Silly Sunday Quickie: Recasting/Writing of Stuff Only I Care About, Murder She Wrote, Terry Pratchett and Shahrukh Khan, and Mad Miss Manton

I put up a nice rerun post with all kinds of stories you should actually care about, so now I am going to be indulgent and put up a quick post with only things I care about.

Murder She Wrote

I may have already recast this/rewritten it, but I can’t resist doing it again.  In the original, our heroine is a widow and retired English teacher from a small town in Maine who becomes a bestselling murder mystery writer and then started traveling the world, solving murder mysteries where ever she went.  In my remake, Dimple Kapadia is a widow and former school teacher who lives in the same house she shared with her husband in a northern hill station.  She gets bored one day after her retirement from teaching at the local school, and sits down and writes a murder mystery.  Her enthusiastic loving nephew (Ranveer Singh) sends it in to a publisher and suddenly she is a bestselling author.  She still loves her little house in Shimla and her small town, but she also starts traveling all over India and the world publicizing her book and solving murders that coincidentally tend to happen where ever she goes.  She has a friendship/little romance with the local doctor back in Shimla (Rishi Kapoor) and a partnership of mutual respect and crime solving with the local police officer, Irrfan Khan, moved there from Delhi and struggling to acclimate to small town life.

I don’t know if anyone else would watch it (or read this entry), but I would love it!  Oh, and I want every slightly over the hill actor to pop-up for one off appearances as murderers/victims/wrongfully accused innocents.  Including a very special episode where Sunny Deol shows up as Dimple’s old flame.

 

Shahrukh Khan as Commander Vimes from Terry Pratchett

This is Procrastinatrix’s idea, not mind, but I want to see if I can expand on it a little.  In the original, Commander Vimes is a cynical intelligent moderately depressed and painfully dedicated to justice for all against his better judgement police officer.  He has a handsomer, more charismatic, more noble and perfect underling who he tolerates.  And he married in middle-age a very wealthy and old money woman who convinces him to stop drinking and generally tries to take care of him and who he cares for more than he will admit.

So, in my remake, it’s not in a fantastical kingdom but in a forgotten police district off in the hinterlands.  Shahrukh has been passed over and demoted and transferred over and over again because he keeps offending important people, even though he tells himself not to care and to look the either way.  Shahrukh arrives in town, planning to not make a fuss and just make it to retirement and then go off somewhere and live a simple life.  But his new lieutenant (Siddharth Malhotra) keeps quoting by the book laws at him and arresting people for forgotten crimes like littering until Shahrukh is irritated into action again and starts investigating a murder of the local prostitute (a widow with 3 small children who turned to sex work out of desperation and everyone would prefer to pretend she didn’t exist).  He discovers that the only person that seems to care about this widow and her children is Vidya Balan, the local owner of the Great House, she chose not to be married and stayed home with her father and since his death, has been running their farm alone.  Everyone thinks she is old and unattractive and odd, but Shahrukh is drawn to her kindness to the orphaned children, she shows up at the crime scene in her ancient car with her ancient driver and insists on taking the children home with her as her duty since there is no one else to care for them.  Shahrukh has to keep going around to her house to question the children about what they witnessed, there are more attempts on the children’s lives so he moves into the house in order to protect them and starts to soften at Vidya’s awkward/blunt advances (she keeps correcting him to call her by her first name, tries to make him food herself which is terrible but he eats it anyway, and stares at him a lot).  In the end it turns out that one of the children is the biological child of a dead dissolute son of a powerful politician, he was trying to take the child away from its siblings and mother, the mother fought back, and that’s why she died.  While Siddharth does the showy heroism outside, fighting off dozens of men, Shahrukh confronts the politician personally and “persuades” him to kill himself and leave a suicide note confessing all.  In the end, Vidya and Shahrukh awkwardly decide that, so long as they both feel an obligation to the three orphans, it makes the most sense for them to marry so they can raise the children together.

Image result for vidya balan

(I think she pull off very classy, strangely shy in romance but confident in doing her duty towards her people, and also older and larger built in a way that makes most men write her off while only the hero is intelligent enough to appreciate her)

 

The Mad Miss Manton

This was one of my favorite movies when I was little, and my sister hated it, so we would have a big fight every time I wanted to watch it.  Oh happy memories!  Anyway, I still like it and I think it would be great fun as a Hindi film remake.  Barbara Stanwyck is a flightly socialite who stumbles on a murder while walking her dogs at 3am.  She reports it to the police, who go back with her and can’t find the body where she left it.  The next day, Henry Fonda (young newspaper reporter) writes an editorial blaming her for wasting police time and being useless and spoiled and so on.  She goes to confront him and by the end of their first yelling match, he is in love and already proposing.  For the rest of the film, Barbara and her daffy gang of rich socialites try to prove the murder happened and find out who did it, while Henry Fonda keeps stumbling after them trying to protect Barbara and protest his love for her.  You see why I like it?  I wish it was more available, stupid Ted Turner and his strange reluctance to stream.

Anyway, remake!  This time our heroine is from the star kid/celebrity child community. Played by Ileana D’Cruz, because she is great at comedy. She dabbled in modeling and acting but was never really serious about anything.  Our hero (played by Irrfan? Aamir?Abhishek?  Imraan? Shahid Kapoor? Who can do wry humor and also sincerity?) works for one of those respectable online sources like The Quint and writes searing articles against nepotism and people who waste their lives and so on.  Our heroine comes back late from a party and goes out to walk her dog in the fancy restricted access area where she lives and stumbles on a murder.  Reports it to the police, they can’t find the body, our hero picks up the story the next day and writes a scathing article, our heroine is furious and goes to confront him, by the time she is halfway through her furious lecture he is already in love with her.  And then she and her friends (young star wives, starlets, models, and fellow celebrity children) go on their investigation.  And along the way the audience and the hero learn that they aren’t quite as useless as they appear, they are all generous loving members of their families, and busy sponsors of various charities, along with going out to parties and generally enjoying life (I’m not trying to redeem this social class in general, I just don’t think I could like a heroine who really has no other interests in life, so I am saying that she and her friends are like this).  Oh, and Pankaj Tripathi plays the over worked and over stressed police officer who has to deal with all of this.

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8 thoughts on “Silly Sunday Quickie: Recasting/Writing of Stuff Only I Care About, Murder She Wrote, Terry Pratchett and Shahrukh Khan, and Mad Miss Manton

  1. I LOVE both the two first re-writes, casting as all. Though I would miss some of the fantastical elements if Vimes and Sybill’s relationship (and Carrot’s and Angua’s!) were taken entirely into the real world. But the orphans can sub for the sickly dragons, I guess. 🙂

    Murder She Wrote–yes! Having watched half of Befikre (streaming here in Zimbabwe isn’t good enough and I don’t care enough to keep trying to finish it), I can confidently say that Ranveer would be perfect as a puppyish, over-attentive but sweet nephew. And Irrfan would be perfect as the somewhat detached cop who relies on Dimple, and also helps her out, occassionally. There’s a fun frisson between them but everyone knows that Rishi is her guy and vice versa. Love the “old flame” storyline with Sunny. This one would be so fun because, like Murder She Wrote, episodes could take place in so many different settings within India and different parts of society. Fun!

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      • I really love the third movie. And Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck were so good together, especially when he gets befuddled.

        On Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 10:07 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Fantastical always makes me a little nervous in movies, because if it goes wrong, it is really really wrong. But I love the idea of Shahrukh as a cynical cop who can’t help fighting injustice even when he knows it will hurt his career finally finding an assistant who is as truth obsessed as he (although it takes him a while to appreciate that) and a wife who sees him as a great dignified hero instead of a failed middle-aged cop who never shaves. Oh, and could Angua be a Hijra in this non-magical version? A gorgeous transsexual who wants to work at the police station, Siddharth talks them into hiring her because it is the right and legal thing to do, Shahrukh is grumpy about it until the Panchayat complain and then he is all for it just to stick it to the regressive old men. And she keeps waiting for someone to make fun of her or hurt her, but instead Sid respectfully asks her out to the pictures and begins a proper courtship. Obviously it would have to be a real Hijra in the role, so we would need to cast an unknown.

      And now I am torn as to whether I want this to happen in some back of the beyond village, or in the worst most forgotten district in Delhi where Vidya still lives in her family’s grand house left over from when it was a respectable area. I think I might like that better, it’s the red light district, this murder is supposed to be “just another prostitute” but Shahrukh is angry when he sees that she died protecting her children and is determined to solve the murder, and Vidya gets involved because the woman’s great aunt works for her and therefore Vidya feels an obligation when she hears through the servants what happened. Pays for the funeral, takes the children home, and so on. She is an odd woman that everyone in the area respects but doesn’t really know that well, surrounded by ancient servants she couldn’t possibly fire, and in fact does much of the housework herself which is why her clothes always look rumpled and the house is a disaster. Shahrukh assumes she is going to use the kids as child servants and goes over ready to protest, only to learn that she is paying their school fees and having them sleep in her bed while she takes the floor, and starts to fall in love with her good heart. Oh, and then Angua is hired as a neighborhood liason, a beautiful Hijra who worked as protection for a brothel, Shahrukh is against it until his superiors complain and then he is for it, and Sidharth acts weird around her and she thinks it is because he is uncomfortable, but really he has a crush on her and asks her out. Yes, I think that is good.

      And yes to Murder She Wrote! I also think Dimple and Rishi could handle the “are they like romantic, or just regular dates?” kind of vibe between Jessica and Seth. Maybe they regular spend the night together but have no interest in a second marriage for either of them. Or maybe they just like having someone to have dinner with and go to shows. Doesn’t matter, they are happy.

      On Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. My favourite as an Insian remake would be the Henry Fonda movie…I think, Abhishek would be a good match.
    Although I like the Murder she wrote series, I doubt that it would get a vast interest in India – even if done as a serie on Netflix. Or am I wrong?
    I am with Procastinatrix…I absolutely would like the magical setting.

    And what about an Indian Artemis Fowl????

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    • Indian Artemis Fowl would be so great! But you need all child actors, which is tricky.

      On Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 12:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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