Oh boy! I am SO EXCITED to add on Patricia Merry’s ideas. Believe me, you will be excited to read them too.
Characters and Setting:
Hero: Shahrukh as a middle-aged animal rights lawyer
Heroine: Tabu as a divorced single mom high school teacher, traditional but wishes she was modern
Setting: Modern India
Courtney opens the plot:
Shahrukh is a lawyer who specializes in animal abuse cases. Tabu’s ex got her dog in the divorce, but is being a bad owner to it. I’m gonna say not abusive, so not that sad, but like he locks it up outside at night which makes the dog whimper which upsets Tabu’s kids when they see it. Tabu’s divorce lawyer has no interest in helping her with a dog custody case, so she goes online and finds Shahrukh, impoverished passionate animal rights lawyer.
Miss Braganza brings it forward:
Tabu is skeptical about the whole “animal lawyer” thing and Shahrukh is a serious activist for animals in India; he’s never handled a divorce before. She goes to his office with her kids, and leaves them with the secretary. She goes in to talk to him and they eye each other skeptically. His dog is under the desk. She tells her problem and he does that thing they always do in movies where they write the amount on a piece of paper to avoid saying numbers of money. She looks at it and it’s super high. She explodes at him: How can he charge that much? He’s just a–scoff–animal lawyer! And her kids are really distressed and he’s taking advantage of a poor single woman! He explodes back: Does she even know what happens to elephants in this country? He works tirelessly for little pay for them! If a rich dilettante wants him to argue in her divorce, she is going to make a generous donation to those elephants! Tabu is slightly mollified. Shah Rukh’s dog comes out and puts his head in Tabu’s lap and Shah Rukh notes how much she likes him. Tabu’s kids come into the office and Shah Rukh shows them happy baby elephant pictures. Their eyes meet above their respective children and animals and they smile slightly. Tabu says she’s a high school teacher and can’t afford his fee. Shah Rukh says he will discount it if she will make a poster about his elephant initiative (she’s an art teacher). They shake hands. Fade into the musical montage of them having cups of tea, looking at elephants, and playing with the kids and the dog.
Now, from Angie!
Tabu and SRK get closer every day. Time passes, finally the day of the trial comes and they win the dog. Ex-husband is angry that he has lost, and even more when he sees his ex-wife happy and in love. I see hindi version of “You look so good in love” here, but evil because the guy is evil and jealous, and not a gentleman like George Strait.
He starts playing his kids against SRK. And also talks with his ex in laws and his parents that he has changed and wants Tabu back. She, as a good and traditional woman leaves SRK and comes back to her husband. Of course she is not happy but doesn’t know what to do.
What do you think? Quite simple conflict, I’m sure you can add more life and emotion to it.
Angie said I get to add more life and emotion, so I’m gonna! Tabu’s character is “traditional but wants to be modern”. So, she enjoys hanging out with SRK and the kids, but feels guilty when she sees her husband because she is supposed to be faithful and all that stuff even if he isn’t. But Shahrukh is so awesome, he softens her up. And then the day before the hearing, he meets with her for last minute prep, and she is super nervous, so he says the most important thing is for her to relax and be comfortable on the stand and takes her for a walk through his elephant sanctuary and they have a moonlit picnic, they talk about their lives and dreams and stuff, she confesses that she has always felt pressure to do the right thing and be a good wife and mother and not thought about what she wants, and talks about his feeling of obligation to the animals and how any time not spent defending them was wasted. They both acknowledge that spending time with each other has helped them get out of their own heads. And then the kiss. And kind of giggle and are happy and kiss some more. Shahrukh finally drops her home and tells her to sleep, and they both have a silly goofy love song dreaming about each other.
But then! In court the next day! Her husband sees her be blooming and happy and all that, and she gives a great testimony about how she loves the dog (even though it was her husband’s originally) and the kids love it and she just wants custody so she can take care of it, and her husband ends up just giving up and saying she can have the dog. And then he comes to drop it off at her house and suggests they have a family day, with the kids and the dog, and go visit his parents in the country. It’s wonderful and he is sweet and loving, and his parents remind her of when they first got married and everything was great. At the end of the night, after they carry the sleeping kids in from the car and put them to bed, the husband makes the big pitch for getting back together, he’s changed, she’s changed, the kids would be so happy, blah blah blah.
Shahrukh has been calling and calling trying to reach her, finally he just shows up at her house. She tries to calmly tell him that she is planning to go back to her husband, and he gets angry because she is forgetting everything she said she wanted, and she gets angry because he is telling her what to do and doesn’t understand the pressure she is under, and finally he says “If your husband were dead, if you were a widow, would you want all those things you just said or would you want the new life you talked about with me?” And Tabu doesn’t answer.
Then! Thanks to Miss Braganza and Ticket, we have our pre-interval TWIST!
The husband is killed by a stampede of baby elephants at Shahrukh’s elephant preserve, and only the dog witnesses it.
Now, Patricia Merry just added two things! First, at some point while SRK and Tabu are getting to know each other, “Needs a touch of pre-interval humor. Shahrukh has to meet the dog in question. He expects to see a dainty little poodle/yorkie type but instead meets…a 125 pound, super fluffy malamute! Named Bitsy. When he calls out to the unseen Bitsy, he is engulfed by the giant furball – a dog as big as he is. I’m thinking a dog like this:
Now, Angie suggest post-interval and elephant stampede death witnessed by dog, Shahrukh is arrested. I will add to that that he is arrested because the dog is an unreliable witness. We come back from interval to find the dog barking over the body until Shahrukh comes out and finds it. He calls the police, who arrive to find the dog obsessed with running between the body and Shahrukh. They assume Shahrukh did it, put him on trial, bring the dog on the witness stand, show him a picture of the body, and he immediately turns and points his nose at Shahrukh. Shahrukh is SENTENCED!!!! Tabu and children sob!
Angie also suggested he breaks free of jail, which OF COURSE he does!!! Because his elephants come for him. They break down the wall of the jail and carry him off. Once free, he needs to find the real killer. He contacts Tabu, who meets up with him and they decide to investigate together. First mystery, what is the strange sound from under his porch steps? They look underneath and find….. a puppy! The realize this puppy is the long lost son of Bitsy, who she was trying to get Shahrukh to find, that’s why she kept going after him. They just need to convince the judge to give Shahrukh a new trial so Bitsy can give new testimony.
The kids and Tabu work with Bitsy, and get the whole story from her (by having her point at things in a big blow up picture). Handing it over to Patricia Merry again:
Another twist – the elephant stampede was caused by….the dog! He herded his elephant pals, crushing Randeep Hooda -er, the husband – to protect a puppy that had strayed onto the premises. Randeep – er, the husband – was threatening the puppy out of sheer spite. And nastiness. ( the pup is played by Randeep’s own adopted pup.. In real life, Randeep is an advocate for adopting animals.)
Okay, central issues resolved, we need a Grand Finale Moment, and then a Happy Epilogue. GO!