Well that ending wasn’t….great. But good news! I think we can fix it if we just think it through a little bit.
The series as a whole is extremely high quality, all characters are sympathetic to varying degrees, and then instead of ending with a sort of subtle moment it goes for HIGH DRAMA and sudden turn towards villainy. Booooo! Pretty sure this was just a “well, we have to end on the most dramatic possible moment, so let’s create that” instead of a naturally evolving ending.
The reveal that Madhuri coordinated her own kidnapping is inevitable and feels built into the whole structure of the show. We see how it solves all her problems, makes her popular again, forces her family to rethink their behavior, and just plain gives her a bit of a break. The fact that she is able to disappear through reaching out to a former lowlevel film worker that no one would even remember let alone suspect is GENIUS. And seeing how her disappearance has unintended consequences, bringing a dangerous person into her family, throwing her lover into despair, and so on, that also feels natural. No one can predict everything, she was taking a desperate risk.
But then we suddenly have the reveal that her seemingly trustworthy and fragile daughter was in on it all along, AND was willing to lock her mother up forever in order to take her fame and place, and that’s just BONKERS.
Here’s what I would do: First, I wouldn’t kill off Manav Kaul. He’s way too good an actor and it was way too juicy a plot to just drop. Instead, I would make him deeply injured and perhaps brain dead. Madhuri can still feel the consequences of her actions and there can still be the false solution that he did it based on his rambling confessional social media post. Killing him just doesn’t work in the second to last episode just doesn’t work, there really isn’t enough time to feel the effect of his death.
Second, I wouldn’t make Amara the conspirator. I would make it Lata, the maid. I would keep the reveal that Amara was following a script from her mother on how to make the public love her, but that she was doing it because she was balancing sincere worry with ambition. That’s much more interesting. Making it Lata keeps with the idea of Madhuri disappearing by using people who are invisible themselves.
Third, I would have the reveal that the plan wasn’t to have Sanjay wrongfully arrested for her kidnapping, but rather to bring to the public his abuse of her and their children and have him RIGHTFULLY arrested for that so that she can return and divorce him with full public sympathy, while the kidnapping is framed on Nutty Fan.
Fourth, I would end with Madhuri returning. To discover that her family isn’t quite as she left it. The reveal that her daughter is now dating the crazy stalker fan she was planning to frame. Maybe an angry confrontation with Manav’s daughter, telling her that she knows what she did and it almost killed her father. And that the cop suspects her. That would be juicy! Have her come out at the film premiere and, right after that moment of triumph when she feels all her plans are in play, have it turned on it’s head as she meets her daughter’s boyfriend, sees Manav’s daughter angry in the crowd, meets eyes with the cop, and so on.
Okay, what would you change? And why?
New topic, Season 2! What Do We Want?
First, I think they have to reset the worst parts of the finale. Have Amara show up the next day, apologize, and explain she just wanted Madhuri to have one day of uncertainty. So Amara goes back to being an ambitious self-centered young woman, but not a total MONSTER.
But after that, I really want to dig into Tabitha, Manav’s daughter. She is already a bit angry at Madhuri for how her life was messed up by the affair when she was little, I imagine she would be REALLY angry now that her father is dead and she understands it is at least partly because of Madhuri’s actions. Plus obsessed with clearing her father’s name. I think having this young woman who grew up around fame without wanting fame being the antagonist would be GREAT.
And they need to address the whole “Nutty Fan KILLED BILLY” plot that was just dropped. It’s a murder that needs to be solved, it’s a sign of how Nutty Fan isn’t just “disturbed” but is actually dangerous, and we had this little hint dropped in about how Amara was close to Billy and misses him. Learning her new boyfriend killed him would certainly be distressing! And interesting!
And they need to un-redeem Sanjay. The man is abusive trash! I completely believed his swings from fragile and needy to angry and violent. Did not believe the final “one night in jail made me a humble understanding man” twist.
Oh, and Avi is secretly Manav’s son. That would be GREAT to tie into Tabitha’s plotline. Like, after her father dies she gets a letter he left which reveals that Avi is her brother. She seeks Avi out and gets close to him without telling him why while at the same time guilting Madhuri and plotting her vengeance.
Okay, that’s what I’ve got for season 2, what do you have?
I believed it was Lata too. The camera even focuses on her picture on the perp wall right before we get the big reveal.
I want Anamika to get more of a comeuppance and then to survive that, too. The Tabitha revenge idea is great, so too Anamika agonizing over what her plotting has done to her family, to Manav, etc. But how about, even tho her return is triumphant, her next film flops while Amara becomes an overnight sensation? Sanjay takes charge of his daughter”s career and starts raking in the money while Anamika’s star fades. She’s booked at the Dubai amusement park and other sad venues, no longer the focus of anything.
But she is indomitable. She helps the policewoman with her custody battle thereby gaining her friendship and support, and then uses her to deal with Tabitha whose successful business has, unbeknownst to her, shady backers. She convinces Amara that her father and grandmother are abusing her, which they are, and hires her son and his friend as composer and director/producer on all her and Amara’s films. By the end of Season Two, she’s back where she started, a superstar in control of her fame and her family.
But she grows more and more jealous of Amara who is getting the better roles and whose popularity is eclipsing hers. In the last episode, as she struggles with her love for her children and her need for fame, she begins to hatch another plot.
Ta-dah! Season Three.
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Oooo, I really like all these ideas! I forgot about that little foreshadowing of hiring her son’s friend to direct her, that would be fun to bring back. And I like how you balance her ambition to stay on top with her true concern for her daughter being exploited. I hadn’t thought about it, but I would LOVE to see a shift in Sanjay’s relationship with Amara from doting father to ruthless manager, so we can see that ultimately money and power is most important for him. And Amara can learn that as well, that her father loves her but loves money more.
On Mon, Feb 28, 2022 at 7:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I’m here for the spoilers.
So Madhuri wasn’t kidnapped, she organized it all with the the poster man and her daughter? But the daughter wasn’t sincere and she planned to get rid of the mother. And who killed Manav?
Manav killed himself after the news came out that Sanjay killed Madhuri. This was all part of Madhuri’s plan, she left blood to make it appear she was dead and Sanjay had killed her then was going to triumphantly return. But she hadn’t realized that Manav was so unstable he would kill himself when he thought she was dead. And he put up a long social media post saying he had “killed” her which was taken literally, although we the audience understand he meant “killed her spirit and driven her back to her abusive husband”.
Madhuri wasn’t kidnapped, she ran away and hid in order to create a national news story, and punish her family. Her daughter was in on it and part of the plan was to help her daughter launch her career. But at the last minute the daughter comes to pick her up and learns that Madhuri was going to frame Nutty Fan (now daughter’s boyfriend), and had planned to put Sanjay in jail. She is shocked by how cruel Madhuri is and at the last minute walks away and closes the door on her. It’s not clear if she is planning to leave her to die, or just leave her there a little longer so she can enjoy the attention at the movie premiere.
On Mon, Feb 28, 2022 at 8:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Thanks for writing up the entire series! I predicted some of the outcomes (Anamika faking/masterminding the whole thing) and I don’t share your enthusiasm for Madhuri’s performance, indeed the show reinforces my opinion that Mads was never anything more than competent as an actor, but it was still great fun watching the show.
“Oh, and Avi is secretly Manav’s son.”
But this is true, right? Avi *is* Manav’s son. We find that out when Sanjay comes back home from jail. Sanjay and Anamika’s Mom have a scene where she says it’s good that Sanjay didn’t tell Avi about his true connection to Manav and Sanjay responds that since he’s the one who’s brought up Avi, that makes Avi his son.
Yes, sorry, I wasn’t clear, Avi is Manav’s son. But the show leaves that thread hanging. Sanjay turns around and accepts him (which I find frankly unbelievable), Avi never learns the truth, we don’t even know if Manav knew the truth. I want season 2 to dig into that, have Avi find out, have Manav’s daughter learn she has a secret brother, and so on.
On Mon, Feb 28, 2022 at 9:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I’m not sure I want a second season. With the way they left things, I don’t know if it’s salvageable (even with your suggestions). You’re more sympathetic to the daughter than I am, I never warmed to her and don’t want to see her character.
Regarding rewriting, Lata should have been the co-conspirator absolutely, they could’ve shown more glimpses of how their bond grew over the years.
I mean, they could kill the daughter? Nutty Fan isn’t exactly stable, daughter could die, and then all the intrigue could start up again to bring Nutty Fan to justive.
On Mon, Feb 28, 2022 at 12:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote: