I thought about giving you a prompt this week, but I just couldn’t think of anything good enough. So it’s all on you! Any story you want about any body you want set anywhere you want!
Hero: Prabhas, an aspiring actor, crippled by his insecurities. He is shy, inarticulate without a script and woefully dressed.
Love Interest: Anushka Sharma, a simple girl working as a hairdresser and strong enough to make it on her own.
Villain: Siddarth, Prabhas’ “best friend,” and stylist. He is twisted by jealousy because he is both baby faced and….short.
Featuring: Tamannaah (to be known as “Tammy” because typing)
Cameo: Prabhu Deva
Special Appearance: MushMush
Prabhas was walking down the streets of London in a quandary. He was up for a part in an English language film, a part that would take him beyond the realm of Bahubali and into worldwide acclaim. Provided he could show a mastery of English.
He was heading towards an interview with the producers of the projected film, “The Dauntless Desi.” With him walked his pal, Siddarth.
Prabhas was worried. English was difficult and every time he tried to speak it, it felt like his mouth was full of novocaine. He could read it and he could speak it with few problems if he were reading it. But, off the cuff? In an interview? He was so nervous that he was trembling.
Sid noticed. As he looked at the tall, lanky figure beside him, Sid’s heart seemed to squeeze in his chest. The part would have been perfect for Sid! HE could speak English. HE could easily give an impromptu audition. HE could carry off the western style clothes the movie called for. But, no. The part had to go to a tall man.
He looked at Prabhas and had to stifle a chuckle. Prabhas had followed his advice and dressed….western. And looked ridiculous. Poor Prabhas didn’t know the difference between western style and cowboy gear.
With his outlandish outfit and his nerves, Prabhas was a sure fire fail.
As they approached the movie company’s offices, Prabhas’ noticed that his clothes were vastly different from the clothes of the Londoners around him. And he noticed their giggles and stares. His nerve broke. He fumbled his phone out of his jacket and called the office.
“Prabhas here. I…I can’t make the interview today. My…my grandma is ill and I have to…have to…I’ll call back and reschedule.” He was in such a quake that he didn’t realize that his speech on the phone was perfect.
Before Sid could stop him, Prabhas turned and started to run. Smack into a long legged beauty named Anushka.
They toppled to the ground, the length and weight of Prabhas enveloping Anushka. As she struggled for breath, all she could see was….a cowboy hat?
Prabhas tried to get up but his long legs kept getting tangled up with the legs of a soft, sweet scented lady.
Finally Sid, seeing the difficulty and also seeing the beauty trapped under Prabhas, reached down to assist Anushka to her feet and possibly into his arms. As he tugged on her hand, she stood up. And up. And up. Instead of a cute little thing, Sid was confronted by an Amazon. An Amazon who had the audacity to say, “Thank you, chhota bhaee.” “Little brother!” She called him “little brother!”
Once again on his feet, Prabhas could only watch as the beauty walked away.
With Prabhas busy staring and Sid busy sputtering, Anushka hurried off to work. Fortunately her salon was just around the corner.
A bit bruised and disheveled, Anushka unlocked the door and stumbled in. Sighing, she automatically reached for the light switches when she noticed something amiss. There was a bright glow coming from the salon, accompanied by a wonderful aroma. It smelled like Spring and Summer, like the warmth of the seashore and the cool, crisp air of a mountaintop. It was delicious and totally unexpected in a hairsalon.
From the glow emerged….MushMush, resplendent in his human form.
Anushka was gobsmacked! And a little fearful. But, he smelled SO GOOD!
“I’m not for you, my sweet,” he said in a voice that seemed to radiate power and yet was so kind. “There is one who truly needs you and, if you help him, I will be in your debt. You may ask any boon from me.”
“Who? Who needs help from a hair dresser like me?”
At that point, the door to the salon swung open and a cowboy blew into the shop, settling on the counter.”Go find him who wore this hat. He is in dire need of your services. And beware the machinations of his erstwhile ‘friend,’ the one called ‘Siddarth.”
She could not refuse and, picking up the hat, went to look for Prabhas.
“Oh yeah, that cowboy needs help. He needs to change his clothes and he needs to watch where he’s going,” she grumbled. And turning the corner, she ran right into that clumsy ‘cowboy’.
“At least I’m not on the bottom, this time,” Anushka thought as she tried to get up off of the cowboy’s (she hated to admit it) very impressive body. As she rose, her eyes met a pair of the most guileless brown eyes she had ever seen. Something fluttered in her chest.
For a moment, all she saw were those eyes. And some annoying little gnat buzzing around. Without thought, she reached out to brush the gnat away when her hand met the bearded baby face of Sid.
“Sorry, sorry, I thought you were…,” Anushka stopped as she noticed a trickle of blood on the cowboy’s face. The faint throb on her head told her that his face and her head had already met.
“Ouch, that looks painful. Come with me, my shop is right over there. I’ll fix you up in no time.”
Without waiting for a response, Anushka propelled the cowboy into the salon. As they entered, she was surprised to see that her staff was already on premises.
Tammy (Tamannaah) the manicurist, PD (Prabhu Deva) the colorist and Sonu (Sonu) the general factotum (aka guard) were all staring at her and the cowboy. Only their very good manners kept them from unseemly laughter. For a moment.
Sid was beside himself with fury. “Come on, Prabhas! You need to get to the interview! NOW!! Why are you standing here with these….miscreants?”
At that, the salon crew lost control, falling onto each other with laughter.
Poor Prabhas stood there, his head hung in shame. A hint of tears in his eyes.
“Sid, I can’t do the interview. Or the audition. I don’t look right. I can’t speak English properly and I CAN’T DANCE!”
The faint sound of chimes caught Anushka’s attention. This big lug was the one MushMush wanted her to help.
“Oh my God!”, she gasped, “You’re Cinderella! And I’m your freaking godmother!”
Prabhas looked at her in astonishment. For an instant, she did look otherworldly to him. But she looked more like an angel than a godmother.
Anushka sprang into action. “Your name is Prabhas? Well, tell me what this audition/interview is for.”
Prabhas explained that he was up for the starring role in a Westernized movie that would require a certain look, along with good English and spot-on dancing. Anushka looked at Prabhas’ anguished face and told him to come back the next day. She would put him to rights.
As they left the salon, Sid railed against her, seeing that she could blight his plan to humiliate and ruin Prabhas. In his mind movie, the villain was supposed to win.
Surprisingly, Prabhas was having none of it. Although he appreciated all that he thought that Sid had done for him, there was something about Anushka….
The following day, Prabhas and Sid entered the salon. Prabhas had dressed with special care, hoping to overcome the sad effect his cowboy get up had created. He knew that Sid approved of his clothing choices. And green was a nice color.
Anushka’s knees gave out. How to be gentle?
“Prabhas, this is entirely too much. Just because one item of clothing is green doesn’t mean that every item has to be. Or should be. Western clothing is simpler, easier. Now, take all of this off.”
Tammy hurried to the front of the salon to …assist.Prabhas stripped down to his undershirt. The ladies studied his body verrry carefully. Verrry carefully.
Anushka marshalled her forces. She would take care of the makeover. Indeed, she couldn’t wait to get her hands on Prabhas.. Tammy, born and raised in England, would work on Prabhas’ diction, providing she let him get a word in edgewise. And PD would help Prabhas with his dancing. In his heart, PD, with all due respect to Michael Flatley, considered HIMSELF to be the “Lord of the Dance.” The “Prince of the Prance.” The “Rajah of the Rhumba.” (He could go on for days.) And Sonu would….Sonu.
Sid was furious! Indeed, “furious,” didn’t cover it. He was engorged with rage. Steam shot from his ears. His eyes sparked red flames. HE WAS PISSED!!
“You foul fools! How dare you interfere. I am handling Prabhas, the great git!”
Tammy, who had, up to this point, thought that Sid was kind of cute, was herself exasperated, aggrieved and thoroughly irked.
“Stop right there, I gotta know right now, Before we go any further, Do you love me?….(oops, got a little Meat Loaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, there.).
Anyway, Tammy confronted Sid and, to his surprise, made him back down. Tammy was so cute when she was angry. Cute and SHORT!
Without waiting for Anushka’s go ahead, Tammy gave Prabhas a few practice statements to make him more comfortable with the language. “How much ground could a groundhog grind if a groundhog could grind ground.” And,” a beard that weird steers leers from peers.” At which Tammy thrust Sid onto one of the salon’s customer chairs and proceeded to shave his face.
“Nasty little man with a nasty little beard, let’s see if you are ugly or adorable.”
Sid struggled. This was Sonu time! With one massive hand, Sonu held Sid down, enabling Tammy to complete the shave.
As was his wont, Sonu stripped off his shirt in order to do his job
After watching the Sid, Tammy, Sonu mayhem, Anushka turned to Prabhas. It was his turn to face the Salon Workers Eye for the Super Hot Guy.
Anushka sat Prabhas down. “This will be painless, I promise. First a couple of rules. Do not matchy match everything you wear. Another thing, you are a big man. Some of your clothes will have to be tailored to fit you. Baggy is just not acceptable. As for your pants (she had to blush a bit here), do not wear high waters. Ankles are not that attractive. And one more thing – NO DROPPED CROTCH PANTS!”
Prabhas smiled shyly. To his surprise, he was not ashamed, he was kind of tickled. This pretty lady could tell him to wear capris and a halter top. He wouldn’t care, as long as she approved. Her clothing choices were comfortable and soft. Like her skin, he mused. (And her talking about his pants made him giggle.)
Tammy, still working on Sid, gave Prabhas more lines to practice. Somehow, her mind wasn’t totally on him so her assignments were a little odd. “With flat feet, the fleet filly, Fifi, found fabulous fortune at a full fathom five.”
Sid mouthed the words with her, completely captivated by this short fireball.
Now, it was PD’s turn. The self-styled ‘Sultan of Salsa,’ ‘Tyrant of Tango,’ ‘Duke of Disco’ (he could go on all day.) turned on the music. He did a grand jeté In the middle of the salon, drawing gasps from his friends and a shudder from Prabhas.
“My friend, do not expect to dance like me. This takes years of practice and sacrifice. Instead, I am going to teach you some basic steps that will help you translate a choreographer’s directions into a watchable and acceptable dance.”
With patience and perseverance, PD was able to release Prabhas from his inhibitions. Prabhas was finally in charge of his own body and confident in his movements. Gone was the clumsy boy. Now, he could fly like a man!
With a chastened Sid acting as his manager, Prabhas rescheduled his interview/audition for that very afternoon. He felt more confident than he had in years. And, with Anushka’s help, he looked good. Time to strut his stuff.
As he left the salon, Prabhas looked back at his new friends, Tammy and PD were solid. He knew that if he needed help, they’d be there for him.
And Anushka. They had a connection that could not be broken. He felt as though his heart had met it’s match. She would be there in all his tomorrows.
Now, on to the interview! He strode out of the salon with the confidence of a Shahrukh Khan! He could take on the world. As he sallied forth, Sid grabbed his arm and spun him around.. He’d been heading in the wrong direction. But confidently.
The audition/interview was over and Prabhas had nailed it! He happily shook the hand of Chunkey Chopra, youngest brother of Aditya and Uday Chopra. (The part of Chunkey Chopra is played by the great dramatist, Johnny Lever.)
Chunkey was a debutante director, entrusted with filming Yash Raj Films new mega-production. The movie was to be an update of the old silent movie The Sheik. Camels, sand dunes, Bedouins, dust and music! And this version would be more gritty, more real. The final “h” in sheikh had been restored.
Shooting time was short so Prabhas was rushed to wardrobe for his fitting. Then he had to hustle to a line reading before heading towards preliminary shooting. All his pals from the salon were there to watch the movie magic. They sat behind Chunkey, anticipating the action.
There was trouble from the start.
Prabhas, as The Sheikh, in full Bedouin costume, riding his trusty camel, Thunderbolt, was to swoop down upon the heroine and carry her off. The fair damsel was played by Prabhas’ old friend, Anushka Shetty. (The part of Anushka Shetty is played by Anushka Shetty.) That seemed to make things easier for him. They worked well together.
Tragedy struck the set! Anushka Shetty was allergic to camels. And dust. And sand. And probably Prabhas. (All those rumors about the two of them had simply worn her down. She did not want a repeat of ,”Anushka and Prabnas sitting in a tree…”)
So, Anushka Shetty was out. That left a major PR problem. The advertising had already started – “Prabhas and Anushka,” “Anushka and Prabhas,” screamed their headlines. And now, no Anushka.
Chunkey was not a Chopra for nothing. He whirled around in his seat and pointed to Anushka (Sharma), “You! Your name is Anushka, right? Can you speak? Can you dance? Can you get into costume in 10 minutes? “
She was, she could, she could and she would. And she did. And the PR department didn’t have to change a thing.
The cameras were rolling once more when another bombshell fell. The choreographer, the inimitable Farah Khan, was withdrawing from the production. She had learned that she was pregnant. With quintuplets. She had to immediately seek bedrest.
Enter PD. The Count of Conga, the Hero of Hustle, the Wizard of Waltz. (He could go all day.) With a perfect moonwalk, followed by some nifty break dancing, he was in!
All seemed well but trouble comes in threes. The camels. The camels were totally out of control. They were acting like the racing camels from Paheli, as though they were ensorcelled.
And, to make matters worse, the Bedouin costume did not show off Prabhas’ biceps. Or his abs. Or his shoulders. Or anything. He was completely covered!
Chunkey did a pratfall, just because.
Chunkey, in his genius, immediately called an audible. The movie would be transformed – into a Western! “The Sheikh” would become “The Pecos Desi.” And Prabhas would be back in cowboy gear. Back in better cowboy gear.
Director Chunkey visualized it for his crew. Scene; Prabhas, stripped to his waist, glistening with moisture, muscles rippling in the light, is panning for gold in the Mississippi River. The Texas sun beats down and, in the distance, the Deadwood to Glasgow train can be heard.
Chunkey mused,”the geography on that feels a little shaky.”
His assistant, Margaret, scoffed. “Only dedicated film students will notice and none of them care about Hindi film.” (assistant Margaret is played by Sai Pallavi.)
A concern. New dialogue had to be written and quickly.
Sid propelled Tammy forward. Being quick on the uptake, Tammy opened with,”Sally sounded silly saying Suzie salted Sid’s sweeties.”
She was in!
Chunkey turned to Sonu “You folks are a GIFT! Big guy, what do you do?”
Sonu simply said,” I flex.” And he did.
“Villain!! You’re my villain!” Chunkey was beside himself. He tripped over his chair.
The western cast was still incomplete. All western stars need a sidekick. An old geezer. A grimy galoot. A hero worshiping younger brother. Someone to act as the hero’s sounding board. Someone to play the mandolin. (Chunkey was fixated on mandolin playing. He blamed his older brother, Aditya.)
The new dialogue writer, Tammy, spoke up. “Sid. I can write dialogues for Sid. He’d be perfect as Prabhas’ younger brother and cohort.”
Chunkey squinted at Sid. “Do you play the mandolin?”
Sid replied, “No. But I can strum a few chords on a guitar.”
“Brilliant,” shouted Chunkey. “The role of the mandolin will be played by the guitar! And, for the first time in film history, an Indian will play the Cowboy! And real Indians will play the Indians!”
Assistant Margaret wasn’t too sure about that but she nodded yes anyway. Chunkey (still played by Johnny Lever) was too charismatic to disagree with. She only regretted that there wasn’t a part for Randeep Hooda.
The Movie The Pecos Desi::
Villainous Sonu and his band of miscreants have tied the beautiful Anushka to the railroad tracks. If Anushka wouldn’t be his girlfriend, she would make a fine train stopper.
Sonu sneered and stroked his handlebar mustache.
Keen ears attuned to the sounds of nature, Prabhas heard Anushka’s cries. Without pausing to don his shirt, he grabbed his rifle and mounted his trusty steed, Thunderbolt. It was Prabhas to the rescue! He worked his 60 shot rifle and made those outlaws dance.
After 15 minutes of outlaw bashing, the villains gave up and let Sidekick Sid march them off to the hoosegow. (That’s western talk for jail.) (Keepin’ it real as per Chunkey’s instructions.) The outlaws gone, Prabhas released Anushka and they embraced. As they kissed, the scene panned out and THE END.
Days later, Anushka entered her salon for the last time. As she stood surveying the chairs and sinks, she mused on all the changes that had occurred since MushMush entered her life.
Tammy was busy writing dialogue to the sequel of “The Pecos Desi.” “Desi Rides Again” would star her fiance, Sid the Singing Cowboy and his wonder horse, Lighteningbolt.
Tammy and SId were poised to become the dream team of westerns, Hindi style.
PD was under incredible demand for his services. He was now the Emperor of Everything. ( And he didn’t need to go on.)
And Sonu? Well, Sonu would have what he had always wanted. Anushka was gifting him the salon. His flexing had always been a customer draw. Now, the ladies and gents drawn to the shop by his flexing would be HIS customers. He could flex in pride of ownership.
Anushka smiled. At this very moment Prabhas was signing a contract for two new mega-films, “Bahubali Returns To Bali” followed by “Not A Saaho.” His newfound confidence (and smoking hot body) had made him a supertar.
And Anushka herself? She was also embarking on a movie career. But first, she had wedding plans. She had the biggest prize, literally the biggest prize, of all. She had Prabhas.
There was only one thing….. She heard the faint sound of chimes and that delicious scent of mountain streams and wildflowers washed over her.
Why me?” Anushka asked.Why did you choose me to help Prabhas?”
MushMush smiled, “I have a special place in my heart for all those born on the first of may. And toay, May the first is your birthday, is it not? And so I owe you a boon. What would you have of me?”
Anushka looked at the radiant being before her.and replied, “Prabhas is my love and my future. But right now….
It IS my birthday.”
We now leave them to your imagination, gentle reader. And get your mind out of the gutter. They obviously spent the day playing cutthroat Parcheesi.