Raajneeti, Sarkar, and the original film, I have been on a bit of a Godfather binge (I also rewatched 1 and 2 over the past couple days). So now the inevitable final step, writing my own version.
Salman as Sonny, Aamir as Michael, Shahrukh as Tom Hagen and Rani as Kay Adams
Amitabh is the father of a gangster family, they arrived in Bombay fleeing partition and Amitabh slowly rose up as protector of the community of refugees. His oldest son Salman has a temper but also a big heart and is in line to take over after him. His middle son Aamir is quiet and doesn’t talk big, but is always thinking. His adopted son Shahrukh, a Muslim while the rest of the family is Hindu, is serious and intelligent and does the planning and reasoning for the family. And the only sister, Kareena, who they all spoil but also discount her opinions.
(Only actress I could think of that all 3 Khans have similar warm relationships with)
Aamir returns from study abroad, the family is planning to put him up for election. He has a romance going with Rani, a woman he met overseas. Shahrukh, in his new position of guide and adviser, goes to solve a land dispute, some squatters are refusing to move and they have agreed to get rid of them so low cost government housing can be built. He meets the leader of the group, a young widow Tabu, and is taken with her and also convinced by her arguments that the builders can’t be trusted. He reverses himself and saves them instead of throwing them out, and then proposes to Tabu. He brings her back home where Kirron at first refuses to welcome her, as a widow remarrying. But Amitabh greets her, and then Aamir calls her “Bhabhi” and the moment passes.
But then Amitabh is attacked and a gang war starts up. Salman is furious and Shahrukh keeps trying to talk him down, to make him see sense and be calm, but it doesn’t work. Aamir is focused on protecting Amitabh, and is arrested while trying to stop an assassination attempt. He is furious and sure the police are in on it. He volunteers to go to a meeting with the police officer and a gangster and kill them both. Salman is against it, but Shahrukh is reasonable and sees the wisdom of the plan and convinces Salman to go along with it. It works, but Aamir has to be sent out of the country afterwards, to the family land off in the north.
(Yes, this is largely an excuse to see Aamir in village farm boy clothes again)
Aamir falls in love with a village girl there, Taapsee, dark skinned and low class but bright and confident. Meanwhile, back home, Kareena has just gotten married to Arjun Rampal and is struggling in his household, her in-laws and husband are abusive. Her mother (Kirron Kher, hardline and traditional) tells her to just put up with it but Salman is furious and fights for her to be able to come back home, eventually just driving over and taking her out of that house and bringing her back home. He comes back one day to learn that Kareena’s husband come to the house and dragged her out screaming. He rushes off to get her again and is ambushed and killed on the way. The family is devastated, an off in the country Aamir goes through his own tragedy when his wife dies in a car bomb meant for him.
Aamir returns home, to be met by Shahrukh, who breaks it to him that he must now take the lead in the family business. Shahrukh will be there to help, he has the knowledge, but no one will listen to him, it has to be a “real” family member. Aamir, shaken, tells Shahrukh that he is his real brother, his only big brother left, and he will always respect him as such. INTERVAL
Aamir has tracked down Rani again. She is working at an NGO with children. He asks her to marry him, arguing that if she wants to do good, she can do so much more good with his family. He promises that within 5 years they will be a legitimate NGO, no more unofficial business. And says that he needs her to make it happen, he needs her with him because he loves her.
Aamir and Rani will have a major wedding, Kirron is insisting on it. And in the midst of the wedding planning, Aamir and Shahrukh are figuring out who all was involved in the attack on Amitabh and Salman and how to fight back. Kareena is angry about her husband and his family being invited to the wedding, but Shahrukh soothes her by telling her it is just for appearances. On the wedding day, the guests arrive, and while Aamir and Rani are going through the ritual, some of the guests receive taps on the shoulder, are asked to step outside. And then are killed, they were the conspirators in the attack, the wedding was used as an excuse to get them all away from their bodyguards and places of safety. Including Kareena’s husband.
(Poor dead Arjun. You shouldn’t have beaten Kareena)
The bodies are found the next day in random places around the city, and Kareena is shaken, confused, Kirron slaps her and forces her into widow’s clothing. Rani meanwhile is also angry, her wedding itself was used for such a terrible thing. She threatens to leave Aamir before the wedding is even consummated, but he lies to her, swears that he didn’t do it, says it must have been Shahrukh trying to be protective. They make up, and have a love song.
The household is now divided. Kareena is lost and angry, thinking she should be grieving but not sure how. Rani hates Shahrukh and Aamir is lying to Shahrukh about why. Shahrukh and Tabu feel increasingly isolated, and their different religion seems like it matters for the first time. Especially when Rani gets pregnant and Kirron starts talking about her “first” grandchild, ignoring both Tabu and Shahrukh’s biological daughter and Tabu’s young son from her first husband who Shahrukh adopted. Amitabh tries to make up for it by playing with Shahrukh’s children a lot, but he is the only one, Rani hates the whole family and Aamir pretends to go along with her hatred.
And then Amitabh dies. Aamir takes control of the family business and starts turning it into an NGO, like he promised Rani. However, Shahrukh is concerned because he is noticing more and more of the funding is going to religious based groups. They never before made a difference between Hindu and Muslim, or Christian, or Buddhist, or anything else. But now they are donating to temple funds and religious schools. Their old allies, Catholic hospitals and Muslim artifact museums, are now off the donation list. Aamir keeps calming Shahrukh down every time he brings it up, but it eats away at him, he starts to hear comments passed in the office, Tabu comes to bring him his lunch and someone asks if she is his first wife or his second wife with a smirking grin, he keeps trying to beat down his anger but it is harder and harder.
(I do like Shahrukh trying to be calm as his anger burns within)
It finally explodes at home when Kareena isn’t allowed to eat with the rest of the family, as a widow. Shahrukh brings her back over to the table, Kirron frowns and orders her away again, Kareena looks to Aamir for direction, he nods, and Rani stands up to take her back to her room, and Shahrukh bursts out that this is wrong! It wasn’t what Amitabh would have wanted, or what Salman would have wanted, they wanted Kareena to be happy, they were glad he left her husband, they even talked about her marrying again, and here she is forced to live a living death just for the sake of tradition. Shahrukh finally lays it on the line and reminds Aamir that he called him his big brother once, if he truly is the oldest brother, than Aamir should listen to him. Their family is wrong, their household is wrong, and their business is wrong and it needs to change.
Aamir orders him “get out”, Shahrukh looks to Kirron and calls her “Ma”, and she looks away. So he gathers up Tabu and the kids and they walk out. They go to a hotel room and after the children are settled, Tabu asks what they will do now, and Shahrukh says “I don’t know”. He goes out walking around the city eventually passing the fancy temple building with the plaque out front giving credit to their organization. And notices a little girl begging on the sidewalk in front of it.
The next day, we see Anupam Kher, middle-aged nice man out for his morning walk. He is chatting with his regular friends at the park, when Shahrukh in a rumpled suit stops him and asks if he is Anupam Kher, lead investigator in the fraud department of the police force. Anupam says yes, and Shahrukh says he may have some things to tell him.
(I was just looking for a photo of Anupam to put here, but oh my gosh! It’s Anupam Kher and Woody Allen! His life is so strange. Oh well, better Anupam stuck in the same room with Woody Allen than me)
Aamir is furious when he sees the news. Their organization is under investigation, miss-management of funds, discussion of how orphanages and hospitals and schools are shutting down while the money is going to fancy new offices and exotic vacations, not to mention to temples and printing of Hindu pamphlets and so on. He knows Shahrukh is behind this and gets colder and quieter and angrier and angrier.
He doesn’t notice when Kareena comes up behind him and asks “is that true?” He says “of course not, we are just trying to help the people”. And she clarifies that she was asking about the pamphlet the reporter was reading out, the one listing out the aspects of a good Hindu woman which says she must always obey her husband, to leave him is the greatest sin. Aamir tries to dance around, to say that he didn’t know what was in the pamphlet, it is an ideal to aim for not a real rule. But Kareena is having none of it, all her frustration suddenly bursts out of her, she reminds him that her father and her brother Salman both told her to leave that marriage, that her father didn’t even want her to wear white but Rani and Kirron pressured her into it, that he cares more for his rules and traditions than he does for her, he isn’t her real brother, Aamir finally is so angry that he slaps her. Kareena is stunned, Aamir tries to apologize, but she brushes him off and says “I’m leaving”. Aamir tries to take back control, points out she has nowhere else to go, she says “I’m going to my brother. My real brother, Shahrukh” and leaves.
The news report a sensational new witness, Aamir’s own sister testifying against him. Kareena appears in bright colors, flanked by Tabu and Shahrukh, no longer broken down in white. She testifies about the money she helped Aamir hide, when he brought her in to work in the office after she was widowed. Aamir watches, furious. And then is taken away and put in a cell (I know this seems unlikely for a powerful wealthy man, but movies are all about fantasy).
Back at home, Rani is rushing around packing, throwing things in here and there. Shahrukh strolls in and leans casually against the wall saying “forget something?” Rani jumps and then turns away quickly, but it is too late. Shahrukh points out “the pregnancy seems to have gone away as suddenly as it arrived. I suspected as much when I gave you that special fish dish, Tabu could never stand it when she was pregnant.” Rani starts to explain and then stops herself and instead launches into a monologue. She loved Aamir, she really did, and then his FAMILY (she spits the word) took him away from her. All those poor people, those people who weren’t of their caste or even their religion, and he forgot her and sacrificed their love for those nothings. And then, she learned he had even married another woman. He never told her, but she found the photo in his things and investigated. He had married some nothing untouchable farm woman, forgotten her that easily, and then come crawling back claiming to have always loved her. And her love turned to hatred. No, she isn’t pregnant, she has been taking birth control pills in secret since the wedding night, since she found that photo the morning after their first night, hidden under his pillow. She wasn’t going to risk contaminating her child with his blood. And now Shahrukh has destroyed all her plans, and she has to run, leave the country with what she can take and start fresh somewhere else. But at least Aamir is still in jail and he will never forgive his brother, or his sister, for standing against him. And Shahrukh can’t stop her, he has no evidence against her, she is just the simple innocent wife. Shahrukh nods and stands aside as Rani proudly sweeps out, careful to move around him so she will not be contaminated with his touch. And in the background there is Kirron, open-mouthed, having heard everything. Rani sneers at her and declares “You were the easiest of all, foolish old woman, believing your family status could somehow be saved. As if it ever could, once you allowed that changeling into your household”. Kirron shakes and starts to fall, and Shahrukh grabs for her as Rani leaves, calling her “Ma” again and Kirron clings to him.
(Evil obsessed extremist Rani! Don’t you love it?)
And then we hear Rani’s voice again as the camera goes through a building, passed barred cells, and finally finds Shahrukh playing a recording for Aamir who is sitting with a stone face. Shahrukh stops the tape and looks at Aamir’s face, and says “Remember, she is just one person, there are many others who love you” and then slides across the table a photo of Taapsee and another of Salman. Aamir grabs it and looks at it and then asks Shahrukh “how did you know I would need these?” And Shahrukh says “I am your brother, after all.” And the camera pulls back out through bars and outside the building to see Tabu and Kirron and Kareena waiting in the sunlight, Kirron playing with the children.
Phew! I think I’m happy with this! What do you think?