More suggestions from you! Suggestions that also turned into reading recommendations for me, fun fun! Oh, and plot ideas for movies I really want to see made, whether the stories are translated out of the sci-fi realm or not.
Male Officer Betrayed By His Own Troops and Female Enemy Soldier Work Together and Fall in Love, Shahrukh and Tabu
(from datablue, the Lois Bujold books about Cordelia and Aral Vorkisigan)
I don’t want to spoil too much of the original books, because I am DEFINITELY going to be reading them, but from the 3 sentence description I can read without spoilers, our heroine is a soldier with a small group, and our hero is an older war hero, with a fierce reputation, and her enemy. But in a remote territory he is betrayed by his own men after taking her prisoner, the two of them end up on the run together and she slowly comes to see that he is a decent man underneath all the legends and they fall in love despite being on opposing sides. Oh, and he is supposed to be 44, of average height and looks but with great presence, and immune to love after a youthful failed marriage. So, Shahrukh.
In my version, instead of it being an interplanetary war and them trapped on a desert planet, I would say they are in Kashmir. She (Tabu) is a leader of a non-violent Kashmiri secessionist group. They are arrested stealing medical supplies from the army base to give to the civilian hospital. Shahrukh is the big bad officer who is in charge of this base and many others in the region. He is there on a tour of inspection and discovers the abuses the soldiers here are carrying out. He is furious, but the local officer is so corrupt and terrified of punishment that he throws Shahrukh in the cells and tells him they will arrange his death the next day. Shahrukh and Tabu end up escaping together, he takes her prisoner and promises that as soon as they reach the next army post, he will hand her over to the guards again. But then they fall in love.
In the second half (again, following the three sentence plot of the book with some alterations), Shahrukh and Tabu are back in Delhi. His father (Amitabh) greets her warmly despite her background because he is just happy his son fell in love. But there is tension because most of the army people don’t like this Kashmiri activist around. Plus, she grew up hating the army and is having a hard time adjusting. She starts to feel like she has found her place when she and Shahrukh decide to adopt a little boy who was crippled in a bomb blast. Until Shahrukh has to go off on a mission again, Tabu and the boy are alone in the house with Amitabh, and Amitabh turns increasingly aggressive towards the boy, not wanting a grandson who is a cripple and can’t join the army. Tabu catches him abusing the boy, tells him off, and takes the child and leaves. They go to the house of a fellow army wife, and Tabu finally feels like she has been accepted by the community. Shahrukh comes home, finds out what happpened, tells Amitabh off, and then brings Tabu and their son back home, with Amitabh sent off to live with his other son.
Common Bombay Rickshawalla Falls For Mysterious Woman Escaping from Laboratory, Dhanush and Aditi Rao Hydari
(From Emily, The Fifth Element)
The original, if you haven’t seen it, is set in the future with Bruce Willis as a wise-cracking cab driver. Milla Jovovich, a mysterious woman, falls to earth and into his cab. Eventually it turns out that she is the “fifth element” needed for a world ending/saving kind of experiment. Wise scientists and evil scientists are both looking for her, but Bruce just sees her as a person. She is odd and doesn’t understand clothes or language or food, but Bruce comes to care for her. Also, caught up in the adventure is a wacky celebrity comic relief who doesn’t fully understand what is happening but is doing his best. In the end, Milla has to save the world but isn’t sure that she wants to after having seen all the bad things people do. Bruce kisses her and confesses his love, and it gives her the power to save the world.
So, let’s change this a little little bit. Get rid of the future part of it, set it in the present day. Dhanush is an average cab driver, loves his cab and loves his mother and is looking for a girl to marry but no one will have him because he is too skinny. One day his cab breaks down in front of a mysterious scientific laboratory. While he is fixing it, a woman runs out and jumps in the cab, Aditi. He doesn’t notice until he is back at his apartment, she isn’t wearing any clothes and he is embarrassed and gives her his jacket and takes her inside. Tries to find out her name, but she doesn’t seem to understand him. Let’s her stay in his apartment. While he is trying to figure out who she is and where she came from, Evil People are searching for her and also Good People. It all turns into a series of action scenes where, of course, Dhanush reveals his surprising strength and fighting ability (turns out he left his village after getting into a bunch of fights and overthrowing the evil landlord).
(She has a kind of strange other worldly affect already, right?)
In the end it comes out that Aditi was a young girl who spent her whole life in a coma. They were trying to transplant the brain of a dying wife of a millionaire into her head, when they woke her up instead somehow. She ran away, and Dhanush found her. She is captured again and they start the procedure over again while Dhanush tries to save her, but it looks like he will be too late. Until the millionaire’s wife opens her eyes and sees Dhanush sobbing, and then gathers her strength to forbid her husband from doing the operation, begs him to let her die, because what good will it do if she lives and this other young woman dies and this other young man is miserable? Aditi is saved, only now she is back in the coma. Dhanush pleads with her to wake up, finally kissing her. Which wakes her up, she opens her eyes and says “I dreamed of you”. Happy Ending.
Mystical Psychic Connection Dream Love Story Between Gypsy Woman and Army Officer
(from Procrastinatrix, Ylla from The Martian Chronicles)
Again, without spoiling anything, I can give you the couple sentence set-up for the story. A married Martian woman starts having romantic dreams about an approaching Earth astronaut, while the astronaut also senses her but is less used to dream visions.
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. The wife is just a regular member of the community, not the chief mystic or anything. The Chief Mystic prophet has warned them that the army will be coming sometime this season, they should welcome them peacefully and treat them well and send them on their way or else bad things will happen. The community accepts this just as much as they accept warnings about floods or fires.
But separately from the major specific visions, it is accepted that all the women might have lessor visions. Discussion of a woman knowing she will have a baby within the year, another woman dreaming that her son will get married, and so on. So when our heroine starts having visions of a man she doesn’t know, dream conversations with him and fantasies, she knows it is more than just dreams. Meanwhile, our hero is the modern perfect young officer, traveling with his troupes, not thinking of anything beyond his orders and his men around him. When he is surprised by strange dreams. He tries to describe them to his friend and fellow officer, who tells him they are just dreams and to forget them. But they disturb him, especially when he starts to dream of the woman telling him that she is afraid of her husband, she thinks he might be jealous of them.
In the village, the heroine is increasingly worried about what to do. Her husband is acting oddly, he’s aware she is having strange dreams of another man, his friends are teasing him about it, and she is getting advice from the women to just forget those dreams. She goes to the Chief Mystic for help and is told that what she chooses to do about the dreams could save their village or destroy it. She tries to say good-bye to her dream lover, but he refuses to let her go, tells her she is in danger and he will find her. She starts taking a drug her husband bought off a wandering merchant, a sleeping pill that stops the dreams.
In the army, the soldier is increasingly obsessed with figuring out where she is, especially after the dreams end. He sends out scouts and questions them and uses clues from their dream meeting places (a river, by a hill, etc.) to figure out where her village must be and when they are getting close. His fellow officers and men think he is mad and threaten mutiny but he manages to hold them off.
(Not a dreamscape like this, because I hate this.)
It all comes to a head when the soldier’s men reach the outskirts of the village and reveal they were just waiting for a good moment, they are mutineeing and attacking the village, they overheard him talking and know there is an “enemy” there and the soldier h isn’t going to attack just because he has hallucinated some woman. The soldier protests, tries to explain that it isn’t a real enemy, but the men think he has turned traitor and the situation becomes more and more heated. Meanwhile, back in the village, the wife is agonized, feeling more and more broken-hearted without her dreams. She and her husband are fighting and finally he hits her and tries to force her to take the pills. She fights him off and in the emotional moment suddenly flashes to the soldier, seeing him on the hill outside the town about to be killed by his men. She rushes to save him, but is too late, he is shot as she watches. And then she wakes up. It’s the middle of the night, none of this has happened yet.
The next day, the soldier reaches the outskirts of the town, and his men mutiny as before. But as he is trying to explain to them, suddenly several women, and children. The soldiers are confused, the women and children offer them food and gifts and smile at them. The situation is diffused. The soldiers are taken to the village for the night, everything is happy and peaceful, but the soldier keeps looking for the wife and not seeing her. He looks for her in his dreams that night and can’t find her in any of their regular dream meeting places. The next morning they leave the village, and the soldier leaves behind a gift, his army class ring, with the Chief Mystic, saying it is for “her”, if she ever comes looking for him. They ride out, and stop for a 15 minute break a few hours down the road. The soldier goes off by himself and suddenly finds himself at the river bed where he met the wife in his dreams. She is there waiting for him. He asks her “is this a dream?” She says “no” and shows that she is wearing his ring. Leaving it to the audience to fill in that, as her husband threatened, she was thrown out of the village for falling in love with an outsider, but was somehow able to get his gift and has been waiting for him. HAPPY (sort of) ENDING.
Oh, and I am torn about casting for this one. I like the idea of both of them being really young, feeling the struggle with responsibility and youthful confidence from the army officer, and the young wife who is barely used to being married and already dreaming of another man. Sid and Alia might be really good together in that version, him as the recent graduate officer surprised by dreams, and her as the very young wife struggling with her feelings. And maybe Rajkummar Rao as the husband.
But then the other possibility is him as a tired experienced officer who thought he had already seen everything, and her as a longterm wife settled into a comfortable marriage. In that case, maybe Madhuri as the wife and Shahrukh as the officer. And Nawazuddin as the husband. What do you think?