Month of SRK: 14 Movies I Want to See Shahrukh Take a Second Pass At

Not all of these were bad movies the first time around, in fact a lot of them were quite good. But the ideas are so strong I want to see another take of them.

  1. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

I like this movie as it is, big and silly and colorful. But on the other hand, I can see a very different kind of reflective serious movie about aging and the past and how people change based on the central idea. If we take just the idea of two super close best friends from college, male and female, whose timing wasn’t quite right. He marries someone else, a mutual friend, and their never-really-happened love story is left in the past. But then they meet again years later, as different people who are still the same people underneath, and they have to find their way back to each other in a new way. If this was a Zoya Akhtar movie made today (so the leads are in their 40s instead of their 30s), you would have a spinster woman who lead a full interesting life and now has a younger man passionately in love with her who has convinced her to FINALLY get married. And you would have a widower who devoted his life to raising his children and never wanted to fall in love again. And then they meet and suddenly college feelings come flooding back and the lives that they thought were settled and certain are thrown into disorder. Isn’t that a movie that would be interesting?

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2. Asoka

Blah blah, young man Asoka faught wars and fell in love and stuff. But old man Asoka was so much more interesting! For example, his wife secretly ordered his favorite son executed. The executioner took pity on him and blinded him instead, he became a wandering singer. Asoka heard his song and recognized him as his son. His son forgave his stepmother, Asoka did not and had his wife (his former favorite) executed. Two other children (boy and girl) both became Buddhist monks and missionaries. For his wives, the primary ones were a minor Buddhist merchant’s daughter who gave him his religion and his two missionary children, his chief wife a fellow royal who had no children, his warrior woman wife, a wife who gave him his favorite son, and the last wife who had no children and betrayed him. A story about a man trying to hold on to his sense of self with all these children and wives, all this trauma and betrayal, that would be fascinating. Especially if it turns into a love story with his chief wife being his platonic partner, either his shy Buddhist wife or his warrior wife being his true love, and the youngest wife being the one who has tricked him and kept him apart from his true love.

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3. Chalte Chalte

Again, I like the original! But the basic idea is worth exploring a different way. A couple who has one of those filmi at first sight kind of love stories with big gestures and magical moments, but then has to figure out how to make an actual marriage work. It works wonderfully with a 2 year gap between magical romance and actual marriage struggle, but it would work even better with a longer gap. They never had children, it just didn’t happen for them, Rani is more successful in her career than Shahrukh, they still love each other and have a good time together a lot of the time, but there are a lot of problems too and they keep coming up. At what point do you call it quits on a marriage? And at what point is it worth it to keep going?

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4. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayange

The original is perfect. But I can’t help thinking what the same story would look like if it had all taken place 20 years later. What if Kajol married her fiance, locked her life up even smaller than it already was. And then begged her husband (instead of her father) for 3 months of her life to take her dream vacation. What if Shahrukh was a happily divorced man who had no compunction on hitting on an attractive woman his age traveling alone. What if Kajol (for reasons she didn’t fully admit even to herself) put off revealing to Shahrukh that she was married. What if they had this wonderful vacation together without either of them quite crossing a line that would damage her marriage, and after she returned home she realized what her feelings truly were? What if she was brave enough to tell, not her husband, but perhaps her brother? Or son? And they were furious an told her to forget this, as the man will surely forget it too. But what if Shahrukh didn’t forget and showed up in her life, pretending to be a business associate of her husband? And the first time they were alone together, she begged him to take her away? What if he says that instead of just running off, he wants to make it so that she can still see her children and he will take her only when he gets the blessing of her family? That would be a fascinating plot, wouldn’t it? I think still make her husband kind of a jerk, they don’t need his blessing, but her oldest son perhaps, so she can still see her children after leaving their father. Maybe it is a movie about this sensitive stranger (Shahrukh) gently making her children realize that their parents’ marriage is not and never has been okay.

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5. Karan-Arjun

It’s one thing to discovery you are reincarnated and have a brother and a mother when you are in your twenties, what would it be like when you are in your 40s and settled in life and your “mother” is already dead? Especially if your “brother” is living a completely different life from yours? Say Shahrukh is a successful businessman and Salman is a small time thug. Say they meet several times because someone has hired Salman to threaten Shahrukh. They even get into small fights. And then Salman has a vision and realizes Shahrukh is his reincarnated brother. He kidnaps him and takes him to their home from the past life and Shahrukh recognizes it and remembers everything. The police track them down and think Shahrukh has Stockholm syndrome when he declines to press charges. His wife thinks he is crazy too. And then he finds their mother! Who has also been reincarnated and is now a woman slightly younger than her “sons”. Shahrukh gets his brother out of jail, brings him home. His family still think he is crazy but go along with it and learn to love Salman. He brings his “mother” home too. They all work together to find the Big Bad who hired Salman, and also finally get Salman a bride.

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6. Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam

Another one with an interesting idea of a marriage that gets a lot more interesting if the couple is older. Our hero fell in love at first sight with the woman his family arranged for him to marry. She fell in love with him because it was her duty to fall in love with her husband. At first everything is perfect, but doubts wear away over the years. What if instead of him doubting her best friend from before marriage, he doubts a new best friend made years after the marriage. They have kids, it’s more about the kids now and the working partnership than any kind of romance. Enter this new man who makes her smile and laugh and try new things, and the doubts he has had all along as she never says the words “I love you” eat away more and more. Fights, accusations, anger, the marriage has to fall completely apart before it can start fresh and clean. And it all works better if it is an older man marrying a younger woman, and ten years down the line doubting even more that she can find him attractive.

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7. Main Hoon Na

Again, I just want a new take on the basic concept. A son who learns on his father’s deathbed that he has a secret brother. And becomes dedicated to finding and bringing home the brother, despite how crazy it seems. Only this time, no contrivance, no action plot. Straightforward idea of a responsible successful man in the middle of his career and his life learning that his father has this horrible shameful secret, and seeing it as a blessing, a chance for the family he always wanted. Especially as he struggles with the grief of losing his father. But then he runs up against the reality that the other people may not want to be his family, that he has to work for this connection. And that they aren’t the perfect people he pictured in his dreams. Maybe he is a responsible successful management type, and he learns his brother is a college drop out artist. Maybe his father was a very proper respected member of society who continued to work and live closely with the family of his dead wife, never revealing that he had an affair and a son with another woman. Shahrukh has to go against everyone around him in order to force his brother to be acknowledged, and his brother doesn’t even want that.

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8. Dear Zindagi

Okay, all the other times I took a pass at turning a fun masala type plot into something more serious and real. This time I think it would be interesting to go the other way around! Our heroine is in trouble, her life is falling apart and she is afraid of her ex-boyfriend, who acts in ways that make no sense. She leaves town and starts seeing a psychiatrist. He is the only person she talks to honestly about her life. Working together they discover that she is in danger, her ex is a gangster, there are many shoot out scenes when her psychiatrist saves her. He reveals that he is a former hero-cop who quite the force after his wife died and he had a breakdown (flashback including another heroine and a love song). He started a new life as a psychiatrist. Together they take down the evil ex, and it ends with her cheekily inviting him out on a date, now that she is no longer his patient, and him agreeing.

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9. Dil Aashna Hai

Okay, stick with me on this one because it’s going to be WEIRD!!! The original plot has Divya as a young woman who Shahrukh falls in love with, and then supports as she discovers she was adopted and learns her mother could be one of 3 women and she must figure out which one it was. Now, what if we rewrote it so that Shahrukh is her father supporting her on this journey? Either adoptive father (which would make a heck of a lot more sense) or biological father who she tracks down first through some random chance (blood donation? DNA test research project?) and who had a relationship with three women at the same time. Shahrukh is still the loyal assistant on the journey, but with the addition of having a personal stake in which woman turns out to be her mother.

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10. Paheli

I want a modern day non-magical Paheli! Rani is married off to a stranger in her village. The two of them take a long ardeous journey together to the city, she is scared and excited all at once. And then they arrive and he announces that he is leaving her to look after his new apartment while he takes a 5 year contract to work abroad. She cries and everyone in the apartment block whispers about the new bride who is so lonely. And then a stranger sees her on the street and falls in love, all at once. He is a lonely poetry professor at the local university, lived a life of the mind, never thought of love, but this young bride goes straight to his heart. And then he reads an old fable and it gives him an idea. He goes to the bride and tells her he wants to pretend to be her husband, if she will let him. She struggles with herself, then agrees. The neighbors only caught a glimpse of her husband when he moved in and then left, they all believe it is Shahrukh. They love the romance of him turning his back on an overseas job for love of his new bride. The apartment block welcomes them into the community, they are in love and happy, everything is perfect. Until her husband returns home for a visit, and invites both their families too as a surprise. What will she do when everyone finds out she has been living with another man as her husband for 2 years?

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11. Pardes

Another one where I just want the older version! The heroine is a village girl from India who married into a very very wealthy and cosmopolitan family. Her husband has been unfaithful and slightly abusive for years. Beyond that, they simply do not look at the world the same way, there is nothing they have in common. And then there is Shahrukh, an Indian music performer and occasional employee of her husband’s family. He is loyal to them, and grateful, they have sponsored his arts charities and helped him get his career started and all of that. At first he is just trying to help their marriage be better, and it works a little bit, but then instead of helping them get closer to each other, it ends up with him getting closer to the heroine. He is torn by the guilt of breaking a marriage, and the guilt of leaving a woman by herself in danger, while she is increasingly ready to leap in and end this hopeless marriage and go after the man who makes her happy.

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12. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

Again, the serious version! Shahrukh and Juhi are rival reporters. Not newly put against each other, but long time friendly enemies. Shahrukh has had a string of short term relationships, Juhi has an unsatisfying and unchallenging long time boyfriend. Maybe one or both of their PAs teases them about how obviously the other one is the perfect for them, and they dismiss it because “she’s too bossy” “he’s too sure of himself” or whatever. But then they both start working the same story from opposite sides, both come to care more about justice and the truth than simply ratings, and finally end up meeting in the middle and agreeing to work together because the story is too important for petty rivalries. And then they fall in love.

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13. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

I just want to see a movie about Shahrukh’s character! Middle-aged, messed up his marriage to the love of his life, professionally successful but personally empty. I want to see him wander through life and either find a way to feel emotions again, or realize the emptiness of what he is and see it all come back to haunt him. The young woman he romanced and slept with to try to forget Aish confronting him with how he hurt her, the agents and gallery owners he messed over with his artistic unreliability dropping him, and so on. Or else he starts by trying to kill himself and then starts going to a group therapy thing and meets up with a young widow who helps him learn how to put love in the past and move on.

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14. Kal Ho Na Ho

The big one! I want to remake it with Shahrukh and Preity married and her being his caregiver. And him deciding that her best friend from the evening classes she takes to get out of the house (Saif) is the perfect man for her to marry after he is gone. And then (here’s my brilliant twist), he’s a GHOST!!!! For like the last 2/3rds of the movie. He dies after helping Saif and Preity to get closer and Saif to start to realize he might love Preity. And then Shahrukh-Ghost is there to do everything he can to arrange them to finally marry, including walking Preity to the altar when she hesitates, letting her sense the strength of his presence. Pretty good, right?

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Okay, which of these do you want to happen? And which don’t you want to happen?

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21 thoughts on “Month of SRK: 14 Movies I Want to See Shahrukh Take a Second Pass At

  1. I think your version of Pardes would be awesome. I hate the original movie, but your version is great. Let’s get rid of all the stupid “all people outside India are evil” and “I’m a famous singer who lives in a garage” and fill it with a lot of internal struggles and emotions.

    Paheli – Personally I would love it because I’m sure there would be a lot of “I love her/him but we can’t be together”, but people would hate it. They didn’t like idea of a ghost romancing Lachchi, so the real man would be even harder to like.

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    • Angie, do you think they would like Paheli more, now / if it would have been made now?
      I second your thought about Pardes…the pigeonholing bothers me no end.

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      • No, I think not. In my opinion people are harder to please these days. They want movies to look more western and to talk about “important issues”, so the story about a ghost falling in love wouldn’t be a hit. Especially with all the hate SRK and his movies face now.

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    • I don’t think the original “all people outside of India are evil” idea even holds up! By the time we get to the second half, there are plenty of good helpful people in America. It’s really more about a bad marriage that everyone is trying to prop up despite the hopelessness of it. Make Shahrukh some old friend of the family who is asked to come home for dinner and help cheer up Mahima, it works, he starts trying to get Mahima and her husband to come watch his rehearsals, attend the surrounding cultural events, but at a certain point her husband just gets tired of making an effort and goes back to work and his mistresses, leaving Mahima to spend time with Shahrukh one on one. Which turns into her realizing what it is like to have a man who respects and likes her, and enjoys spending time with her. And finally asking Shahrukh’s help to get out of her marriage. What will he do?

      On Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 2:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Most ideas are brilliant. I don’t know if in the Main Hoon Na sequence the change is deliberate but in the film Shahrukh was the illegitimate son. Kirron leaves the house with baby Zayed because his father refuses to turn Shahrukh away after his mother’s death. Keeping that part will add to the whole angst with Shahrukh and his guilt about ‘replacing’ the legitimate family.

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    • Yes, it is deliberate. In the original, the only reason Shahrukh has the respectable position in life and the bond with his father and all of that is because it is set in the military. In any other place in life, it would be visible that Shahrukh has no mother and people would be aware of Naseerji’s marriage and so on. I couldn’t figure out a way to have Shahrukh be the illegitimate child, but also the acknowledged and generally respected one, in any other place in society. So I decided to make him the legitimate one. Which adds on a new tension because it means the other son was born post-marriage.

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  3. You really gives us a lot to read, Margaret. I’m happy for my little family vacation!

    KalHoNaHo – I like the ghost idea! I would make the first half with the plot between Naina and ShahRukh (including doctor-friend/heartattack/Naina proposing/caring/death) and with Rohit as Naina’s friend (but still clueless about what he wants from life).
    The second part would be with ShahRukh as ghost influencing Naina and Rohit to do all those things that eventually leads to a marriage…with two children (one girl from Aman, one girl from Rohit). I really like the ‘being there without being there’ in Hindi (Indian?) movies.

    Asoka…no, not in this way…at least not with ShahRukh.

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    • I don’t know, with my version of KHNH I would want it to be a lot less about the Preity-Shahrukh romance. Or rather, that the romance and love is later, proven by her desire to remain faithful to his memory and his ghost-desire to leave her happy with someone else. My vote would be for Preity and Shahrukh to arrive together in New York, already married, very much in love. Preity meets Saif at classes and rolls her eyes and teases him and befriends him because she is “safe” because she is a married woman. The dramatic revelation is when Saif learns Shahrukh is dying, maybe Shahrukh pulls him aside and tells him because he is Preity’s only friend and support in New York and he wants him to keep helping Preity smile and think about things outside of the house. And slowly the idea grows in Shahrukh that, after he is gone, Saif is the one who will keep Preity living and happy. He makes them both promise him that they will stay friends, and then once he dies as a ghost he works to bring them closer and closer together. So the movie gives us this contrast of Shahrukh and Preity as a long married couple whose love is a settled thing, versus the spark and magic and Preity and Saif falling in love. And then when we leap forward in time, we can see how Saif and Preity have achieved that settled love as well.

      On Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 4:37 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Yes, i am ready to dump it all! To my mind it is just there to create a situation where the most loving thing Shahrukh can do is force her to marry someone who can take her away from all that. Making her his widow gives the same situation, but much more neatly.

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  4. I love your takes on Kal Ho Na Ho (Sixth Sense? – can we not know he’s a ghost until the end?) and Paheli would be a great story set in modern times and urban setting.

    And I’m reminded how many movies I need to rewatch.

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    • And now I want to take another pass at rewriting MHN! I’m watching a Bing Crosby movie right now about a 51 year old widower who (against the objections of his children) decides to go back to college and finally get his degree. So cute! His classmates all love him and include him in their hijinks, and his kids are such brats. Great SRK movie, right? Putting the younger generation in their place for trying to pigeonhole the older?

      On Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 2:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Main Hoon Ha – picturing Prithviraj’s character from Aiyaa as the younger brother, what do you think? That one might be my favorite.

    Paheli – could real SRK be from a humble background so his job that he’s leaving for is one of those low level engineer gigs in a gulf state or someplace not glamorous, more like clawing his way into the middle class? So professor SRK is better off, tempting for Rani but also a bit less sympathetic than returning real SRK when they meet. That would set up the romance vs. honor conflict nicely.

    PBDHH – would love to see a serious version of this with present age Shah Rukh and Juhi! It will never happen but could be so so good.

    Ai Dil Hai Mushkil – this sounds like my kryptonite, infidelity and misery all around. Oy.

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    • Yes! And I also want the same kind of fish out of water stuff in Main Hoon Na, only this time it is uptight businessman Shahrukh going to artist parties and getting high and stuff. Maybe everyone thinks he is going to freak out when he smokes his first joint, but then he is cool with it and starts telling stories of his college days back when he was wilder than any of these kids. And there can be conflict when he tries to arrange a “good” job for Prithviraj at an ad agency or something, and Prithviraj tells him that he doesn’t want that life, he doesn’t care if he is always behind on the rent or living on the streets, he just wants his art. And Shahrukh blows up about how he worries about him and it ends with Shahrukh letting him live in the out house in his garden and the whole family getting curious about this weird man in the back garden.

      Hmm. The only thing is, I want “real” SRK to have clearly made a choice to put other things above Rani. The job has to be more than just survival, but instead something he could have turned down if he wanted to. Maybe if they have a conversation where he puts it at 5 years, and then they can buy a flat and send their kids to the best schools and all this stuff, and Rani says that this apartment is fine, they could be happy here. So it is clear that he is putting the superficial elements of what makes a “good” family and a “good” husband over just being there which is all Rani wants. To make him not super evil, he could also offer to pay for her to return to her village and not understand when she tries to explain that she couldn’t be humiliated like that. And then the interesting flip would be seeing our already upper middle class Prof. Shahrukh happily living in this small apartment, no hang ups about class or prestige.

      I already wrote an ADHM sequel. I think my idea was that Shahrukh goes to Anushka’s funeral and meets her older unhappily married sister who lives somewhere in Europe and takes her out for coffee to comfort her (she was sent to represent the family and has no one else to support her). And then the sister returns home to learn her husband is divorcing her and marrying a younger fertile woman so he can finally have children. She is lost and miserable and runs into Shahrukh again at a museum, he befriends her and offers his help as someone who has also gone through a divorce. They become good friends, but it takes Aish to show up and point out to Shahrukh that he is finally putting someone else’s needs ahead of his own, he is finally growing up, and perhaps this middle-aged old-fashioned plain woman (the opposite of everything Aish is) is his true love.

      On Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 10:33 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. I haven’t seen all these films so skipped some of them BUT I’m not feeling the Dear Zindagi one because I feel a serious film on mental health with stars like SRK and Alia is hard to come by.

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  7. I like your Kal Ho Na Ho idea. I’ve never been as fond of the original as the rest of the world, and I feel SRK and Preity have better chemistry in Veer-Zaara, as though maybe getting to know each other more in life helped with the screen performance. I think the two of them today could play a realistic married couple, and I like the idea of a ghost SRK moving his widow towards happiness. And I like the idea of having them move to the U.S. for his medical care, so that SRK could have some fish out of water scenes in the U.S. In a 2007 documentary he admitted to not really liking the U.S., and while his own feelings may or may not have changed, I wouldn’t mind seeing those original feelings exploited for film. Forget N.Y. – send them to the Mayo Clinic in North Dakota and give them a doctor of Indian descent who speaks Marathi but can’t string a sentence together in Hindi. And children. I want them to have children. I want to see the children’s reactions to moving to a different country, their ill father finally dying, and their mother’s new love. That might be a bit much for one movie to tackle. Put Zoya Akhtar on it and let it run 4 hours.

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