right, and Amit ends up recreating Aamir’s ending of the first film. He leaks the information he has about his leader’s corruption to the media, and then goes to confront him in his office, in one final battle beating him physically and breaking him in front of his followers so they lose all respect for him.
The end of the film is Amit taking his girlfriend to meet Rani in the hospital, where she has finally awoken from her coma, and asking for her blessing as his “mother”. He is afraid to ask a blessing from Aamir, sure he hasn’t earned forgiveness, but the girlfriend is braver, going over and asking Aamir for his blessing as her father-in-law, and Aamir can’t resist, blesses her, and then embraces her and Amit, implying that this little family of misfits has found each other, Aamir and Rani have a son and daughter-in-law, and these two young people with no family have found supports.
Chori Chori Chupke Chupke 2
This movie is INSANE!!!! Rani loses her fetus, and her uterus and ovaries, in a terrible Cricket accident while pregnant. So she and Salman decide to secretly hire a woman to sleep with Salman and carry their child and lie to everyone they know that it is Rani’s baby. They hire Preity Zinta, a prostitute, she and Rani and Salman form a tight and happy threesome, Preity falls in love with Salman but Salman is still in love with his wife. Preity briefly considers leaving with the baby but ultimately gives it to Rani and Salman, instead leaving alone and saying she will always love Salman.
Well, I HAVE to do a sequel because this is such a frustrating ending! Poor Preity will never find love or happiness because she is remaining always faithful to Salman. Poor Rani and Salman have to lie for the rest of their lives about who the biological mother of their baby is. And poor baby will never know its true biology.
Obviously, 18 years later, Baby has to find out the truth. I was sure we knew the baby was a boy at the end of the first film, but I just checked the plot summary and it seems like maybe we don’t know the gender? So I will make Baby a girl because the plot works better that way.
Baby is a happy confident young woman, desperately in love with the nice bright young man (the boy next door she has known her entire life) she is engaged to and planning a happy wonderful life. But then, while preparing for the wedding and the Visa she needs to travel with him overseas, she learns she has a rare blood disorder. It isn’t dangerous in any way, but it does mean that it is biologically impossible for her parents to be her parents. Baby is shattered. At first she is furious with Rani, thinking her mother must have cheated and had a baby with someone else, because that is the logical solution. Rani is torn up about what to do, Baby makes a big scene at the engagement dinner when Rani gives a speech about how much she loves her husband and Baby calls her a lier, Salman slaps Baby for the first time in her life when she insults her mother, and finally tells her the truth, that Salman is her father but her biological mother is a woman she has never met who used to be a prostitute.
Baby is conflicted and confused. She calls off the wedding, even though her fiance says he doesn’t care, because she feels like she has to figure this out for herself. Finally, she decides what she really needs is to meet her other mother. She tells her parents this, ready for them to object, but they surprise her by supporting her decision, admitting that they always felt like they cheated Preity by not letting her see how wonderful her daughter turned out, and cheated Baby by not letting her meet her other mother who was a truly good person. Salman and Rani and Baby start traveling, looking for Preity.
(Reprise! But this time Rani and Salman and their daughter)
We finally get to see Preity through flashbacks as other people talk about her. She stayed at a woman’s hostel at first, then got a job as a secretary at an ad agency, which she was terrible at but everyone at the office liked her and helped her. Eventually she was promoted to write ads because she had such a unique voice. Her boss really liked her and proposed, but she gently turned him down, saying that she was already married although she couldn’t live with her husband. After 5 years at the ad agency, she was given the account of an NGO that worked with former sex workers and after suffering through a lot of ill informed ugly humor in the office, stood up and gave an impassioned speech admitting that she used to be a sex worker, that these women are human and deserve a better life. Everyone was impressed by her speech, but she still left the job, choosing instead to work full time with the NGO. Which brings them to the present day, they find Preity in the hills of Shimla, running a rescue home for child sex workers, staffed by former adult sex workers. She uses her marketing abilities from her years at the ad agency to help raise funds. Baby goes to meet her, not sure what to say, and Preity assumes she is a new potential resident, too embarrassed to talk directly. To help her with her presumed embarrassment, Preity sympathetically tells Baby her own story, how she worked in the sex industry until a nice man and his wife took her away from that and in return she gave them the best thing in her life, her baby. Baby, in tears, admits that she was that child.
And then there is the final part of the plot. Baby and Preity and Salman and Rani bond and everything is wonderful in Shimla. But then they return home with Preity for the wedding and Baby is firm about introducing her as who she really is instead of pretending she is just an “old friend of the family”. The fiance’s family is furious and threatens to break the marriage, Preity is ashamed and upset and tries to leave as she did at the end of the first film, to just disappear from their lives so they can be happy. But this time they don’t let her leave, Baby and Salman and Rani track her down and Baby gives a big speech with her parents supporting her about how she doesn’t want to get married if all 3 of her parents can’t be there, and if her fiance can’t understand that, then he isn’t worth marrying. They return home together to find the fiance waiting, he says that he has been in love with Baby his entire life, he knows her better than anyone else alive and she knows him, and nothing will ever change that. He told his parents that he is getting married in a week and he hopes they will be there, but he is getting married whether they are there or not. Not to worry, it was a false ultimatum, he knows they will come around. And, wedding! Baby gets married with Preity smiling and blessing her in the background. HAPPY ENDING.