Moviemavengal confessed her love for the “fake marriage” romance trope, and it’s one I like quite a bit as well. And it’s pretty rare in Indian film, replaced by “real arranged marriage becomes love” which isn’t quite the same thing. So I shall write a few script suggestions just in case anyone needs any! (oh, and if you want to see one that already exists, check out Love By Square Foot on Netflix)
Lower class Mechanic and High Class Model Fake a Marriage for Career Reasons
A young ambitious mechanic buys the garage of his mentor after borrowing all the money he could. But he can’t seem to get any customers, and eventually learns it is because he is a young attractive unattached guy, and no one feels comfortable trusting him since he isn’t a “family man”. His photographer friend suggests they fake some photos, he has loads of files of up and coming models, they can pick one who isn’t really famous yet so no one will get suspicious. The hero (let’s say Aditya Roy Kapur) goes through and rejects them because they don’t have a face he can imagine being married to, he wants a nice homely looking girl. And then finally they run across a file of Anushka Sharma, and he picks her out as perfect, that’s his bride. They do a photo shoot of him with a mannequin in a variety of poses and outfits, and then past her face on them in photoshop and print them off. He puts them up all over the garage and announces to everyone that this is his wife, mother of his 5 children, back in the village in the Punjab, if the garage is successful enough he will bring her down to the city. Everyone immediately is sympathetic to him and his business starts booming.
(Anushka does look good in a garage)
And then there’s Anushka. Trying to make it in the city, tired of these little photo shoots and desperate for her big break. But the casting directors and everyone keep creeping on her, she is sick of being a young unmarried woman in this industry. And her hostel is even worse, the matron is constantly complaining about her late hours and threatening to throw her out for having loose morals. One night her car breaks down and, in desperation, she forces herself into Aditya’s garage and demands he service it.
They take a dislike to each other at first sight, she is tired and hungry and angry at her car and it comes out at her yelling at Aditya. He is tired and doesn’t want to open the garage and is shocked when he sees his fake wife come to life and eager to get rid of her. He keeps the car, she gets a rickshaw home, and is officially thrown out of the hostel for being out so late. She shows up back in Aditya’s neighborhood at 5am the next morning since she has nowhere else to be. The neighbors get excited, bring her chai, ask her about her trip, say that she must be waiting for Aditya. She doesn’t understand, but her answers are close enough to what they expected to get by. And then Aditya opens the garage, sees her, and rushes her inside. But at the last minute, one of the neighbors casually spills the beans, and she comes inside to see the photos of herself all over Aditya’s office. She freaks out, he brings in his photographer friend to vouch for him, and finally she believes his story. And then blackmails him, she will continue to play his “wife” for the neighbors, if he starts sleeping in the office downstairs and lets her have the apartment upstairs, plus fixes her car, plus other favors to be named later.
And so the fake marriage starts, and they both really really hate each other now. She hates him for the creepy horribleness of him using her photos. And he hates her for forcing him to give up his upstairs apartment and still not really pretending right for the neighbors, being modern and driving off in her car and so on.
But they are forced to work together when a series of connections (one of the neighbors is the maid of the wife of the owner of a big ad agency) means that her big break ad campaign comes to her because she is supposed to be a wife and mother of 5 who is also a model. They have to work together to perfect the cover story, memorize the names of all the kids and so on.
(This is as close as I can come to a photo of them together)
And at the same time, her long term off and on boyfriend (a photographer) comes to town and is horrible to her, she makes a big deal about getting ready for their date and then he stands her up with a lame excuse, she tracks him down and sees him with another woman. She comes home heartbroken and Aditya is really sweet about it, invites her out to dinner with him instead, and makes her laugh and sings her a song and so on. She starts to fall in love.
At which point, his parents arrive! To plan his wedding, to the nice girl they have picked out for him. The Anushka “truth” comes out almost immediately, and Aditya and Anushka quickly spin a new story. They fell in love in Bombay got married “almost immediately” and then lied to the neighbors that it was a proper marriage and wedding for the sake of Aditya’s business. Anushka sees that Aditya seems to really be interested in this nice proper marriage to a young woman who loves to cook and sew and just wants to take care of him, and so sacrifices herself and suggests a new plan. She will be a terrible wife and daughter-in-law, ambitious and only caring about her career and carrying on with other men, and then he can “divorce” her with his parents’ blessings and understanding and go on to marry the one he really loves.
More complications happen, Anushka pretends to be dating the jerky guy again and in love with him so Varun won’t feel guilty. And she pretends to be selfish and uncaring in front of his parents, to drink and smoke and so on. Varun starts to feel bad, finds himself defending “bad” Anushka to his parents. And his mother talks sweetly to her, about how sometimes after marriage it can feel like you are losing yourself and you might try to do things just to resist giving in to love. Despite their mutual regrets, Anushka and Varun both keep moving forward with the plan and have their “divorce”.
Afterwards, Varun goes back to his quiet apartment and dreams of her moving in and out, leaving her make-up and clothes everywhere, like he used to complain about. And Anushka goes back to her nice single apartment that she can now afford with the ad campaign money and dreams about Varun coming in and putting grease stains on things and so on.
(Kind of like this)
Happily, they have to come together one more time, for a work function for Anushka. Her boss is having an anniversary party and insists on her coming and bringing her husband, he won’t take no for an answer, he even called Aditya himself. Aditya appears and surprises Anushka, he says that he owes her so much coming for the party is the least he could do, one more time as man and wife for old times sake. They dance, they stare into each others eyes, but they can’t bring themselves to say anything. And then there are a series of toasts and Aditya, standing up to get his jacket, is mistaken as a toaster and a glass is forced on him. He starts awkwardly saying that he doesn’t have much to say to a couple that has been married 30 years, but then gets into the flow of it, and starts talking about how a marriage is about little things and little moments, understanding each other, forgiving each other, and so on and so on. Anushka realizes he is talking about her and is so overcome that she kisses him in front of everybody. The next morning, they wake up in bed together, hearing a banging downstairs as someone is demanding the garage to open. Aditya leans out the window and shouts down that he isn’t opening today, he has been married for 3 months and he is finally having his honeymoon!!!!
Rival Police Officers Undercover Together
Another one! We open with them already long term co-workers, she is an ambitious by the book proper 3rd generation cop. He is a cocky genius type who stumbled into the police force by accident and then rose through the ranks. Let’s say, Ranveer and Dips. They are both anxiously waiting to learn who has the next promotion and shooting death glares at each other as they wait. Only to learn it is another third person who got promoted, which sends both of them to complain to the captain that they were clearly the better option. He silences them and closes the door and explains that they are being kept for a special assignment. Undercover for an unknown amount of time.
They both picture themselves, her as a sexy naach girl learning valuable secrets, him as a touch undercover gangster. Only to have their dreams dashed when they learn that they will be going undercover at a middle-class apartment complex as a husband and wife, a cell phone signal tracks back to that building and shows there is a dangerous killer for hire living their somewhere. It is their job to work their way into the building and get to know everyone and find the killer.
(Wouldn’t they make a nice fake couple/real rivals?)
Ranveer and Dips start off working to undermine the other, a competition. He sabotages her car so that she misses the shopping with the other ladies, she uses all the water so he is late getting ready in the morning and misses riding the train with the other men. But then another murder happens and they are torn with guilt, realizing they have to work together to solve this case even if they still hate each other. So they do, invite the neighbors over for a lavish dinner that Ranveer cooks and then Dips pretends to serve, they fake a big fight and then a big make-up in order to give the neighbors something to gossip about and a reason to want to know more, and they also just generally learn to live like a married couple, cooking meals and doing laundry and cleaning the house. Ranveer reveals himself to be a neatnik and excellent cook, taking care of all the household tasks, and Dips is amazing at taking care of him, making sure he gets to work on time and has a regular hair cut and eats home food for lunch and so on.
They also become closer as colleagues, when they have to follow people or have a fight scene, they work together perfectly. They think they have a strong lead in one of the neighbors, but it fails, and they are loyal to each other and share responsibility in front of their captain, and ask to continue the mission because they think they are close. They find another lead and now are sure they know who it is and are prepared for the arrest the next day. They get maudlin and a little drunk talking about the end of their time together and how much they will miss this little apartment and how sad it is that department regulations won’t allow officers to be married for real, and end up sleeping together. Only the next day, before there is time to talk, they are caught up in a big action scene, the arrest didn’t work and the criminal has come home and is holding their neighbor’s hostage. Ranveer and Dips rescue them, Ranveer is shot and Dips goes berzerker rage and takes down the criminal.
(I wanna see Deepika have a real big action scene)
In the aftermath, Ranveer and Dips both get medals and promotions. They are going to be assigned to different stations and may never see each other again. Only, as he watches Dips sadly leave the office and realizes she is still wearing her fake mangalsutra, Ranveer suddenly stands up and throws down his badge and declares that he quits the force and runs after her. She is walking sadly ahead, he pauses a moment to catch his breath, and then calls out her fake married name, “Mrs. Singh”, she turns in surprises, sees him, they run towards each other, and embrace. And in a funny end credits tag, we see Ranveer showing up at the police station with baby in tow and Dips’ lunchbox that she forgot, just in time for a criminal that is making fun of him for being a stay at home Dad to try to escape, Ranveer neatly stops him, and Deepika gives him a finishing blow and tells him “don’t talk like that about my husband!”
Middle-aged Widower Fake Marriage For His Daughter’s Wedding
Last one! Fun one. Shahrukh is a middle-aged single-father who wants his daughter to have everything she wants. She is in love with a young man from a very rich and important and traditional family, very unlike their little middle-class life. The young man is perfect, truly sweet and loves the daughter, doesn’t want a dowry or anything like that, just wants to marry her soon so she can come with him to America for grad school. Shahrukh is sad to lose his daughter, but wants her to be happy, and so agrees to meet with the young man’s parents and start planning the wedding. Only, the young couple indicate that it would be better if Shahrukh had just a little more family to go with him. But unfortunately her mother divorced Shahrukh and left years ago, has remarried someone else that doesn’t even know about her earlier marriage. Shahrukh wants to tell the truth, but the young man and his daughter say that would be terrible, his family would never agree to his marriage to a child of divorce, it would be so much simpler to just tell a little lie, get through the marriage arrangements, and then tell the truth later. They get confused as to whether the plan is to say Shahrukh is a widower, or that his wife is away on a family emergency, and somehow the lie gets away from them and it turns into Shahrukh being a widower who remarried.
So now Shahrukh needs a wife, just for the few weeks of the destination wedding. He advertises, and the advertisement is answered by Kajol, a single mother with a rambunctious young son. It is dislike at first sight. Kajol doesn’t like that Shahrukh yells at her son and tries to discipline him, Shahrukh doesn’t like that Kajol is a disorganized emotional type of parent. But they are both desperate, Kajol for the large payment promised (Shahrukh is using the money he saved in case his daughter needed a dowry) and Shahrukh for a woman reasonably believable as his fake wife.
(It could be very meta, discussion of how Shahrukh and Kajol look right together)
They go off for the destination wedding, share a hotel suite which is no problem since Kajol and her son take the bed and Shahrukh takes the couch. At first they delight in playing tricks on each other, Kajol signing Shahrukh up for activities she knows he will hate, Shahrukh for lying and giving Kajol all kinds of crazy backstory she has to pull off (a classically trained dancer and lawyer and speaks 5 languages). They start to enjoy the little game and each other, and they also start to soften towards the others child. Kajol’s son starts clinging to Shahrukh a little bit, fascinated by seeing another boy around. And Shahrukh teaches him things like how to tie a tie dance Bhangra. And Kajol is there for her fake stepdaughter, including ultimately using the money she was paid to buy her new wedding jewelry and save her pride.
Along the way Kajol’s son has a nightmare and they both end up in bed with him to calm him down, waking up the next morning to smile at each other and clearly feel like a real family. They sing a song to each other at the party that night and it looks like things are definitely moving in a romantic direction with the blessing of both children, and then suddenly a new wedding guest arrives, someone who recognizes Shahrukh and his daughter because he is part of the ex-wife’s family. And he blows everything up, declares that he recognizes Shahrukh as the lowlife scum who seduced a girl of a decent family and then took a pay off to leave her alone, and obviously his daughter is doing the same thing. Everyone is horrified, at which point Kajol walks over and slaps him! And declares that no one can say such horrible things about her husband or her daughter. And the groom steps up as well, says that it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, he wanted to make his parents happy with this big wedding but most of all he just wants to be married so it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. And, surprisingly, his parents agree. And the tricky bit is covered, the wedding goes on as planned.
But, damage has been done, Kajol ends up overhearing an old friend of Shahrukh telling the real story to someone, that Shahrukh and his first wife were passionately in love and eloped, after she left him he never really recovered, he poured his whole life into that little girl almost like a substitute for the woman he never stopped loving. What will he use now to hide the heartbreak? And Kajol thinks the whole romance was just some sort of strange empty nest syndrome, and is cold to Shahrukh and cuts off any chance of further contact, instead just asking for the check from him (he doesn’t realize she needs the check to pay off the jewelry she bought on credit for his daughter).
Weeks later, Kajol gets a note from the daughter along with all the jewelry, she explains that she is returning it with the understanding that she will be using it for her own wedding to Shahrukh someday soon. And Shahrukh gets a note as well, from his daughter, explaining what Kajol really did with the money. Shahrukh rushes to her house, getting there just as she is rushing out to go to him, and they meet in the middle, and embrace.
Phew! I think I like all of those! Which do you think we should make?