Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me This Very Very Busy Movie Week?

Well, showtimes are a disaster! The only War showtime I can make on Wednesday is at 8pm. Which would be less bad if I could squeeze in Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy in an earlier show, but no luck for that either. So it looks like it will be a 1am night two nights in a row. Gah. Or, I put Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy off for Friday afternoon just so I’m not quite so pie-eyed.

This is where you can ask me anything you want at any time all week. Just keep swinging back to this post to bring up ideas, ask things, whatever you want. That’s what it is here for.

Now, question for you! On this lovely last day of September. In honor of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, what historic figure/story do you want to get an Indian historical epic treatment?

Nehru-Mountbatten love story! We already had Viceroy’s House but the whole passionate soulmates love story of Edwina and Nehru, which inspired her to turn her life to good works and helping others in the first place, was tidily erased. Not to mention the fascinating additional complication that the Mountbattens had an open marriage with Edwina have a succession of lovers with her husbands full knowledge and support, and yet Edwina had no more affairs after Nehru.

Really, such a good and interesting movie idea! Forget the big political movements, focus on the smaller level of a very intelligent man who finds a woman who can match his intelligence, two folks who on paper should never fall in love and yet find a bond which is the strongest of their lives. And a very sexual woman who may have fallen in love with the one man who never had sex with her. And two people who were in love for over a decade but barely saw each other during that time, surviving on letters and shared ideas instead of physical passion. You know Edwina died clutching Nehru’s letters? And Nehru sent a war ship to escort her burial at sea and ordered a wreath thrown after her body on his behalf? HOW IS THIS NOT A MOVIE???? BESIDES THE OBVIOUS REASON THAT NEHRU’S FAMILY WON’T LET IT BE A MOVIE???? (meanwhile, Edwina’s family talks about it all openly)

Image result for edwina nehru

30 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me This Very Very Busy Movie Week?

  1. Yes! I’m dying for the Edwina/Jawaharlal story! She read his letters every day before she slept! Why can’t they just do a Rajneeti and fictionalize it enough that they don’t get in trouble?

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    • And it’s such a fascinating different romance! A shallow wild woman who changes her whole way of life after falling in love, and a noble sacrificing widower who has this one small part of his life where he can just be happy.

      I’m okay with fictionalizing it, making it a romance between the wealthy wife of an Indian diplomat who travels all over the world and a noble Indian based politician. Although it’s too bad to miss the whole unbelievable historical impact of it. Either way, who the heck do we cast? Who can play wealthy westernized sexually adventurous and also witty and eventually sacrificial and noble?

      On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 7:03 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Kalki! We’ve seen her play several types of women, including both of these types. In interviews, she exudes a certain IQ + EQ + impressionability that would be perfect for this role.

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        • I love that, except can she do 45 to 60? Mother of a grown daughter? And who would play Nehru?

          On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 12:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Soni Razdan! I think she would be great at wealthy, westernized, sexually adventurous and also witty and eventually sacrificial and noble. Kalki and Alia could play the younger version. Dimple works too for the older Edwina.

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          • Ooo, I like it! And who for Nehru? Naseeruddin Shah? Someone who is short and old and unattractive, but surprisingly fun and sexual and with a lot of layers?

            What if we did it like that Bob Dylan biopic, where Edwina lived us different lives it is as though she was different people? Young just married Edwina is Alia, 30s Edwina in her sexual peak is Kalki, and still funny and charming but dedicated to good works Edwina is Dimple?

            Oh! And we can do the same for Nehru! Vikrant Massay for young happy just married Nehru, Naseerji for powerful wise widowed lonely Nehru? And who for the 30s firebrand rebel leader Nehru?

            On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 12:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Definitely Naseeruddin Shah but older Nehru. And the one and only Jim Sarbh for 30’s firebrand Nehru. He also kind of looks like Naseeruddin Shah. I love the idea of doing it like the Bob Dylan biopic.

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          • Oh yes Jim Sarbh is PERFECT! Alia as the young and in love just married Edwina and then after their children are born, she and her husband lovingly decide to have an open marriage. Meanwhile in India, Vikrant Massay and his wife are also in love and have a baby and instead the conversation is about whether he will ever remarry if she dies and he swears he won’t. Jump ahead 10 years, Jim Sarbh is a passionate firebrand in public, but a heartbroken husband in private watching his wife fade away as his daughter is similarly ill. Meanwhile Kalki is sophisticated and adventerous but beginning to feel restless with the strange emptiness of her life. They meet for the first time at an international conference and immediately spark and challenge each other and decide to start writing. And another couple year leap and it is Soni and Naseerji playing them during the era when they were able to see each other and talk in person on a regular basis, hands brushing against each other, longing looks, Soni has no more interest in flirtation or affairs, Naseerji finally starts to smile and laugh again. And then jump ahead to the long years of separation when their letters alone kept each other going, both of them understanding without needing to discuss it why they can never be together in person again. We can see Shabana being noble and sacrificing, her husband telling her that he has never admired her more and appreciates her, finally mending the breach with her children, and so on; and Naseerji struggling to bond with his daughter, to shoulder his massive responsibilities, and occasionally pulling out the handkerchief and faded rose Edwina gave him years earlier.

            On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 3:25 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I think there’s a couple of good books on it, but I’m not sure if any of them are really 100% love story, or just mentioning it in passing.

      On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 8:47 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh! Indian Summer! It goes into the entire marriage of Lord and Lady Mountbatten in its historical context, focusing on the Indian part, and a good part of the book is the relationship between Nehru and Edwina.

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        • Did you watch The Crown? I found myself surprisingly irritated by how it assassinated Edwina. She only has like 10 minutes of screen time, but the show has her play this very brittle uncaring glamorous woman, and then her husband sadly talk about how painful it is to love someone who doesn’t love you. In 1958! After she had dedicated herself to good work and was spending more time on committees about public health than having cocktails. Also, of course, she wasn’t a cold woman breaking her husband’s heart, she was part of an honest and mutual open marriage. Just so mean, to take this interesting complex woman and destroy her in ten minutes of screentime in front of an audience that will probably never learn anything more about her than what they see there. So yes, more people should read this book!

          On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 7:31 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I would love to see a story set in a rural village when movies or TV first arrived, showing what effect it has on the local community dynamics, especially the women, to have these outside characters/morals/ideas coming in.

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    • Good news, that movie exists!

      I haven’t seen it myself, and I really should because it sounds interesting even if the execution wasn’t great. Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost, Abhishek is the grandson of a good rich man who gets an award from the government of India but mentions that no one in his home village will see the award ceremony because they do not have television. Abhishek decides to take a satellite dish and a TV to the village. The villagers change their behavior thanks to seeing TV shows, and Abhishek falls in love with a local girl and learns to appreciate village ways.

      On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 10:05 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I know, right? I think it was a Delhi 6 idea, he is part of the modern urban India and learns first hand how the other half lives, and the modern urban audience learns through his eyes. But as a modern urban audience member, I feel like we could have handled learning through someone else’s eyes.

          On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 10:32 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Actually watched Mumbai Se so I can confirm that it has an interesting idea that got messed up in the execution. I remember Abhishek’s performance being good though and he and Lara Dutta had good chemistry

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  3. I am a sucker for historical epic fictionalized romances with a happy endings (i.e, Jodha Akbar). So off the top of my head, here are a few ideas:

    1. Shivaji and Saibai. How two people in an arranged marriage who were often apart in the beginning of their marriage came to love each other over time.

    2. Meh-ru-Nissa (NurJahan) and Salim (Jahangir). Divorced mother becoming the last wife and queen of Salim who ruled alongside her husband and then for many years afterward. I loved the series Siyaasat on Meh-ru-Nissa and Salim and would love to see it as a movie.

    3. Rai Praveen & Indrajit Singh. She is a courtesan who is known for her poetry, charm, and wit. Indragit is smitten and wants to marry her. Before he can, Akbar sees her and invites her to his harem. She goes and cleverly talks her way out of the situation and comes back and marries the prince of her choice. here is so little known about this story that it can be completely fictionalized and turned into something amazing like J-A with the right director. I am even thinking part of it could be based on the movie Ever After where Cinderella saves the prince.

    4. Raja Man Sing Tomar & Mrignayani. He meets her on a hunting trip. He is impressed by her bravery and courage in handling wild animals. She is feisty, he is a king not used to conditions. Yet, when he proposes, she puts 3 conditions. They each struggle to let go of their egos until they come to appreciate each other’s strengths. He eventually accepts her conditions and they rule together. He builds Gujrani Mahal in her honor. Again, very little is known about this, it could be completely fictionalized without too much controversy.

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    • You and I think the same way, the less that is known about a historic couple, the better for a movie. Although I also want them to be AN ACTUAL COUPLE. No Padmavat stuff where it is entire fantasy, but if we have “birth, marriage, death” kind of details and can fill in the rest, that is perfect.

      1. Just did a quick look at Saibai. I also like that she was the first wife, and his most beloved one. Usually the story is that the first wife was an obligation, and then some pretty young thing was the true passion. It feels more believable to me that the partner of his youth would be his partner through out life and the other wives were the obligation. Of course, that would also acknowledge that plural marriage is an Indian tradition, NOT a Muslim tradition and we can’t have that (I am still SO BITTER about Bajirao’s revisionist history related to plural marriage).

      2. I am so sick of Salim after Mughal-E-Azam, I would like to see him in a mature romance where he balances love with duty. Showing him grow up for once. Also, possible SRK role? Was Salim old enough to be played by him during this romance?

      3. Love it, so long as Akbar is treated respectfully instead of like a mustache twirling villain. Partly for political reasons, but mostly because I think that makes a better plot, don’t you? If Akbar isn’t evil just to be evil but instead truly hadn’t considered the possibility that there is a problem with inviting this woman into his harem and she just has to find a fair way to get them both out of the situation with dignity.

      4. Ooo, hunting trip! Let’s watch some Hindu kings slaughter animals, as is historically accurate! Plus, fun sequence.

      So long as we are doing royal romances, can we do Sharmilaji and Tiger? Please please please please please? Maybe as a miniseries so we get their individual fascinating childhoods first and then their meeting?

      On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 10:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • 1. I love that Saibai was Shivagi’s first wife.

        2. I was sick of Salim after Mughal-E-Azam but his story with Nur Jahan is sooo good! One version of history states that Salim met and fell in love with her when they were both very young and well before she was married off to Sher Afghan. After Sher Afghan was killed in a rebellion against Salim, he married her when she was around ~35 and he was ~ 42. So SRK could work in the role of the older Salim. Maybe Shahid your young Salim and Sharukh for older Salim?

        Not sure if you have had a chance to read up on Nur Jahan but I think you would enjoy it. She was so ahead of her times. She hunted with her husband, she held court without him, she had been given the authority to review and sign a document with the imperial seal before it became legal, and together they supposedly passed laws forbidding the forced suicide of widows and the killing infant girls.

        3. Akbar should definitiely be treated respectly fully. Also from my reading, he was anamored by her beauty and wit but also impressed by it enough to let her go back to Indragit when she outwitted him. To me, this story is about how everyone could fall in love with Rai Parveen (i.e., Tabu in De De Pyar De) because she is just so amazing and not about anyone being evil. And how she uses her wit, charm, and smarts to always have a choice.

        And yes, a Tiger/Sharmila romance would be SOOO great! I love their real life romance. Obviously Soha would play Sharmila because she looks so much like her. But who would play Tiger?

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        • Saif would play Tiger! And Soha Sharmila. I have faith that we can make this work.

          Alternatively, Sara and Ibrahim. MAYBE Sara and Ranveer, depending on how he does with the ’83 movie.

          For Salim and Nur Jahan, what do you think about Shahrukh playing the noble emperor who always meets with the family of his enemies to condole them after death, only this time he is surprised because a) the head of the family is the widow instead of the son or brother, and b) he falls in love with the widow. And then we can have a whole thing about how Nur Jahan was a good and faithful wife to her first husband but it was never a passionate love affair, and now she feels guilty for falling in love after his death with his enemy, and Shahrukh can have people telling him that it is impossible to marry a widow of his enemy, and it can all be very fraught and passionate but also mature. Also, you mentioned Tabu, this might be the PERFECT Tabu-Shahrukh role. Especially because they can both handle the kind of Tehzeeb poetic style of performance that I would expect from two rulers of that era. And can you imagine the Urdu dialogue?

          On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 3:55 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I think a brother and sister playing love interests who eventually marry will freak people out! It is just kind of yucky!

            Also, Saif also looks way more like his mother than Tiger. I think the only thing Saif inherited from his dad, in terms of looks, is his nose. The actor who plays Tiger needs to have a long face and slightely droopy eyes. A very young Sanjay Dutt could have looked like him. Unfortunately, while I hate to say this, the only actor that I can currently think of that could look like Tiger would be Ranbir.

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          • Blech Ranbir. What about Jim Sarbh?

            On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 8:01 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Noor Jahan is such a fascinating figure! The fact that she was also an outsider of sorts and how she climbed her way to the top makes her story so interesting

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          • Just looked her up, and I can picture the whole movie in my head already. The young marriage, the loyalty to a husband who is “fine” but not quite as intelligent or inventive or special as she is, the husband getting caught by his own stupidity and arrested and killed, years in court slowly enjoying a wider and more interesting life, and finally marriage to a husband who can equal her in intelligence and revolutionary thinking, and is smart enough to appreciate what he has found in his wife.

            Aditi Rao Hydari as the young Nur and later her daughter, Tabu as the older Nur? Sidharth Malhotra as the solid but unimaginative first husband? Shahrukh as Jahinger?

            On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 7:30 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Ah, krishnadevaraya story biopic, how the kingsom was prospering, how it fell etc; interestingly there many movies in telugu and kannada about the kingdom and people as below;

    Tenali Ramakrishna
    Mahamanthri Timmarasu
    Krishnadevaraya
    Also vishwanadha nayaka (who was key in establishing madurai nayaks dynasty) i would like a wholesome movie emcompassing all. Best part is , this part of history is well documented.

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