Silly Sunday: Expansion of the “14 Plots to Take a Second Pass” Post! Kuch Kuch, Kal Ho Na Ho, Asoka

I was trying to come up with a new idea, but I just kept cycling back to yesterday’s post, so finally I decided to lean into it and write the additional ideas that were in my head.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 10 Years Older and Without a Flashback

Okay, we have a little flashback. 5 minutes in silhouette (no bad youthful make-up), showing the three of them talking after graduation. Kajol is excited, she has an internship with a dance company. Shahrukh and Rani are arm in arm, Shahrukh is joining the family business and excited about marriage and a family. But as he and Rani walk in one direction and Kajol walks in the other, he suddenly turns back and he and Kajol have one last deep embrace. There is something between them that is more than friendship, even if they don’t acknowledge it.

25 years later, Shahrukh is living in the family house, running the family business, with 3 daughters (the youngest still at home. Rani died after 10 years of marriage and Shahrukh devoted himself to working 9 to 5 at the family business and then coming home and being with his daughters. A happy life, but a small one.

Meanwhile, Kajol has had a very full life. Her dance company internship turned into a position in the company, traveling the world and performing. And that turned into being a commenter on dance on television, and now she is a minor celebrity, a judge on a TV dance competition, author of a few books, and part of the Bombay art scene. And she has a younger man who is passionately in love with her, a TV producer who pursued her for months before she agreed to go to dinner with him and for years before she reluctantly agreed to an engagement. Maybe Shahid Kapoor for that role.

Image result for kajol shahid kapoor

And then Shahrukh’s youngest daughter (the one still at home) finds an old college album and discovers a note from her mother in it, written when she was dying, talking about how she looks back at these pictures and wonders, if the time was different, if their lives were different, if perhaps Shahrukh would have been as happy or happier with Kajol than with her. She calls her sisters and they have a family meeting (the oldest is married and pregnant, the middle one is working long hours as a new doctor). After a lot of fighting and discussion, they agree that their father deserves to be happy, he has spent the past 15 years living for them, it is their turn to live for him.

The three girls work together to set the two of them up. The doctor discovers Kajol is coming to the hospital for a routine doctor’s appointment, the pregnant one arranges to be sitting next to her in the waiting room and strike up a conversation, and the youngest sabotages her car outside so she can offer a ride. Kajol ends up having coffee with her in the hospital cafeteria at the same time Shahrukh shows up having gotten a message from his pregnant daughter that she is at the hospital and needs help. Shocking meeting after many years, awkwardness, uncertainty. They’ve been living in the same city all these years but never interacted, with Kajol going to late night art parties and Shahrukh going to teacher’s meetings. The first meeting does not go well, Kajol finds Shahrukh small and uninteresting, he finds her life shallow.

But the girls don’t give up! They decide to invite Kajol to perform at a hospital fundraiser, she can’t possibly turn them down since it is for a good cause. And at the last minute they incite the crowd to encourage her to show off her basketball skills (since the performance is on the basketball court). Kajol and Shahrukh end up playing basketball and their past friendship comes flooding back.

Image result for shahrukh kajol basketball

The girls work on Shahrukh, encourage him by talking about how Kajol is clearly a lonely woman who needs someone to have fun with her. And they work on Kajol too, talking about their sad lonely widower father. Both Shahrukh and Kajol are just looking for an excuse to spend more time together anyway, if they tell themselves it is out of pity and genorisity, it is easier. And they also have lots of fun moments seeing each other’s lives, Shahrukh goes to artistic parties and starts to enjoy the kind of bohemian vibe. Kajol goes to his neighborhood party and enjoys talking with aunties and playing with kids.

But then Kajol’s fiance returns. Kajol realizes when she introduces them that, somehow, she never got around to telling Shahrukh she was engaged. Shahrukh swallows his hurt and the three of them spend time together as is proper. The 3 daughters are devastated. And on the day of Kajol’s wedding (her very small and elegant wedding), the youngest daughter shows up crying and begging her to come to her father. Kajol swallows her hurt and tries to be wise and mature about how not everyone is meant to be together. But the youngest daughter gets a call while she is there, her sister is going into labor! Her soldier husband is gone, Shahrukh is taking her to the hospital. The daughter’s scooter won’t start, without thinking Kajol rushes into her car and drives them both to the hospital. There are complications, Shahrukh is distraught (this is how his wife died), Kajol is the only one who can comfort him, and meanwhile back at her house Shahid has arrived to find her gone. He learns she is at the hospital, tracks her down and sees her holding Shahrukh’s hand in support while he comforts his youngest daughter and realizes they are a family, and quietly walks away. Only to bump into the middle daughter, rushing to tell her family it is a girl and mother and daughter are both fine. He and the middle daughter smile at each other and look back at each other. And he gives her a note for Kajol. Kajol is all happy as part of the family celebration, and then someone asks her why she is so dressed up and her face falls. But the doctor gives her the note and she smiles and reveals she was going to be married today, but she seems to have been jilted. And Shahrukh (after much nudging from his daughters) steps up and suggests that if she wants to be married, perhaps he can help with that. HAPPY ENDING WEDDING SONG.

Image result for shahrukh kajol

Kal Ho Na Ho

We start with Preity and Saif meeting at an evening class. He falls in love at first sight and immediately starts hitting on her, she shuts him down by announcing she is married. He is embarrassed, but she offers to be his friend instead. And then she goes home that night to tell her husband Shahrukh all about her new friend at school and he teases her about if she is going to have an affair. Shahrukh and Preity are a charming young couple, living in an apartment in New York, joking about finding friends and finishing unpacking.

Shahrukh tracks down Saif at school and there is comedy with Saif first thinking Shahrukh is hitting on him, and then thinking Shahrukh is an angry jealous husband, before finally realizing Shahrukh just wants to invite him over to their house for dinner. The three of them start hanging out together a lot, and there is a minor plot of Shahrukh helping a romance along between two of Saif and Preity’s classmates. Preity keeps saying she doesn’t want friends, she wants more time with Shahrukh alone, he keeps blowing past her and taking on new projects, like hosting the engagement party for the classmates and so on. And then at the wedding of the classmates, Shahrukh dances too much at the reception, faints, Preity sees and helps him out quietly. And that is when the audience learns that Shahrukh is dying, he has cancer, it’s been years and years of them working on this together as a couple. And we learn through their conversations that Shahrukh wants to live as much as he can while he can, while Preity is more focused on extending his life. That’s why he wants to make friends and have fun while she wants him to stay calm and quiet and be with her.

Image result for shahrukh preity saif

Preity stops going to class after the health scare and pretends to be angry with Saif because she wants to keep everyone away so she doesn’t have to deal with pity. Saif calls Shahrukh to find out what he has done wrong. Shahrukh slowly leads him to the realization that his life isn’t complete if he doesn’t talk to Preity once a day, that somehow she has become his best friend and maybe more than that. He’s awkward talking this way with Shahrukh, but Shahrukh plays it off that he suspected all along and wants Saif to keep spending time with them as a couple so he can get past his “crush” now that it is out in the open. And of course, Preity doesn’t have to know. Shahrukh throws them together more and more, tells Preity that she shouldn’t hang around the hospital all the time for his treatments, she should be out doing things. And then comes the day when Shahrukh gets really really sick and tells Saif to come to the hospital. In one conversation, Saif has to process that his good friend Shahrukh is dying, and that Shahrukh is giving him the job of taking care of Preity after his death, when she will be broken by grief. Shahrukh explains that Preity has been wanting to hide away in her grief for years, he always has to push her out in the world, to make friends, to go out. Once he dies, she will try to hide away with her memories, and Saif can’t let her do that. Shahrukh will be there with him, in spirit, helping.

Shahrukh dies after that and we see a sad song montage showing Saif there to support Preity as she arranges the funeral, pays hospital bills, and so on. And then he comes round to tell her that Shahrukh arranged dance lessons for both of them before his death. Preity resists, but Saif convinces her. Over time, Saif slowly works through her resistance, helped by…GHOST SHAHRUKH!!!! He’s not just there in spirit, he’s there in “spirit”. And he does things like knocking over wine glasses to stain Preity’s shirt and get her to loosen up, or getting Saif to trip so he twists his ankle and Preity HAS to stick around and help him. Finally Preity agrees to marry Saif, after he gives her a letter Saif wrote to them both. And on their wedding day, Shahrukh is there next to her to walk her to the alter and she finally senses his presence. And then, as the service goes on, he slowly fades into nothing, his last purpose completed he can finally move on. And Preity turns to Saif and smiles, indicating that the last ghost of Shahrukh is gone from her heart as well and she can welcome a new love.

Image result for shahrukh preity kal ho na ho sad

Asoka

We have a few details about the Real Life Asoka’s life. His first wife was a Buddhist merchant’s daughter, unfit for royalty. They had two children, a son and a daughter, who both became Buddhist monks and missionaries. His second wife was his “chief wife” and from a fellow royal family, she took on all the duties of Queen but had no children. His third wife was a warrior of Kalinga and had a son with him. His fourth wife was the mother of his heir. And his 5th wife was his favorite in his old age, had no children by him, and out of jealousy tried to arrange the death of his heir, after which Asoka had her killed.

So what I’ve got here is one wife who was a royal partner but not a lover, one wife who was a lover but untrustworthy, one wife who was the mother of an heir but otherwise unremarkable, and finally the two wives who he seemed to have married for love (based on their unworthiness as royalty) and with whom he had children, the warrior and the Buddhist merchant daughter (his first wife). There is a really good story available here that focuses on the three woman, the friend and partner, the True Love, and the False Love. And because there is so little data available on his life, we can rewrite the details as we wish.

Image result for jodha akbar
And finally we can have a movie that deals with the reality of royal multiple marriages where each wife had her own purpose and place and it was about so much more than just “love”

This is the version I would like. The first wife, the inappropriate Buddhist, is the True Love. She is his first wife after all, and the only one two give him two children (indicating that they were together for a while). I would like to start with a settled happy view of the royal household and Asoka tours between his first 3 wives. He holds court with his wife Asandhimitra, she supports him in making decisions and governing, she is appropriate when greeting foreign envoys, they are a team working together and they know each other well. Once the courtiers have left, they briefly discuss what they heard and he asks her advice on a decision. And then says he is going to leave and visit Kaurwaki, and she tells him how wise he was to marry a woman of the “enemy”, and how much she has enjoyed getting to know Kaurwaki. Asoka then goes to the training ring to speak with Kaurwaki. She is training their son and teaching him the Kalinga language, Asoka is pleased with him and glad that he seems aggressive and ready to rule. And then, finally, he goes to visit his wife Devi and their two children. This is the household where he is happiest and most at home, and the wife he truly loves. This is where he goes to have dinner and sleep at the end of the day. Maybe we even get a love song between him and Devi.

But then it all goes wrong! In a random accident (we can write something exciting and dramatic if we want), his son with Kaurwaki dies. Shahrukh is distraught, and in his distress, tells Devi that their son will need to “toughen up” because he needs to be the heir now. Devi is furious, she raised their son to be peaceful and loving and he is not suited for ruling anything. Big fight, ends with Shahrukh marrying a fourth time to a very young woman of the court who is still fertile enough to give him another child. His relationship with Kaurwaki and Asandhimitra is still good, he respects them as his Queens and listens to their opinions, Kaurwaki in fact has even more responsibilities as she craves purpose after her son’s death. But Devi is increasingly heartbroken, seeing him with another wife, seeing the way he dotes on her once she becomes pregnant. Shahrukh notices her sorrow but pretends he does not because, as king, he cannot waste time pursuing a wife when he needs to ensure his heir is born. Devi considers simply leaving the court, but Kaurwaki and Asandhimitra convince her to stay, convince her that Shahrukh needs her, and they need her, Asandhimitra can give the court status, Kaurwaki can be the warrior, but Devi is the heart of their family. And then Shahrukh’s new wife dies in childbirth. He is inconsolable, but resists turning to Devi as he feels that would be unfaithful to his dead wife. Instead he focuses on his son.

10 years later, his son gains a new tutor, a beautiful new arrival at the court. He is still estranged from Devi, and the new tutor is able to soften him up. His wives see through her immediately, but only Devi is foolish enough to warn him. He is furious, throws in her face that she is jealous and trying to hold on to something that isn’t hers any more. Devi is hurt and quietly walks away. But the new wife truly is evil. She arranges for the son to be killed, only at the last minute the executioner takes pity on him (influenced by the kindly Buddhist teachings of Devi and her children which have permeated the court) and blinds him instead. The son is adopted by a group of traveling artists, where he is also befriended by his estranged brother (Devi’s son) who is traveling as a missionary. Back at the palace, Shahrukh is spinning out as his favorite son has gone missing. His new youngest wife tries to reassure him but keeps saying the wrong thing and he starts to tire of her and grow suspicious. He haunts Devi’s quarters but neither of them are willing to make the first move and actually speak to each other. And then Devi’s son reveals that he suspects he may have met Shahrukh’s son. Devi leaves the palace with her daughter to try to find the boy. She saves him and brings him back at great personal danger and trauma. Once he finally returns and tells his story, implicating his stepmother, Shahrukh is furious and ready to order the woman to be executed. His son begs for mercy (having been influenced by Devi). Shahrukh listens to him, and acknowledges that perhaps in future that might be the right way, and he is making the right choice as a future ruler, but not today. And he has her killed. Afterwards, he goes to talk to Devi, and acknowledges that his violent actions may have ended any hope of a reunion but, as much as he loves her, he has to put his duty to his people first. And Devi comes out and gently holds him and forgives him and tells him she understands.

Happy ending, Shahrukh once again visiting his whole large family. His son is training to rule, his children with Devi are blessed as they go off as missionaries again, and he himself sits with this 3 wives, Asandhimitra on the throne, Kaurwaki standing behind with her weapons, and Devi sitting at his feet and holding his hand.

Image result for asoka kareena
I’m fine with Kareena still playing Kaurwaki, but I want her to play her as a superhero warrior woman, lots of spectacular fight scenes as she protects her king/husband.
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13 thoughts on “Silly Sunday: Expansion of the “14 Plots to Take a Second Pass” Post! Kuch Kuch, Kal Ho Na Ho, Asoka

  1. I’m too tired to read it now (did a little ShahRukh-movies-watching-party until the ‘wee hours’ of today, but already look forward to my reading of your two new posts tomorrow 🙂

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  2. KKHH – I like the beginning (silhouettes great idea) with the characters’ introduction and I like the end in the hospital (including the groom’s note). But I would change some things in-between, i.e. skip the note in the foto-album and work only with the photos from young KKHH, less conspiration through the sisters (no car-sabotaging and the middle one opposing to the plan almost till the end, just inadvertently giving once the information about Kajol’s appointment when talking with her sister about h e r appointment). If ShahRukh lives in Mumbai and Kajol is a kind of celebrity and even is a judge in a popular TV program, then I doubt that ShahRukh would not get aware of her presence and the gossip in this times (his kids definitely know about her). So, I would let him get aware and already struggling with his feelings b e f o r e his younger daughter asks him about the pics making the connection between the Kajol in the past and now. She quickly feels that her father is playing down his past and current feelings, feels a turmoil in him and gets him to say “whatever I felt or feel for her, she is out of reach for me and also engaged. So let us stop here.”
    I agree that it is essential that both are put into a situation where they see each other preplanned by the two sisters (I can imagine the cafeteria scene!), but I don’t think that Kajol would find ShahRukh “small and uninteresting”…they both just live very different lives and don’t see a connection between both these lives… at least thinking this they want to protect themselves against inner turmoils. Both would be very reluctant to rekindle even a friendship, so I doubt that Kajol would support any contact with the kids knowing they are ShahRukh’s daughters (till now, she only knows the pregnant one). In addition, I would not want that both pretend something when they are together a second time after the first unintentional encounter. So, what is important – imo – would be that those close to them talk with them about what changes they remark in the behaviour: the daughters with her dad, the fiancé with his bride.
    I would like ShahRukh being curious enough to watch Kajol at her work when his daughters gift him a ticket for being in the audience for the screening of one of Kajol’s dance competition shows. Kajol only notices him in the audience at the end when the show has finished and the audience leaves.
    I like also the idea of the basketball play but it shouldn’t be in front of a crowd but more intimate. I would like Kajol being so curious about how ShahRukh lives that she would not being able to hold back to get to take a look at where he lives. When she finally does, she sees ShahRukh playing basketball with a young girl (his daughter). She observes them lost in thoughts, not able to move away. The daughter notices her, then ShahRukh, too. The daughter makes the first move inviting Kajol to the play (telling her, she knows who she is from the photo album and from what her sister had told her). Kajol – a bit reluctantly – agrees and first all three play together, than the daughter silently backs out and lets play the two alone, watching them from inside the house.
    I would like this play being a kind of romancing and teasing and laughing letting go of any inhibition.
    And then Kajol sprains her ankle…and we get the climax scene at the hospital, where the middle daughter first phones the fiancé (because he’s the next relative to Kajol) but then, seeing the obvious love between Kajol and her father, his caring and her response, she regrets the phone call. But too late, she can’t hinder Shahid to watch a moment of love between Kajol and ShahRukh when arriving. He’s shocked but the middle daughter hurries to explain some things…just explaining not trying to influence a decision from Shahid’s side. It would be Shahid’s great acting moment to make see the suite of feelings and thoughts on his face and…the moment of decision (nobody of the others has noticed him). Then she writes the note etc.
    I would put the birth and the ‘looking like a family’ into the end credits…and also a hint how they combine both lives beyond that.

    Well, if I have time, I’ll write about the two other movies…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your idea of them slowly manouvering around each other, but I think they have to spend time as actual friends before getting together for real. And I think Shahrukh can’t know about Shahid, and in fact I would find it unbelievable if he did with the way I picture their relationship. If Kajol is reluctant about their marriage in her heart, I think she would have convinced him not to make an announcement, not to have an engagement party, to just quietly plan to be married. Then they can bump into each other at the coffee shop, Shahrukh’s daughters can give him the tickets to the show and maybe she notices him in the audience and asks him how he liked it and they chat, maybe he invites her over to his house to look at college photos and that’s when she plays basketball with him. But I do want that time together getting to know each other again, to me that is the whole point, to see how this couple has to slowly reorient because they are at a different point in life than when they first knew each other. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but maybe Shahrukh’s daughter invites her to the neighborhood block party, and she mentions a play that is the same one they did in college and that she has an extra ticket, and finally he cooks dinner for her because she doesn’t believe he can cook.

      I do want to keep the birth ending as well, because it is such a nice closing of the circle, Shahrukh lost his wife through birth and now is gaining another woman. We could even have his daughter have a vision of her mother during this traumatic moment and realize that her mother gives her blessing to Shahrukh moving on.

      What do you think about implying that the middle doctor daughter might start a thing with Shahid?

      On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 4:18 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I see your argumentation…yep…wanting only friendship, nothing more (supressing the strange jolt they felt on seeing each other in the cafeteria). Now, with this explication, I’m fine…it’s not pretending, it’s like shutting the door of physical attraction. Like soul mates without the need for the erotic side of love.
        Also your reason for the birth-ending with Tani as a ghostly appearance is fine for me.
        I would prefer that it is Shahid and the middle daughter who simultaneously feel attraction towards each other and show it.

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        • Yes! I would follow the same pattern as in the original, they become friends and get closer and closer, then there is one moment that sparks an erotic attraction and Kajol suddenly realizes she has crossed the line into cheating on her fiance and pulls back. And tells Shahrukh she is engaged which makes him also pull back. But then there is the dramatic ending (in my case, a birth) that makes their connection come forward again and her fiance realize he has to leave them.

          And yes, I want just a quick implication that the middle daughter and Shahid might be a good match, we can even plant seeds along the way, Shahid talking about why he loves Kajol in ways that could also apply to the middle daughter (I love your passion for your job, I love that we both have things to talk about at the end of the day, etc.) and the middle daughter explaining why she never plans to be married in similar terms (what man would be happy with a woman who works all the time? What man would want a companion instead of the mother of his children?)

          On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 9:36 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. KHNH – a well-built story…only two questions: Why do you change the heart problem with cancer? Could their be at least one hint before that he doesn’t feel well by skipping one or two otherwise common activities?

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    • I feel like cancer is more of a long tiring lingering thing for the caregiver. And it would explain why they got married because unlike the heart thing at some point in his life there could have been hope, they could have married thinking they had a future together and then two years later he was diagnosed, they did treatment, regression, reemergence, and so on and so forth.

      And yes, I like the idea of foreshadowing, maybe showing Preity meeting up with Saif alone because Shahrukh “doesn’t feel well” and Saif thinking it is because Shahrukh is mad at him or something. The plot moves on and the audience forgets and then it comes up again later and we go “oh, I see now!”

      On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 9:45 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Asoka…such an interesting story…but where are the battles???!!! (*just kidding*)

    The heir is blind, isn’t he. Can he still rule a kingdom (after Asoka’s death)? And what about a second child with Kaurwaki.

    Your idea reminds me the Chinese movie “Raise the red Lantern” 🙂

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    • I would say, have Kaurwaki announce she can’t go through the pain of motherhood a second time, she wants to dedicate herself to being a warrior. Shahrukh has to respect that, he also respects (although doesn’t like) Devi’s decision that her children will be non-violent. And his first wife already had a deal where she wouldn’t be a mother. So Shahrukh HAS to take a 4th wife to be fair to all of them. And then we can make the 4th wife fragile and sensitive during her pregnancy and Shahrukh is pulled towards her and away from his other wives.

      On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 12:56 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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