Honestly was not thinking about my question on “what do you want to see Shahrukh play?” as a fanfic idea prompt, but now here I am! And I have so many ideas that I think I’m just gonna rattle them off.
Dad of Trans Child
I think this would be really interesting to do in a multiple time lines in an arty way. I think start in the happy present day, at a wedding. SRK’s son is getting married, SRK is harried and happy and rushing around trying to greet all the guests and get everyone settled. And then at the last minute Aishwarya shows up and the caterer or someone asks who she is and she says “I’m the mother of the bride” and Shahrukh overhears, makes eye contact with her, and says “no, you are the mother of the groom”.
And then we can sort of flash through time. We see Shahrukh and Aish as happy new parents of a baby they love, then the baby as a toddler only wanting to play with boys, and then finally starts going to school and throws a tantrum because “she” wants to wear a boys uniform. Aish hates it, yells at her, lectures her, but Shahrukh is worried because he senses there is a deep pain in his child. It just gets worse as “she” gets older, Shahrukh and Aish fight constantly because he wants his child to be happy and wear what she wants and act how she wants, and Aish worries that her future will be ruined. Finally we flash to Shahrukh and Aish separating. And then Shahrukh getting a call from the hospital, his child tried to kill “herself”, Aish drove “her” to it. Which turns into a court battle, Shahrukh trying to get sole custody. He finally wins when Aish’s own parents turn against her, they don’t understand everything that is happening, but they understand that Aish’s child would rather die than live with “her” mother. Somewhere in there, Shahrukh and his child sit down with a hospital psychiatrist who gently facilitates the “daughter” explaining that he is really a son (psychiatrist played by Naseeruddin Shah I think). We also see scenes of Shahrukh fighting to find a school that will let him enroll his son in the boy’s classes, fighting a constant slow battle to get everyone in their life to use the proper pronouns, crying but accepting it when his son decides to go to college overseas, and finally now when his son has come home for his wedding and asked him to host. And we can see it all mixed up, so we jump from the happy baby scenes to the custody court case, to the suicide attempt, to the polite fight with the schools, to the son asking to go to college overseas, and so on.
I know how I want it to end, I want Shahrukh in a final moment of parenthood to tell Aish that he isn’t going to ask their son if she can come to the wedding, he isn’t going to put that guilt on his child, he will make the decision that is best because that is a parents’ job, to know what their child needs. But then I don’t know if his decision is going to be banishing Aish forever from this happy day, or bringing her in to see if the relationship can be repaired. Thoughts?
Kramer vs Kramer
Okay, this has already been remade as Akele Hum Akele Tum, but that added in this whole love story and rockstar and all kinds of things. I want to return to the basics. Shahrukh is a father in a traditional family structure where he works all day at a job he loves, and his wife stays home and does the majority of the childcare. And then one day she leaves, and he is left to figure out how to raise his child himself. What’s cool about the original Kramer vs. Kramer is that he does NOT become a “Mom”. That is, he and his son don’t perfectly recreate the life his son had when his mother was there. Instead they form their own routines and rituals and bonding. That’s what I’d love to see in India, a different way of being a primary parent.
SRK is a successful engineer, working as a high up manager at a tech firm. He is married to a slightly younger wife, let’s say Kareena, and they have a 6 year old son. And one day he comes home super late from work (like, after 11pm late) to find Kareena waiting with packed suitcases. She hands him a note, says she was just waiting for him to get home so she could leave, and walks away. Starting the next day, he does the bare minimum of childcare, figures out how to buy take out meals and prepackaged meals, and drops his son at school on the way to work. There’s a lot of little moments of adjustment over the next few weeks/months, he forgets to pick up his son one day and finally goes to get him at school to find him sobbing and saying he thought his Dad was gone forever just like his Mom. Which means a few weeks later when SRK gets stuck in an important client meeting, he ends up walking out and saying “I’m sorry, school just let out”. The biggest moment is when his Mother Kirron Kher comes by. She was visiting his sister in America when Kareena first left, so it was a few weeks before she could come help. The son gets confused, because his grandmother is giving him different rules than his father. And Shahrukh is confused because suddenly he comes home to find his son hidden away in his bedroom “playing quietly” so he can work. It ends with him having a Hard Talk with Kirron and telling her that he wants to raise his own child in his own way and they can survive without her. Just as he and his son have settled into a routine and constancy, Kareena comes back. And it turns into a court battle, SRK quits his job and switches to lower paying overseas freelance work so he can work at night and be with his son during the day. Meanwhile, Kareena is working as a graphic designer and making more than him. Everyone is against SRK, surprisingly his own mother Kirron testifies for Kareena because “a man can’t raise a child”. On the other hand, Kareena’s former best friend Anushka Sharma from down the hall who has been helping SRK figure out things, testifies for him.
Once again, the ending puzzles me. The original film sort of has it both ways, the Mom wins in court but when she takes the son home with her, he is so obviously distraught that she seeks out the Dad and says they have to have joint custody. I don’t like that ending, because I feel like it never fully addresses the issue of “you just LEFT your child??? Because you felt unfulfilled???” So I think I would either want the judge to pick SRK as a parent and give a lecture about how it’s not “mother” or “father”, it’s about who actually put the child before themselves when it came down to it, and that’s SRK. Or I would have Kareena win, and then flashforward a month to find the son dropped off with SRK as Kareena goes on another walkabout.
SRK as Doner Dad
I think this would be a SUPER interesting story. SRK’s best friend from college, Saif Ali Khan, comes to him and they have a drunken reunion and finally Saif works his way up to asking a “favor”. He and his wife are under pressure to have kids, but the doctors say there is something wrong with him so he can’t have children. Would SRK, as his best friend, just between them, be willing to donate the sperm to “father” his children?
At first, it’s fine, no big deal, SRK goes to meet the twin babies and isn’t much interested in them, no deep emotional connection. Sends them presents on their birthdays like he would for any child of a friend. Until he realizes the twins would be 10 years old now, and he kind of wants to see what the grew up to be like. So he asks Saif and Chitrangada if he can come visit for a few weeks. At first everything is fine, the twins are healthy and well-cared for, SRK has no particular pull towards them. But then he sees a weird moment where Saif makes his son get up from the table and stand in the corner when he says he is “afraid” of a math test, because Saif’s Son can never be “afraid”. And another weird moment where the daughter isn’t given dessert and Chitrangada slaps her for asking SRK for some of his ice cream because “you will get fat and ugly”. At the end of the visit, he lowkey blackmails Saif and Chitrangada that he wants to feel connected to the kids and so is giving them each cell phones, and he will expect a call from the kids every day, otherwise he may have to start “talking to people” about his particular specific connection to the kids.
Years pass and one day the son stops answering his calls. He asks Saif and Chitrangada about it, they just say he “ran away” and don’t seem that worried. Shahrukh calls everyone he can think of trying to find the kid, worries about it for days, until finally one night the kid shows up on his doorstep. The son came out to his parents as gay, and Saif responded by saying he was no son of his, and then telling the secret of how he is LITERALLY no son of his, and throwing him out of the house. The son is furious with SRK for keeping this from him, and angry at the whole situation, but SRK manages to convince him to at least spend the night so he isn’t homeless. The daughter is still at home and trying to be “perfect”.
Oh oh! Framing device! The movie starts at the daughter’s wedding. This time Shahrukh is the unexpected guest. And just like in a usual Wedding scene, he interrupts the ceremony to give a big speech about how HE is her real father and Saif has no right to force her to marry this man. Only the twist is, he doesn’t use biology as his argument, because ultimately that is meaningless. Saif and Chitrangada think he is going to use that argument because their minds are narrow. But instead Shahrukh says he is the father because he helped her with her homework and listened to her cry when the first boy broke her heart and knows her favorite movie and her favorite book and is her first call when her car breaks down, or when her heart breaks, and THAT is what makes a father, not a name on a birth certificate.
Yeah, I like this idea. It’s a triple twist, first you think it’s about parenting not being biology (because SRK barely thought about the initial donation), then you think it IS about biology (because SRK ends up feeling a bond with these kids), then you realize it isn’t after all, parenting is about what you DO and SRK did what a father should while Saif didn’t.
These are so good! Well, mostly the first and third bc I’m tired of the Kramer vs Kramer kind of story and I don’t like how they never address someone walking away. The system should not work that way.
I love the idea of him overall as a thoughtful father who would do anything for his childrens’ well being. It seems very authentic based on what we see of him. Gosh I wish we knew more about Dunki…I really hope he can balance the big Pathaan style films (and Jawan) with more subtle character-driven work. I think it’s where he touches our hearts and truly shines.
Oh oh! Check out the last paragraph of my Kramer vs Kramer! I have the same issue. I either want the judge to give her a speech about how you just don’t DO that, or I want her to do it again a month later, just leave the kid at SRK’s apartment and go off again. I really hate the ending of the original movie which seems to treat her actions like some kind of feminist journey instead of abandoning her child.