I’ll show Karan Johar how to make a proper Bollywood film. And Danny Boyle how to paint an proper picture of Indian society.
Setting: Radha is the only daughter of one of India’s wealthiest men, an industrial magnate who also happens to own one of Britain’s finest stables due to his passion for equestrian activities, a hobby he adopted whilst studying at Cambridge. She dreams of one day meeting a Prince Charming, someone who can sweep her off her feet and take her away to a magical happy ending with castles and the like. Raj is the high-spirited son of one of the stable workers of Radha’s father’s estate in England, a man known as the horse gelder due to his unpleasant duties. Raj is popular in the stables due to his dashing personality and his talents with the horses, and he dreams one day of becoming a world-famous jockey. Radha is an aristocrat from the high society of Delhi, and Raj is but a lowly stable boy in Worchestershirefordbridge. Their universes will collide when Radha’s family decides to visit their estate in the English countryside. Through a series of events, they will be inevitably drawn to each other. Will their love withstand the distance between their worlds?
The film starts with a shot of the peaceful English countryside, then possibly a shot of Radha and her sisters in a nice car chatting excitedly and filling the viewers in on all sorts of information about Radha, such as the fact that she’s going to a British university (Oxbridge, most likely), and how she wants a Prince Charming to take her away one day. Cue Raj, who is trying to tame a particularly unruly foal in the over-exaggerated fashion of Western heroes, and succeeds, much to the delight of the ethnically diverse stable hands. His father congratulates him, and tells him he will be a fine horse gelder one day, but it is evident that Raj is set on becoming a jockey, like the famous <insert name of famous horse jockey>. This would be a great place for a song and dance sequence on the dreams of the two main characters. Actually, Raj will be the only one dancing, since Radha is in the car. As he is tying up the horse, he notices a nice car pull in front of the mansion/estate. Radha, his love to-be, walks out of the car, but she seems to him to be just a silly spoiled girl. And to her, he seems like a dirty horse person. No offense to the horse people. You noble folk you.
While at the estate, Radha decides to try her hand at horseback riding, sport of kings. Unfortunately, she embarrasses herself in front of the horse people; in particular Raj enjoys this and tells her that she’ll never be able to ride a horse properly like that. She tells him off and storms off angrily, leaving him smirking in her general direction. However, because she is such a determined girl and I the writer-god have deemed this event to happen, she sneaks off in the night when the stables are unmanned and tries to ride <insert ridiculous horse name>, one of her father’s prized stallions. However, because <insert ridiculous horse name> is a prized stallion, he does not take being dragged out in the middle of the night very well, and gallops away with Radha on the saddle. Raj wakes up, having heard Radha’s scream and <insert ridiculous horse name>’s distinctive whinnying. He gallantly gets on another horse and pursues <insert ridiculous horse name>, eventually catching up to him in a secluded glade (oooooh!) and calming him down, being the magical horse person that he is. Here, Raj comforts a hysterical Radha and chastises her for trying to ride <insert ridiculous horse name>, saying that he’s not gelded like the horse she had ridden earlier that day. Of course, she doesn’t know what a gelding is, so Raj explains what his father does. Her nerves have been shot to hell due to her near-death experience, so she takes this information rather well. They open their hearts to each other (that means talking about their dreams and such), and they return to the estate at the break of dawn, where they share a special glance while she is embraced by her distraught parents and <insert ridiculous horse name> is being taken care of by the distraught horse people.
Cue music, and montage of scenes where their budding romance is shown parallel with Radha’s increasing skill with horses, with both of them singing about how they are in love and such. The typical Bollywood fanfare. From the middle of the scene onward, it starts raining heavily and they are forced to take refuge in the stable, laughing. Rain is a staple in Bollywood films. Perhaps they kiss? Let’s keep it PG.
Sadly, Radha’s father finds out about their romance, and being the good Bollywood father that he is, becomes absolutely livid and decides to return to India early, telling her that she should forget the horse gelder’s son and that she’s lucky that he’s letting her study in the UK for college, given her disgraceful behavior. Naturally, she is heart-broken, cue sob song, and Raj finds out that they are leaving after a morning ride on <insert ridiculous horse name> when their car has already left. Being the expert horseman, he takes the horse and sets off after them. Heartbreaking scene where they see each other, her from the back of the car, and him on the horse, but the horse isn’t fast enough, so he is left standing there as she goes farther and farther away. Cue dramatic sad music.
Intermission. Get your chai and pani puri, we have an hour and a half to go.
Five years later, Radha has graduated from the London School of Economics with an MBA (I don’t need a fact-check on this, if I say it’s true, it’s true) and is returning to Delhi to continue the family business. Meanwhile Raj has become a rising star in the racing circuit and is a hotshot jockey regarded as a national hero in India, and is now preparing for the inaugural Delhi Derby, the first time he’ll be competing in India. He returns to the New Delhi Airport with great fanfare, and he arrives at the Taj Hotel, a far cry from his humble quarters in the first part of the movie. His agent tells him that he has a reception to go to that night, which Raj does not want to go, but unfortunately he has to to please the sponsors. He swears that he won’t have any fun, but you know that’s just foreshadowing, right?
Meanwhile, Radha has returned to her Delhi home, embraced by her family. Her father greets her warmly, and tells her that he has a reception he has to go to for some complicated business reason (let’s say shareholders), but he’s going to delegate the responsibility to her, since he needs to introduce her to the company folk. Of course it’s going to be the same party, why would they go to different parties?
So they reunite at the party. Raj has been hurting because Radha never contacted him for five years (probably following her father’s orders), but this is resolved in a couple of minutes as he falls in love with her all over again, and of course she falls in love with him, and they bond at the party. Afterward, cue song about falling in love again, probably taking place in Raj and Radha’s respective rooms with both of them looking at some common sight, let’s say the moon.
But disaster strikes! Shortly after the party, she learns that she is to be betrothed to Anil, a family friend. Naturally, she is shocked. She does not like this new development, as although Anil is perfectly adequately handsome and rich, she wants Raj. So she goes on a couple more dates with Raj (possible song here). Unfortunately for the both of them, a careless paparazzi takes a picture of them on a date, which makes the headlines of the tabloids because he is a famous horse jockey and she’s just pretty. But somehow this news gets into the hands of her father, who again becomes furious. He gets into a big argument with her, and although she argues that Raj is rich and famous enough for their family (snobs), to her father he’ll always be the horse gelder’s boy. So she goes to cry in her room and possibly sing a song.
Raj goes to a restaurant to hopefully meet with the love of his life, Radha. But in her place is her father. Through an awkward dinner, Radha’s father tells Raj that Radha is engaged to another, and that if he truly loves her and wishes for the best, he’ll make her forget him. Somehow, Raj is convinced of this, and at another party where both of them are invited (let’s say it has to do with the Delhi Derby), Raj shows up with an attractive female while Radha shows up with Anil. Raj coldly shuts her down by seeming to be very interested in his female companion (who happens to be a fellow jockey person) and she is heartbroken and leaves the party early with Anil, but not before coldly wishing him good luck on the derby. Raj seems to be okay, congratulating her on the wedding, but his eyes show that he is very sad, and his lady friend (who is in on the scheme) asks him why he would do this if he loved her that much, and he says it’s all for the best. Sad duet song here, with him preparing for the derby and her preparing for the wedding.
The wedding happens to be on the day of the Derby. What a coincidence. Raj is in the locker room (do jockeys have locker rooms), sitting by himself and mentally preparing himself for the race, but all he can think of are memories of Radha. He tries to shake them off, but he can’t. His lady pal stops by and tells him that the wedding is today, which doesn’t help the situation regarding the Derby at all. Meanwhile, Radha is getting prepared in her nice Indian wedding dress, when she learns from her mother what her father said to Raj. She is shocked, but it is time to start the ceremony. Meanwhile, the Derby starts, and naturally, Raj is in the lead, but flashbacks to his days with Radha keep flashing through his head, and he slows down to a halt in the middle of the racetrack. He stands there for a moment, then turns his horse around and rushes out of the stadium. The scene alternates between him galloping through the city of Delhi on horseback and Radha’s wedding ceremony. At the crux of the ceremony, she tells her fiance that she can’t marry him, and immediately, Raj arrives in the courtyard, a proper knight in shining armor. Anil looks at the two and decides to call off the wedding because he respects her wishes. Radha looks to her father for approval, which he has to give. I mean, the guy just ditched his career and raced across a city on a horse for her! So there is a happy song scene, and everyone is happy and dances. Except for the horse. The horse can be adored.
The End. I am amazing.
Shahrukh Khan as Raj, because frankly, he’s the quintessential Bollywood actor. Either him or Hrithik Roshan. Someone who can take their shirt off in the rain. Because that’s what I want my Bollywood leads to do! It’s marketable.
For Radha, I would suggest Kajol ten years back, but I don’t know. Priyanka Chopra?
Abishek Bachchan (AKA the lesser Bachchan) can be Anil. Whatever.