Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay, fanfic! I got a candle going, my space heater fireplace burning, and the dog cuddled next to me on this cold cloudy day. Perfect time to write an indulgent fanfic.
Murder and Magnolias is the name of the very pleasant and well-presented podcast about the case, if you want to dig deeper. But the moment when I thought “this has to be a movie” is when it is revealed that the middle-aged female potential murder victim went on to tell her story as part of her new career as a standup comic! Such a perfect film framing device, such a great way to set a tone of “black comedy romance don’t worry nothing bad will happen”.
As you may remember, I most enjoy fanfics and get my best ideas when you feedback me in the comments. So give me your ideas for additional twists! Let’s workshop this and escape into fantasy world during a bleak midwinter.
Our heroine is a Perfect Wife and Mother in some intensely competative social world. Upperclass Bombay? Delhi? Bangalore, with the tech money? One of those places. She married for love after a whirlwind romance and seemingly her life is perfect, her husband has gone on to be an extremely successful and wealthy bank executive, she supports him by hosting massive perfect work events and keeping the homefront running perfectly while he works all day. But in reality, they live parallel lives and she feels dead inside. One night, out of the blue, he tells her he wants a divorce and honestly it is a relief. They have an adult conversation about getting through one more holiday season together, and then after it is over they sit down their two daughters (one just starting college the other finishing high school) and explain they are getting a divorce. Then he packs up to leave the house and gives her a check to cover expenses for the next month. $300. Not even enough for groceries for 3 people, let alone the mortgage, the gas bill, everything else. And that’s where it gets nasty.
(Something kind of like this world)
So, my vision for this part of the movie, we have the stand up comic framing device, our heroine (still perfectly dressed and made up as the proper housewife) is in a late night comedy club with Cool Youths calling her “auntie” and asking if she is in the wrong place. And then she gets up to the microphone and immediately makes them all laugh by saying “who here is divorced? Was it good for you too?” And then she starts talking about how her love story started perfectly, and we see her and the villain as young people bumping in to each other, falling in love, having a wedding, having kids, finding success, buying a house, and then drifting apart. Until we come in on a massive coordinated song and dance number she is putting on as part of his company’s charity ball (song number!) which ends with the two of them sitting silently next to each other in a car looking at their phones, then going to separate bedrooms. Bits with heroine being perfect to her in-laws and loving to her daughter who is getting ready to go away to college and generally being smart and sassy and also loving. And then Villain pulls her aside and asks for a divorce and they calmly plan it for after Karwa Chauth so as not to upset his visiting parents. Weirdest Karwa Chauth Song Ever.
Now the fun bit starts! Once he leaves her, with no money and the kids, she starts to get even. She hires a private eye to follow him, gets evidence of infidelity, hires a lawyer to fight for child support money, then learns he is cheating on girlfriend 1 with girlfriend 2!!! She bothers him enough that he files a police report for harassment, she doesn’t even care at this point, she is feeling angry and alive and having fun with it. Until one morning, she gets a knock on her door and sees a sketchy looking bearded guy outside. She threatens to call the police on him, at which point he says he is the police and really needs to talk to her because someone is trying to kill her and she needs to leave NOW. She agrees, but insists on the way to the police station, they are going to stop by the dress shop because her daughter has a prom dress fitting appt and it took them 2 weeks to schedule it.
And this is where I realize it HAS to be a rom-com! In reality, the police officer who was investigating was just off an undercover case and did look horrible! And this very tough confident proper woman did insist that her daughter was going to get that dress fitting no matter what else was happening. So obviously, rough and ready cop has to fall in love with proper woman who bullies hi on their first meeting. SRK is cop (doy), I will accept any number of possible partners as his rom-com person.
(Shahrukh as cop)
Our heroine goes to the police station and talks to the cops who explain that a man walked in saying he was hired to kill a woman and handing them a “kill pack” he got, including her photo. They are investigating trying to figure out who hired the guy and why, but in the meantime she and her daughters have to go into hiding because the kill pack also mentioned the kids. She and her daughters are taken to a small depressing apartment where they have to have 24 hour guard. So, obviously, heroine and hero cop have LOADS of flirting time. Plus, he gets to be a safe and loving father figure to her two girls whose own father has never really been present in their lives.
Oh! And since younger daughter really really wants to go to Prom, heroine and hero cop OBVIOUSLY have to go to the Prom too in order to watch her and make sure she is safe. Dance Number!
Stuff continues to happen, it turns out it was the Girlfriend who actually coordinated and hired the killer, leaving the question of Did Husband Know? He claims no, he claims in some ways he still loves his wife and would never hurt her. So that opens a few different angles for the plot to go in.
After heroine and Hero Cop kiss and have sex after Prom Night, maybe he learns her husband has been cleared and husband shows up all apologetic and she reluctantly lets him back into her life for the sake of the kids and Hero Cop steps back out of her life? Until he learns that actually her husband was the mastermind and he has to rush in and save her? But he isn’t needed because she figured it out herself and drugged the husband and tied him up waiting for Hero Cop? And then they have a Sad Song as they are all formal and professional during case prep? Until her husband is finally convicted the kids kookily trick the two of them into being locked into that same small safe house apartment overnight and they fall in love again?
Or, after heroine and Hero Cop kiss and have sex after Prom Night, he is reassigned to go undercover again and seduce Evil Girlfriend to get her to confess? Heroine thinks he has fallen for Evil Girlfriend and is yet another unfaithful man and turns hard and cold towards him, he is confused and doesn’t know what is happening because he doesn’t know she knows he is spending time with Evil Girlfriend. There’s a dance off at some point between heroine and her New Boy Toy and Hero Cop and Evil Girlfriend. But then at trial he shows up all suited and cleaned up and testifies against Evil Girlfriend and she realized what happened and tricks him into being locked into the small safe house etc. etc.
Or, after heroine and Hero Cop kiss and have sex after Prom Night, he realizes he can’t stay on her case if they are in a relationship but he also doesn’t trust anyone else to keep her safe. So he starts to say nothing more can happen, and she interprets it as “because you are old and gross and this was a mistake” and gets all dignified and then there is lots of Angst and Longing Looks and Wanting Songs as they keep being thrown together but not able to admit their feelings, including him going undercover as her boyfriend in order to protect her and them needing to do a big love song dance at a party while secretly longing for each other. And then something big happens that leads to them finally understanding each other’s feelings and running to the airport before embracing in the rain.
Okay, discussion questions! Which second half plot do you like best?
Who should be heroine?
Juhi, Kajol, Sush, Shefali Shah, Someone Else?
Should Shahrukh (as hero cop) keep up the long hair and beard look the whole time, or have a make-over?
Or maybe in between, unshaven and slightly long?
Who should be skuzzy villain?
I think Anil or Jackie would be great fun. Or, Akshaye Khanna
Who should be Femme Fatale Evil Girlfriend?
Sushmita? Priyanka? Katrina?