My parents made me watch a movie from their Youth last night and gosh darn it, I liked it. I resent it so much when my parents make me watch things and then I like them. Also, hummus. I was perfectly happy not liking hummus without tasting it until they made me taste it. Anyway, the movie is Starting Over and it’s a really simple idea of a man trying to figure out his life post-divorce.
The original film got a surprising amount of buzz and Oscar nominations and stuff, but I had never heard of it. The 70s were a long time ago. Assuming you haven’t heard of it either, here is the basic plot:
Our hero Burt Reynold’s rich gorgeous wife cheats on him and asks for a divorce. He takes his suitcase and goes to stay with his brother in Boston and “start over”. He joins a divorced men’s support group, buys depressing cheap furniture for his cheap apartment, and is set up at a dinner party at his brother’s house with a really nice smart pre-school teacher. Only she turns him down because he is too recently divorced. He tries to date other women, but can’t forget her, calls her up and invites her out to dinner just to talk and be friends. They quickly fall completely in love and she moves in with him. At which point his wife reappears and says she regrets everything, loves him, and wants him back. He is torn up but eventually just has to give the marriage another try. Leaves his poor girlfriend who says she kind of understands, but she never ever wants him to call her again. After 6 weeks with his wife, he is totally miserable and unhappy and just wants to go back to his girlfriend. He finds her and gives her a speech about how he just wants to be with her, all the time, and if that means getting married, that’s what he wants. But if she just wants to live together, that’s fine too. Whatever she wants.
It’s a really 70s kind of movie. Everything is very dry humor and nothing is underlined. But the essential idea of a guy who is starting over at an age when he thought he was done, and surprising himself by falling straight into love with an unexpected woman, is GREAT! And the heroine is great too, she is old enough that she just figured she was going to be single for the rest of her life and was happy with that. And then this thing happened out of the blue, and she took a risk with it, and got her heart stomped on again, before forgiving him anyway.
So, SRK!!!! His wife would HAVE to be Rani. She is so good at comedy, could play the flighty sexy wife who throws him out and wants him back super well. In our version, she would be a singer for movies (there’s a running gag in the original about his wife writing absolutely terrible songs based on their relationship). He is a freelance writer, but not a fancy impressive one, one who writes content for trade websites and stuff. He moves from Bombay to Calcutta (because Calcutta=Boston, we all know this). And his brother Anupam Kher sets him up with Kajol. She is never married, long time single, has her little apartment, is happy with her life and not expecting it to change. But they spark immediately and can’t stop falling in love. Until Rani reappears and sexes him away from her. And then (my favorite casting), we have Ajay do a cameo as Kajol’s new boyfriend when Shahrukh returns. But of course, as soon as he says he wants her back, she melts and goes with him.
Alternative option, Ranveer-Dips!!!! I just want them in a rom-com together. And the heroine has so much in common with Dips’ character in Piku! Less sure who the wife should be. Maybe Pari? She can do comedy. In the younger version, Pari would be a youtube sensation with viral songs Ranveer can’t escape. He moves from New York where he was living with her back to Bombay to stay with his brother Varun Sharma and his wife. They set him up with Dips, who is post-30, ready to live alone forever, not sexy or gorgeous, and they hit it off immediately. And then Dips’ new boyfriend can be a cameo from Sid M.
What do you think? Do you understand the appeal and why I like the story idea?