We watched it on Friday, which was super fun. But also we got all upset about the half done love story and I started thinking about how I would have written it to have a whole other second half that gave a more satisfying love story structure instead of the very light weight plot with a lot of dance competitions instead of relationship drama.
Okay, actual movie is about Varun Dhawan and Shraddha as the lead dancers of rival London street dance troupes, one Indian and one Pakistani. They fight, but there’s a tension there all along. And then they decide to come together and form one massive dance troupe in order to win the big contest thingy. At the last minute, Shraddha’s conservative parents find out she is dancing on the street and stop her going to the contest. Varun comes to their house and tells them that they should be proud of their daughter and her talent, Shraddha is touched, they hug, and they win the big contest.
Now, in my perfect movie, all of that happens in like the first half hour of the film. Here’s how I would structure it:
We start with a fun song montage comparing Shraddha and Varun’s lives. They both come from well-off families, but while Varun is the spoiled only child of middle-class parents, Shraddha comes froma richer household and lives in a combined family with her parents, her uncle and aunt, her cousin, and an older brother and his wife and two little girls. Varun pretends to be going to college but actually goes off and dances all day. Shraddha pretends to be going to a proper volunteer job at her cousins clinic, but actually she dances all day and her cousin-doctor joins outside of clinic hours. Their two troupes keep missing each other, and then finally meet in a massive dance off through a train. In the middle of which, Varun and Shraddha come face to face and the music goes slow and they are all slow motion and surprised and stuff.
Anyway, plot plot, they meet up over and over again, then learn about the issues of undocumented migrant workers from South Asia in England and determine the two groups decide to work together to win the big dance competition and use the money to help the migrants. Shraddha and Varun carefully don’t talk to each other during all of this because there is this weird tension between them. But when they have to dance together, they start to soften and can’t run from their feelings. After they win the semi-finals, they embrace and feel things, then quickly back away and pretend they didn’t. The day of the finals, Shraddha’s family finds out she is dancing and forbids her from continuing. Varun comes to their house and gives an impassioned plea to let her dance, which also reveals how he feels about her (lots of “she has such a big heart, she is a beautiful spirit” kind of stuff). Shraddha hugs him as a thank you and they have another moment.
After winning the big Thing, everyone goes out together to celebrate and Varun and Shraddha end up sitting together on the train. Varun points out this is where they first met, this train station is where the train was stopped. Shraddha is touched that he remembers, Varun admits he remembers a lot of things about her, like her favorite coffee is blah blah, and her favorite color is blah blah, and she always tugs her ear twice before doing a flip. Shraddha is more and more touched as he talks, but then they are interrupted by their friends. Varun gets off at the next station, sadly walks away alone, but then Shraddha comes running after him yelling “wait!” He turns back, she says “I remembered something too. I remembered how much I wanted to kiss you”. Kiss! Love Song!
They are now totally in love, meeting in secret and kissing and stuff, but when Varun surprises Shraddha at the clinic (where for once she actually is volunteering), her cousin catches them. He isn’t disapproving exactly, but he gives them a dose of reality. Shraddha’s parents will never approve, they have big plans for her, they gave her a gap year after college to work at the clinic and then they expect her to go to medical school like her cousin. They will not be happy with a young marriage, especially to a poor boy with no job and no plans. What about Varun’s parents? Will they be happy with him dating a girl behind their back? Will they approve?
Drama!!!! Varun and Shraddha agree to separate, he has to focus on his dreams, try to get into a real dance troupe and make something of himself, and she will apply to medical school. Sad separation missing each other song. Which all goes wrong when Varun returns home one day to learn that his parents have arranged his engagement. He is furious and asks them how they could do it, they explain that they needed the dowry to save his father’s business. Varun is all “how can you mortgage my lifetime happiness for your temporary problem?” But eventually his mother gets around him and guilts him about it. Shraddha finds out and is furious. She rushes to the house and gives the same impassioned speech Varun gave, about how he has such a beautiful spirit and so much to give to the world, he can’t just quit and get married and run his father’s store the rest of his life. But this time it doesn’t work, his father drives her out and tells her Varun has made his choice. By a terrible twist of fate, Varun just that day had agreed to at least a coffee date with his fiancee, so he was out of the house, and Shraddha was sent by his father to the coffee shop and oversaw them laughing and smiling.
Not hearing from Shraddha, Varun assumes they are over and moves forward with his wedding. Shraddha is heartbroken and moves forward with her med school plans. Until at a family dinner one night, her uncle mentions he saw “that strange boy who came by the house once” being fit for his wedding jacket at his tailors. He had never seen such a sad groom, he even saw him crying in the fitting room! Shraddha, inspired, reaches out to Varun’s friends and learns he does NOT want to get married, he is miserable about everything. But it’s too late, the wedding is days away and his parents have taken away his phone and are checking his mail. How can she get to him????
DANCE!!!! Obviously!!!! They get the troupe back together and trick the fiancee’s family into hiring them for the engagement party. In the middle of a big fancy masked dance number, Shraddha sneaks over to Varun and hands him a mask and a robe so he can sneak out as part of the troupe. Freedom! They go off to a friends’ apartment to hide out and have sex for the first time. But the next morning, Varun’s parents track him down and are furious and try to guilt him into coming home again, they can cover it all up, say he suddenly was taken ill, the wedding can still happen. For a moment it looks like Varun is considering, but then he declares that he WILL get married, but not in three days, today. And not to the woman they picked out, the woman he picked out, Shraddha.
Romantic spontaneous wedding ceremony at a registry office, after which they leave and the dance troupes do a wedding celebration dance around them through the streets. Real life returns when they have to go tell Shraddha’s family what they have done. Shraddha’s parents are furious, they had such plans for her. She declares that she can still do all of that, go to med school and be married, they declare she will have to do it without any support from them.
Cute young married couple problems, Shraddha and Varun get a really tiny studio apartment together, he keeps busking all day and she starts med school and studies. They fight because she needs to study at night and he is coming home late from late night busking, and then she wakes him up making noise in the small apartment getting ready in the morning for classes. But then they make up. They fight again when Varun takes all the money he made from busking to buy her a real wedding ring, and she thinks it should have gone towards saving for the future. But they make up when instead they trade in the ring and get romantic homemade rings. Until things get serious when Shraddha discovers she is pregnant.
Drama! Serious consideration of an abortion by Shraddha! Eventual decision that she wants to continue the pregnancy! She tells Varun and is braced for him to be upset, but instead he is delightfully supportive and excited. He builds a little baby corner in their apartment and starts thinking about baby clothes and things. But he gets scared when he sees how much it all costs. He suggests to Shraddha that they should make up with their parents and ask for help. She agrees that they should talk to their parents and let them know about the baby, but she never wants to rely on anyone for help ever again. They will do this, just the two of them, she has faith in Varun. They talk to her family, who are cautiously supportive but want them to move back into the house and take everything over, and Shraddha is firm that she doesn’t want that. They try to reach Varun’s family, only to learn they moved back to India. They call them there, and Varun is told they are no family of his, he has disappointed and shamed them. Shraddha comforts him.
Things get increasingly difficult, they stress about preparing for the baby, Shraddha is tired all the time and grumpy, Varun keeps cheering her up, and then the doctor tells her she has to go on bedrest. Varun cheers her by having the dance troupe come to their apartment and do a whole dance number in the tiny space. But he also worries, if they lose her student loan money, can they even afford their tiny apartment. And then, Dance Contest!!!!! He has a chance for a televised dance contest! He keeps it from Shraddha so she doesn’t get stressed, but he secretly starts rehearsing hard and makes it through the first round, Shraddha thinks he is pulling away and regrets marrying her. But after some angst, he finds out the truth, and reassures her that he is happy every day he married her. The night of the final contest performance, Shraddha goes into labor as Varun is leaving the apartment but hides it from him. She watches him on television but feels worse and worse, calls him, he tells her how glad he is to hear her voice because he is so nervous, he wants this so much. Shraddha swallows her pain and wishes him luck. Instead, she calls her family for help. Her parents and her doctor-cousin rush her to the hospital, they all watch as Varun wins the Big Thingy. He calls Shraddha immediately, and she starts to cry and tells him to come to the hospital. He rushes to the hospital, arriving in time for the birth. When it is all over and they are cooing over the baby, Varun gives Shraddha his prize and tells her she deserves it, he would be nothing without her. And Shraddha tells him that when she was in labor, with all her family around her, she just wanted Varun. They are a family, just the three of them.
See? That’s the dance movie romance we need!