This is amazing! Ruth Wilson playing her own grandmother in the story of her grandfather who was both a scoundrel and a brilliant actor, probably where Ruth got it. Anyway, I have to share the story in case you don’t want to watch it and also because it is so fun to imaginary recast in India. And also my brain isn’t working because Sick, and recasting is easy. Also, SPOILERS! Avoid if you like limited BBC historical miniserieses midcentury true stories/Ruth Wilson
Alexander Wilson was a linguist scholar, married at a youngish age to a nice woman, had two sons and a daughter, than went to India for a job in Lahore. Where he met and married a young actress, lying to her that he was divorced from his first wife. They returned to England with their son and during WWII he started working as a translator and began a relationship with his much much younger secretary, also lying to her that he was divorced. His first wife was still in the country, believing they were separated but married while he worked in London. His second wife found out about the new relationship and left him. So he married the secretary as his third wife and had two more sons with her. She worked to support him and lived with him for 20 years, raising their sons. Meanwhile, he had lost his government job and lied to her about it, started working a menial job as a hospital porter. Where he met and romanced a FOURTH young woman, also lying to her and “marrying” her, and having a 7th child. The wives only found out the truth after he died when his third wife (the one he lived with for 20 years) put an obituary in the newspaper like the normal thing. And to add to the complication, he was working for the secret service at one point so knew how to forge documents. Plus he was able to use “secret government work” as a cover for anything fishy his 4 wives noticed.
And then his son with his second wife ended up working as an actor, and his granddaughter with his third wife became Ruth Wilson, brilliant actress. Only one of the children knew the truth, the oldest son, the others were protected by their mothers.
Anyway, such a fascinating story with such a great cast of characters!
Wife 1: Noble, proper, older, quietly suffering
Wife 2: Aging sophisticated cosmopolitan actress type
Wife 3: Naive, faithful, sweet, traumatized as she learns the truth after 20 years
Wife 4: Young nurse who took pity on him
Husband: Very good at being charmingly deprecating, pretending not to want pity or love while actually working to incite it, aging into a debonair handsomeness that entices younger insecure women.
Oldest son: Traumatized and struggling to cope with the secret only he knows and secretly curious about his siblings
Son with Wife 2: Raised by a single mother believing his father to be dead, heading towards acting and a bohemian life
Sons with Wife 3: On a good path thanks to a stable upbringing, in the navy and heading to the university
Son with Wife 4: Little boy who doesn’t understand what is happening
Spy Handlers: Confident that whatever personal flaws he may have had, it was right for them to cover it up for national security, what does it matter if he betrayed 4 women and 7 children?
Isn’t this an AMAZING real life story? And wouldn’t it be a great slightly melodramatic Indian movie? All those great roles for women, plus (in my Indian version) a lot of high drama about the separated siblings who I will simplify to be one son per wife?
My first casting idea, just to be cocky and mean: Akshay Kumar as the serial liar and womanizer who uses patriotism to excuse his actions. Huh? Huh? Pretty great, right?
Wife 1: Raveena Tandon
Wife 2: Shilpa Shetty
Wife 3: Juhi Chawla
Wife 4: Sonam Kapoor
Son 1: Sushant Singh Rajput, struggling with the betrayal of his mother, but older and better able to handle things, secretly starts tracking and trying to help his younger half-siblings.
Son 2: Harshwardhan Kapoor, handsome and troubled, trying to make it as an actor and secretly helped by being given a day job as a driver by his older half-brother. Has a romance with Sara Ali Khan.
Son 3: Proper perfect young man Arjun Kapoor in training with the police, has run-ins with his secret half brother Harsh without realizing they are brothers, also romances Sara Ali Khan but ends up falling for her big sister Parineeti Chopra.
Son 4: Adorable child actor who is adopted by Sushant Singh Rajput without ever learning he is his half-brother.
Question: in my fictionalized dramatic version, can I have Son 1 fall in love with and marry Wife 4? Or is that too creepy?
UPDATE: Shoot, I forgot to say who Anupam Kher plays. He plays the Indian handler and old friend of the husband, who keeps making excuses and claiming he was just trying to do the right thing by marrying all these women. He’s very charming and Anupam Kher-y, but not really convincing.