This is a post I wrote for his birthday, but it’s really quite good! And fun to read and discuss. I already did the first 13 early today, here are the last 12.
14. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa-More romantic mishaps
I was running out of films (at least, ones I hadn’t already covered in some way), so I had to rewind back a bit. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa ends with our hero starting a new romance, sadly leaving his crush’s wedding, he meets Juhi Chawla sitting on the side of the road who asks him for directions.
But, knowing what a sentimental fool Shahrukh plays in this film, I don’t think this romance will go smoothly either. I think he will be delighted at first to find a woman who likes him, but then he will be so nervous that he will mess up his first meeting with her family. And then he won’t be able to find the simple way out of it, instead of just asking his parents for help, he will send in a friend in disguise as a wealthy alternative groom, Juhi will get mad at him for being incompetent, they will fight, and finally it will all work out when his Don mentor finds out what is happening, and his best friends return from their honeymoon, and his little sister tells his parents. They will all come together to talk to Juhi’s family and convince them that Shahrukh really is a good match.
15. Koyla-Ending followed by restoration
Hard to imagine a happy ending after this one! Which is what makes it a challenge. Shahrukh has been kept mute and uneducated his entire life. Madhuri is a simple village girl who was sold to a brothel. And now Shahrukh has learned that Amrish Puri, his foster father, killed his parents and he is the rightful heir to the diamond mine.
Only, this diamond mine is terrible for the village around it and is just a nightmarish place. So I think Shahrukh will take the help of an honest cop to prove his claim, then shut the mine down. With Madhuri’s support, they will turn the mansion and grounds into public space, and give out land parcels for farming to the villagers. Within a few years, the place will return to a simple farming town with Shahrukh and Madhuri living a simple happy life among the villagers.
(Madhuri should go back to this life)
We kind of know what happens after the end for this one. Shahrukh was always planning to return to his village and start a music school once Amrish let him go. So clearly that is what is going to happen.
I’ll just sketch in a few details. Shahrukh starts his school, and there is a full traditional wedding with Mahima after months and months. Because they are the kind of people who would want the big wedding. Amrish is there as Shahrukh’s family, his other son isn’t invited. Mahima and Shahrukh start their music school, Amrish is a frequent visitor any time he wants to get away, and they bring in some of Shahrukh’s nice supportive American garage friends to help out too.
17. One 2 Ka 4
I guess Shahrukh never gives the money back? They just continue to live in the nice house bought with stolen money? I think Juhi would keep working, she seems to be a dedicated police woman. But they would work out some kind of co-parenting routine so neither she nor Shahrukh have crazy long shifts and someone is always home with the kids.
There is conflict coming, because I do not see Shahrukh being cool with his oldest daughter dating! And I do not see her being happy with that. This is a loose Lethal Weapon inspired film after all, so let’s say that the oldest daughter falls for Shahrukh’s new much younger partner. She is like 17-18, going to college and coming home every day. The younger partner is maybe 25, so it’s not ridiculous. Shahrukh is furious when he finds out, and initially tries to have the partner transferred, or even injured, just to get rid of him. But the partner parries all his attempts, and talks to Juhi about his intentions, and eventually after Shahrukh and he solve a big conspiracy case, Shahrukh comes around to the engagement.
(Varun again maybe? Kind of a combo of Dilwale and Dishoom?)
I find it really interesting that in Billu Shahrukh is playing himself-but-not-really. An orphan who came to Bombay with nothing and ended up the biggest star in the world. Only, an orphan with no sibling or long term girlfriend. So he really has no one. And somehow hasn’t managed to make any new connections.
As I see it, he came to Bombay with money borrowed from Irrfan. He was too ashamed to get back in touch with Irrfan until he had the money to pay him back. So after years he went back to their village, only to learn that Irrfan had run away after falling in love with a woman from a lower caste. He kept looking since then, but it was like a needle in a haystack. And in the meantime he realized he had lost the ability to make that kind of connection with anyone new, to trust anyone new.
When they were boys, he and Irrfan had talked about the beauty of a particular village. That’s why he was interested in filming there, remembering it from their mutual childhood. Which is also why Irrfan chose it as the place to run away too. Finally, when they are reunited, Shahrukh is thrilled to have that family connection back that he has wanted his whole life. Irrfan serves as his conscience and guide and friend, Lara Dutta is his Bhabhi who spoils him, the kids are there for him to spoil himself. And eventually Lara helps arrange an engagement and marriage with a young actress who can understand the demands of his career, Dilip-Saira Banu style.
19. Chennai Express
Thank goodness, they don’t have to stay in the village. They go back to Bombay, Shahrukh proudly introduces Deepika to his grandmother as his fiancee. They plan a wedding in Bombay because Deepika wants it that way and her father is scared to say “no” to her. Her whole family lands up in Shahrukh’s house, hilarity and miss-communications ensue, but the wedding goes off somehow, with all of Shahrukh’s grandmother’s requirements included, as well as Deepika’s father’s.
Deepika happily takes over the household and turns it a little more South Indian, and eventually convinces Shahrukh to expand the sweet shop to have South Indian food too. Shahrukh becomes the most happily henpecked of all his friends.
(See? She even makes him dress southern)
20. Happy New Year
Well, this film is a mess! There is the backstory that was supposed to be there, when our hero was considerably younger, and then the one we actually got. The script talks about Anupam being arrested while Shahrukh was studying abroad, how he is so well-educated with such a bright future. And then, only a few years later, it is all gone.
So, if this was young Shahrukh, or even someone like Shahid, the story would be a young man who was raised among all classes of society (Boman, Sonu), whose father became more and more successful in his youth, until finally he was sent to study overseas. But then his bright MBA type future was destroyed when his father lost everything. Now, since he can’t get any respectable job, he has fallen to street fighting, using the brains that were supposed to help him conquer the business world for a different purpose. He is this combination of the perfect upper class bright young man, and the lower class world he has been thrown into.
That’s where Dips comes in. He feels like he shouldn’t belong here, with the lower middle-class types, he should be overseas or in a fancy office or something. So he resists his connection to her, and her attraction to him. Until he finally is convinced to give in to it, to accept that his life isn’t what he planned and he should love who he wants to love.
All of that makes sense for a young hero, but then we get Shahrukh who just doesn’t give off that “freshly minted MBA” vibe. So the backstory doesn’t work at all. Instead we have to do something complicated like “Anupam had to save money to send him overseas, so he didn’t even go to study until he was 30, and he’s been doing underground fights and working through his grief for like 8 years too, but he shut the world out to such an extent that he still doesn’t feel like he belongs in this environment.” It just doesn’t work well!
So much here! Both before and after. For a 5 minute cameo, he really gave us a lot to work with. As I see it, he and Aish met when they were young but not too young. Not a college romance, but more an idealistic young people at their first job kind of romance. He was dreaming of being an artist, she was dreaming of being a poet. He cheated on her almost immediately, but she forgave him because she was young and dumb and in love, and he was in love with her and declared it would never happen again. They eloped and got married against the wishes of their friends and family.
For years they went through highs and lows. Shahrukh constantly cheated, and Aish reacted by slowly drawing further and further away from him. It got messy. Finally, maybe after learning he had cheated on her with one of “her” people, her publisher or friend or agent, Aish had enough. She filed for divorce. Shahrukh tried to win her back, promised to change, she held firm. Now, years later, they have a mature understanding of the situation. They weren’t good for each other, they made each other the worst version of themselves. The love will always be there, but it has calmed. I’m guessing that Shahrukh had his own series of “Ranbir”s, young women that he made a sincere connection with but also kept at arms length because he is afraid of having that kind of passion again, and who he cut off when they got to close.
Okay, you ready to stick with me as I take a WILD LEAP into fantasy???? Remember how Anushka said she was the youngest of 4 sisters (I think)? And implied that all the others married appropriate men like they were supposed to?
Okay, what if at Anushka’s funeral, her older sister comes. And Aish is there to support Ranbir, and Shahrukh is there because he is nice and mature like that. Anushka’s sister breaks down sobbing and Shahrukh is the only one around to help her, he offers to take her for a cup of coffee and then back to her hotel. They have one of those surprisingly intimate conversations you can have with strangers. She talks about how Anushka was always the wild fearless one, she envied that, now she wonders what would have happened if she had run away before her marriage to an older boring man that she never seems to please. Shahrukh admits that he was always running away from his marriage, and now he is alone. They decide to be alone together and exchange contact info.
(This, but with adults)
Over several months, they exchange emails and texts and phone calls. Nothing inappropriate, just friendly, but something she doesn’t get from her cold husband and unfriendly in-laws who blame her for a lack of grandchildren, and something he doesn’t get in his jetsetting life. They meet again at a fancy reception in Karachi where he is being honored as a visiting artist and she is there with her fancy in-law family. He sees her being ignored and insulted by her husband, not in a dramatic way but petty slights, and stands up for her. That night, she has another fight with her husband, or tries to but he just doesn’t listen to her. And something snaps, she packs a bag and goes to Shahrukh’s hotel. He is shocked to see her, but gives her the bed while he takes the sofa. She asks him to help her run away, she can’t do it on her own any more. He helps her figure out the legalities of divorce, as a friend, and helps her set up a new household in Europe with the settlement she gets. Her husband made it easy to leave, she realizes he has wanted to marry a younger wife and try again for children for years but was afraid of what his mother would say if he was the one who moved for divorce.
In Europe, Shahrukh loves showing her new things, the whole world she has been missing, art and music and poetry. They come closer and closer, and slowly she starts to fall in love with him. Finally one night she receives word that her husband’s new wife is pregnant, and it wrecks her. Shahrukh comforts her while she cries, somehow they end up kissing and have sex. The next morning, it’s all horrible, Shahrukh is in a hurry to get out of there, and then sends her a terse text saying he has to leave town, doesn’t know when he will be back, will call her.
She is heartbroken, doesn’t know what to do, finally calls Aishwarya (who she and Shahrukh have had dinner with multiple times). Aish listens to the whole story, and doesn’t say anything, and listens to her confess that she thinks she might really be in love with Shahrukh. Then Aish goes home to confront Shahrukh, who is hiding out in her guest room. She tells him that this woman is really in love with him, and she (Aish) thinks Shahrukh is in love with her too, and it is time to be a man and step up and figure out how he feels. Shahrukh says he just doesn’t know, is still unsure. But then Aish gets a call, listens, hangs up and tells Shahrukh that that was her, she is about to go to the airport and fly back to Karachi never to return. Shahrukh suddenly knows what he wants and starts running, runs through the streets, knocks on her door. Gives a speech about how she can’t leave him, he thought he could never be in a real relationship again, but he didn’t realize they were already in a relationship, he can’t live without her, she has to stay. She is confused, since she was never planning on leaving. They both realize that Aish set them up, and don’t care because they are too busy laughing and kissing.
Question: Who should the actress be? I made it Anushka’s older sister, so the age can be anywhere from 50 to 30. So, Madhuri, Kajol, Juhi, Anushka again?
22. Dear Zindagi
Another one with a lot of interesting openings for us! First, before the film starts, I think we can fill in a lot of backstory. Shahrukh is clearly a global cosmopolitan type, while still grounded in Goa. I would think that he went to med school overseas and quickly became something of a rockstar. He climbed up the career path in a hospital in, let’s say, Germany. And he married a woman from overseas too, not a college type romance, but maybe someone he met at a hospital reception. Not another doctor, but a wealthy philanthropist type with a lot of family and connections and roots. For a while their marriage was wonderful, they would visit his family in India, and their day to day life revolved around her life overseas. Fancy dinners hosted by her family, their son sent to the fancy school she attended, it all seemed wonderful.
Until things started to crack. Shahrukh wanted longer and longer trips to India, his wife didn’t want to come with. His wife wanted to attend more and more events, she was going on business trips, he wasn’t connecting with her. Finally, he discovered she was having an affair. He was furious, broke it off, they briefly tried therapy but he couldn’t get past the anger, just had to leave. Although they always remained civil for the sake of their son. He started life afresh in Goa, and now it is years later, and he has worked through a lot of his issues, sees that the end of the marriage was mutual, he has abandoned her emotionally long before she started her affair, they had just grown apart and there was no way to fix it. I think maybe spending time with Alia helps him realize that, sees the female side of things more and more.
And now after he is done with her, he is healed and renewed. He goes to an art opening where he overhears a woman making fun of his sculpture and agrees with her, before she figures out it is his. She is embarrassed and flustered and he finds it amusing. He asks more about her from a mutual friend, she runs a charity school in Goa, a spinster, doesn’t go out much, a little shy with strangers but the kids love her. He shows up at the school, offers to be the new volunteer art teacher. She is even more flustered, but agrees. He is increasingly charmed by what he sees of her, the way she hides from wealthy donors because she has mud spattered on herself from playing the kids, the way she always has time for the children. He finally asks her out for dinner and she can’t believe it, because he is so cool and modern and all, and she is dowdy and in classes and saris. But he insists, and makes her dinner on the beach, and somehow he ends up talking about his son, and she says the perfect things and makes him feel better and he asks her about why she started the school, and she asks him about his past, and so on and so on. After a series of dinners, he very shyly goes to talk to her relatives, her older brother who is shocked that anyone would want to marry his sister. Shahrukh gets angry with him and insults him, he insults Shahrukh back, and she finally stands up for herself and says she doesn’t need her family approval, she is going to marry Shahrukh and that is that.
I’m thinking Sridevi? Maybe Vidya or Tabu.
A quick one. Like Billu, Shahrukh is playing himself but not quite. The kids are a little too young and so is the wife. So I would say that he is the same Shahrukh, only his wife is someone he met in Bombay early in his career. A make-up artist or something. They were still “normal” people back then, just he was 30 and she was 21, so the age difference makes more sense. They dated through out his early years, and got married when he was 35 and she was 24. And then the kids came along a few years later. Oh, and he had no family in Delhi besides his parents, no sister.
24. Ra. One
Shahrukh and Kareena’s early romance is what I am curious about here. Again, just a quick one. I think maybe they were both overachievers, Kareena’s linguistic studies and enthusiasm tended to scare people off, and he was too awkward. But they met in London through mutual friends, or maybe a cultural event, and hit it off against all odds.
The grand finale!!! The fun one. What happened to Shahrukh and Kajol after? And everyone else too?
I think Shahrukh and Kajol and Anupam went back to London and moved into Anupam’s big house. And Shahrukh went to work at the company and Kajol made the house back into a home for them all. But I also think (hope) that Anupam would encourage Kajol not to just make her life into home and husband, but want her to go back to school. He would be proud that she graduated unlike everyone else in their family. Kajol and Shahrukh would fight sometimes over her schedule and her demanding quiet for studying and all that, but then make-up. At her graduation ceremony, she tells him she is pregnang and he and Anupam are super happy.
Amrish Puri dies, and Pooja Ruperal and Farida come to help with the baby and Pooja goes to school in England. Pooja is extremely focused and ambitious, and is surprised when a boy in her med school class claims to have fallen in love with her. She does her research and spies on him and figures out that it is really a bet he had with the other students that he couldn’t get the most boring girl in class to go to the dance with him. She goes along with it just so she can go to the dance with the coolest boy, and also plays the vapid girlfriend demanding gifts and other stuff from him. And then after the dance is over, calmly tells him she knew all along and she wants 50% of his winnings from the bet or she will tell all his friends. So now he really IS in love with her because she is awesome!!!!
(Yes, this is very similar to the plot of Tezaab)
He starts hanging around the house talking all love sick to Farida and Anupam and Kajol and they all soften. Shahrukh holds out and so does Pooja. Until Pooja finally gives in after he waits outside the house all day in the rain because she told him to, making himself sick and he ends up in the hospital with med student Pooja taking care of him. Pooja confidently and happily goes home to announce her engagement, only to be surprised by Shahrukh refusing to give his blessing. Kajol argues for Pooja, but when Shahrukh remains adamant, Kajol goes along with him and trusts his judgement.
And so DDLJ part 2! The boy makes a big show of breaking his leg in front of their house and has to be taken inside. Shahrukh is too much an old-fashioned Punjabi to ever throw out a guest, so has to let him stay. Slowly, he wins Shahrukh over, they drink together and smoke together, but Shahrukh still resists giving his blessing for him to marry Pooja. Pooja is ready to elope, sure that Shahrukh will come around, but her boyfriend doesn’t want to, thinks he can win Shahrukh over.
The tension keeps climbing, Shahrukh is now arranging meetings with perspective grooms, despite everyone objecting and telling him to just give his blessing already, Pooja goes to him and he tells her that he will never ever ever agree for her to marry this man. So, finally, Pooja goes to her boyfriend in tears, says she wants to marry him and eloping is the only way. And he agrees. Despite his leg cast, he manages to help her sneak out of the house, they get married, and return the next day ready for Shahrukh to yell at them. Which he does, until finally he stops and just starts smiling and laughing instead. It was all a test! Over the years he has come to realize that he should have put Kajol’s feelings above all else, should have just eloped instead of trying to win over Amrish. He wanted to be sure that the man Pooja picked would be willing to do what she wanted, not what her male guardian wanted.
So, grown up Pooja, thoughts? Kareena maybe? Or Alia? Or Parineeti? And who should be the trickster lover? Varun? Ranveer?