Rewrite/Discussion Post: Big Little Lies, Good Omens, The Act, Dead To Me, Stranger Things, GLOW

This is me being lazy and sleepy again. I’ve been on a binge of limited streaming serieses over the past three weekends (yes, I could have spent that time watching movies, but then I would have had to pay attention instead of blogging while I watched). And they all are more or less acceptable for Indian remakes, and also more or less popular among the readers here (based on how many times they’ve come up in comments so far). So, this is a place to talk about them! Indian recasting, why they could/could not be remade in India, general thoughts, all fair game!

Big Little Lies

I finally watched it, season 1 and 2 in a big burst. This is maybe the simplest option for an Indian remake, since it revolves around marriages and children and rich people in a very universal kind of way. You can just translate the dialogue from English to Hindi and the location from outside San Francisco to outside Bombay or Delhi, and call it a day. Really the biggest questions left about it are simply casting.

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Good Omens

This one isn’t quite as easy a translation since it is so strongly based on both British and Christian mythology. But I think we could just put in some or all of the cast with Indian actors while keeping everything else the same, if we wanted. Or we could flip it to Hindu mythology and Indian history if we really wanted to go far. Biggest question for me is, if Shahrukh is playing Crowley, what actor should play his love interest?

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The Act

This is such a disturbing show! But if someone else has also watched it, then we can talk about it together and try to be less disturbed. Biggest question with this one is casting, again. The central idea of mothers and daughters and Munchausen by Proxy translates without change.

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Dead To Me

This show doesn’t have nearly as much buzz as the others, but I really liked it! And I found the central relationships fascinating, especially the female friendship at the center. If anyone else watched it, I would love to get your takes on how/if it could translate to India. For one thing, being a widow and an ex-fiancee has a whole different meaning in India.

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Stranger Things

I believe this show is untranslatable because the setting is so incredibly specific. But I am willing to be talked out of that! It does also have universal themes of first love and parenting and stuff.

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GLOW

Super unnoticed show, especially compared to the others on this list. But I like it! And I think it might weirdly translate to India really well. With some changes, replacing the setting of Women’s wrestling with a Bombay dance bar, for instance. But keeping the idea of our failed actress heroine who finds a better expression for her talent in this world of over-acting and characters, and the tension of her sort-of-but-not romance with the much older grumpy director character. It’s also pretty much a perfect Shahrukh-Anushka romance.

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21 thoughts on “Rewrite/Discussion Post: Big Little Lies, Good Omens, The Act, Dead To Me, Stranger Things, GLOW

  1. So glad you watched Good Omens! It’s just the best show!

    As for someone for Aziraphale I had to think hard for this, but somehow I find Anil Kapoor or Rishi Kapoor as a possibility. One for the energy and a different role, while the other for the physical similarity in both face and body equal to Michael Sheen. Or maybe Iffran Khan? He could do it as well. Also Bobby or Abhay Deol with both of their round faces might also fit? There are so many possibilities!

    I have no idea why, but somehow Hrithik as Gabriel sounds appealing. Oh! Kunal Kapoor would do as well!

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    • I think Hrithik as Gabriel is great! He can do that light comic touch surprisingly well.

      I am so tempted with Saif for Aziraphale, mostly because of the great Saif-Shahrukh chemistry. What do you think about Aamir? Let him have a softer body and face and lean into his kind of prissy real life habits.

      On Mon, Aug 19, 2019 at 5:29 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. The only one I’ve seen of these is Big Little Lies, and I’ve only seen the first season. (On the fence about the second season–is it worth the time commitment? Not hearing good things). So, for that, Taapsee could be the Shailene Woodward character and Kalki could be Zoe Kravitz. The Alexander Skaarsgaard part could be done by Sushant Singh Rajput but then who is Nicole Kidman? And Reese could be Anushka Sharma? Maybe Kareena for Laura Dern because I think it would be fun to see her as an uptight, straightlaced character.

    Speaking of limited series, I eventually got totally sucked into Little Things and have watched almost all of them, and I wonder if they are going to have a third series. I hope so, but Mithila Palkar seems to have deservedly broken out so maybe she doesn’t have time for it. It’s so charming, and I just wish they wouldn’t push Litttleapp so much. It’s getting like two mentions in each tiny episode.

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    • no, the second season of Big Little Lies sucks but I didn’t think the first one was that good either so your mileage might vary. It’s just a soap opera with great actors and big sets. I still have the last episode left so maybe it will be redeemed. Let’s see.

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      • But if you skip the second season, we don’t get to cast the Indian version of Meryl Streep! I am torn between Ratna Pathak, Supriya Pathak, and Jaya Bachchan.

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    • I like all of your casting options, and thinking about who can play opposite SSR is real juicy since she is supposed to be considerably older so we can bring in one of our awesome older actresses. Tabu might be really interesting actually. Or Manisha Koirala, she has that fragile beautiful feel to her. And the second season is fun mostly just watching the actresses interact. The plot is less perfectly put together, but the characters are still great.

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        • Yes!!!! And a different kind of beauty, not plastic and make up, but striking and immediate.

          On Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 5:39 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Going along the SRK recasting theme in the other post, I considered early SRK for Perry (that manic energy in Darr, Baazigar) and rejected it. As much as I want to see him play a variety of roles, that character goes to an extreme I personally can’t watch SRK go to! Ranveer can do it!

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        • Ranveer would be great! If anything, I think Shahrukh could play the good husband Ed, or else the lousy ex. I think the idea of him as a guy who loves his wife but isn’t sure if she loves him, the guy everyone kind of overlooks, would work well.

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  3. The Act… Raises hand!

    Such a female actors’ showcase – the mother, the daughter, and the next door neighbor. All layered gray characters with rich inner lives and complex outer lives. plus You never quite know if it’s MbP or just straight up sociopathy (or even psychopathy), I.e. Intentionally crippling the daughter to land free meals and deals based on disability, like the habitat for humanity house. WATCH THIS FOR PATRICIA ARQUETTES PERFORMANCE!!
    Also, what’s unique is, we usually wonder if a character is black or white, or if they are grey or white, but rarely is it about whether they are grey or black. Maybe because if white isn’t an option then there’s no chance of a feel-good plot or ending.

    Mother – Shabhana Azmi – no other option in my mind.
    Daughter – Alia bhatt , she has the baby face and the acting chops for this, especially the turnabout. but have we seen her play a grey character yet?
    Daughters BF – a younger Imran Khan, again the baby face and cluelessness to be naively trusting and blindly believing in love at all costs
    Next door neighbor – Neena Gupta or Vidya Balan or Shefali Shah. Ladies who can play whiskey and cigarettes “I’ve lived life” types.
    Next door neighbor daughter – Kriti Sanon, or if you wanna go younger, ananya pandey. The kind who can play both beautiful and popular yet also kind and empathetic.

    Did you watch this on Hulu?

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    Also on Hulu, the new Four Weddings and a Funeral millennial reboot! Created and produced by Mindy Kaling! A diverse cast, half American , other half British, half white, other half PoC, not just one but two AfAms, and a British desi. Think of this as 4WaaF meets Friends or New Girl. It’s a very likeable show if you like any of those properties, or just generally if you like light rom com, coming of age, fish out of water, ensemble friendship stories, with rites of passage to demarcate time and the plot.
    Mindy still falls prey to certain stereotypes. The black guy is dark and super buff and likes the trashy essex girl type (think Jersey shore). The only character with family members is the desi guy – he has a dad, a younger brother, who are both stereotypes and played for laughs. The black woman is paler than halle berry, which then of course makes it ok for white men to fall for her, which they do.
    OTOH when has the lead character in an ensemble piece ever been the black woman (unless of course the ensemble is all black women)? Gotta give Mindy major props for that!
    If you watch it, it’s on Hulu, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday, let’s recast it in Hindi or any other industry. I envision it best in Malayalam, which tends to have more ensemble movies and actors anyways.

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    • oh and spoilers
      a love story + possible endgame between the black woman and the Desi guy when are we seeing that since Mississippi Masala but with the genders reversed!

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    • Yaaaaay, another The Act watcher! Love your comment about grey or black instead of black or white. I would add on that to make up for the darkness of the central pair, all the other characters shade more grey to whitesh grey. I love the flip on the characters of the neighbor and the boyfriend’s mother a little too. They drink, they smoke, they have messy lower income houses, they aren’t “perfect” mothers. When we first meet them it is clear that Patricia Arquette judges them and we judge them a little too. But the show makes us question what a “perfect” mother is, they may not make healthy meals every night or have a perfect dream house for their children or all the rest of it, but they ultimately put their children above themselves and (most of all) encourage them to leave the nest and grow up and are happy for their happiness.

      Wouldn’t that alone be an interesting story to tell in the Indian context? The contrast between the “perfect” mother and modern “bad” mothers without husbands or proper morals and all that. Only to come to a larger concept of motherhood that is just about unconditional love and wanting what is best for your children? Oh, and I am tempted by the idea of Amrita Singh and Sara as the neighbor pair. We’d have to change it to make her a surprisingly old instead of a surprisingly young mother, but that might work better for the general idea of being a “bad” mother. Maybe if Amrita is an older unmarried working woman and Sara is the illegitimate child of her married lover that she chose to keep? Lots of mother-daughter fights and disruptions, Amrita is gone a lot, they get take out food, and so on. But then over time we see that Sara is encouraged to go to college, and grows up to have a great life because her mother gave her a mixture of support and tough love.

      I am resisting 4 Weddings and a Funeral partly because I really love the original, and also because I don’t know if I understand the idea behind it? Is it a limited series, like a miniseries, or is it supposed to be a regular show? I hope miniseries because I watched The Mindy Project and I definitely feel like it lost it’s way once it moved past the planned storyline after it kept getting renewed.

      On Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 5:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh and for casting, have you seen Udta Punjab? I feel like the flip Alia’s character does towards the end of that is very similar to what the daughter in The Act does, learns to do whatever it takes to get free. So she would be great at it. For the boyfriend, hmm. Young Imraan would work, but now that he is Old Imraan, maybe Shahid’s little brother? Or what about Naseerji’s son Vivaan?

      On Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 5:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Vivaan has the naive look that’d work perfectly. Ishaan seems too socially ept to ever be *this* stupid.

        4WaaF – I don’t know that it has so much in common with the original, besides the rites of passage structure and an ensemble interplay of friendships and romances and the London setting. It’s mostly capitalizing on the name. As for “sticktoitiveness”, it’s not a binge because each new episode drops weekly, but unlike standard tv, the episode uploads at midnight and then stays “forever”. So it doesn’t require the time commitment of a binge nor that of appointment television. It’s the best of both worlds! I’ll stick with it until it gets boring or loses its way or starts to side-line the PoC characters :O

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        • Vivaan is also surprisingly tall and large, that combined with the innocent face should really work in an interesting way.

          And this is the perfect 4WaaF plan! You keep watching until it gets bad, and then you tell me when that is, and I will watch everything right up to when it is bad. And then swing back for the finale. I messed up with The Mindy Project, I watched a little bit passed when it got bad and it soured me so much I didn’t feel like swinging back for the finale so it’s left in my head as this kind of unpleasant unfinished story. but if I could have stopped one season earlier, no problems!

          On Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 8:12 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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