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31 March 2022

Five More Films - Five More Revisions


When I began this list, I was going to call it 'Ten Films I Would Like to Rewrite'. But the list grew so long and so cumbersome that I decided to make two separate lists. As the comments on my previous post show, we could all make plenty of such lists. The only difference is that the films on that first list were all good films. Here, most of these were successful films, not necessarily good ones. 

Chaudhvin ka Chand (1960)
Beautiful score (Ravi) problematic film. Pyaare (Rehman) loses his heart to a beauteous Jamila (Waheeda Rehman), He is not aware of her identity, however, and unwittingly persuades his best friend, Aslam (Guru Dutt) to marry her instead. Matters gets complicated when he realises that the woman he loves is his friend’s wife. Aslam, in turn, is distraught when he discovers the truth. Then begins a tale of friendship and sacrifice. 
 
Problems? 
 Plenty. Firstly, this was probably the film that pioneered the ‘bro code’ in Hindi films. [What do you mean you don't know what the 'bro code' is?  It is the golden rule of male friendship. In the Indian context, it is "Thou shalt sacrifice your love for your bro even if your beloved doesn't love him." Because we are Indians. We don't have sex.
 
Secondly, the ‘fall in love’ just because you saw a pretty face (alright, beautiful face). 
Thirdly, the idea that women are chattel to be disposed of as a man pleases. It's not just Jamila. It's also Tameezan (Minoo Mumtaz) who is Shaida's (Johnny Walker) beloved. When he assumes that Aslam is in love with her, he asks Tameezan to take care of his friend. Because if he can't 'make such a tiny sacrifice for his friend, he's no good." Gah! Fourthly, the self-abnegation that the woman character shows when her family tries to intervene – she’s his kaneez (slave), a laundi (mistress). 
 
Alternate plot-line?
That when Pyaare’s mother asks him to marry the Maulvi’s daughter, she actually shows him a photo. Or failing that, when Aslam realises that Pyaare loves Jamila, informs him that Jamila is his wife. In fact, she's the same woman Pyaare asked him to marry, as a favour. (Ugh!)
 
And Pyaare will step back like an honourable man ruing his own idiocy, without the friendship suffering. Or Pyaare, realising that he had persuaded his friend to marry the woman he 'loved', will realise he was being an idiot, laugh a little to himself at the irony of the situation, shut up and makes the best of it. And probably marry a woman whom he's actually met, talked to, and loved well enough. 
 
Jamila will hit her husband on the head with a tawa (Figuratively, folks, I'm not advocating domestic violence!)and ask him what he's smoking. And make him apologise abjectly before she takes him back. With due warning that if he ever pulls such a trick on her again, she will 'talaq' him before he can even think of the word! 

Silsila (1981)
 
Two brothers, two pairs of lovers (Shashi-Jaya/Amitabh-Rekha). One brother (Shashi) dies. His girlfriend is pregnant, so surviving brother (Amitabh), breaks off with girlfriend and marries Bhabhi-to-be. Jilted girl moves on with life and marries another (Sanjeev Kumar). Ex-lovers’ paths cross, and they begin a sizzling affair. But man redeems himself by returning to wife.

Problems?
Sigh. Do you need me to tell you what the problems are? One, so sorry that fiancé died, and you’re pregnant out of wedlock, but woman, you’re educated, and this is the 70s. Do you really have to say, ‘Ab mera kya hoga?’  
Two, can't the surviving brother simply support her as a brother would, instead of breaking his girlfriend’s heart and marrying his late brother’s fiancée? Was I supposed to feel sorry for this man? 
 

Three, he then betrays his wife to have a roaring affair with his ex-girlfriend. Then, he returns to her and says, “I have come back, Shobha” and the crowning glory? She simpers beatifically at him and says, “I knew you would!” Gah, double gah and triple gah!


Alternate plot-line?
Can’t beat Shalini’s version – Amit, Shobha and Chandni will all die and only Dr Anand will live - to hopefully marry a woman who will genuinely care for him. Or he will live alone, equally (if not more) happily.

Chandni (1989)
Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) meets Chandni (Sridevi) at a wedding and falls in love with her at first sight. His snobbish mother and sister don’t approve, but pyar kiya to darna kya? Unfortunately, Rohit has an accident while courting Chandni, and his family blame her.  Rohit doesn’t want to tie his Chandni down to a disabled man for life. Chandni picks up the pieces and begins life anew. Into her life comes Lalit (Vinod Khanna), who also knows what it is to lose someone you love. 
Their shared experiences turn into real affection, and they decide to get married… when Rohit returns, cured.

Problems?
Yash Chopra’s idea of romance isn't enough? When Rohit is wheelchair-bound, it is fine that he feels he shouldn’t tie Chandni down to be a nursemaid for the rest of her life. 
 
But shouldn’t he be asking her? Instead of deciding for her, and then, like an idiot, practically throwing her out of his house and his life? 
 
When he is cured, instead of wondering if Chandni may not have found someone else in the meantime, he presents himself as if he had never uttered a cross word to her, much less pushed her around. And he expects her to welcome him with open arms. Of course, her only job is to wait for him to return to reclaim his love, n’est-ce pas? [A woman is allowed to love more than once, people!]
 
Then, when she tells him she’s engaged to Lalit, he has to become a martyr and try to drink himself to death. [Sarat Chandra had a lot to answer for!] Instead of sitting with her, discussing what she really feels, what she would like to do next, etc.
Why Chandni is still in love with a man who’s borderline abusive, beats me. But if she still inexplicably loves this man-child, why the hell can’t she see that it would be better for her to talk to Lalit and hurt him a little now, instead of embarrassing him in front of all his friends and relatives? 'tis beyond me! [Besides, you’re only engaged, you ninny! You're allowed to break off an engagement if you don't love the man. Please accord him that much dignity.]

Alternate plot-line?
Perhaps those two ninnies deserve each other after all. But in my ending, Chandni, while happy to see that Rohit has been cured, will a) either have moved on and be happy enough to marry Lalit or b) realise she still has feelings for Rohit, but she deserves better, and so does Lalit. So, she will talk to Lalit, break off the engagement, but remain good friends with him. Rohit will go back into being the self-destructive, unself-aware selfish ass [Donkey! I speak British!] he’s always been, and probably die of cirrhosis of the liver.

Muqaddar ka Sikander
Dilawar loves Zohra who loves Sikander who loves Kaamna who loves Vishal. Thankfully for audiences’ sanity, Vishal loves Kaamna. That’s all you need to know. [Why does he? Don't ask.]
Oh, and Zohra commits suicide. Dilawar thinks Sikander is responsible, they fight, Dilawar dies. Sikandar is wounded but makes it to Vishal’s and Kaamna’s wedding and dies in Kaamna’s arms. The end.

Problems?
Deep sigh. If the synopsis didn't already enlighten you, let me count the ways. Firstly, Sikandar ‘loves’ Kaamna from when they were little children. So much so he’s obsessed with his ‘memsaab’ even when he’s a grown man and should know better. He carries a doll for her (apart from a torch) for years (Don't ask!), and [tries to] drinks himself to death.


Then, of course, there is the bro code [see above]. He and Vishal are friends, and so he ‘sacrifices’ his love. Never mind that Kaamna never loved him, has never known he loved/loves her, and doesn’t know she’s been sacrificed. And wouldn't care if she did. Besides, she’s such a whiny pest. 
 
Why Zohra has to commit suicide because Vishal has asked her to not let Sikandar meet her any more (because she's a whore, you see, and no one will marry Sikandar's foster sister if it's known that he's visiting her; and of course, Zohra is the reason Sikandar is drinking, and...) and now Sikandar wants to see her and so her only choice is to commit suicide... is beyond me! [Don't ask me to parse that sentence.


Alternate plot-line? 
Kaamna and Dilawar and Vishal will die, and Zohra will lead a happy life with Sikandar who will realise how much better she is than the watering spout, Kaamna. [How would he like it if Kaamna cried into his tea every morning?]  
 
Or, because I have a sneaking sympathy for Dilawar whose only fault is that he loves Zohra to bits, and because Sikandar is such a whiny man-child, Zohra may realise that she actually cares for Dilawar and decide to marry him. 
 
Or she will not marry any of these idiots, but live happily to a ripe old age, and regale the mohalla children with tales of her hoary past, much to the embarrassment of her oh-so-respectable neighbours.

Vishal will live with a morose, prone-to-tears Kaamna until he can take it no more and he will murder her or commit suicide or murder her and commit suicide, and Sikandar will drink himself to death, and no one will care.
(All my alternate endings end with Kaamna dead and Zohra alive. So there!)


Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Girl goes on Europe trip, runs into obnoxious boy who harasses her, falls in love with him... [Why? Don't ask.] Pop finds out, bundles daughter and family back to ‘apna desh’ and promptly fixes her marriage up with best friend’s bigda hua shehzaada. Boy decides to follow girl to the end of the earth, aided and abetted by his father, but refuses to marry her until Pop agrees. Which he finally does, in a blood-and-tears climax:  Jaa Simran, jee le apni zindagi. The end.

Problems?
Deepest sigh. Where do I even begin? Aditya Chopra’s regressive take on romance, for one. 
 
Two, a ‘boy’ sexually harasses a strange girl on a train; lies to her, pretending she had seduced him; then, claims that he knows she’s a ‘Hindustani girl’ and he wouldn’t do anything like that to her.
"Main ek hindustani hoon... Aur main jaanta hoon
ki ek hindustani ladki ki izzat kya hoti hai" Gah!
[Everyone knows gori women have no izzat, am I right? '/sarc
 
He then travels to India where he lies and cheats his way into girl's house; encourages girl's fiancé’s worst excesses, just so he can ‘expose’ him; refuses to listen to girl's pleas to elope because ‘that is not his sanskaar’ (basically, he doesn’t care for anything she might say).  
Then,
in the end, after being beaten up, leaves the girl behind without so much as an apology because her “father hadn’t given his permission”. Ugh! I'm supposed to applaud? Because see how 'sanskaari' he is despite being such an obnoxious NRI?
And what ‘Jee le apni zindagi’ even meanSince when does (or should) a woman need someone's permission to live her own life? Double ugh!


Alternate plot-line?
Why bother? Why was this film even made? It is such a bloody mess. Simran exchanges one controlling man (her father) for another (her ‘boyfriend’). But she’s so wishy-washy that I honestly don't care about her. 
Instead, in my film, Kammo (Himani Shivpuri) would have a roaring romance with Dharamvir (Anupam Kher), while Preeti (Mandira) would soon realise that her crush on Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) was just that. 

 
Lajjo (Farida Jalal) would give her husband (Amrish Puri) a raking down and teach him the error of his ways. And Chutki (Pooja Ruparel) would quietly but determinedly lead her own life, making her own choices, irrespective of whether her father agrees or not. And he will respect her for it. 

Raj and Simran will marry each other and discover that one is an abusive controlling jerk, while the other is a whiny waterspout/doormat. But they will live miserably every after. The end.
 
What 'new' films do you wish you could rewrite if you had the chance? Or think they should never have been made in the first place? Feel free to post your pet peeves in the comments below.

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