Lazy Tuesday Discussion Post: Recasting Favorite Sci-Fi Books with Indian Actors

I thought the long Shahrukh interview post would give us plenty to talk about, but there aren’t that many comments over there.  From which I can only assume, no one loves Shahrukh any more.  I am sure he is desperately refreshing the page thinking “surely SOMEONE has something to say about me!  Surely it can’t be that no one is interested any more?”  Anyway, since you all find Shahrukh boring, I will bring up a new topic for us to talk about.

Book Adaptations!!!!  Joyomama suggested Shahrukh in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Zaphod Beeblebrox which is so perfect it simply MUST happen.  See, if you haven’t read the books (and why not?  Get you to them!  They are perfection!), Zaphod is the president of the galaxy, an insanely popular celebrity who ran for office and won based on his fame and popularity, but is also so charismatic and brilliant that he can’t always even understand his own plans.  He sets in motion a whole plan, also seduces an intelligent odd earth woman, and rescues the hapless protagonist and his sarcastic alien friend when earth is destroyed.

I would add on Ayushmann Sharma as the hapless earthling, Kalki as the intelligent earth woman, and Irrfan Khan as the sarcastic alien friend.

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Zaphod Beeblebrox)


Procrastinatrix has many times suggested Shahrukh as Commander Vines in the Night Guard in the Terry Pratchett books.  Having just started my very first Night Guard book, I agree completely.  Drunk, sarcastic, and tends to get in trouble for saying things that are a little too smart and honest for other people to be comfortable with.  And also, although he tries to resist the urge, ultimately honest and caring and wanting to do the right thing for his people.

Image result for shahrukh jhms

(Harry is a very Commander Vines kind of person.  But younger and with a little more hope)


Now, I know that people don’t care about Shahrukh any more, so I will give some additional adaptation options.  How about Prabhas and Aditi Rao Hydari in a grown-up version of A Wrinkle in Time?  I think Prabhas as the surprisingly thoughtful and understanding and natural leader basketball star, and Aditi as the smart girl who is pretty in a way most people don’t notice would be a good match.

Image result for prabhas

(College basketball star who wears his popularity lightly, Aditi is the grad student who huddles within modest saris and salwars and big unattractive glasses, Aditi’s father figure/adviser mysterious disappears, and while she is talking with Prabhas who is being surprisingly nice and understanding, they are whisked away on an adventure to rescue him)



Not technically a book, but what about Dulquer Nivin and Tovino in Star Trek as Kirk, Spock, and McCoy?  Dulquer is the cocky overly confident leader, Nivin is the outsider struggling to relate and understand emotions, and Tovino is the empathetic one who yells at the other two when they aren’t considering feelings.

Image result for dulquer nivin pauly

(Confident Kirk, shy Spock.  In the future, Kerala has it’s first all-Malayali speaking space exploration vessel, continuing the tradition of exploration and cultural openness that goes back thousands of years.  Spock is an alien who has learned Malayalam and is given a place on the vessel, but resented by others.  Dulquer is the confident understanding captain who befriends him)



And of course, Aamir as Superman/Clark Kent.  With Anushka as Lois Lane.  Essentially, PK but interesting.

Image result for aamir khan glasses

(Clark Kent!!!!)


9 thoughts on “Lazy Tuesday Discussion Post: Recasting Favorite Sci-Fi Books with Indian Actors

  1. I care about Shah Rukh, but you knew that. I finally commented on the interview. Work making me work again. Harrumph! You also suggested Amitabh as Marvin in Hitchhiker’s Guide. Perfect!

    I like the Star Trek idea a lot. I’d love a gentler and more idealistic re-boot. More in the spirit of the original series.

    The story that came to my mind first is “Ylla” from The Martian Chronicles. The summary from Wikipedia (without the ending spoiler on Wiki) is: “The following chapter, “Ylla”, moves the story to Mars, describing the Martians as having brown skin, yellow eyes, and russet hair. Ylla, a Martian woman trapped in an unromantic marriage, dreams of the coming astronauts through telepathy. Her husband, though he pretends to deny the reality of the dreams, becomes bitterly jealous, sensing his wife’s inchoate romantic feelings for one of the astronauts.” I haven’t read it for years and years, but remember it being very poignant with the wife’s longing, her longing being met by a similar but alien longing, and a bit scary as the husband’s mood darkens.

    I don’t have any good ideas for casting, though. She has to be mature but ethereal, sad but not overly dramatic about it; husband has to be mature and complacent, but with a seething rage that surfaces when his wife changes for reasons he can’t understand; dream lover astronaut has to be universally appealing (see what I did there?).


    • Fawad/Mahira as the Martians? Tying into the “alien race” idea? And they generally have a kind of sensitive and ethereal vibe anyway. And then maybe Maddy as the astronaut (if not Shahrukh).

      I could see a really good non-sci fi, or at least different sci-fi, version. Something like a remote village of mystics, and an Indian army troop that is moving towards them as part of border maneuvers. The community accepts the possibility of visions and dreams and so on, and the wife dreams of the approaching soldier at the same time that he dreams of her. In that version, I might want someone impossibly young and confident and clean cut, the ideal modern soldier type, like Sid or Sushant Singh Rajput or John Abraham. And for the woman, maybe Kiara Advani or someone with a similarly calm classic kind of beauty, the kind that would look right in an antique style embroidered sari and heavy silver jewelry. And for the husband, Irrfan. Oh! If we go older, Tabu and Shahrukh and Irrfan would be a fascinating triangle.

      On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 4:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I like Fawad/Mahira/Maddy. I started off with Tabu and Irrfan as the Martians, but I can’t see Shah Rukh as an astronaut (I know, funny in light of Swades and Salute). But they could totally work in your Earth setting version!

        I think the reason this story popped into my head is because Hindi movies are so good at these longing across class and culture divides, and quiet longing within long term marriages that can erupt in all sorts of ways. Sort of like if Veer and Zaara dreamed about each other first instead of meeting on her journey away from home.


  2. I was about to comment that you left out my favorite Hitchhiker casting, Amitabh as Marvin. I am dying to hear all of his dialogues in that great voice, and in HIndi!! “Life…don’t talk to me about life.” “Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they tell me to take you up to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? ‘Cos I don’t.”

    For those unfamiliar with Marvin:


    • Amitabh has the perfect voice for it, and also the perfect dry wit. Sometimes he can go a bit overboard, but with the right director to rein him in (Farhan?) he can be perfectly dry in his delivery.


  3. The Fifth Element could be great as a Hindi remake. What do you think? Ranveer as Bruce Willis, Deepika as Milla Jovovich, Nawazuddin as Gary Oldman, Johnny Lever as Chris Rock.

    I’m sure there are better casting options, my brain is tired!


    • Yes! Only the hero has to be someone who actually feels like a cab driver. I don’t think Ranveer can pull it off. Rajkummar could, but he can’t do the action hero stuff. Maybe Akshay? Except he’s a little old. Ajay Devgan? And Kangana would be great as Milla Jovovich. Nawazuddin as Gary Oldman, and maybe Ranveer as Chris Rock? Just to be weird and in there?

      On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 11:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  4. Shahrukh would make a perfect Aral Vorkosigan from Lois Mcmaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. It would fit his age too. For Aral is in his early forties when he meets the love of his life Cordelia literally at gunpoint -their respective planets are at war. Kajol would be perfect as no-nonsense modern Cordelia who scoffs at all the unnecessary protocols and traditions at his home planet. And she’s the only one who can see the noble man behind the moniker of “Butcher of Komarr”. Amitabh would be perfect as Aral/Shahrukh’s father, the old General Piotr Vorkosigan, who had given up hopes of his son remarrying after a disastrous arranged first marriage.He’s so happy that he’d welcome a foreign bahu.There would be an epic K3G style confrontation when Shahrukh discovers that Amitabh is trying to kill his crippled grandson.


    • OMG, I HAVE to read these books!!!!!! I may need to take a Terry Pratchett break. I got a few sentences into the wiki synopsis and stopped reading so I wouldn’t spoil myself. Although I did find this description of the hero ” Aral is described as being below average height, stocky and not particularly handsome, but projecting an aura of power and authority.”

      You are right, it’s perfect.

      And could easily be un-sci-fied, as needed. Set it in Kashmir, have her be part of a rebel group (not super violent, but more peaceful protester types), have him be the powerful son of a politician and noble soldier with a bad reputation, and so on and so forth.

      I was going to say it would be unrealistic to set it between Pakistan and India, but then, this is the plot of Ek Tha Tiger, right? So you could also put it in Kashmir and make them both soldiers who get lost in a storm or something, she is Pakistani and he is Indian, they fall in love against all odds, she gives up her country to go be with him although it hurts her, and so on and so forth.

      On Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 8:35 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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