[ONLY for those who have seen Skyfall. Inside references and spoilers galore.]
They came out of the darkened theater, an odd couple.
The fat man wiped the popcorn off his shirt-front and shook his head. ‘ What a bakwas fillim. Absolute bakwas.’
The young man wrapped the scarf tightly around his neck. ‘Bakwas? That was Sam Mendes…how…I…it was beautiful. Just beautiful. The best Bond ever.’
‘Whatever it be, I am not financing a Hindi movie that is lifted from that. I don’t care what a hotshot director you claim to be.’ A bit of Coke gurgled out from his chubby lips. ‘I am a diamond merchant. Not a fool.’
‘Hold on sir. Just hold on. Did you not get the ending?’
‘What was there not to get? Absolute rubbish. A bit of plot herapheri I am okay with. Just like my account books. This is after all action thriller. What do you call it? Suspension…suspension…’
‘Suspension of disbelief. It’s a contract between the director and the audience where…’
‘Contract my gaand. As I was saying, thoda bahot chalta hai adjust. I get that. Stock. Bond. Theek hain chalo. But here, the cow does not climb the tree, it goes to the moon. And then to the sun.’
‘But sir, the ending…maybe you did not..’ The young man tried to control his rising panic.
‘Abhe ending ke bacche. Listen. If someone, someone as powerful as this villain Silva, wants to get revenge against his boss and his boss’s chamcha, why does he not shoot them any random day? Given how powerful he is, he can just drive past and put two in the head.’ The fat man made his fingers into a gun. ‘Why does he have to hatch massive conspiracies, hack into British gowernment, get caught intentionally, let his targets escape again and again, but not shoot them straight. ‘
‘But what? Are you trying to tell me it is easier to blow up the roof and bring down a train to kill Bond than to shoot the bastard in the head? Why could not the villain get a gun along with the police uniform from his henchmen? Then he could have blown Bond’s brains out in the tunnels. Damn, if we do that in Bollywood, the critics would have us by our balls. But since this is..’
‘Sam Mendes, sir.’
‘Yes whatever. Mendes. Sri Lankan. Like Duleep Mendis?’
‘Sir, if you just let me speak. Sir, it was all for the ending. The ending is the beginning.’
‘Yeh kya chutiyapha?’
‘See James Bond is an orphan. M is like his mother. Silva, the villain, has always been in love with M. That’s why he mentions the irony of them meeting for the last time at a church… the last scene, you know Christians get married in church.’
‘So, you see sir, Silva is not driven by revenge but love sir. Betrayed love. That is why he wants to die together with the woman he loved. Since James Bond is M’s surrogate son, he is also Silva’s metaphorical beta, the next “generation” of him. You understand sir?’
The fat man stood silently.
‘See how at the end the two lovers die, M and Silva, exactly at the spot James Bond’s real parents are buried. See the connection? Sir see the beauty?See the symbolism of Bond stabbing his father in the back–it is Sam Mendes’s twisted take on filial love, Bond unites his parents in the way only a son can. But not in life. Death. Death sir. In American Beauty…’
‘But I am not an American producer. I make movies for India. Bollywood. And yeh sab high-funda intellectualism leave for your critics and your Twitter fans. Don’t think I am a chooth, boy. As if I didn’t know how you take scenes from eighteen movies and then…’
He held the fat man’s hands obsequiously. ‘I understand. I was just saying…’
‘Fuck this. I come back to my original proposal. Make a sequel to Baazigar or I get another director to do it.’
The thin man’s face shrunk in fear. Then he collected himself.
‘Yes sir. That only to we will make. But we will do it like Skyfall. Skyfall meets Baazigar.’
‘How will that happen?’
‘Concept. We will call it Nightfall.’
‘English title for Hindi movie?’
‘We can change it later. For now listen no sir.’
‘Wait wait. I think I know what nightfall is. Isn’t that the “raat main ho jaana”..you know…?’
‘No no sir. Nightfall is the falling of night. Nothing more.’
The fat man craned his neck once again. No cab still.
‘So we get Rakhee Gulzar to play M. The moment we do that, we have major Baazigar recall.’
The fat man suddenly looked interested. ‘So Shahrukh Khan will play Bond?’
‘Yes sir. Of course. Who else? But we don’t call him Bond. He is Baazigar.’
‘I get that.’
Think of opening sequence. Rakhee, as the head of Indian intelligence, asks an agent to take the shot. She takes a shot and…’
‘Yes yes I saw the movie remember? Who will play the female agent..that Moneypenny lady?’
‘How about Kunal Khemu?’
‘Can’t we get a real woman?’
‘I said…a real woman.’
‘Much better. Go on.’
‘Well then Baazigar is dead. M however refuses to believe it. As she tells Gareth Mallory…’
‘So as I was saying, as she tells Gareth Mallory, who we call Gangadhar Mukherjee, played by Pariksheet Sahani, that Baazigar cannot be dead.’ The young man now puts on a Bengali-Hindi accent.
‘Mera beta Baazigar ayega… dharti ka seena phaad ke aaayega. aasmaan ki chaati cheer ke aayega’, we get Rakhee to say. And every time she says it, we cut to scenes of Baazigar making love to women, appropriately named Dharti and Aasman.’
‘Spare me the details. Will there be sexy item numbers?’
‘Yes sir. We will get Brazilian model named Judi and get her Drenched…’
The fat man hums absent mindedly ‘Judi Judi, Javier ke dil liye aaye Judi.’
‘So anyhow,’ continues the young man, ‘keeping in mind the Baazigar meets Skyfall theme, we introduce the villain, ex-agent Madan Chopra, who wears a pair of magic dentures that hides the fact that chewing gutkha has dissolved his face. He has gotten his hands on a tape that has unedited MMS-s of several government persons, five of which he uploads on Debonair Blog every week.’
‘Who plays Madan Chopra?’
‘Daleep Tahil. No one else.’
‘What about his wig? That Javier Bardem’s wig was one of the few action sequences I liked.’
‘We can get Anil Kapoor to play the wig.’
‘So as I was saying, then we have…’
‘Story ko choro yaaar. How many songs will we have? Only one item number won’t do…’
‘Sir, of course there will be lot of songs. So many opportunities in plot. One in Shanghai. One soulful ballad as theme “Aasman ko jhukne do”. One song in which Baazigar teases geeky Q with a “Kitabein bahoot si” type song, asking him to read his face.’
‘How about a flashback song that shows the love between M and Madan Chopra? Like M is going to brief Madan Chopra on an ultra-secret mission, he is in a romantic mood and she flirtatiously sings “Pahele padhai phir pyar hoga”.’
‘Brilliant idea sir.’
‘Other song situations?’
‘ We must do one Bhangra song in the sarson da khet when Baazigar and M escape to Baazigar’s ancestral home in Punjab, under the benevolent protection of the jolly family care-taker, played by Anupam Kher.’
‘Ah nice. Half an hour of playful village life. Works lovely with NRI Punjabi audiences. Maybe we can add the character of Archana Puran Singh as Anupam Kher’s wife, who cooks baingan ka bharta and gajjar ka halwa for M and Baazigar. ‘
‘Absolutely sir. Absolutely. And then finally a brilliant Baazigar 2 climax when Madan Chopraaaa and Baazigar fight with Baazigar escaping, by diving into the ice.’
‘Oh yes that scene. Reminded me of Ganga Jamuna Saraswati when Meenakshi Sheshadri fell into ice and Amitabh Bachchan had sex with her to prevent hyopthermia. That was more believable than what they showed in…’
The young man tried to brush away yet another interruption.
‘So as I was saying. We finish with the iconic Baazigar end-scene except here it is the Ma that dies in the lap of the beta “Mujhe tere tuxedo main samet le”, twisting the ending of the original in a very edgy way. Madan Chopra, of course, will be penetrated once again.’
‘Hmm…now that you say it. Skyfall is very similar to Baazigar.’
‘But in a very inverted way. That’s why I say let’s be inspired by it.’
The fat financier smiled. He was getting a good feeling. For the first time that night.
Work. This could work.