Today was already a crazy day at work, and then the fire alarm went off and made it crazier. So there is no way I will be able to write a substantive post today (especially since I still have to write tomorrow’s K3G review) and instead I am just going to repost some old Halloween content. Halloween! It’s a thing!
Ghost Who Teaches a Lesson
Ghost of a Devadasi! Because that is a perfect role for Madhuri (I know she learned Kathak not Bharat Natyam, but I am sure she can learn it). We can start with her doing an amazing dancer performance, full outfit, full audience, beautifully decorated temple, and then as it ends she closes her eyes and falls to the ground, only to open them and rise up and it is a ruin around her and she is slightly translucent.
(Kind of like this, but a real ghost, not a madwoman)
A young girl, trained-dancer-to-be-cast-later, and her boyfriend come to the ruins. They are investigating around the stones and suddenly he tries to kiss her. She pushes him away, he says she “has” to kiss him because he shared his lunch with her and drove her to these ruins just because she wanted to see them, she shoves him off again and knocks him to the ground, he gets angry and grabs and kisses her by force, she pushes him away and starts to run, and Ghost Madhuri, watching all of this, suddenly appears, to the boy, puts on a big scary face and declares “go away from this sacred space!!!!!!”, and he turns and flees. The girl thanks Madhuri and then realizes she is a ghost and gets scared and runs off too. But forgets her bookbag and has to go back, because it has her study books and her parents are determined that she will get a first so she can eventually go to IIT.
When she goes back, Madhuri is irritated with her for interrupting her solitude and refuses to let her get the bookbag. She tries to duck around Madhuri to get it, and Madhuri is struck by her natural grace, says she will let her get the bookbag if she can do “this” (some tricky little dance move). The girl struggles with it, but eventually manages to get it, and Madhuri lets her get the bookbag.
That night she happens to run across a classical dance program on TV while flipping through channels and is struck when the dancer achieves the same tricky move and is applauded because it is such a huge accomplishment. And she starts asking her grandmother about dance and the old temple outside of town and generally gets curious. The next day, she sees a poster at school for an arts competition, the winner gets a laptop. And the snotty popular girl declares she will win because her father pays for the greatest dance teacher in town to give her private lessons. Our heroine is stung and declares she will win and does her little dance move to show off. Her friends are all worried, but now her blood is up, and she declares that she has a secret weapon, an even better teacher the likes of which no one has ever seen, and she WILL win.
She goes back to the temple and forces Ghost Madhuri to appear by threatening to destroy the temple even more. Ghost Madhuri finally comes out, and they strike a deal. Ghost Madhuri will teach her (which, after all, is one of the responsibilities of Devadasis, as our heroine reminds her), and in return she will give a Guru gift to be named later. Their lessons continue with our heroine hiding it from her parents. Madhuri doesn’t just teach her the moves, but the meaning behind them, and without meaning to tells parts of her own story. We start to see it in flashback, Madhuri was the daughter of a poor family, the “gave” her to the temple. She was raised by loving foster mothers who taught her to dance. Her first performance was a triumph, she was so proud. Soon, she became the most famous dancer there. But a local king wanted to take her away from the temple, to make her dance for him instead of God. So she killed herself, declaring she would never leave her temple and would be here forever dancing out her devotion.
Meanwhile, our heroine is going through her own struggles. She is beginning to be interested in studying dance seriously, she looks up dance degrees and advanced programs, but her parents are so sure she will go to IIT and be an engineer like her mother and father before her. It all comes to ahead at the art program. Her parents tell her right before that dancing is fine for a school contest, but she has to forget it all after this, concentrate on her “real” studies. Only then her performance is so amazingly good that her parents hearts melt and they start to cry and then applaud after it is over and give her permission to keep studying dance, and stay with her schoolwork, and they will see what she feels like when she graduates, which she wants to focus on.
In a quick flashforward, we see that for 2 years, she studies, and then runs to the temple to learn dance from Madhuri, until finally it fades into her giving her audition performance for dance college, and being told that she is almost certainly in. Including one very elderly judge who says she has not seen such dancing since she was young and so an old temple dancer perform. She goes to the temple to tell Madhuri, and that she will be leaving soon, no longer able to come to the temple every day. And that it is time for her to give Madhuri her Guru gift. Madhuri smiles and says “not yet”. She gets angry, threatens to destroy things again. Finally, Madhuri tells her, “Your first daughter! I was never able to pass on my knowledge as I was supposed to, as my many mothers did to me. When your daughter is old enough to walk, she will be old enough to dance. Bring her here to me.” The heroine nods her head and touches Madhuri’s feet and says “yes Guru”. And then we jump forward “some years” and see from the back (I hate aging make-up, better to just not show them clearly) a little girl and a woman in a sari, the little girl saying “Mummy, why are we here?” And her saying “so you can meet someone who has been waiting for you a very very long time.”
Ghosts Who Fix a Marriage
We start with the young couple (Alia and Siddharth?). They are very in love and on the way to the registrar’s office. She suddenly gets cold feet, about being married all alone without family. He reminds her that they don’t have any family to call for, her parents are in America with his older brother, his grandparents who raised him are in no state to leave their village. They’ve been through this, get married now so they can get rooms together and she can leave the hostel, visit the village and America later when they can get leaves from their jobs. Before they go in, Alia visits the washroom and sees the old woman bathroom attendant (Hema Malini), gives her a tip, and then suddenly turns back and says “would you like to come to a wedding?” Meanwhile, Siddharth is waiting outside and half-notices a cleaning woman sweeping the hall (Jaya Bachchan). He also turns back suddenly and says “Mother? Would you like to come to a wedding?”
And so they get married, and happy honeymoon song! Until on the first month anniversary, they come back to the registrar’s office and are told that both old women have died. Neither had any families, the court officers all pitched in to handle expenses. One was cremated and her ashes immersed in the sea, the other buried in a Muslim cemetery. Alia and Siddharth leave the building, feeling sad. And slowly we see the two women flicker into existence behind them.
(The Alibaug photos of them arriving and leavign together are so cute, it has won me over)
And then the rest of the movie is just delightful! The two women both follow the couple home and while they sleep, get acquainted with each other. Jaya considers Siddharth “her” son and while Alia is very pretty, isn’t sure if a working girl who doesn’t even know how to make tea is the best for him. And Hema considers Alia “her” daughter and that some boy from a village may not be good enough for her educated girl with a degree and a fancy job. The two women use their ghost powers to infiltrate the couple’s dreams and try to change the marriage, Hema to try to force Siddharth to be more ambitious and try to get a better job, Jaya to make Alia be more domestic and learn to cook. They both fail, Alia just hot and angry and burns her hand and the food is terrible, and Siddharth is late home to eat it because he volunteered to take on an extra project at work. Big fight, which ends as suddenly as it began when Alia explains that she doesn’t want an ambitious husband like her father was, always working for money they didn’t need. And Siddharth says he doesn’t care if she cooks, she does so much else, he is in awe of her. And then everything is wonderful again, and the two ghost women make up as well, and admit that maybe all that matters is that the young couple is happy.
But then of course trouble raises it’s ugly head. Alia’s old friend from college starts working with her and she spends more and more time with him. They have things in common, overseas education, fancy city childhoods, and so on and so on. Siddharth starts out totally fine with it all, going out to dinner with them and not caring that they are having lunches together every day. But it starts to eat away at him. Meanwhile, Alia is struggling herself. She turned down a promotion at work without telling Siddharth because it would mean moving overseas, and now suddenly every time he talks about the future, or buys something new for the apartment, or just exists, it makes her feel trapped and like she is giving up too much for him. They fight more and more, and then stop talking entirely, and the ghosts are very worried.
(Obviously, friend from college is Varun)
Finally, they use their dream powers again. Siddharth dreams that Alia tells him she is having an affair with Varun, but it is over, she loves Siddharth. Can he take her back? And Siddharth realizes he can, even if his worst fears are true, he still wants her. Alia dreams that she took that job and moved overseas. There is plenty of money, but Siddharth is bored and unhappy and lonely, even though he tries to hide it. And she is working all the time, she never gets to see him. And their apartment is huge and empty and lonely. She realizes that she gave up the job not just for him, but for herself, she never really wanted it, and running from that knowledge is what was making her so unhappy.
They wake up from their dreams and go to each other and are in love again. And 6 weeks later, Alia goes to Jaya’s grave to tell her “mother-in-law” and Siddharth goes to the ocean to tell his “mother-in-law” that they are pregnant. And over the end credits we see the twin girls, named for their “grandmothers”, sleeping in a cradle. They wake up and start to cry, and then Jaya and Hema appear before them and smile and make faces and the babies start to laugh and smile.
Ghost Who Brings a Couple Together
Parineeti is a young girl in Olden Times. She is Hindu and in love with a boy from a Muslim family. Her father finds out, declares she has to marry the man of his choice, she will never marry into that family. And so on her wedding day, she kills herself. After declaring that within a 100 years the two families WILL be united in marriage and there WILL be a child belonging to a couple from both families. And meanwhile her lover, Arjun Kapoor, jumps from a cliff when he gets the news. And they are happily reunited and embrace as ghosts. He says that they may not have been able to be together on earth, but they will be in heaven But then she tells him they cannot go to heaven together just yet, because she made a promise. And he rolls his eyes, all “Oh Parineeti! Always so much work!”
(Didn’t think of it until just now, but I guess this could be a sequel of sorts to Ishaqzaade)
And now, in the present day, Parineeti is fretting her way through the library tracing the descendants of the families, because her deadline is almost up and they have to get a couple married and pregnant within 3 months if the baby will be born in time! Arjun is going through all the options with her and they are all married already, or too young. The only possibility they can find is Arjun’s great-great-great-great niece and Parineeti’s great-great-great-great nephew. But this couple will never work! It’s impossible! Arjun shows her on the computer, Arjun’s niece (Kareena) is a doctor, very dedicated, runs a charity clinic. She works all the time, has given all sorts of speeches about how her life is dedicated to her service to her patients with no space for anything else. And meanwhile, Parineeti’s nephew (Akshay Kumar), he is a successful businessman, divorced, with a daughter. And he has said that nothing is more important than his daughter.
But Parineeti is determined to set these two up! She WILL make it happen. There are a series of ghost arranged meetings, Arjun causes Akshay to get into an accident near the clinic while Parineeti makes sure Kareena is walking by and will offer to help. Only Kareena insists on helping the more injured passerby before Akshay’s teenage daughter, so now he hates her. They try again, arranging for Akshay’s daughter’s school to have the idea of inviting Kareena as a guest speaker. But she ends up giving an impromptu sex education talk and Akshay’s daughter ends up asking him a bunch of uncomfortable questions at dinner that night, so he is furious again. He calls Kareena over to yell at him, but his daughter goes to Kareena’s clinic and asks to volunteer. She thinks she wants to be a doctor, not take over her father’s business like he wants. Akshay is furious when he finds out, but Kareena yells back and tells him he can’t make his daughter be what he wants her to be. Her father tried that and it just made her run away. Akshay finally breaks down and confesses he doesn’t know what to do. It was easy when she was a baby, he could just make faces and make her smile. But now she is a young woman, and his wife is long gone and has no interest in being a mother, and it is just him trying to deal with this grown up young lady. Kareena is sympathetic and takes his hand and says he doesn’t have to be alone, she will help him. Not for his own sake of course, seeing as he is a noisy irritating man, but for this nice young woman who has real promise as a great doctor.
(they’re cute together, right? And it’s been awhile, this one little song isn’t nearly enough)
Now, all of Parineeti and Arjun’s plans start working perfectly! They make the daughter late to dinner with Akshay and Kareena, leaving the two of them alone. They make Akshay randomly pass a blooming flower and decide to pick it and give it to Kareena. Kareena decide she might as well wear her hair down to work one day, perhaps put on some make-up. Everything is going perfectly until Akshay invites Kareena to be his guest at a fancy award. It is a very big deal for him, Kareena is all excited too, actually buys a new dress. But while she is getting ready, Akshay’s daughter shows up at her house. It’s an emergency. She thinks she might be pregnant. Kareena is immediately sympathetic, comforts her while she cries, hears about how it was this boy on the school vacation last month, he was nice and different and she thought she might as well try it once and see what all the fuss was about. And she forgot about it until just now when she realized she had missed her last two periods. Kareena gets her a pregnancy test and helps her take it, and then when it is negative, gives her tea and biscuits and then lets her fall asleep on her lap, all cried out. And meanwhile, Akshay is calling and calling and his calls keep going to voicemail. HUGE fight the next day, he accuses her of putting some random patient ahead of him, there are other doctors at her clinic, she doesn’t have to do everything, clearly she has no space in her life for him or his daughter! Kareena obviously can’t tell him what really happened, and is heartbroken and sobs and sobs. Arjun appears to her as an apparition and reaches down to comfort her, and she seems to sense it. Meanwhile, Parineeti is watching Akshay be all angry and stomping and sad in a suit at his office and doesn’t know how to comfort him. She and Arjun get back together to talk about it. Arjun points out that they have missed their deadline, even if they reunite them immediately, there isn’t time for a baby to be born. Parineeti says it doesn’t matter, her foolish brag to her father is less important than these two breaking hearts today. They have to fix this. And there’s only one thing that will bring them back together.
Parineeti goes to the school and possesses the daughter, forcing her into a faint. Meanwhile, Arjun goes to the clinic and puts it in Kareena’s mind that she has to go to the hospital to check on an old patient that was transferred there. She arrives just as the daughter is brought in, quickly takes charge. Akshay rushes in, having been called from work, in time to see Kareena being all mama lion protective, insisting that the nurses ignore their other patients to care for her daughter, turning her phone off so the calls from her clinic won’t interrupt, calling up specialists and promising she will pay them whatever they want if they come immediately. She sees Akshay and starts out being all practical and explaining everything that they have already tried, and then starts to cry, and Akshay reaches out and embraces her. And once they are holding each other, Parineeti releases her hold, and the daughter wakes up. Akshay and Kareena rush to her and take her hands. Parineeti and Arjun step back and smile at the three of them. And then golden light starts, and Parineeti is surprised. How can they go to heaven with her vow unfulfilled? And Arjun points out that not only is there a couple from the families that is in love, they have a child together, maybe not by birth, but still their child.
So, casting ideas? Young girl to be taught by Madhuri? Maybe someone else instead of Madhuri to play the role (Shobhana?)?
Should Alia and Siddharth be the young married couple, or is there someone else better? And what about the college friend?
Kareena and Akshay for the last one? Or Sanjay and Madhuri? Or Fawad Khan and Sonam again?
And, as always, if we could only make one, which one?