Silly Sunday: My Favorite Christmas Movies Remade in India! White Christmas, Best Man Holiday, Frozen

Ready for a silly silly indulgent post? But whatever, I have now both wrapped and mailed all my presents (meaning I am better than all y’all!!!!), so I can afford to be indulgent. Oh, and also, even if you don’t read all of these, take the movies as recommendations. Assuming you enjoy emotional love stories with happy endings (mostly) and random song sequences.

White Christmas

Original plot:

Bing Crosby, popular performer, meets Danny Kaye (aspiring performer) when he saves his life in the army. Bing and Danny become a popular performing team. But ten years later, while Danny is a happy flirt with loads of girlfriends, Bing is serious and constantly driving Danny to be more and more ambitious and work harder. Danny decides that he is going to find a girl for Bing and get him married. Conveniently, they then meet a sister act, the oldest girl hits it off with Bing and the youngest with Danny, the two younger ones scheme to bring the older ones together including Danny convincing Bing they should spend their Christmas holidays at the remote inn where the sisters are hired to perform. The arrive at the inn to discover it is run by their former commanding officer, who retired and bought the inn and now is about to lose everything because they don’t have any visitors. Danny and Bing decide to bring their show down to the inn in order to attract visitors. Danny and the younger sister decide to pretend to be engaged in order to encourage the older siblings to finally get together. But it doesn’t work because of a stupid misunderstanding, the older sister thinks Bing is bringing the show down to the inn for publicity. In the grand finale of the film, the older sister learns the truth and shows up for the live Christmas show, both couples are united.

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So, Indian remake!!!! I think I want to make it Malayalam, and we can keep it Christian/Christmas that way. Mammootty is the commanding officer, Prithviraj is the older partner, Dulquer is the younger partner. And the two sisters are Parvathy and Sai Pallavi. Prithviraj is a movie star who signs up for army service to do background for a role. Dulquer is an aspiring actor. He saves Prithviraj during basic training and then guilts Prithviraj into bringing him into his next movie. They become a popular onscreen duo, but Dulquer is exhausted by 5 years later because Prithviraj has pushed them into producing and writing and everything else. So when they go to check out two dancing sisters for a bit part in their next film, and Prithviraj sparks with Parvathy, Dulquer and Sai Pallavi get together to try and throw them together, Dulquer gets Prithviraj to go spend Christmas holidays at an old inn where the girls were hired to perform. Only to discover Mammootty is running the inn, having turned his family home into a guest house. And the inn is in trouble because there is a new multiplex in town, so no one wants old-fashioned entertainment. Prithviraj and Dulquer come up with a plan to advertise a personal appearance and get people to see the classical dancing at the inn. Parvathy misunderstands, think they are going to sell the story of Mammootty as this pitiful man, and takes off in anger. Dulquer and Sai Pallavi pretend to be engaged to get them together but it doesn’t work. And then at the end, Parvathy sees the personal appearance streamed live on the internet and it is all dignified and restrained, she rushes to the inn, and appears as a surprise performer singing a love song to Prithviraj that tells him everything is fine now.

Best Man Holiday

Okay, this is actually a sequel and it only works if you know the original, so this will be a super super long recap. Also, if you haven’t seen Best Man or Best Man Holiday, get on that! But only if you like happy endings, long friendships, surprise dance numbers, and very attractive men. And a big heaping helping of sentimentality.

First movie takes place over a wedding weekend. Our primary character Taye Diggs is the best man. He is in a newish and wonderful relationship with a free spirited chef Sanaa Latham, and his first novel is about to be published based on his college years. The groom is a football star who is marrying his long time sweet girlfriend after years of cheating on her and breaking her heart. They also have a kind of wild scuzzy friend, and a really sweet shy friend. The two big bombs waiting to go off are that the novel will reveal Taye had a one night affair with the bride back in college, and that he had a long time crush on his best friend from college who is now a high powered reporter. There’s also a little mini-story when the shy friend with a horrible girlfriend ends up hitting it off with the stripper at the bachelor party and dumps his horrible girlfriend and brings the stripper to the wedding as his new girlfriend. The high powered reporter gets an advance copy and comes on to him, which makes him finally realize that the free spirited chef is his real love. And then the groom gets a copy and figures it out and is ready to walk out on the wedding. Taye talks him down and gets him to see that his bride loves him and if she forgave him for all that cheating over the years, he should be able to forgive and forget one night and marry her. Happy Ending, the bride and groom get married, Taye and Sanaa unite at the wedding and he tells her he is ready to commit, and the high powered reporter is happy alone.

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Sequel! Best Man Holiday! 10 years later, Taye’s first novel was a bestseller and he married Sanaa, but then his follow-up was a flop and he and Sanaa have struggled to get pregnant and all their money went to that. Sanaa is finally pregnant and Taye is trying to keep all this from her and desperate for a best seller. The shy friend now runs a charity school, with the assistance of his wife (the former stripper, current school administrator and PR person). The scuzzy friend is a brand manager. The high powered female friend is even more successful than before and in a new relationship that she is a little nervous about. And the bride and groom have the “perfect” life, 4 kids, big football hero, everything great. They invite all their old friends for Christmas. Taye comes because he is desperate for a hit book and he thinks he might have a chance to write a biopic of the groom. The groom still hasn’t fully forgiven him, there’s the high powered friend’s new boyfriend to integrate into the group, and the evil ex-girlfriend of the shy friend is invited too, and so on. And then in the middle of all this drama, dun dun dun, it is revealed that the bride is dying of cancer, that’s why she wanted them all to come for the holidays. And that’s why her husband agreed, even though he still isn’t cool with all of them. With the added emotional pressure, all the other conflicts get resolved, culminating in a really sad death bed scene. And then we jump a year ahead to discover that everyone is in a good place, Taye got to write the book, his baby is adorable, the high powered woman committed to her nice boyfriend, and so on.

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If you have a lot of tolerance for sappiness and emotion, these films are basically already perfect. I’ll just make two changes. First, I’m cutting the scuzzy friend. He’s got some good lines and redeeming moments, but ultimately not worth it. And second, in order to tie it all together, I’ll give it a framing device of starting in the present with our hero getting the invitation to the reunion and thinking about the last time they saw each other. But beyond that, perfection!

I’ll make Ayushmann Khurrana the hero (classic thoughtful every man) and Bhumi can be his warm and kind of flakey chef girlfriend. His college crush who is now scarey and tough and high powered is obviously Swara Bhaskar. I’ll be a little cheeky and make Ranveer and Dips the perfect marriage couple, with Ranveer as a Cricket star instead of football. The shy friend can be Rajkummar Rao and the nice stripper who is now a naach girl at a dance bar can be Shraddha (she can pull off both the item number intro and being convincingly sweet and kind and a viable real romantic prospect). Everything plays out as in the original, romantic complications and so on, Ayushmann and Swara almost get together after she reads his book and realizes he loved her all along, but then he pulls back because he realizes that was a fantasy and he loves Bhumi now. Rajkummar has a scary girlfriend (obviously Lisa Haydon), but after fighting with her over the phone because she wants him to take a high paying job instead of going into not for profit, and then is dragged along to the dance bar and sees Shraddha dancing, they make a connection and have a nice conversation (maybe he spills his drink on her costume and then tries to apologize and pay for the cleaning). And it comes out that Ayushmann slept with Dips once back in college, when Ranveer was on the road and constantly having one night stands. Humorous chase scene behind the scenes of the wedding while Ranveer tries to kill Ayushmann and Ayushmann tries to convince him to forgive Dips and marry her anyway. It ends when Ranveer sees Dips from a distance happily getting ready for her wedding and realizes he wants to marry her anyway. They get married, but Ranveer looks at Ayushmann in a way that makes it clear he will never really forgive him. INTERVAL

Ten years later, Ayushmann comes out of the flashback to his pregnant wife Bhumi who is asking him to agree to go. He thinks the traveling is too much for her, but she wants to do it because she wants the baby to be born in India. Plus, Ayushmann is all stressed because he just lost his NYU teaching job and hasn’t told Bhumi yet. But Swara, scary aggressive international reporter, suggests he talk Ranveer into letting him write his biography. And Swara admits that she might be in love, only thing is, he’s white. She isn’t sure if he is ready for a trip to India. And in India, Rajkummar is struggling to convince one of his donors to stay with his school after a sex tape of Shraddha has hit the internet. Rajkummar isn’t sure if he can handle it if the video turns out to be real, and uses this trip as a way to buy time and get out of town with Shraddha. Everyone descends on Ranveer and Deepika’s perfect family home and their perfect family. Secrets come out, fights happen, Bhumi is still jealous of Swara, everyone makes fun of Swara’s new boyfriend, and Ranveer still hates Ayushmann. Until Ayushmann finds Deepika fallen down on the floor and learns she is dying, which is why she guilted Ranveer into the reunion. Rajkummar and Shraddha finally talk, he learns the tape is real, she did it for the money, and he decides he doesn’t care because he loves her. Bhumi and Ayushmann fight over him keeping the money problems from her, but talk it out. And in the end, Ayushmann and Ranveer unite too, just in time for him to be there after Deepika dies. Bittersweet ending, Bhumi gives birth and they name the baby for Deepika.

Frozen

Has anyone not yet seen the original? I suppose it is possible. If you ask me, Tangled is the better film, but Frozen isn’t bad. And the central character conflict is just ripe for fun casting in an Indian version.

Simple-ish plot, there are two princesses and the older one has special powers which have forced her to live in isolation while the youngest one is so desperate for human contact that she is overly friendly. The parents die, the sisters are finally allowed out of the palace, the younger sister falls in love with the first boy she meets. The older sister makes a mistake and blames herself and runs away. The younger sister chases after her partly in order to get permission for her engagement to her True Love. The younger sister is helped on her quest by a lower class straight forward unromantic guy. She finds the big sister, they return to the kingdom to discover the True Love is EVIL!!!! The sisters save each other, with the nice lower class guy supportively watching, and the happy ending is the two sisters united and ruling while the nice guy and the younger sister start up a romance. So we’ve got two fighting sisters, a seemingly perfect and romantic love at first sight guy who is really evil, and a super nice helpful but not smooth or romantic guy. I love all of this for an Indian film!

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Let’s make this a gangster movie! Just for funsies! The girl’s parents run a gang. The older sister has, let’s say, epilepsy. It can be controlled by medication, but it is still a visible weakness. For fear of their enemies finding out, the parents isolated her from all eyes. And after her younger sister almost accidentally let the truth slip out unknowingly when she was a little kid, they separated the sisters too. The little sister was only a teenager in high school when her parents died and she was sent back home, the older sister was trying to remain unemotional so she wouldn’t have an episode and the little sister felt even more isolated. In that state, she ran away from home and met a super cool college kid and fell in luuuuurv. But when she tried to ask her sister/guardian to let her get engaged, her sister had to say no, the little sister ran off, the big sister was so upset that she had an episode and thought she had humiliated herself and shown weakness, and therefore ran off. The little sister’s boyfriend encouraged her to find her big sister so they can be married. She went off looking, and for help ended up hiring a low class street thug. They keep hunting and finally find her sister, hiding out. The two sisters talk, the younger sister convinces her that she can do this, they go back home and she gives permission for the wedding. Only as soon as the wedding is over, the college dude reveals he is EVIL!!!! He was part of a rival family, and now he is going to hold the younger sister hostage and refuse to sign divorce papers unless the older sister signs over all their property. The older sister, tormented, runs into the low class street thug who is drunk and miserable in the streets. The two of them form an alliance and, with her plan guiding them, rescue the younger sister. The older sister also gets a powerful lawyer to get the younger sister out of the marriage, and overall gets a shot of confidence that she can actually do this. Happy ending is her sweeping in to a gangster chairmen meeting, dressed to the nines, super confident, and taking instant control, with her younger sister and the nice gunda standing behind her for moral support.

(also, if you choose to read it that way, the older sister and the high powered lawyer might have some sparks flying)

Cast:

Ilsa: Katrina

Anna: Alia

Evil Boyfriend: Ranbir

Nice Gunda: Sid M.

High Powered Lawyer: Swara Bhaskar

6 thoughts on “Silly Sunday: My Favorite Christmas Movies Remade in India! White Christmas, Best Man Holiday, Frozen

  1. You’ve taken a beloved film, that is a U.S. phenomena, a cartoon for little girls that gathered fame on par with Star Wars, and turned it into an Indian Gangster flick. Where the gangsters are good! I don’t know if Epilepsy is a good replacement for the power over ice and snow, maybe she could be an Autistic Savant. Although I’m not sure Katrina (who is the PERFECT Ice Queen) could act that effectively. Alia would be a great Anna, but I’m think Sid M. is too beautiful to be the Nice Gunda, maybe Ayushman? Actually while in real life Ranbir may be the your perfect evil true love, I wonder if Sid M. could do it justice on screen. Has he ever played a negative role? I think it is very important that the evil true love be very good looking.

    You are so much better than me. My 4-year-old turns 5 today, and I haven’t even wrapped his presents!

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    • Hmm, Elsa’s character to me is about how she is so unsure and aware of what other’s are feeling, so autism wouldn’t really work. But maybe OCD? That could work well, maybe she hurt her little sister because she washed her hands too many times or something (thinking she was helping her little sister). And that’s why they separated the two sisters, and isolated poor Kat so no one else would notice her behavior. She is tormented trying to control her impulses when she is in public, until she gains confidence at the end and learns to relax and let herself just be a bit more (it’s okay to wear gloves and refuse to shake hands, better than torturing yourself and forcing yourself, like that).

      Sid M HAS played a dark role! But I can’t tell you what in because it is kind of a spoiler. It’s actually a role very similar to this one, perfect and sympathetic and everything until the last minute when he is EVIL. So I co-sign that he can play Evil Boyfriend. Charming and sweet, even has a love song, and then the audience feels kind of guilty for becoming fond of the other dude just like Ana/Alia feels guilty for getting fond of other dude. For Other Dude, hmm. Not Ayushmann I think, because he has to feel lower class and Ayushmann just feels too middle-class to me to be someone below the reach of a gangster princess. Do we have no hot wholesome average dudes in India any more? Could ARK manage to ugly himself down to average?

      On Sun, Dec 15, 2019 at 9:23 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. How about Rajkumar Rao? He has sort of an bumbling but eager puppy-dog face which would do justice to the role in the original film. . Or even Ranveer? A little unconventional looking, and could be thuggish.

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    • I definitely want big and thuggish, the type that a pretty gangster princess would dismiss as a worker bee. Rajkummar could MAYBE pull it off. I think Ranveer definitely could, if he just plays his role in Gully Boy again. Silent and sensitive and sweet. It would also be the perfect crossover role for Prabhas.

      On Sun, Dec 15, 2019 at 2:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Me! I haven’t seen Frozen! It’s not really available except in a Japanese dub which I’m not really into (I hate the sweetsy sweetsy way they dub Disney princesses) plus it features a song that I don’t want to name so that it does not come fully into my consciousness and get in my head all day. Said song was played in some public space somewhere in Japan every day for the past couple of years plus all my students loved it and sang/played every chance they got. But it sounds like a great story! Kind of reminiscent of Sense and Sensibility? No? I’d favor maybe someone like Arjun K. for the goonda with a heart of gold. Agree with Genevieve that Sid is just too pretty and Arjun looks like a regular guy.

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    • I hadn’t thought about Sense and Sensibility before, but that totally works. I suppose the “responsible unemotional older sister/emotional vulnerable romantic younger sister” dynamic is timeless.

      Arjun K 3 years ago could work for the low class lower, but he may not have the right kind of sweet but intense any more. Maturity has made him boring. Maybe Sushant? It’s a very similar role to him in Khadarnath.

      On Sun, Dec 15, 2019 at 10:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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