Random mixture of ideas today, I know most people don’t read these, but for those few of you who enjoy them these thoughts were too good to resist. Especially a movie where Akshay gets what’s coming to him. You can skip to the end if you just want to read that one
Dark Drama for Shahrukh and Rani
This is based on “Repeat Performance” which popped up on my TCM this morning. Which goes very much NOT how is expected! And which I think could be a brilliant twisted role for Shahrukh, in support of a great actress.
The original plot has a lot of complications, but it’s basic structure is delightfully simple. We open with our heroine standing over her dead husband with a smoking gun. She is immediately regretful and rushes around trying to find a friend to confess to, but they are all busy with their New Year’s parties. On the stroke of midnight, alone in the street, she wishes aloud that she could live the whole year over again. And then she does! It takes her a second to understand, but after she finds another friend who wishes her happy new year of the year before, and realizes she is wearing her old dress, and finally comes home to find her husband waiting, alive and loving and wonderful. She decides to live the year over again, but better. She is a famous successful actress and her husband is a failed playwrite who had an affair with the female writer of her new play, but this time she will keep her husband from drinking, keep him working, and avoid the new play. But, here’s the twist! Her husband is HORRIBLE!!! Passive aggressive, blames her for everything, she keeps trying to be a “better” wife in order to save their marriage, but it doesn’t work. He has the affair after all, everything still goes wrong. At the end of the year, she is back to the horrible argument she had the first time around, her husband attacks her, and this time there is one small change. Because she lived the year over again trying to be a better friend, one of her old friends was watching and rushed in and saved her, and killed the husband for her.
Isn’t that interesting? And it is done so well. We start out thinking our heroine is a heartless murderer. And then when we see the first few conversations between her and her husband, we believe she is in the wrong and he is in the right. She is too focused on work, she is nagging him, she does want things from him he can’t give, and so on and so forth. But as the film goes on, we see how she is with her friends and when she isn’t around her husband and start to realize that he is gaslighting her into thinking she is at fault. For example, he tells her she shouldn’t have an opinion on what play to do next, she is just a woman and can’t think. And then we see her rehearsing with her co-stars and her friend the director and is calm and intelligent and everyone respects her opinions and enjoys working with her. Her husband falls into the affair after all, with the witty script writer, and has no guilt for it. Her friends pity her and worry about her, no one likes him. By the end of the film we have gone from “heartless murderess” to “justified, we understand how she was driven to this point.”
Anyway, wouldn’t this be an AMAZING role for Shahrukh? Casually charming and romantic, we can see why his awesome wife is so devoted to him. And then, slowly, the darkness comes out. The drinking, the petty insults phrased as “truth”, the casual guiltless affair, until finally we the audience hate and love him at the same time just as his wife does.
And wouldn’t this be an AMAZING two character story? An older woman, confident, successful, beloved by her friends, respected in her work, and yet broken when it comes to her husband. Seeing her shift from happy confident woman to fragile scared cautious wife scene by scene? And seeing her internal struggle as she keeps trying to save a marriage that can’t be saved, and a man that isn’t worth saving? Contrasted with an intelligent charming attractive man who just doesn’t have the inner strength to take responsibility for his own actions and his own life?
So, here’s how I would rewrite it for Hindi film. Open with Rani and Shahrukh arguing, her yelling at him about his affair, him blaming it on her for never being home and never caring for him, finally in anger her picking up the gun and shooting him. And then she rushes out into the Bombay streets, runs into one New Years party after another, her friends greet and embrace her, clearly she is loved, but it is too loud for her to talk to them. She ends up standing in the street as the clock strikes midnight and wishes to live the year over again.
And then she goes to an apartment, to talk to her old friend and director Jackie Shroff. Before she can confess, he casually talks in a way that makes her realize it is a year ago again. She accepts it and rushes home to find Shahrukh waiting. He compliments her own her new dress, tells her how much he loves her, they kiss, and prepare to host a New Years party of their own. At the party there is Jackie Shroff, and fragile young Vikrant Massay, a promising writer who Rani is encouraging although he hasn’t had a big break yet. And Vidya Balan wanders in and charms Shahrukh before Rani chases her out, she is the woman he has the affair with. Vikrant links up with a wealthy older woman Raveena Tandon although Rani warns him away, that the woman will destroy him and end up with him in an insane asylum, she knows it because she lived the year before. Vikrant doesn’t believe her and Rani learns to not tell anyone else her secret She takes Shahrukh away to London and convinces him to start the new year fresh, no drinking, work all day, and so on. 3 months later Shahrukh is grouchy and blames her for his unhappiness. He wants her to do a movie Vidya wrote and she refuses, Shahrukh says she has no judgement and doesn’t believe in him and is ruining his life. Rani is convinced to do the movie when Jackie comes to talk to her and promises that Vidya will be out of the country in New York the whole time they are filming. Back in Bombay, Rani is filming the play and thriving, everyone on set likes her, Jackie respects her opinion, and she is proud because Shahrukh is off taking meetings about getting his script put on (finally). But then Shahrukh shows up, drunk, with Vidya. He took it upon himself to invite her to the shoot. Rani fights with him, he tells her she is crazy and delusional and jealous, but he will indulge her whims and never see Vidya again. INTERVAL
Rani gets busy with the promotions and movie and so on, and Shahrukh meets with Vidya in secret to get help with his script, flirts with her and vice versa, and they cheerfully start an affair. Rani is sad because Shahrukh doesn’t seem to care about her, Vikrant and Jackie pity her and try to make excuses. But her friend and female co-star Sushmita Sen has no patience with Shahrukh, and at the opening night party sees Vidya and Shahrukh kissing on a balcony and pulls aside a curtain so everyone can see them. Shahrukh, drunk and surprised, falls off the balcony. Rani decides to quit the movie and devote herself to nursing Shahrukh (against the advice of her friends). Shahrukh refuses to talk to her or respond to any of her overtures. Finally Rani agrees to go out to one last appearance, as soon as Shahrukh is alone he sends for alcohol and calls Vidya to come over. Vidya comes and coolly says good-bye, she is done with the affair. Rani walks in on the two of them together, confronts Vidya and Vidya coldly explains that this was just an affair for her, she doesn’t care about him really and has no interest now that he is injured. Rani goes back to Shahrukh, who slaps her and accuses her of driving Vidya away. The film cuts away (implying that he hit her more than that) and suddenly it is a week later, New Years. Rani begs Jackie Shroff to skip out on his party and stay with her until after midnight. They return home together to find that Shahrukh has left and Rani’s housekeeper (ooo! Or mother-in-law? Make this juicier, have Shahrukh’s own mother be done with him?) cynically tells her that he is healthy again, he’s been hiding his recovery so Rani would pity him. Shahrukh goes to confront Vidya one last time, Vidya lies that Rani drove her away, Shahrukh declares he will kill Rani for ruining his life. Rani sends Jackie Shroff away, and then Shahrukh arrives home while she is alone and vulnerable. They fight, Rani declares she doesn’t want to hurt him “again”, and then there is a shot. It’s Vikrant Massay, his year played out just as Rani predicted with Raveena driving him to emotional instability until the police arrested him and put him in an insane asylum. He thought about what Rani said, and escaped, and came to save her and return her friendship. We end with a jump forward to Rani accepting a FilmFare Award for her film, talking heads commenting about how she will surely give an emotional tribute to her recently dead husband, but instead her speech expresses gratitude to all those in her life who love her and support her, Jackie Shroff and Vikrant Massay and Sushmita Sen.
Charlie’s Angels, in India!
Thanks to Filmikudhi and Emily who helped me write this!
The original Charlie’s Angels gets chalked up as misogynistic because of all the sexy costumes and stuff, but actually the set-up for the show (described over the opening credits of every episode) is awesomely feminist. The three “angels” were police officers but, because they were woman, they weren’t allowed to use their skills and talents to do any real work. They quit the police and started working for the mysterious voice “Charlie” who finds them jobs, coordinated by humorous “Bosley”, because they were bored and frustrated. Now, they can do everything they are capable of which the mainstream folks were too stupid to see.
So, Indian version! We meet our three heroines, each of them frustrated by their work. Katrina is a sexy cat burglar. We see her tricking her way into a hotel by pretending to be a call girl, then sneaking from the window of her suite along the side of the building to the room next door, fighting off three guards, breaking into the safe, and stealing a necklace. Which she then hands off to her boyfriend Sidharth Malhotra who explains that she needs him because the gangsters who hire them only trust a man. And they wouldn’t be “comfortable” if they knew she was the thief, so he is going to the hand off meeting and getting the pay off. And then he will take care of the money for her, just to keep things simple. But it’s okay, he loves her, she can trust him.
And then we see Taapsee. She is in disguise doing surveillance on an old man while her boss talks in her ear piece about how they need proof that the government officer is taking bribes from an international businessman. Taapsee sees a chance to follow the guy who gave the bribe and starts following him, gets evidence of him with his boss, the whole time her supervisor is yelling at her in her ear piece to stop and obey orders. Back at the office, Taapsee’s superior gets a round of applause for getting the evidence. And then a new team is announced based on this new evidence, with a new team coordinator who earned this promotion…Not Taapsee. Taapsee pulls her boss aside afterward to demand what is happening, and is told she isn’t a “Team player”, she isn’t “suited for management”. Better to just be quiet and obey orders.
And finally, Kareena! She comes into a police interrogation room where Hrithik is sitting with a prisoner, flustered and confused because she is just the secretary and brought in the wrong paperwork. Hrithik rolls his eyes and shoots a “guys together” glance at the prisoner and suggests that maybe if she is so confused, they can just go through her questionnaire now instead of questioning the suspect. Kareena fixes her glasses and fumbles and starts asking the prisoner questions like his address and stuff. Until he answers something about where he was on a particular date and she pounces, points out this means he is lying about the alibi he gave his boss. Kareena quickly gets him to admit the alibi was false and she and Hrithik leave the room and high five over another successful double-team interrogation. Their boss is waiting and congratulates them on a job well-done. Hrithik gives all the credit to Kareena, she came up with the strategy and did all the work. The boss reluctantly congratulates Kareena, but then turns right back to Hrithik and tells him that the head of the new task force wants to meet him and talk about getting him on it. Hrithik says he won’t join without his partner Kareena, the boss says that’s too bad because there’s only one slot open. He leaves, and Hrithik tells Kareena it sucks that no one ever appreciates what she does, Kareena says it’s okay. Hrithik invites her to come to a wedding with him tonight to cheer up, just as friends of course, because they are partners, and they can’t be..that is..it wouldn’t be allowed for.. Kareena rescues him and agrees to come, just as friends. DANCE NUMBER!!!!
Next day, Taapsee and Kat and Kareena all wake up to a message on their phones from an unknown number, promising them the evidence they are looking for in their various cases if them come to a certain location. They all come to the same location, a deserted mansion, and find the other two waiting. And then John Abraham comes out! Wearing glasses, looking awkward, falling over things. He explains that he is here on behalf of his boss “Charlie” and puts down a phone and puts it on speaker. A mysterious voice explains that he needs help from the three of them, he knows they are the best in their field and never given the chance to shine. He can help them if they help him, give Kareena the evidence that will get her on the task force, give Taapsee proof that will give her her own team to command, and give Katrina direct contacts with gangsters so they will trust her. But first, he needs them to help him solve the murder of the police commissioner from 6 months ago. Everyone thinks it is the mob, but he has evidence that it is related to the dance bar where the police commissioner’s body was found. He needs Kareena, Taapsee, and Katrina to go undercover and find proof. They can have a day to think about it.
Sad song, with Kareena and Taapsee and Katrina going through their daily life and realizing how unsatisfying it is. Men asking them to make coffee, bring them things, ignoring them while they talk. And they each end up lying to the men in their life about reasons they need to go on leave for two weeks.
After showing up again and agreeing to the mission, the voice tells them that the first step is to bond as a team, it’s too dangerous to go undercover without knowing each other well. John is going to take them away for two weeks of training. The three women are forced to share a room and hate it, Katrina takes all the space for her make-up while Taapsee rolls her eyes, Kareena can’t stand how the younger women keep trying to talk to her, all the frustration comes out when John takes them to a fight room and the three woman end up attacking each other. After a big fight, they end up laughing and friends. And Kareena leads a rebellion and has them all walk out on John’s insistance on training and instead find a bar and get drunk. John gets a call as soon as they leave and tells the voice on the phone “it worked just like you thought. First they fought each other, then me”.
Drunk scene, all of them share their problems, Kareena and Taapsee tell Kat she has to dump her boyfriend, Taapsee and Kat tell Kareena she has to forget the rules and go after Hrithik because he is HOT, and Kat and Kareena tell Taapsee she has to stop working all the time for people who don’t appreciate her and make friends.
And then they go undercover. Katrina gets hired as a sexy dancer, Kareena shows up as the new owner, and Taapsee is a computer expert brought in to help set up the new security camera system with the help of Rajkummar Rao, the consultant from the computer security system. They think they solved it when scary Vicky Kaushal shows up as a representative of a mysterious “protection” racket and threatens Kareena. On the way out, he exchanges glances with Katrina and, when a customer is bothering her, casually grabs the guy and whispers in his ear, until he takes off. Then gives Katrina a wink. Taapsee asks Rajkummar’s help to follow the guy, Katrina agrees to go on a date with him, and Kareena supervises. But then they realize that it can’t be him because he had a deal with the old owners and wouldn’t have wanted to bring attention to the bar by killing someone there. They are about to give up, but John shows up and reveals that “Charlie” is ready to tell them the truth. “Charlie” is a woman! And the widow of the police commissioner. Flashback, she was a young woman who dreamed of being a police officer. She confessed her dream at her first meeting with her arranged marriage fiance who already was a police officer. And he swore that if they married, she would always be part of his police world. For 40 years, he came home and told her everything, she learned everything about planning and coordination and so on, plus all his connections and secret info and stuff. John was his loyal secretary. When he died at the dance bar, she knew something was wrong because he never went to dance bars, but no one believed her. So she used what she knew to find 3 young woman who were talented and under-utilized and hired them to help her. Newly inspired, Taapsee and Katrina and Kareena go back to work.
Taapsee tells Rajkummar more of the truth, and he reveals that something weird is going on with his security computer company bosses. They investigate, Rajkummar is captured and tied up, Taapsee swings in and rescues him and he kisses her. Kareena arrests the bad guys and proudly brings them in to work where she is FINALLY offered a spot on the task force but declares she is actually quitting the police force and going to work in the private sector. And then she turns around and grabs Hrithik and passionately kisses him, then asks him out on a date to which he dazedly says “yes”. Kat goes back to her apartment to pack a bag, Sid M asks where she is going, tells her he has a job for her, Kat casually says he is going to have to figure out how to handle his job, and his life, all on his own, and walks out while he chases after her. Finally the three woman are setting up their shared apartment, teasing Kareena about how she was out all night the night before having “dinner” with Hrithik while Kareena teases back about how Taapsee and Rajkummar were making out when they were supposed to be setting up the satellite TV, when there is a knock on the door. Vicky! He used his mysterious “ways” to track down Kat, and has brought coffee for all of them, and roses for Kat, and an open invitation to give him a call any time she wants dinner.
Akshay Gets His Come-Uppance
This is kind of a combo of Juno and Baby Mama, to fix stupid Good Newwz. I’ll just give you the outline, and you can help me fill in the rest.
Akshay and his very type-A organized wife Kareena are trying to have a baby. She is determined to make it work, Akshay is joking and casual about it and doesn’t seem to understand how much she cares. The doctor tells them that the issue is with Kareena, Akshay is super fertile. Akshay is all pumped about this news (because he is self-centered). Kareena is miserable and has a big fight with him and throws him out. He goes to a bar and gets drunk and sleeps with a bar dancer Deepika.
A month later, the Deepika tracks him down at work and tells him she is pregnant and he is the father. Akshay freaks out and doesn’t know what to do, but then he goes to lunch with Kareena who suggests that they look into open adoption since they have given up any everything else. Idea! Akshay makes Deepika feel super guilty for sleeping with a married man, plus convinces her that she can’t give the baby a good future, and convinces her to pretend to be a woman looking for an open adoption who he found through an agency. He tells Kareena that he loves her so much, he has taken care of everything and found a potential baby for them already.
Kareena is such a nice woman that, when she meets Deepika and learns she is living in a terrible little room with no electricity, she immediately invites her to move in with them. Akshay is now tormented with the two women bonding and living in the same house. Deepika really wants to tell Kareena the truth but Akshay convinces her it would be cruel and pointless. Only, he doesn’t realize that Kareena overheard!!!! She bursts in on them and says she wants to save her home, this baby needs to be born of love and trust, that is all that matters. And then, TWIST! She means AKSHAY, not Deepika! INTERVAL
Post-interval, the Deepika and Kareena have a happy home together. Deepika is so grateful that she is making Kareena breakfast in the morning before work, helping to set up the nursery, all the things horrible Akshay wasn’t doing. She is also supportive and interested in the Kareena’s work success, and appreciative of Kareena being there for her medical appointments and stuff. And Kareena encourages Deepika to go back to school and offers to help her find a job at her agency once she finishes a computer course.
Everything is great, until Akshay (in his pettiness) sues for custody of the future baby. Kareena is all upset, but talks to Deepika and says she doesn’t care if she loses the baby, but Akshay can’t have it because he would be a terrible father. She will give money and support Deepika and the baby even if she doesn’t get to raise it herself. With Kareena’s support, Deepika goes to court and wins custody, then goes into labor. Kareena is with her through the labor, and when the baby is born, Deepika makes her hold it and tells her it is her daughter. Kareena reminds her that the court won’t let her take custody, Deepika says that doesn’t matter, this baby will have two mothers. Happy ending a year later at the baby’s first birthday, Kareena and Deepika and the baby are all living together, and Akshay is in a bar somewhere getting drunk and looking at Facebook photos from the party with some look of regret and misery on his face as he realizes everything he lost.