This is fun! I put up a discussion question about least favorite cliches, and I am going to use them as a jumping off point and see if I can make an entire film including all the cliches, but fixed.
Sonam and Prabhas in a Farmboy and Fashion Girl Romance
Prabhas is Sonam’s southern sort-off cousin, Sonam’s Mom grew up in Andhra Pradash running in and out of the house next door where her uncle’s wife’s family lived. The two households just sort of mixed together and all called each other “cousin”. And then Sonam’s Mom (let’s say Tabu) married a Punjabi, Prabhas grew up at the southern farmhouse in the country while grew up Sonam moved to Delhi. After the big joyous household Tabu grew up in, everyone else has drifted away to life in cities or overseas, her family home was sold, but she wanted Sonam to have a sense of where she came from and so she sent her back to stay at her “aunt’s” house next door every summer. Sonam is the only one sent back every year and Prabhas is the only one still at home, his mother moved back home after her husband died and raised Prabhas there. Every summer they found a way to get along out of pure boredom, Prabhas would let her give him make overs with her toy make-up kit, and in return she would put up with helping him with field hockey practice. Now, Prabhas is a part time field hockey player, and full time farmer down south. He hates to shower, he hates to put on nice clothes, all he wants to do is bum around playing hockey and then go home and plow the fields. Meanwhile Sonam is a very organized and successful stylist to the stars in Bombay. She loves her perfect pretty clothes and perfect make-up and spending her free time watching sappy movies and sharing gossip with her girlfriends and generally being girly. She and Prabhas are still friends in a sort of casual “skyping now and then” way. We see her call him to nag him about getting his mother (let’s say Revathy) something nice for her birthday, and remind him to put on a clean shirt before his interview about his field hockey game, and he just patiently listens.
(Prabhas, shy farm boy. Perfect, right?)
And then Sonam’s life falls apart. One of her celebrity customers wears a dress she picked out and it has a “wardrobe malfunction”. Everyone is blaming her, she tries to brave it out, but everyone is calling up for quotes and her client (Swara Bhaskar playing herself) is furious and tells her that her career is over and she is blaming her for everything. Sonam finally can’t handle it and tells her gay best friend “I just wish I could go away somewhere that has no internet or cell phones or anything else and no one could find me” and suddenly goes IDEA! And next thing we see is her determinedly lugging five perfectly matched pink suitcases across a field as Prabhas watches her, bemused, from his perch on top of a tractor.
Prabhas lets her stay, but warns her that his Mom is off visiting her sister overseas, so the house is in bachelor’s quarters state. She determinedly cleans up her old room and makes it pretty again with pink pillows and photos stuck on he wall and stuff. She tries to explain to Prabhas why she is there, but when she shows him the pictures of Swara, his reaction is a confused “but, she showed more than that in her last movie, why does she care if the dress fell down?” which is not helpful and just irritates Sonam more than before. They manage to live together, Prabhas has his own life, works in the fields and then goes off with his friends to play hockey. He politely asks Sonam to come along, trying to be a good host, but she turns him down and instead focuses on making over the house. She also tries to get the cook to make healthy light meals with less oil, and nags Prabhas until he agrees to bath at least once a day, before having dinner with her in the dining room (instead of in front of the TV).
(Just realized, this is kind of the same as I Hate Luv Storys so far. But I promise a twist is coming!)
After they have reached some version of peace, out of nowhere a car arrives, it is a reporter and Swara, there to surprise Sonam. They let her have it, spin this whole tale of how she was paid off by Swara’s rivals to destroy her, make her out to be this big horrible villain. Obviously it is a story to save face for Swara and she doesn’t care what it does to Sonam. Sonam tries to defend herself but gets more and more confused and lost and sputtering. Prabhas has been watching from a distance this whole time, seeing the cameraman and the reporter and Swara all talking at Sonam and seeing her get more and more upset. And then finally Swara shoves her, and Sonam falls back, and Prabhas leaps off the tractor and strides over and picks Swara up and dumps her in the mud of the newly plowed field. Swara is stunned and sputtering, the reporter turns to the cameraman and asks “did you get that?”, the cameraman nods and Prabhas reaches out and yanks the camera away from him and throws it in the field too, and then when the reporter threatens to call the police, he asks her if she wants to go in the field too until she learns some manners. The reporter, cameraman, and Swara retreat. And Prabhas goes over to Sonam, who has been watching this all stunned, and sweeps her up in his arms and carries her inside to set her on her bed and tuck her in and then stride out.
So now, of course, Sonam is in love. But she has to figure out how to get Prabhas to notice her. She wears her prettiest sari and puts on make-up and flowers in her hair and everything, and he just asks her to help give his car a push out of the ditch, doesn’t even notice how she is dressed. So Sonam goes a different route, she does research, pulls aside his friends to ask about his old girlfriends, and peppers him with questions at the dinner table. And learns through all of this that his type is more of a tomboy, someone who doesn’t wear make-up or care about clothes, who loves to get dirty and shares his interests and so on. So Sonam decides to make herself over to be what he wants. She finds an old t-shirt and rubs it in the dirt until it is dirty enough, rips holes in her jeans, digs out her gym shows and beats them up, and then goes out without make-up and her hair in a ponytail and tells Prabhas that yes, she DOES want to go to his hockey game! Prabhas agrees after he takes a minute to process it. Sonam goes and, of course, hates it. But keeps smiling through, laughing off every fall and stain and scrap, and then volunteering to go off for the party after the game where she manages to charm all his friends in a burping contest. Prabhas just sort of watches. Until they are alone after returning home, and Prabhas calmly asks her “what was that? why did you act like that? that wasn’t the real you and you were unhappy the whole time,” Sonam responds, “didn’t you like it? I thought that was the kind of girl you liked.” And Prabhas says, “no, I hated it.” Sonam manages to control her tears, holds herself together long enough to run off to her room.
(See??? It’s the make over trope, but flipped twice. First that she has to go girly to tomboy, and second that the guy doesn’t like it at all)
By the next day she is all brittle and sure of herself, make-up back on, bags already packed, she writes out a whole long note for the cook about the diet she put Prabhas on, and then waits for Prabhas to stumble out of his bedroom and rapidly runs through a prepared speech, that she is grateful to him for letting her stay but she is ready to go home now, back to her real life. Prabhas just says “Okay” and lets her leave. INTERVAL
Back in Bombay, Sonam picks up her life and discovers that she can’t stop thinking of Prabhas. And then he appears! He pops up at her office to ask for help, his mother told him to come to her because his field hockey career is taking off (I don’t know, he’s on the national team? Something sporty) and he needs help in what to wear and how to present himself on camera. Sonam can’t come up with a good reason to say no, so she is stuck with him.
Prabhas is a bit of a fish out of water, isn’t comfortable in suits or at fancy parties. But he is also very tall and handsome and Sonam gives him tips on how to just stand and look interested, and soon enough he has women falling all over him. But he doesn’t seem interested in them. Swara shows up at one party, Sonam rolls her eyes at her and ignores her, Prabhas just stands there, she comes over to him and asks to speak in private. And then tells him that after he threw her in the mud, she changed, suddenly saw the error of her ways, and is so grateful to him, and now she loves him, just as he must love her. Prabhas just goes “what? No, I don’t like you. Why would I want to be with someone I don’t like? And why would I have thrown someone I liked in the mud? You lied and were mean to my cousin.” And then he walks away while Swara looks on in shock and says after him “But, I thought you were just taming me! I thought boys always liked the girls they have to fix!” Prabhas turns back to say “No, why would I want to like someone I need to fix? If I like someone, it is because of who she is already.” And Sonam, who was secretly listening, smiles as she suddenly thinks back to their conversations after her make over with a new understanding.
(At least the explanation is a simple “I already liked you and I didn’t want you to change”, not a complicated “I hated the make over because it reminded me of your dead mother who I also loved”)
Let’s see, I have to do one more cliche somehow before the happy ending. Oh! I have it! After that night, they have an “almost” love song, eyes almost meeting, hands almost touching, and so on. But the next morning before they can talk it out, Prabhas goes to practice and injures himself and may not be able to play on the team any more. He starts to drink even more, and disappear from Sonam’s apartment at night and she doesn’t know where he has been. He comes home drunk and starts reciting poetry to her, followed by remembering how wonderful it was when they were living together back in his house and she told him what to wear and what to eat and all of that, if only they could go back to that….should they just get married and she could take care of him forever? And Sonam listens to it all and then says, clearly sad to be saying it but also honest, that she wants more than that and deserves more than that. She doesn’t want to be the woman who saves him, she wants him to save himself first. She goes to spend the night at her gay best friend’s house, and the next day when she comes back, Prabhas is gone.
Everything would have ended there, except (thank goodness), the mother’s take a hand. Sonam comes home one day to discover her mother Tabu, and Prabhas’ mother Revathy, waiting to confront her. She stops them right away, says that she knows their plan, she finally sees that they have been throwing her and Prabhas together their whole lives, but it just didn’t work. He will never see her as any more than a convenient “cousin”, the back-up option when nothing else works. She never saw him as anything more than a friend until recently, and now she won’t be satisfied with being just his last choice wife, if he can’t marry his college girlfriend or be on the national hockey team, she wants and deserves more than that.
(I love Tabu. And she is totally capable of being the strong wise person who comes in to solve her daughter’s problems)
Tabu orders her to sit down and be quiet and listen, and not think she knows everything, children always think that and they are never right. And then Revathy starts to talk. She explains (and we see in flashback), that Sonam was never “just” a cousin. She didn’t realize it because she didn’t speak the language and Prabhas made sure no one ever told her, but Prabhas wasn’t calling her “cousin”, he was calling her the southern “traditional fiance” version of cousin. He fell in love with her over all those summers and told his mother that he would marry only her when he was 16 years old. He picked his college so he could be near her, he dated a girl the complete opposite to her because he wanted someone who wouldn’t remind him of her, someone he could just date and not want to marry. And for the past 5 years, he has been sitting at home refusing to even consider a proposal, telling his mother that Sonam would come to him without the family getting involved, and if she didn’t, he didn’t want anyone else. Maybe Prabhas wasn’t the most romantic person, and wasn’t that good at expressing himself, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel something. She isn’t his last choice, she is his first choice, his only choice. And the only reason he seemed broken and upset the past few weeks is because he was trying to get up the courage to propose, he felt like, maybe, she finally had started to see him as more than just a friend. But he took what she said to heart, he went home and worked on himself, he is ready to forget Sonam now rather than expect her to take care of him. He doesn’t know Revathy is here, it is something the mothers cooked up between themselves. Because they think this might just be all a misunderstanding, children thinking that the world is as confused and complicated as a movie, instead of being very simple. Sonam loves Prabhas, Prabhas loves Sonam, they don’t have to do anything or change anything or win anything, they just have to get married.
And so Prabhas comes home from the fields to find Sonam in the house with a dozen workman. While he is still trying to understand what is happening, she starts explaining to him that, if she is going to live here, they will need a high speed internet connection and a reliable phone line and a better electrical generator. Also, she’s going to see if they can do something about the road so she can easily get in and out and back to Bombay when she needs to. And she thought they might turn one of the rooms into a luxury guest room, so her clients can come here for special consultations. Like a little fashion retreat. Prabhas just listens to all of this until he finally understands what she is saying, and then reaches out and picks her up while she yells at him for getting dirt on her clothes, until he kisses her. All the workman applaud, Sonam is embarrassed but smiling, HAPPY ENDING.
(Kind of like the end of Fidaa, it all turns out perfectly once they get over the stupid misunderstandings)
And, over the end credits, we see their happy life together. Sonam still has her apartment in Bombay for work, sometimes Prabhas surprises her there. Back home, they have many clients come to stay (including Swara, who has now made up with both of them) and Sonam has turned the whole house into her vision of pink and gold and flowers, except for Prabhas’ one room that he can still go to in order to watch TV and be himself. They are still very different, Sonam still doesn’t enjoy watching Field Hockey, and Prabhas will never care about what clothes he is wearing, but it doesn’t matter, because they like each other and get along.