Shahrukh Birthday Month: JHMS, Happy New Year, Raees, Om Shanti Om, JTHJ Rewritten So He Can Play His Own Age

There are a large number of films where he actually is playing his own age, or close to it.  But for those few where he is clearly far far distant from the character age, here are my suggestions for how to fix it.  It’s not hard, I don’t know why they didn’t just right it this way to begin with!

Looking at his filmography, his age marches along with his characters more or less for the whole first half.  He was a little old in the first half of Kuch Kuch, but perfect in the second.  A bit old in Chalte Chalte, but then they wrote into the script all his business failures and so on which explain why he isn’t married yet.  He’s too old in Devdas, but then that whole film is such a mess I don’t even care.  Swades, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Chak De India, still playing more or less his own age (Veer-Zaara averages out to his own age).  Once I remove all the ones that actually give a real age explanation in the plot (Chennai Express, Rab Ne Bana di Jodi) or the ones where he is playing a mature married type (Ra.One, My Name is Khan), I am left with 5 real stinkers where he is obviously terribly not the right age.

Om Shanti Om

It’s close, but no cigar.  He is supposed to be playing a junior artist on the edge of a big break in the past, and a shallow young star in the present.  But he is just a smidgen too old to pull off both.

Here’s how I would rewrite it.  Make him a has been in the past.  He has an old movie poster tacked up in his room, he had one role as a lead and then drops down to side characters.  But he picks up a young friend who believes in him and believes he will rise again (Shreyas Talpade).  And he meets Deepika and falls in love with her and it all plays out as before.

And then in the present, instead of a shallow young star, make him one who had a lot of promise and has now gotten lazy.  He used to really act, but since he got so famous and successful he is just going through the motions.

Poof!  Age gap fixed!

(Does this say “ambitious young man on the way up” or “mature man trying to keep his dreams of youth alive”?)

 

Jab Tak Hain Jaan

Shahrukh needs to be about 10 years older in both sections.   Instead of 25 in the first half and 35 in the second, 35 in the first and 45 in the second.  In the first half, make him already a veteran.  He did ten years in the army and now he wants to live and enjoy life and not waste any more time.

And then in the second half, he is just running out the time until he reaches retirement, there’s an added tension and topic for Anushka’s documentary, what will he do when he is out of the army?

(He’s clearly 45.  At least)

 

Happy New Year

Simple!  Shahrukh Anupam’s partner instead of his son.  He isn’t a college student returning home, he is a former security expert who’s slightly older business partner was wrongfully framed while he was out of town on another job.  They lost their whole company, everything went wrong, Shahrukh was implicated as well but Anupam took full blame in order to save him from jail.  Shahrukh ordered everyone else in the company to scatter ahead of the police.  Shahrukh, wracked with guilt, wants to avenge Anupam.  He spends years putting together his plan, and then finally tracks down the rest of the team to put it in action.

Shahrukh is embarrassed about his feelings for Deepika and runs from them not just because of the class difference, but because of the age difference, he doesn’t feel right with someone so much younger than him.

(45 year old who finds love late in life with a woman he knows is much too young for him.  Makes far more sense, right?)

 

Raees

We just need to move him up a decade or so when he is first introduced as an adult.  He’s not the bright young enforcer with big plans, he is the tired older enforcer who protects his neighborhood but is under the thumb of the same man who has been running him since he was a kid.  And then he meets Mahira (the catalyst is built right in) and she snaps at him that she doesn’t want to marry a man who works for someone else, she wants someone independent.  And that is what gets Shahrukh, in middle-age, to finally break free of Atul Agnihotri and strike out on his own.

After that, it all plays out as before, he becomes the top bootlegger rapidly, all powerful, happy, etc. etc.  Just, starting at 35-40 instead of 25-30.

(Aging enforcer whose seen things and done things finally fighting for himself and his wife and his unborn son.  Makes way more sense, right?)

 

Jab Harry Met Sejal

This one is tricky, because the characters are so carefully crafted.  He is a young man who somehow slide into middle-age without noticing it, drifted into it.  How can we add ten years onto his character without completely changing it?

Here’s the best I can come up with.  We learn through an old photo in his apartment, comments from Mayank, and maybe a brief statement he gives Anushka, that Shahrukh was married.  He married an older white Canadian woman, and then he got this tour guide job.  He would travel for 3 months at a shot, then go home and they would have fun together.  And then he came home early to discover her with another man.  It would have made another man a misogynist, but it made him a masochist.  He assumed he wasn’t good enough, that no woman would want him for a real relationship, so he stopped even trying.

And poof!  Now Shahrukh is a tired too old 45 year old instead of a tired too old 35 year old.  And he has a whole new reason to be leery of what he has found with Anushka.

(Old enough to be her father, but she refuses to let him be “fatherly” towards her and forces him to be young again.  Works, right?)

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22 thoughts on “Shahrukh Birthday Month: JHMS, Happy New Year, Raees, Om Shanti Om, JTHJ Rewritten So He Can Play His Own Age

  1. I like all of these, especially Om Shanti Om and Happy New Year–as those were the two it was hardest for me to ignore the age issues. For Raees and JHMS it was easy for me to ignore the flimsy timelines and make up my own. For Happy New Year it would be cool if Anupam was Shah Rukh’s older brother–a chance to do some of that lovely older brother bro-mance that he used to do with Anil and Jackie. But, unless there would be some re-writing of his misogyny in HNY, I still want Deepika to end up with Sonu.

    I think the first line of the post might be missing? Or if the current first line is meant to read on from the title, it isn’t quite working. Hope today isn’t a bad SAD day!

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    • I think I did a last minute headline change on this post is the problem. I’ll fix it in a second.

      Love the brother idea for HNY! It can keep a lot of the plot the same then, Shahrukh was sent overseas for a degree, was a successful businessman front of the company Anupam and Boman built, and then Anupam went to jail for him. And maybe we replace the misogyny with an age thing, all those speeches she keeps overhearing are about how they should respect her even though she is just a young girl and hasn’t even finished her schooling and so on and so forth. They have the same meaning, he’s trying to convince himself that he shouldn’t feel this way about her by listing out all the reasons it doesn’t make sense and exaggerating them, but this time it is age stuff not class/gender stuff. And Sonu can reassure her that no matter what he says, Shahrukh sees her as more than just a little girl who is teaching them dance.

      and so far today is not a bad SAD day! Although it was a bit of a shock to wake up at my usual time and discover the sun hadn’t risen yet.

      On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 9:51 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  2. Why oh why is there so so much resistance to him playing his age, and where is it coming from? He clearly knows his age — his birthdays are global celebrations. And he’s no dummy. Yes, he has the energy of a much younger man, but that would make an age-appropriate casting even sexier, right?

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    • Yes! I was thinking about that with JHMS, if he was playing a 45 year old it would be a 45 year old who was so full of life and energy that he could run across a city and out dance a 20-something and all the rest of that, and that is soooooo much sexier than a 35 year old doing all those things.

      On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 11:21 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Good question! He seems to have so little vanity around his age (as opposed to the way he clearly feels about his collar-bone and upper chest area, lol). He even joked about it during his TED talk, “Should I fix my face?” Bad advice from his team or creative collaborators? Worry that interesting roles will dry up?

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      • To be fair, the man does have a beautiful collar bone! Why not celebrate it?

        I wonder that too, because he had a period where he was beautifully age appropriate. Chennai Express was delightful, setting him up as this aging man who never got a chance to have adventures, a kind of odd boy-man. And Rab ne of course. And I got all excited for these interesting mature roles. And then it just turned into playing way way too young. Maybe he feels awkward romancing young woman if he can’t imagine himself as also young?

        On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 12:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Could it be cultural? Was thinking about the premise of Badhaai Ho and the attitude that older people being sexual is embarrassing to the family. So if SRK is going to continue being the great lover on film he has to play younger or it will be considered gross/inappropriate. Note that Salman and Aamir are no longer really playing lover roles even if they have a love interest in the film.

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          • Hmm, that’s an interesting thought. Maybe that, but more in a “people who are past the householder stage of life should not be sexual” way. Once the next generation is grown, the time is up for you. It’s not unheard of for Indian men to marry at around 40 and begin the householder stage then, which is the plot of Rab Ne and he is certainly sexually active in that. But now that he is past even that stage, and well into when you would expect him to either be a confirmed permanent bachelor or looking for spouses for his own children, it would be awkward for him to play a sexually active person. Like Aamir in Dangal, when he went to help his daughters train for two months, his wife didn’t say “but, what about our sex life?” despite all the many small daughters that show they do have a sex life.

            On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 1:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I am happy to see his collar bone or any other part of him that he’d like to show, at any time. He does have a beautiful one (beautiful ones?) and has also said he likes collar bones generally. However, I also enjoy poking fun at his few detectable foibles. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • And now I am thinking back to the reasons he is a vampire post. “Obsession with collarbones, mine and others” is probably a pretty good reason.

            On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 2:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. My husband and I have a running joke about all those hoodies SRK wears in JTHJ when he is supposed to be 25. My husband has a few of those hoodie flannel shirts he loves to wear in the fall and winter. I hate them. He replies, “But I’m just trying to look 25 like Shahrukh Khan!” It didn’t work making Shahrukh look young and it doesn’t work for Mark either. But he’s warm. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • In one of the Making Of videos for Fan, they were talking about how “usually” they just use face tape to make Shahrukh look young. Which might explain the hoodies, I think in other films they use face tape and then a slight wig to cover up the tape. But the hoodies could do the job without needing a wig.

      On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 12:56 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I’ll never understand why the heck it is/was necessary to give an age-number altogether unless it is a really existing person whose character is enacted and the number of years is important.
    Personally I manage to view an age (if ever) according to my feeling and don’t give a damn to how old ShahRukh is labled in the movie. (It is something I also do with other actors I like to watch).
    In any way ShahRukh’s experience in life reflects in his character-portraits so I can easily watch an allegedly 35 one as a 45 one or a 25 one as a 30+ one (and also vice versa when his character shows a lack of experience as the junior artist/superstar in OSO although both aged during their parts…and not only because of the gym-stress showing on his face).
    Nevertheless I like the ideas you penned down 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a question that really bothers me. He DOES own his real age. I am not sure why he can’t in film. The “older men can’t be sexual” is an interesting theory. A bigger problem is these younger heroines. Why ISNT he making a film with Tabu or Madhuri ?? He could change the perception of older lovers. Look, everyone is deeply interesting in his love story with Gauri whether they revel in the sweetness of it or accuse it, everyone believes it. Why not in the films……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, there’s still time. We don’t really know what his next film after Zero will be, or if he even has a romance in Zero.

      On Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 5:10 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Age issues; Molly has a good point; Shah Rukh is obviously an intelligent man, facing a dilemma, he is well aware of his age but also very conscious that his seductive power is intact or even more intense now than twenty years ago. If the choice of his co stars changes as you suggested the theme of mature love and sexuality would flow naturally, but then for westerners it is difficult to grasp the consequences on his immense eastern public.
        As for JTHJ I think he enacts brilliantly the young passionate man in the first half: no younger actor could destabilize the spoiled doll Katrina in the subway scene by posing the insidious question: “would you slap me if I kiss you?”
        Samar is not an simple character to enact…
        One of the flaws of JTHJ is that Katrina doesn’t grow one day older after 10 years of longing, praying and suffering. When Shah Rukh assumes the age and scars of a tired warrior the porcelain doll at his side is the real disturbing element.
        As for JHMS I don’t feel the difference of age shocking; Anushka at that point was 29 and looking so; she is not presented as very young; her imposing attitude, her brutal use of money, the sheer cruelty in humiliating Harry and her cold efficiency in dealing with poor betrayed Clara speak of a strong albeit immature woman that needed yes an older disenchanted man capable to make himself loved and then painfully send her away with no hope to have her back.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I also think that (re-)presentation has a lot to do with the perception of age, and so I fully agree with your take about Katrina’s character in JTHJ: as a professional woman she assumed her (alleged) age but in no way on the emotional level but she had to play a character with so much emotional insecurity that I didn’t saw this as a flaw of the movie (in the contrary – it made Anushka’s role even more important).

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          • I agree Katrina character was frozen in her emotional insecurity not growing old as Zaara; but that makes Samar still more autistic in his love, unaware that Katrina was a bet with death, while turbulent Anushka is the real woman who brings him back to life, makes him laugh, dance and care for her.
            I picture Samar living happyly ever after with Anushka: he would go on defusing bombs which is a mighty needed job, while she happily travels to investigate dangerous political issues.
            He sure will die of boredom in his retirement with frozen Katrina! Lol
            Anushka in JHMS had the same destabilizing effect on Harry and I fully agree and wish that Imtiaz Ali could be the Chopra of SRK fifties!
            One addendum: if Zero is, as it seems,inspired by the french film Un Homme a sa Hauteur where gorgeous sexy Jean Dujardin plays a dwarf then YES there is romance! Yeeeep!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember that ShahRukh more than once expressed the wish to do a “mature love story”. I think that – till now – Imtiaz Ali gave him an opportunity that came the closest to it (and I have no idea who exactly had the idea to establish Harry’s age) … even in Raees I saw the try to establish maturity in the love story from the very beginning still keeping a certain youthful energy.

    I bet that ShahRukh would like to establish a view on (romantic) love that is somehow ageless (in Veer-Zaara he hadn’t stop to feel deep and romantic love for Zaara being a 50+ man…and he did an ad in this direction) but he has to juggle with a lot of balls – so to say…

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    • I forgot Dilwale where I think that the comedy-plot somehow destroyed the sincerity of the mature love story Kajol and ShahRukh tried in the second half (at least it seemed to me concerning the reception of the movie).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like all of these very much. For JTHJ and Raees having him play his real age would be a big improvement and your edits help fix some inconsistencies (the quest to fix Raees continues). The age difference in OSO and JHMS didn’t bother me as much, but I would still like to see your versions. There is no fixing Happy New Year.

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    • I have faith! Happy New Year can be fixed! A group of losers trying to steal a diamond while also pretending to be part of a dance competition is such a brilliant set-up, there must be a way to save the execution.

      On Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 10:09 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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