How well do you know family friendly sitcoms of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today? How many of them do you want Shahrukh to feature in? I have many ideas and I hope at least some of you can also enjoy them!
Procrastinatrix suggested that Shahrukh and Juhi should star in a Family Ties remake for Netflix India, and I love that idea! And then I started thinking of all the other sitcoms he could be in. And then he could work regular hours, in happy light scripts, with nice people who like him, and just generally have a great work-life balance. Plus give us the nice mix of light entertainment and occasional romantic moments, along with lots of fatherly wisdom, that we all want.
A family with two working parents and three kids, perfect fit! The mother is more successful and works longer hours, is also the slightly tougher parent while still being wise and loving. The father is gentle, works a job that fulfills him but will never grow into anything more, and is the parent who is more likely to be kind and understanding. The oldest child is ambitious and hyper and ready to reject his parents’ values and move on and build a life of “success” (as he sees it). The next oldest is a bit of a ditz, very sweet, but unwordly and emotional. And the youngest is sarcastic and observing all the chaos around her. Remake this in India with Shahrukh as a counselor at a high school or something dead end but meaningful like that, with Juhi as a successful advertising executive who is more likely to work late while Shahrukh gives the kids dinner, and with the oldest child being bratty and determined to finish high school and get a scholarship for an overseas school and leave India, the next oldest being a film fan who is always failing classes, and the youngest making funny sayings. And maybe flip the genders of the kids? The oldest is a girl, the film made next oldest is a boy? As the seasons go on, the oldest opts to stay in India for college after all while still claiming she is going to go overseas as soon as she gets a chance. The next oldest decides to try his hand at modeling and acting after high school (Karan Johar makes a cameo appearance as himself). And the third child gets written out as we all grow tired of her.
As Time Goes By
A Britcom! And at first I thought Shahrukh and Juhi were too old for it, but actually they are just right for the first season and we can go from there. A widow who runs a successful secretarial agency causes a lot of eye-rolling from her divorced daughter/assistant because she is always so snappy and grumpy. Meanwhile an NRI has just returned to Bombay after years and years overseas and plans to write his autobiography. He hires a secretary, ends up getting the widow’s daughter, flirts with her a bit and they decide to go out to dinner. But when he comes to her mother’s house to pick her up, he and the mother suddenly recognize each other. They were passionately in love years and years ago but then lost track of each other. She went on to fall in love and marry someone else, be widowed, and retreat to a practical loveless life. He moved overseas and started a new life, married and divorced, and has now returned home with an empty life. The two of them slowly navigate falling in love all over again, the nostalgia and pain of their memories, and now liking each other again for the new people they are (cynical, grumpy, feeling tired and old around the young folks). And there’s a slight frisson of tension because the divorced daughter claims to have a crush on the hero. I say, Shahrukh and Pooja Bhatt as the older couple, and Alia as the divorced daughter.
Welcome Back Kotter
The original concept was a young recently married teacher who volunteers to teach the troubled remedial kids at his old inner city high school. He got out, went to college, got a degree, and has a nice similarly educated wife. But he can still relate to the troubled problem kids in the class. This is no good for Shahrukh because he’s too old. But we just need to shift it a little. He worked successfully for an international company as an English teacher for their staff for years, but has taken early retirement and, with his supportive wife from Bombay, has moved back to his old Delhi neighborhood and taken a job teaching at his old high school. He slowly wins over the kids, gives them wisdom, comes home and has funny conversations with his sweet wife Zarina Wahab (they’ve been mother-son enough, let’s get them married for once), and gets to read lots of Shakespeare monologues to the class.
I wasn’t going to include this one (even though it is possibly my favorite sitcom), but then I had a genius thought! Shahrukh should obviously be the FATHER!!!! He is an old retired widowed cop who was shot on duty and has a hip injury. His wealthy over-educated NRI son has moved back home and ends up volunteering to take him into his wealthy pretentious apartment building. His other son stayed in Bombay and married a wealthy socialite. Lots of culture clash humor, with a warm little lesson at the heart of it as the sons and father learn to appreciate each other. And maybe we move up the romance for Shahrukh just a smidge, bumping into an old babysitter for his sons who is now a sexy nightclub singer (Juhi? Raveena? Sonali?)
Stick with me here! Two teenage girls bump into each other in a mall and, after many missed connections, they link up and realize they are identical twins. After a little investigation, they realize they were both adopted, one by a nice young couple the wife of whom died shortly after leaving her husband a single father. And the other by a struggling single mother who lied on the adoption application to get a baby. In order to let the girls be sisters, the struggling single mother agrees to move in to the nice house with the widowed father and the other daughter. Fish out of water comedy, contrasting personalities of the two girls and their parents, and a tiny romance in the background between the two single parents. Shahrukh as the widowed protective father of a teenage girl? Perfect! Juhi as the aggressive outgoing single mother of the other girl? Also perfect! Or Vidya? Anyway, someone like that. And then we can discover two talented young twins to play the kids.
The Odd Couple
Shahrukh plays a messy grumpy long divorced man. Saif Ali Khan plays his fussy prim and proper friend whose marriage has just fallen apart. Can two men live together…..without killing each other?
I could keep going indefinitely (Diff’rent Strokes, Who’s the Boss, Three’s Company, and on and on and on), but I think this is enough to give us a start!
Which of these classic sitcoms do you most want Shahrukh to do? Or is there another one I’m not thinking of that would be even better for him?