I mostly have these worked out. No clever dialogue details or stuff this time around, but the broad strokes are there. Except the end! I have such cute plot ideas based on cute American movies, but I don’t know how to end them. I’ve caught the Karan Johar bad ending disease. Help! I’m tempted to just give all the heroine’s cancer or bring in Salman to give a looooong speech and call it a day.
Comedy for Shahrukh and a Sassy Older Female Comedienne
June Allyson is a concert pianist who is trying and trying to get Van Johnson, the biggest agent in New York, to see her. She overhears at his office that he is judging a children’s talent contest that night, dresses up like a little girl so she can get in and plays amazing. He is eager to sign her, shows up at her apartment the next day. She pretends to be her own older sister and tries to suggest that he just sign up her since she is just as good and a grown woman. But he refuses all her arguments, says he wants the cute little girl to do shows, not a grown woman. So she signs the contact as her own guardian. And Van Johnson now hates her, the “real” June Allyson, thinks she is a terrible unfit guardian. He takes the child June Allyson off to his country estate and protects her, sees her as a young sweet innocent. Meanwhile, she is beginning to get a very inappropriate crush on him.
I am SO EXCITED about remaking this as a cheeky nod to the age gap between heroes and heroines, and the way Karan Johar likes to cast unknown very young women he can mentor.
A smart talented experienced older actress (played by someone like Swara or Taapsee) is trying to get an audition at Dharma. She keeps being turned down and finally comes up with a wild idea and applies through an open audition at a mall, wearing too much make-up and too small clothes so she looks like a teenager trying to seem old. She passes the first round because her “look” is right, and in the second round her brilliant performance of the dialogue immediately gets her noticed. Karan meets her personally and promises he will mold her, and guide her, and turn her into an actress and a star. Swara bats her eyelashes and pretends to be girlishly excited.
Her live-in boyfriend Randeep Hooda, a rebellious artistic writer, is waiting when she gets home and thinks she is crazy. But she explains that she has a plan, she will do the film, and then reveal her real age and background, but by then she will have gotten her foot in the door. Randeep jumps off on this idea, declares it is a brilliant social statement about female value and age and so on, he will write it and make sure everyone reads it. Swara is less enthusiastic, but happy that he is happy and ready to calm down.
Meanwhile, Karan is trying to sell Shahrukh on Swara as his next heroine. Shahrukh is angry and disgusted, he is too old to act opposite some teenager, why can’t they cast one of his older heroines? Karan points out that they are all too famous now, won’t be willing to take a role where he might overshadow them. That’s why they need to discover someone fresh. Shahrukh asks why it can’t be someone old and fresh, there must be people from TV or the stage, someone besides these little teenage girls! Karan tells him to trust him, this girl has real talent, she will make the audience believe she is older. And she doesn’t have any bad habits to be trained out of. Shahrukh agrees that she is talented, but warns Karan that if he doesn’t think he can work with her, he’s going to force an actress change after the first schedule.
Karan turns around and tells this to Swara, sweet teenage Swara, and warns her that she has to be sure to make nice with Shahrukh and get him to like her. Swara tries, with all of her fake childish sweetness (although it is hard because she keeps being overcome with being super attracted to Shahrukh), but Shahrukh barely reacts to her. He is polite, but not interested. Finally he notices her when she gets sick of following Karan’s direction for a scene and does her own interpretation, a brilliant original concept for the character. Shahrukh is intrigued by her process, starts asking her questions, getting her interpretation of the script and their characters. He starts defending her to Karan, making sure she can do her own version of scenes and have input into her character instead of just being a puppet. Happy Working Song, and INTERVAL
And then one night Swara comes home to find Randeep wanting to celebrate, he just sold his novel. She doesn’t have to work the next day, so they go out and get drunk and have a wonderful time. But the next morning there is a last minute need for filming, Karan calls and she doesn’t answer, Shahrukh calls and she doesn’t answer, Shahrukh is sincerely worried about her (especially because he’s been driving her back home at the end of the day and noticed her sister/guardian never seems to be around and her sister’s boyfriend Randeep is around too much). Shahrukh drives to her apartment and sees her and Randeep stumbling out, disheveled. He is disgusted and furious, punches Randeep. Swara tries to get in between them, Shahrukh threatens Randeep, the only way he is willing to leave is when Swara agrees to go with him right now.
Shahrukh stews for a while as he drives off and then tries to talk to Swara gently, to explain that she is very talented and beautiful, but she isn’t really grown up yet, and it wasn’t right for her sister’s boyfriend to give her alcohol and kiss her and….whatever else he did. Shahrukh is going to have to talk to Karan about this, he doesn’t want her acting if it leads to such unwholesome things. Maybe she could go back to school? He would be willing to pay for her to go to a good school and then, after she graduated, he would make sure she got another chance in film. No need to grow up so fast. Swara is touched, but also determined. She loves this role, and this movie, and is not going to give it up. When she and Shahrukh go in to see Karan, she is ready. She bursts in to tears, declares that she loves this movie and will do anything Karan says. Shahrukh doesn’t trust her, is beginning to see through the innocent act, and tells Karan that he will only agree to keep working with her if they go on location, keep her away from bad influences.
At the hotel, things start to get romantical. When Shahrukh sees Swara without her make-up and youthful clothes, just lounging around, he finds himself more and more intrigued with her. Tells her she is beautiful, just as she is. Says things like “If I were 20 years younger….” And meanwhile Swara finds herself offering to massage his forehead and putting a blanket over him when he falls asleep sitting on a chair and generally softening. After the final schedule, Karan sends them on the road for promotions.
They spend all their time together and Swara stops returning Randeep’s phone calls. They go on talks hows and personal appearances and their chemistry charms the nation. By the end of the tour, Karan is encouraging Shahrukh to propose. Shahrukh is shocked! The age difference! Better he adopt her than marry her. But Karan tells him it doesn’t matter, Shahrukh has been a bitter miserable bachelor as long as Karan has known him, and finally he has found a woman he enjoys talking to, a woman who doesn’t bore him after a week. Forget age, forget everything else, make the leap.
Shahrukh is still thinking about it when they return to town, hasn’t decided what to do. Meanwhile Swara snuck off to meet Randeep. She is planning to break up with him, but he is all excited about his article. The film is premiering in a day, he has written a searing expose of tired old superstars trying to prop themselves up with young things, of producers who are so blind they can’t see talent unless it is in a pretty package, and so on and so forth. Swara tries to convince him not to publish, she isn’t sure she wants that, only to be interrupted by Shahrukh. He thinks Swara is her own older sister, and he is angry with her. She brought her sleazy boyfriend Randeep into the house, she has no control over her sister, and no care for her, didn’t even visit or call when she was filming. So Shahrukh has a bargain for her. He will pay her off, whatever she wants, and she will keep her distance. Swara has a great future and he won’t let her sister mess it up. Swara pretends to be bitter and mean and holding out for more, and ends up pushing Shahrukh to admit that he loves Swara, young Swara. He will never do anything about it, but he loves her and would do anything for her. Swara is overcome and doesn’t know how to respond.
Okay, now I’m stuck, how do I end this? HELP!!!!
Cute Rom-Com for Rajkumar and Patralekha
Our hero is a wealthy gentleman who is in love with the daughter of an even wealthier man. Her father doesn’t like him which just spurs him on more and more. All the servants of the household are told to turn him away, but the scullery maid Katerina is stuck in the kitchen and doesn’t get the message. Our hero starts planning to just go on one date with her and then drop her home and sneak into the house. But the next day she is sent to his house to deliver a note and sees him again, there is more confusion, he tries to clear things up and do the right thing by sending her a letter explaining and apologizing, she can’t read and assumes it is a love letter, she waits and waits for their date and he feels guilty and goes to explain, but her pure sweetness keeps drawing him in and he ends up somehow in love with her and not the rich girl any more.
Drama! Confusion! Romance! Comedy! And best of all, Class Issues!!!!! It’s everything I could ever want from a rom-com.
Pretty easy to translate to modern day too. I would make our hero Rajkummar a rising young bureaucrat with a good posting in a smallish town (think like Ajay Devgan in Raid). The day he arrives, he falls in love with the beautiful American-returned daughter of the richest man in town. The rich man is self-made guy who resents our hero’s casual third-generation-government-officer status, and wants his daughter to marry an NRI. Our hero manages to romance the daughter, they spark and joke and flirt together, but then her father pulls her off to the family farmhouse outside of town and forbids her from leaving. Our hero goes to visit, is not allowed to see her, and the whole household is called in to see him so they can recognize him and know he is not to be let inside. Only there is some cross talk about the kitchen maid, Patralekha, who is not allowed in the family rooms. So our hero learns her name and knows she is the only one who wouldn’t recognize him.
The next day he leaves work early and borrows a uniform from his driver, then goes to talk to Patralekha and make a date with her. It is a comic scene, she is skinny and old-fashioned and odd looking with a rural accent, keeps misunderstanding what he is saying, the comedy comes from how miss-matched they are. The hero’s assistant at work is funny too, thinks he is crazy for doing this and tells him he can’t possibly fit in at the kind of working class fair she wants to go to. The hero is casual about it, but the audience is set up for comedy as well.
At the fair, there are more misunderstandings between them, and then she draws him in to a big dance number. He is clumsy, while she is graceful, and the power dynamic is flipped around all of a sudden. When it is over, she is very kind to him, telling him he danced well and offering to let him come into the kitchen so she can put balm on the foot he hurt. When she goes off to get the balm, he sneaks into the rest of the house and quickly speaks to the daughter, then rushes back to the maid and is in a hurry to get away, so kisses her cheek without thinking about it. The maid, of course, takes this cheek kiss as a sign of true love. INTERVAL
The next day the maid is sent to deliver him a note by her mistress. She sees him in his shirtsleeves and thinks he is the driver, and warns him not to be so casual in his employees house. He tries to explain, but it doesn’t work, and somehow he ends up giving her a ride on the rest of her errands. He learns about her life, that she is from a farm family, she is working to raise money for her younger sisters’ weddings. She doesn’t expect to ever get married, she is too old and skinny. And he tells a version of his life, that his family always lived in “cities” and he had a good education which helps him get the good driver jobs. She encourages him that he should dream big, start his own transport company or something, instead of just being a driver.
He meets up with the rich girl, as arranged in the note, but it’s not the same. He finds himself asking about Patralekha and telling stories of her. Finally, the rich girl gets angry, and he pulls himself together and pays attention to her. She promises that she is going to win her father over, he just has to show up for a big party that night and they will announce their engagement. He goes home and writes Patralekha a letter, apologizing for everything and explaining.
Patralekha gets the letter, but can’t read it, assumes it is a love letter confirming their date for that night. She takes her savings and buys a car, for him, to start his transport company. And then drives over to his house to surprise him. She is waiting out front and the police are trying to move her along when he comes out to see what is happening. To get her out of the way, he agrees to go along with her, thinking he can explain in person. But by the time they get away, and she has explained that she spent all her savings on his car because she believes in him and is sure he will pay her back, he has started to realize he is in love. He also realizes she didn’t read the letter because she can’t really read, and tells her it doesn’t matter and he will teach her some day. But then her afternoon off is over and she has to rush back. He rushes back to his lodgings, all excited, telling his assistant and driver that he is in love. No, not with the rich girl, with a different better woman. He is going to marry her and she will love him and take care of him and it will all be wonderful. Once he tells her his real name.
And then something happens at the big engagement party, but that’s where I lose it again.
How do I end this?