I put up a discussion post yesterday, and now, what the heck, I am going to repost a fanfic on the same topic: bad endings that need to be fixed.
I already sort of wrote this into my real review, but I want to give it it’s own place. 96 ends with our two soulmates who were never really happy apart saying good-bye at the airport, her getting on a plane and sobbing hysterically and him going home to put his memories back away in a box. Very poetic and touching and Tamil and all that, but I don’t like it. I don’t even find it believable, that two people with such a strong connection (not the usual “old lovers” kind of thing, but more than that) would just let it go. And I certainly don’t find it noble for them to go back to living half lives and making everyone around them miserable!
So I think we should have had an epilogue. Vijay puts away his box, and then sits down in his apartment where she just was a moment ago and stares into space, and his gaze keeps being drawn to the poisonous photography fluid he uses. It isn’t an explicit suicidal image, but he is clearly considering it. And at the same time, Trisha pulls herself together before going to meet her husband and daughter, has one last crying jag, hiding behind a pillar, and then goes and sees them, hugs her daughter, her husband (Madhavan) reaches to hug her and she pulls back and away. And then time passes in a song, we see Trisha shut down more and more, unable to let her husband touch her, then to meet his eyes or talk to him, then unable to even focus on or talk to her daughter. Meanwhile, Vijay goes through the motions of his life, but starts to forget the names of his students, to be late for class, or just sit in the classroom for hours looking at nothing when class is over. Finally Vijay is sitting in his apartment starring at the poisonous fluid bottle when his phone rings. It’s Maddy, asking if he is Vijay. He says yes. He asks him to come to Singapore, he will buy the plane ticket, he will explain when he gets there, it is for Trisha. Maddy meets Vijay at the airport, doesn’t answer his questions, just says he is taking him to her. Drives him to the hospital, and there is Trisha in a coma. Vijay doesn’t ask any questions, just goes in and takes her hand and her eyes open and she smiles at him.
Jump forward again, Maddy’s takes Vijay back to the house after visiting hours are over, promising to bring him back the next day. Vijay meets their daughter, and then she is sent off to bed, and Maddy suggests drinks on the balcony while they talk. And then he gives a monologue explaining what happened from his side of things. His parents encouraged him into a marriage before he took this Singapore job, and honestly he married Trisha more out of pity than anything else. He could tell she was miserable, and that her parents would force her to marry someone, he was afraid of being lonely in Singapore, he thought they could be lonely together. Over the years, he has never really seen her happy, not truly happy, not even when their daughter was born. But she was a good wife to him, took care of him and the household, and was a wonderful mother, so it didn’t seem like a reason to divorce, what would he tell people? “I ended my marriage because I hated coming home to a sad woman”?
But after this trip back to Madras, it got much worse. She stopped talking to anyone, even their daughter. He took her to a psychiatrist, but she wouldn’t even talk to him just said “I’m fine, it’s fine”. The psychiatrist put her on pills but they didn’t seem to make a difference. And then one night when the daughter was at a friend’s house, he came home to find she had taken the whole bottle. He got her to the hospital in time, but she just didn’t seem to want to wake up, the psychiatrist said it was part of her depression. Maddy went through her diaries and found her working through what to do, deciding that she couldn’t live without Vijay but it was better to commit suicide than shame the family by divorcing. He is furious with her for deciding that death is better than dishonor. He brought Vijay so she would come back to life, and he wants Vijay to convince her that they should be together rather than this living death. There is nothing noble or brave in their sacrifice, it is just choosing misery for all involved (Trisha, Vijay, Maddy, and Trisha’s daughter) instead of grasping for happiness. Vijay goes to bed and thinks on this, and then the next day at the hospital, he goes to visit Trisha and finally asks her to sing the song he wants to hear (symbolizing his willingness to take an active step towards happiness) and as she smiles and sings joyfully, Maddy and their daughter listen and smile as well, showing that a happy Trisha is better for them than a miserable Trisha.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
I mostly really like this movie, I just have a hard time believing in Ranbir’s rapid change over the course of one week of a wedding. Plus, I don’t like how Aditya’s addiction issues are never fully addressed. So I’d like to tack on an additional 40 minutes to address that. Plus give us more Kalki-Dips friendship moments.
So, let’s take it in a new direction with “Kabira”. Ranbir and Kalki and Aditya were best friends 8 years ago and Deepika was the new girl Kalki invited on their group trip. Over the course of the trip, Kalki got her heartbroken when she saw Aditya having sex and flirting with everyone but her and Deepika comforted her and their friendship was formed. And Ranbir and Deepika almost started up a thing. And Ranbir ended the trip by telling them all he was taking an overseas scholarship and this was a good-bye trip. 8 years later, Kalki is getting married. Ranbir shows up at the wedding thinking everything is frozen in time, that Kalki is still in love with Aditya and just pretending to be happy with a traditional married life to a nice guy, that Aditya is just “slightly troubled”, and that Deepika is still the odd shy girl who isn’t part of things. But instead, Deepika is running the wedding as Kalki’s best friend, Kalki got over Adi a long time ago and is completely in love with her fiance and her new life, and Aditya is deeply in debt, and deeply addicted to both alcohol and gambling (although at least he isn’t a sex fiend any more). Ranbir starts to make the first steps towards being a good friend again, listens when Kalki explains why she loves her fiance and helps them make peace when they fight, offers Aditya money and support, and listens to what this “new” Deepika wants and tries to understand her. And then at “Kabira”, he sadly walks away from the wedding, aware that he has grown too far apart from all these people to fully be a part of the celebrations.
He goes from there back to his old apartment and talks to his stepmother and finally makes peace with her, and with the memory of his dead father and begins to be willing to start new bonds. But he DOESN’T rush off to propose to Deepika, because that is clearly unhealthy and just plain dumb. Instead, he goes to Aditya Roy Kapoor, his old friend whose wine bar is going out of business and who is clearly and addict. Ranbir tells him that he has a new job, he is going to go live in a different city for 6 months at a time and he needs an assistant and a crew, will Adi take the job? It pays almost nothing and is a lot of work, but they will be together. Adi smiles, and cries a little, and then reaches out and hugs Ranbir and Ranbir hugs him back. And then in a montage, we see Ranbir take care of Adi. He cleans him up and looks after him when he drinks to much, or his gambling gets him beaten up. And then we see him take Adi to his first GA and AA meetings and sit supportively in the audience. And later, be waiting outside while Adi finishes the meetings on his own. And finally, be sitting in the audience again as Adi gives a heartfelt speech when he gets his one year chip.
Adi’s speech kind of sums up everything, he talks about how until he was 20, he had a great friend who always made things easy for him, paid his way and made the plans and it was great. And then that friend went away, and it was hard for him all of a sudden. He had to make his own plans and take care of himself, and he didn’t do a very good job of it. He blamed his friend for that, felt like if he had been there his life wouldn’t have been so hard. But then that friend came back and gave him a second chance. Only this time, instead of making his life easy, he made it hard. Forced him to go to meetings, to confront his past, to make amends. And now Adi knows his life will always be hard from now on, but that’s a good thing, it is better to have a hard real life than to still be living like a child, trusting on others to take care of him.
Ranbir and Adi leave the meeting and Adi gets an alert on his phone, another update from Dips on Kalki’s baby shower. Adi kind of pokes around about why Ranbir has stayed close to Kalki, emailing or messaging almost every day, but he doesn’t talk to Dips. Ranbir tries to brush it off, say that he wasn’t around for those 8 years when the 3 of them were so close, but Adi pushes at it, points out that he and Dips were inseparable during the wedding. Ranbir turns it around, asks why Adi never tried to date Dips during all those years. And Adi gets serious, tells him “because of you. On that trip all those years ago, I saw how you felt about her. I’ve been waiting 10 years for you to make your move, how long are you going to take?”
Ranbir tries to turn it into a joke, asks if Adi is going to swoop in and “steal” Dips if Ranbir doesn’t do something, and Adi takes it seriously, says “Maybe I should. When I almost drank myself to death two years after you left, Kalki called her and she was the one who snuck me into the hospital where she was a student and got me treated without any records. She was the one who mailed me books and pamphlets on addiction every week for years. She was the one who dragged all her friends to my bar every Friday even though she didn’t drink just to try to keep me in business. She was the one who talked Kalki around and made sure she never gave up on me every time we fought. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s caring, and she’s one of my best friends. If I thought she might want me, I would marry her tomorrow. But I don’t think she does want me, I think for some strange reason she wants you.”
Ranbir puzzles over this through a reprise of their love song as he and Adi pack up and prepare to travel to the baby shower. Unlike his last minute arrival at the wedding, this time he has a bunch of presents carefully packed, and he and Adi are confirming arrival times and everything else straight through. He is even anxious to get to the airport early to make sure they don’t miss their flight, which makes Adi tease him. Finally, they get to Kalki’s apartment, and she opens the door and Ranbir sees Deepika in the background holding the baby and the song stops.
Deepika sits in the background with the baby and Adi and Kalki and Kalki’s husband Sid and Ranbir have their own little reunion, Kalki is all emotional and hormonal, Sid wants to get her a nanny but she is insisting on doing everything herself, Adi points out that probably means that Dips is doing half of it, Kalki laughs at herself and can’t deny it, says that Dips is a doctor, and so calm anyway, she is the perfect mother, much better than Kalki, and the only one Kalki trusts with her baby. Adi says something about how she should have children of her own and gives Ranbir a pointed look. Ranbir stands up and goes into the nursery where Deepika is singing to the baby. They share one long look, and then suddenly more people arrive and make a fuss, it is Kalki’s group female in-laws, they want to take Kalki off for a salon pampering appointment, she claims she can’t go without Deepika, and Adi suggests that maybe Ranbir could stay and watch the baby for her instead. After Ranbir dealt with all his hangovers and vomiting for the past year and a half, a baby should be nothing. Deepika is rushed off with the rest of them and Ranbir is left alone with the baby.
Mild humor ensues as Ranbir is completely incapable of entertaining the baby. He starts to pull out his phone to call Kalki, and then thinks better of it, and finally texts Deepika, for the first time since the wedding, to ask her “baby is crying, what do I do?” Deepika gets the text, smiles slightly, and texts back instructions. While Deepika and Kalki and the other women get their nails done and so on, Deepika and Ranbir keep texting. It goes from baby questions, to general life stuff, does he still miss his father, does she regret not being married, big things. The group comes back that night, Kalki rushes to her baby, Ranbir and Deepika smile at each other but don’t speak. The next morning, Ranbir wakes up when his phone beeps, it’s Deepika saying “good morning”. The fuss around the baby shower continues, Kalki’s in-laws are constantly in and out of the apartment (her mother-in-law lives one floor above, and her sister-in-law one floor below), Adi and Ranbir are sharing the messy extra room in Kalki’s place, Kalki’s Mom arrives after they do and gets the nicer guest room, Deepika is always in and out helping with the baby, and through it all Ranbir and Deepika never directly talk, but are texting madly, sending photos and jokes and so on in the background. And then, finally, it is the day of the party and the decorations are going up and the caterers are arriving and it is all falling in to place.
Deepika and Kalki are hiding in the nursery and have a heart to heart about how Deepika desperately wants to be a mother, and was thinking about adoption, but now is thinking maybe not. Kalki gets excited, figuring out this means she is thinking about a boy. Ranbir and Adi are hiding in their room and having a similar talk, Ranbir asking if Adi would be okay if they didn’t go back to Europe, and stayed here instead. During the baby shower, Adi and Kalki hide in the kitchen together and share notes. But it takes Kunal, Kalki’s husband, to help them put it together. He’s the only one who has noticed that Dips and Ranbir have both been texting constantly, probably to each other. They come up with a plan, go back out to the party and Kalki declares a game. Dips and Ranbir are picked as “it” and have to be blindfolded and guided around the room by someone else. Kalki guides Ranbir, Adi guides Dips, they meet in the middle and Kunal is waiting to hold up rings. Adi and Kalki help Dips and Ranbir to find each other’s hands and exchange rings, and then pull off the blindfolds and declare “Ta-Da! We were waiting ten years for this, we decided to just do it for you! You’re engaged!”
Jump ahead one more time to a wedding, at Dip’s (and Ranbir’s) apartment, funky and lowkey, and in the middle of it the 4 central characters exchange glances and suddenly see each other as they were when they were young and then fading into them in the present, ending with Ranbir and Dips exchanging glances and seeing each other as young people again and then into the present, and finally Ranbir has a sudden vision of Deepika years from now, in an apartment that looks the same but different, with kids running around and Ranbir serving dinner to Kalki and Kunal and Adi and everything happy. HAPPY ENDING.
The thing with Fidaa, is that it gets more complicated than it needs to. The central conflict between Varun Tej and Sai Pallavi is that she wants to stay in her village and farm, and he lives in Dallas and is on track to being a successful American doctor. There was this added on misunderstanding that maybe he really loved someone else, but there was no real reason for Sai Pallavi to believe that, so it just makes her look both stupid and a little heartless.
I have a better simpler solution! Sai Pallavi is all happy and in love with Varun and almost considering proposing and asking if he might be willing to stay in India with her. And then she overhears him talking with his cousin, but not a misunderstanding about him being in love. Instead he is telling honest truth, without thinking, about how he has big dreams in America, it was great to be in India, but he can’t have the life he is planning here, or the life his dead mother wanted for him. Plus his whole family is in America, his big and little brother and now his sister-in-law. It’s where his future is, and his past. Sai is heartbroken, and goes away. She talks to her friend and explains her thinking, she knows she loves him but she hopes he doesn’t love her. Because they can never be together and it is just sad and hard. So she is going to try hard to harden her heart and stop thinking about him and feeling anything. Meanwhile, back in America, Varun is in love and planning to propose. He sends off his message, Sai smiles and is tempted for a moment, then visibly hardens herself and sends a picture of a chappal. Forever ending any possibility of saying yes from her, and hopefully killing love on Varun’s side.
But, Sai keeps thinking about him! And he keeps texting her! Her friend suggests that the best solution is to find someone else. Sai goes to find Harshwadhan Rane, the richest handsomest most eligible boy in the area. She bluntly asks him to start dating her. He is amused, and agrees. They go on cute dates and are cute together. She doesn’t like it when he tries to hold her hand, but otherwise he is perfect, similar interests and sensitive and understanding and funny. And then her sister asks her to come help during her pregnancy, she has to see Varun again. Just for safety, she accepts Rane’s proposal and carries his ring with her to America.
In America, it mostly happens as it does in the original version. Varun tries to be cool, but Sai is totally awesome and charms everyone. Finally they go for a driving trip to visit her friend, there is an added stress since Sai is officially engaged and it feels like cheating to be together. Finally he takes her to the airport and they say good-bye. They finally hug, and it is a direct contrast to when Harsh surprises her and picks her up on the other end and she doesn’t even want to shake hands. He is understanding, they talk in the car, and by the time they get back to her place, they are ready to tell her family that the engagement is over. That, and seeing her moon over the photos of Varun that her sister sends, is what convinces her father to talk to her about maybe leaving home and going to America. And then after the wedding is the surprise that Varun isn’t going to make her leave after all. But in my version, he actually explains it, that his mother’s dream was for him to make a difference and help people, and he can do that just as well in a clinic in her village as he could in a hospital in America. HAPPY ENDING.
Qarib Qarib Singlle
This is so close to a really good movie! But the ending is just terrible. Parvathy yells at Irrfan seemingly for no reason, then goes to meet her old boyfriend, we don’t even see what happens exactly, and suddenly she is all in on Irrfan the next time they meet. Instead, we need to see Parvathy in a really spectacular sari (not the hideous thing she wears). And while she is waiting for Irrfan, we can see her talking to her brother briefly, him encouraging her that she is doing the right thing, that it’s okay to be selfish and think about herself sometimes. Which inspires her to have the series of phone calls to her friends who are always asking her for things. And then when Irrfan arrives, she blows up at him too. And after he leaves, she bursts into tears (showing that she is all emotional and confused about Irrfan, not just angry) and then forces a smile when her boyfriend shows up and she runs out to him. While Irrfan is going to leave a note for his last ex-girlfriend, Parvathy is with her ex, watching him talk about his life and his interests and thinking back on all the times when Irrfan was helpful and kind and understanding. Finally she interrupts her ex to burst out with her own revelation, “Irrfan wasn’t the selfish one, I was! He is kind and good and right for me. And, I’m sorry, you weren’t right in college and you aren’t right now. I have to go.” And then she rushes out and meets Irrfan who has seen the website she made for his poems and knows she understands and appreciates him, and they meet up and finally get together. And then (just to indulge myself) HAPPY ENDING WEDDING SONG!!!!! Irrfan has invited all his exes, Parvathy’s friends and brother and parents are there, she is wearing an age appropriate demure sari, and Irrfan does a big dance in the middle of the dance floor and embarrasses her but also makes her laugh and happy.
Bonus Gully Boy Romance for Those Who Have Seen Gully Boy!
So, you know how we are all a little in love with Siddhant Chautervadi after Gully Boy? And how it would be totally awesome if there was more of him in the film? I have an idea!
He is introduced at the college music festival, when a bunch of Rude Boys interrupt Jonita Gandhi singing her feminine light song because they see Siddhant there and want her to stop so he can start. Siddhant does a great off the cuff rap about how they are stupid horrible toxic boys who can’t handle being decent to women. And I, in my head, immediately decided that I wanted Siddhant’s smart talented sensitive rap artist to have a romance with Jonita’s smart talented sensitive acoustic ballad artist. And then I met Siddhant’s irritatingly too cool white girlfriend and REALLY wanted him to have a romance with Jonita.
Let us start where the film ends! Siddhant has seen his protege go far beyond his own achievements and accepted it with grace. He collaborated with Kalki, respecting her talent and just seeing her as a fellow artist and a person, and he is still with the stupid white girl who has now acquired a small dog (blech!).
Siddhant is at Ranveer’s celebration party when Jonita comes up to him and introduces herself, and then says “You don’t remember me, do you?” Siddhant admits he doesn’t, Jonita reminds him about the college festival where he defended her. She sincerely says “thank you, that was a really nice thing you did. And a great performance too”. Siddhant is uncomfortable with her gratitude, says that anyone would have done it. Jonita clearly wants to say more, but then Horrible White Girl shows up and interrupts them with her cool girl baby talk thing and Jonita turns shy and kind of disappears into herself and fades away. Siddhant feels bad and stops her, offers to exchange numbers, Jonita leaps on the idea, and then fades out while Horrible White Girl is distracting him with kissy-faces.
Some time later, Siddhant gets a text from Jonita, asking to meet up. She suggests the beach. It’s sunny and pleasant and she has a guitar. She says that she has an offer from a music show, but she is nervous her stuff isn’t good enough, and shy to perform alone. Will Siddhant work with her? At first he tries to brush her off (nicely) saying that she doesn’t have to do him a favor just because she is grateful, but then Jonita tries to show him, starts to sing along to one of his youtube videos in a duet way. Only, then people start to stop and look at her and she stumbles to a stop and gets shy. Siddhant leaps in and starts singing back and making eye contact until she gains confidence. It turns into an awesome improvised concert, and the people love it. Siddhant is convinced, agrees to work with her.
Their collaboration goes great, but there are other complications. Jonita is having problems with her living situation, she is renting a room and the son of the family is being creepy. Siddhant fixes it for her, threatens the son and also gets her a room in his neighborhood, less fancy than where she was living (the place her parents set up for her) but safer and happier for her, being taken care of by a nice widowed auntie and playing music with and for her kids. But now that Jonita is living right near by, and Siddhant is helping her so much, Horrible White Girl girlfriend is jealous and starts making a stink. She lowkey tries to poison Siddhant, painting Jonita as “needy” and living on his talent, just like Ranveer did who has now left him behind. But Siddhant shuts that down quickly, tells her it doesn’t matter who gets the praise and awards, it’s about getting the music out there. And Jonita is talented, and kind, and good, and deserves good things and he is happy to help her. Besides, she is helping him too. Horrible White Girl is now even more worried, and aware that pushing Siddhant isn’t going to work. So she goes to see Jonita and plants the seeds that Siddhant is trying to be nice, but really needs to live his own life, she needs to stop coming over to his place every night and asking him for every little thing and so on. Jonita is stunned, thinks back on her behavior, goes through a long dark night of the soul, and finally realizes she is in love with Siddhant. But of course he can never know, and she shouldn’t put her feelings on him.
This turns into Jonita awkwardly giving Siddhant a speech about how she thinks they should just focus on the music for now, maybe make scheduled rehearsal sessions and just, like, really FOCUS and just be about MUSIC and nothing else. Siddhant backs off, and then runs it by Stupid White Girl girlfriend, who encourages him to think it is because Jonita was feeling pressure from him, she’s shy and she just got out of that toxic living situation, why put her in the same place? Best to just respect her wishes and back off.
Sad song, as they both keep reaching for their phones to text each other and then stopping, walk by each other’s doors in the building, all very sad. White Girl is still irritated by all this. Next time they are hanging out with the other cool rapper types, Siddhant is talking to his friends about his work with Jonita and White Girl starts badmouthing her, talking about how she played the damsel in distress, and plays lame uncool music with no real problems in it, because what problems could a rich girl from Delhi have? Siddhant starts going “hey, hey, HEY” as she goes on and finally asks her to step away from the table so they can have a conversation. And then it all comes out, he tells her it is not okay what she was saying about Jonita, she doesn’t know her life, Jonita gave up everything to come to Bombay and play music, she did everything that scared her with no safety net. And White Girl has had enough, bursts out that if he thinks Jonita is so great, why isn’t he dating Jonita? Siddhant bursts out “Because she never asked me!” and then they both stay there in the moment after that honesty, until White Girl just says “Fine! Why don’t you call me when you are tired of you wispy little baby girl and ready for a real woman again?” and storms off.
Siddhant goes home, all inspired, and sees Jonita playing her guitar on the roof of the building. He rushes up to her and starts to burst out that he has feelings for her, but she cuts him off with her own burst. She just had a conversation with her landlady about how she is happy she had her husband for the years she did, even if she misses him now. And it made Jonita decide that she should grab for her friendship with Siddhant even if that is all she ever gets. She says that she is so glad to see him, she has been trying to give him his space, but she misses him and wants to be friends again, not just collaborators. Siddhant backs off, feeling like maybe she needs a friend more than a boyfriend and he shouldn’t take advantage. They are back to making music together, better than ever, and Siddhant is struggling not to kiss her or reveal his feelings or look lovingly at her too much. Especially when they start meeting with a representative for the music show that is going to have them, and he is young and nice and educated and clearly has a thing for Jonita. Siddhant tries to fade into the background and let them stay for coffee together after the meetings and stuff, but Jonita just looks wistfully after him. Finally, on the day of the live TV performance (of course), Siddhant over hears the TV guy ask Jonita out on a date. And Jonita quietly but confidently turns him down. Tells him straight up that she is in love with Siddhant and it will never turn into anything, but at the same time she would rather be in love with him and not have him than even try to be with anyone else. And then they have to go on TV, live, without Siddhant having a chance to talk to her!
But then, instead of their rehearsed song, he starts singing the first song they did together on the beach, and she picks it up, and somewhere in there they confess their love, in song, live on TV. And it ends with a kiss, on TV. And then flash of the TV news, this new couple that is sweeping the nation, super popular, concert tour planned, record contract signed, etc. etc. But everyone wants to know, WHERE ARE THEY NOW???? Cut to, Jonita and Siddhant, sitting on the roof together, playing music. HAPPY ENDING.