The surprisingly large number of responses I got to my Garbo-themed remakes post inspired me to repost this. Plus Mad Miss Manton was on TCM last night. And Murder She Wrote is always in my heart. And Terry Pratchett really did write the perfect character for Shahrukh.
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.
(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.