You understand that I mean “gay” as a genre, not an insult, right? Kind of horrible that I have to make that clarification. There used to be a movie store in the gay neighborhood of my city that had a series of shelves called “Neighborhood Favorites”. Which was their little pseudonym for movies with same sex romantic plot lines. So maybe I should say that instead, all the Khans, plus Amitabh, should be in “neighborhood favorite” movies.
Now, your first instinct is naturally to have Salman and Aamir be long time partners, Aamir dies, Salman (heartbroken), slowly moves on to Shahrukh, following the advice of wise fellow widower Amitabh. Basically Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha, but better, because Shahrukh. But that is not the best use of our Superstar resources, I feel. We should spread the wealth around, enjoy this opportunity to create new jodis and highlight less famous actors.
So, let’s give them each their own film! Starting with Amitabh.
Amitabh is so dignified, so classy, that his romance obviously has to be the same. Not a sexy romance (the only one on this list not to be sexy, don’t worry). Let’s say that he is an older man, beloved by his grandnieces and nephews. But he has a hidden loneliness inside, so locked in by his position and his dignity that he has forgotten how to live.
Until one day, on his regular morning walk through the park, a stranger calls out, asking him to grab his run away dogs. Amitabh obliges, then tries to continue his walk, but the stranger insists on walking with him, and starting a conversation, no matter how much Amitabh tries to walk away.
In the end, the stranger convinces Amitabh to come with him on a series of errands, and then takes him out for ice cream, and slowly Amitabh starts to loosen up a little. By the time he has run through a crowded shopping mall calling out “Baby! Baby!” (the name of the dog), he is a new man. He almost wants to keep going at the end of the day, asking if there is anything else they need to do, but his new friend gently says good-bye, but also puts his hand softly on Amitabh’s cheek and says “you should smile more. You look very handsome when you smile”. And for just a moment their eyes meet and there is a tingle (okay, so it is a little sexy) (also, G!). Oh, and the stranger is of course Anupum Kher.
Amitabh hangs around the park, looking for his new friend, the next morning. He is sad and just about to leave, when Anupum appears! Happiness! And happy montage. They talk, they laugh, etc. etc.
No real conflict for the rest of the film. Just little fights and then they make up and are closer. Amitabh gets jealous of seeing Anupum with another man (Randeep Hooda?), they talk it out, Anupum explains that he is too old to run around after younger men, Amitabh explains that all his other boyfriends cheated on him, which is why he stopped even trying years ago.
Anupum gets mad when Amitabh tries to pry into his own past, then apologizes, and reveals that he has never had a long term relationship, he would always be with people for a few years and then move on. But he has never felt anything like he feels for Amitabh before. And besides, he is getting too old to charm all those young men.
The finally have one big fight when Amitabh invites Anupum to meet his family, and Anupum shows up late and leaves early and just generally doesn’t seem comfortable. He finally admits that, for a man who never managed to acquire anything in his life but experiences, seeing Amitabh in his huge old house with his family all around him, it was just a little over-whelming. Amitabh admits that he always felt bad for what a boring life he had, with no experiences. And they decide to share, Anupum’s experiences with Amitabh’s stability. Happy Wedding Song! With Hijras (H!)
Does that work? Would Boman Irani or Rishi Kapoor be better than Anupum? Should I add more sexiness? A fumbling first kiss that turns tender? A shy honeymoon scene?
Khans!!!! I’ll go in order of age, so Aamir first.
Aamir likes to do crazy playing around with age and costuming and stuff, right? So let’s make this an epic 20 year style romance. Oh oh!!!!! LAMHE!!!!!!!!! YESSSS!!!!!!! Lamhe but same-sex! It’s PERFECT!!!! I am strongly tempted to make Anil play the Sridevi part, but I think he is just slightly too old for it now. Maybe Aamir as Sridevi? No, I think he should stay in the Anil role, that’s better. Let’s him play his age in the second half at least.
So, who can play Sridevi? Convincingly both a mature heartbroken man, and a bubbly in love young man? And the kind of person that Aamir would be obsessing over his whole life?
Oh man, RANVEER!!! He’s charming, right? Now, picture Ranveer in Lootera mode in the first half. Aamir, just graduated, only 21, arrives back at his ancestral Indian estate with his transexual nanny, Anupum Kher (T!). He meets the charming young man next door, about 5 years older than him, strangely dignified, but very loving to his widowed traditional mother (Aamir’s dead mother’s best friend from childhood), Sharmila Tagore. The two young men bond, Ranveer shows Aamir the glories of India, Aamir slowly begins to imagine a life there, living in the ancestral estate with Ranveer.
(Anupum is very very good at playing a woman)
But then! Sharmila dies, Aamir is a rock who helps Ranveer through his grief. Until, at the funeral, Arjun Rampal shows up! NOOOO! Ranveer never loved Aamir, Aamir was just a friend who helped distract him from his broken heart because he couldn’t be with Arjun. Sad! But, Aamir hides his feelings, stands in as Ranveer’s family and gets them married, and wishes them well. And then closes up the family home and returns to London, planning never to return.
(anyone would have chemistry with this man)
Meanwhile, back in India, Ranveer and Arjun are glorious happy. And pregnant! Well, their surrogate is pregnant. The baby is born, but after a brief period of joy, Ranveer and Arjun die in a car accident. Sad! Guardianship of the baby is given to Aamir, who sends Anupum back to India to raise the baby in the family home.
20 years later, Aamir has a mustache. And Ranveer 2 is all grown up. He’s been to college and stuff (and it is implied he has left some broken hearts behind him in a carefree young man way). And now Aamir has returned for the annual death anniversary and, for the first time, meets Ranveer 2.
Ranveer 2 looks just like Ranveer 1, but completely different personality. Ranveer 1 was serious and slightly broken hearted. Ranveer 2 is happy and full of energy. And also where tight jeans and tight shirts, while Ranveer 1 dressed in Dhoti and other traditional clothing. Aamir is charmed, and also suddenly aware of his responsibilities to this young man. He invites Ranveer 2 back to London with him.
In London, Aamir’s best friend who promised to be with him until he was happy again (Juhi) is delighted with Ranveer 2 and they hit it off right away. Anupum is there two, and all 3 of them are cheerful and joyous and bring light into his cold formal home. His longtime boyfriend, Fawad Khan, is a little confused and concerned by all this, feeling like Aamir is slipping away from him. But he is also understanding, aware of Aamir’s heartbreak and internal struggles over moving on from Ranveer 1, and how Ranveer 2 might play a part in that.
(Okay, picture Juhi Chawla instead of this woman, and Ranveer instead of Shakun Batra, and you will have my whole cast)
Ranveer 2, meanwhile, has developed a huge crush on cool older sophisticated Aamir. And he finds a drawing Aamir did in his youth of Ranveer 1, with a groom’s veil over his face. Thinking it is of himself, Ranveer 2 makes a move on Aamir (after dressing up traditionally for the first time). Aamir rejects him and breaks his heart.
Ranveer 2 and Anupum go back to India, where Anupum wants to arrange Ranveer 2’s marriage. But Ranveer 2 refuses to marry if Aamir is unmarried. So Aamir agrees to marry Fawad. Only, Fawad backs out, says he doesn’t want to be second choice. Aamir travels to India to see Ranveer 2, learns he has NOT in fact gotten married, and they have a final confrontation at an old fort, and embrace. To return to London together.
(I know, that whole thing is just Lamhe with the casting changed, but whatever, it’s a good story!)
Is Ranveer good? Or would Ranbir be better? Or should Fawad be the hero? I have a little voice that says “Varun! Varun!”, but somehow I can’t picture him with Aamir.
And then, my treat for myself, Shahrukh!!!!
I hate the trope of the sad lonely old gay man. And I also hate the trope of the gay widower. But I really really hate it when Shahrukh doesn’t plan his own age. So how can I make this work?
Oh heck, let’s just make him a sexy player! Why not? 40 years old, never had a serious relationship, and happy with that.
Now, the other thing I hate is when Shahrukh’s love interest isn’t the same age as him. Also, he and Arjun Rampal have SMOKING CHEMISTRY, so it has to be Arjun. But I don’t want a sad widower, and I don’t want another aging player type. How about a guy who just hasn’t seen much purpose in romance? A kind of uptight type. Ooooo, I like it! He’s uptight, and Shahrukh has to seduce him and win him over. This I can work with! Or do I want Shahrukh to be the uptight one who is won over? I CAN’T DECIDE!!!! I think I am leaning slightly more towards Shahrukh as the seducer, but feel free to picture opposite casting if you wish.
Shahrukh is a hotshot Bombay lawyer. His introduction establishes him in a business suit and glasses being all formal and easily destroying his opponents in a business meeting. And then we go from there to him walking out of the building, casually taking off the glasses and replacing them with sunglasses. And then loosening his tie, taking off the jacket, getting in his convertible, and getting out at a nightclub, where he walks in and everyone knows him, bartender, go-go dancers, etc. He asks the bartender who the “pick of the night” is, and the bartender points out a guy nursing a drink at the end of the bar and ignoring all the other men who are making eyes at him. Let’s say, Siddharth? Or Ranveer? One of the young guys. Shahrukh strolls over to him, casually ignores him, orders the same drink. And then glances over, and says “[Cool guy pick-up line]” Siddharth/Ranveer is intrigued, but pretends not to be interested. Shahrukh leans in over his shoulder and puts his hand on his arm as he murmurs into his ear in a deep voice “[subtly sexy pick-up line]” Siddharth/Ranveer can’t help responding, his face showing that he is caught. Shahrukh gives a cocky smile, knowing he has him, and backs off a little bit. And song! Shahrukh does a whole kind of sexy nightclub number, making eye contact with Siddharth/Ranveer periodically to make sure he notices him. And then the song goes imperceptibly into the street, and then the bedroom.
(Like this, but with Shahrukh and Siddharth instead of Imran and some lady)
Until it is the next morning, and Shahrukh is casually making breakfast for a rumpled and still in last night’s clothes Siddharth/Ranveer. They have a friendly chat, Siddharth/Ranveer is getting married soon (to a woman), he’s clearly bi (B!), he’s been with men and women and his family has found him this nice fiance, but he wanted one more no strings night with a man before commitment. This has just confirmed for him that he is ready to get married. Shahrukh is surprised, a young attractive guy like that, why would he ever want to be tied down? Siddharth/Ranveer waxes rhapsodic about the meaningfulness of finding love and all that. Shahrukh looks skeptical.
Later that day, at his office, Shahrukh gets a surprise visit from his old friend/occasional lover John Abraham. Who is there to tell him he is getting married (which Shahrukh learns after he goes in for a kiss, and John gently pushes him away after a moment), and show photos of his fiance (Abhishek, duh). Again, Shahrukh is skeptical but intrigued at this idea of settling down, of finding one person you want to be with for the rest of your life.
(Meant to be!)
All of this is in his mind when he goes into his next appointment, with a dedicated scientist who wants to retain him for a class action lawsuit. It’s Arjun Rampal! With over grown hair, like he forgot to cut it, and glasses, and a frayed suit. And kind of hiding his pretty eyes behind his overgrown bangs.
Shahrukh is immediately struck, we can see the way he is checking him out, and distracted, and watching him from behind as he walks into the room. But Arjun doesn’t seem to notice, he is too shy and cerebral to pick up the hints Shahrukh is putting down. In fact, they seem to just make him nervous. He keeps trying to bring the conversation away from Shahrukh’s openings of “why don’t you take off your glasses and let me see your eyes?” to the file he has, proving pollution of a water source for several villages by his company. He has been waiting for an appointment with Shahrukh for months (Shahrukh “if I’d known it was you waiting, I would have gotten you in sooner [flirt flirt]”) and he is serious about using all his savings to hire Shahrukh to fight this case. Shahrukh, finally, takes the file and reads it seriously. And is shocked and horrified! Because he actually is a good lawyer who wants to do good for people.
And then romantic fighting a case together stuff! Starting with a late night stake out, which Shahrukh tries to make romantic, and even goes in for a kiss, but Arjun gets angry and says that he isn’t that kind of guy, he won’t kiss someone he just met. So instead it turns into talking about life. And then they have to go undercover at a club, which involves Shahrukh pulling off Arjun’s glasses and putting gel in his hair, and suddenly he goes from shy scientist to hottie! And then to cause a distraction while their associate steals a briefcase, Shahrukh has to get Arjun drunk and they do a sexy song. Which is a distraction because the bad businessman is, of course, homophobic and horrible and he is so infuriated by the sexiness that he doesn’t notice his suitcase being stolen.
(Like this, but without Priyanka, and with Arjun and Shahrukh instead of John and Abhishek)
It all comes to a head the night before the big case. They have both been changed by their time together, Arjun is more confident and more likely to speak out, Shahrukh is more thoughtful and happy to stay home and eat dinner while going over files with Arjun instead of clubbing. This final night, they are up late working again, Shahrukh reaches across Arjun to grab a file, sparks! He backs off, says “I’m sorry”, thinking back to that first failed kiss. Arjun says “Don’t be”, and reaches for him and gently grabs the back of his neck, and they have a sweet soft kiss. Arjun pulls back and looks a little shy, Shahrukh says “What?” Arjun says “It was so much better than a thought it would be” (Q! He was Q! And now isn’t). Shahrukh says, “Oh my sweet, it only gets better from here.”
Love song! Classy love song intercutting between the two men staring into each other’s eyes and holding each other in bed through the night, and the two of them singing to each other on mountain peaks. So we know what’s what. The next day, Arjun is leaving Shahrukh’s house, when Shahrukh calls him back, “Just one more thing”, Arjun comes back, Shahrukh gives him one more soft kiss and says “Only that.” Arjun smiles, Shahrukh smiles, love and happiness!
But then! Arjun is kidnapped! On his way to his office! Before he can grab his files for his testimony! Shahrukh is furious! Rushes to the police station, gives an impassioned angry plea, but the police won’t do anything, they ask him where they are supposed to find the men to storm the fortress of the corrupt businessman. Idea! Shahrukh pulls out his cell phone.
Final fight scene! After a sort of “Avengers Assemble!” moment of cell phones going off all over Bombay. Shahrukh has told all his casual lovers that he is in love, for real, for the first time, and he needs their help. Fight scene! John Abraham, Abhishek, Siddharth. Also, in cameo appearances, Varun Dhawan, Ranbir, Ranveer, basically all of the younger crowd. Some of them in drag (“T”! For transvestite, not transsexual, but still). They storm the conservative politician/businessman’s house, beat up his guards, with Shahrukh in the lead. Until Shahrukh fights his way through to the central room where Arjun is shirtless and being beaten. He drags off the guards, and gently holds shirtless beaten sweaty Arjun. He brushes the hair out of his face, Arjun smiles, and says “Sorry, the messed up that hair style you gave me”. Shahrukh smile/sobs and says “I like you anyway”.
Happy Ending Wedding Song! With Hijras. With all of the cameo appearance fighters from the last scene, plus Siddharth and his wife (people can be Bi too!).
I really feel this is pretty much the perfect movie. Unless we do that last minute casting change. Shahrukh as shy scientist slowly awakening and Arjun as sexy player type? Or someone else entirely besides Arjun? Sanjay Dutt? Ajay Devgn?
And Salman! Plus, something for the ladies. The only thing left is the “L”! Oh, and “A”.
It’s not that I don’t want Salman to play gay, it’s more that I just don’t find him interesting as a romantic lead. I like him a lot better as sort of a supportive best friend/father figure. So, the “A” (Ally) option is where I am going for Salman.
But this means there is room for the ladies! And when I think “best possible Lesbian couple casting”, two names leap to mind: Rani and Vidya!!!! Plus, I am already on record as loving the Rani-Salman friendship vibe for my fake casting. So I’m just gonna roll with all of that.
Salman and Rani are best friends. Rani has always been quick to fall in love, and it has never worked out. Since they were little kids, Salman has been her wingman, passing notes to her girlfriends and so on. But then it doesn’t work out, the girlfriends announce it was just “a phase” (“Q”!). Or that they are going overseas for work and not interested in a long distance thing. Or that it just doesn’t “feel right”. After a montage of all of this, with Salman’s voice over explaining that they were best friends but none of her other relationships ever seemed to work out, we are in the present day. Rani is calling Salman, drunk, after another break-up. Salman is trying not to pick up the phone, because he is in an important business meeting for his father’s company. Drunken Rani is yelling so load that it can be heard into his office. Until finally the person he is meeting with, confident businesswoman Vidya, just grabs the phone and says “whoever this is, your friend is very busy now, and I am hanging up on you.” Rani starts to abuse her, but gets cut off.
Salman finally goes over to check on Rani (in sunglasses, hungover, hiding in her apartment and eating junk food) later that day and we get backstory for them both through dialogue. Salman is a “good boy” who runs his father’s company and looks after his siblings and generally does everything right. Rani is a “bad girl” who is constantly dating different women and getting drunk and her whole life is a disaster. She is trying to be a writer, but she keeps losing jobs. After this latest disaster, in which her girlfriend was the boss’s daughter, she is both heartbroken and out of work. Because she quit since it would be too hard to keep going back to where she used to see “Her” everyday. She begs Salman for a job at his company, she could be his assistant! It would be fun! Salman resists and resists and resists, but finally gives in.
Meet cute! Vidya arrives for her follow-up appointment, Rani is all excited about this new job as assistant, and takes it very seriously. Salman told her not to let anyone into his office because he is meeting with “TJ Singh”. Of course, Rani doesn’t realize that “TJ” is Vidya. Vidya is furious, Rani is furious, Salman finally hears them arguing and comes out and takes Vidya in to his office. Vidya wants him to fire Rani, Rani wants him to stop working with Vidya, poor Salman is caught in the middle.
To get out of it, he decides to force both women to work together. Rani has a new assignment, helping Vidya with her project. At first, they hate each other. Vidya is all put together and organized, Rani is all dysfunctional. But then they spend more and more time together, including Rani covering for Vidya when she is late for a backers’ meeting, and Vidya pretending to be disorganized Rani who scheduled the meeting wrong when she arrives late. And they are both invited to Salman’s family Diwale celebration, where they end up doing a song together, with Rani pretending to be Ram and Vidya pretending to be Sita. And Salman humorously clunking around as Raavan.
(Kind of like this, but with Vidya and a Ram-Sita song)
What really makes a difference is later that night, when they are sitting around drinking together in disheveled saris in Vidya’s office, and Rani makes some comment about not knowing she could dance like that. And Vidya laughs and says she can dance all kinds of ways, in college she used to dance like this. And then she stands up and does a little sexy bit of “O lalala”, and Rani’s eyes kind of pop out, and you can see she is turned on. And a little in love.
Love song! They keep working together on the project, Rani doesn’t say anything to Vidya, but keeps following her with her eyes, and picking up a flower that fell from her hair, and generally being romantic and in love. Until it all comes crashing down! On the last day of the project, as Vidya is about to cut the ribbon and Rani is standing watching with her heart in her eyes, suddenly Lisa Haydon appears! In a sexy little dress, looking all perfect, and gives Vidya a big hug and a sexy kiss and says “Sorry I’m late sweetheart, flying in from the photo shoot in Milan was a nightmare. But I couldn’t miss your big day!” HEARTBREAK! Salman notices Rani’s face falling before she rushes away and looks concerned. INTERVAL
Post-interval, Salman has tracked down Rani in her apartment. Where she is just kind of looking at nothing. She tells him not to worry, she won’t be late for work, she isn’t going to get drunk or quit. He is worried, tells her she doesn’t have to keep working there, where she will see Vidya. Rani says it doesn’t matter, even if she isn’t there, she will always be thinking of her. Salman is very concerned, because this isn’t the usual break-up behavior. He decides to investigate more.
Salman the trickster! He maneuvers Vidya and Lisa into agreeing to have dinner with him. And then peppers them with questions, quickly figuring out the flaws in their relationship. Lisa is a jetsetting model who is almost never here, and even when she is, she wants to go out to parties and spend time with her modeling friends. Vidya is increasingly lonely, living in Bombay, but also not willing to give up her career to follow Lisa around. That’s why this project with Salman was so important, to prove she could be a success and have a reason for Lisa to move back to Bombay permanently. But now Lisa is putting it off.
(Lisa Haydon should show up for a fun cameo in every movie for all time so far as I am concerned)
Salman, cleverly, exacerbates the situation. There is also a club song for no particular reason. And he insists on Rani still assisting Vidya. He arranges for Lisa to be offered a great job overseas (again), knowing it will cause a massive fight. And then he sends Rani over to Vidya’s house late that night with files. Vidya is upset, takes the files, pours her heart out to Rani about how sometimes “you think you’ve found what you want, but you haven’t, and you think maybe no one will love you the way you want them to”. Rani starts to say something, then instead just reaches out and strokes Vidya’s cheek. Vidya looks surprised, for just a moment, and then reaches out and takes her hand, and leans forward and gently kisses her. The two women gaze at each other, suddenly seeing everything in each other’s eyes, and LOVE SONG! Mountain peaks, holding hands, hugging, laying in bed, etc.
But then there is a knock on the door! It’s Lisa! She rushes in, all apologetic, she turned down that job, all she wants is Vidya. NOOOOOO!!!!! Rani, embarrassed, scurries out. Lisa barely notices her, dismissing her as “that girl from the office”. Vidya tries to stop her, but she leaves too fast.
Cut to, Vidya calling Salman. We don’t hear what she says, but Salman says “Yes, I understand, I will arrange it.” Next thing we see is Salman firing Rani!!! NO!!! Salman says that they tried it, but she is just too emotional and unprofessional, always falling in love with the wrong person, he’s sorry, but he has to let her go. Rani takes it all in, like she doesn’t even really care any more, and then goes to sadly pack up her office. Vidya’s door is firmly closed.
Rani goes back to her apartment, opens the door, and it’s full of flowers! And Vidya is there, on her knees, with Salman smiling next to her! Vidya asks “will you marry me?” Rani looks stunned! Salman steps in to explain “I told her you would run away, quit, so we decided to fire you first. The job is there if you want it, but I am pretty sure the honeymoon will keep you busy for a while.” Vidya says, “That is, if there is a honeymoon. You still haven’t answered?” Rani pulls herself together enough to say “Yes! Of course, yes!”
And, happy wedding song! With Hijras. Which morphs into a happy honeymoon song, lots of tumbling beneath sheets, and shy glances exchanged and hands held under the table at dinner.
Again, a fairly perfect film. My one small moment of doubt is if I want to swap Lisa Haydon for Priyanka and imply that Priyanka and Salman get together at the end (Bisexual representation!). Or that Salman gets together with anyone at the end. Or maybe has been married all along?
Also, and this is just a general poll thing, I had a friend who suggested the best co-star for Aamir is, of course, Aamir. And I seriously considered writing it that way, Aamir in a double role with different make-up like Dhoom but sexy(er). But no, that’s just weird, right? She thought I chickened out, and I certainly could have written something like that if I wanted to, but kind of disturbing to read, yes?