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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A sequel to "Five Star" !

It was another of those evenings where my better half and I were in the mood for a nice, feel-good movie to unwind with. I was browsing the Youtube channel of Raj TV and stumbled upon this movie called “Five Star”.

I asked my wife if she had seen it already. She said she hadn’t. So that was it! We decided to spend the
next couple of hours watching this. I have vague memories of seeing this movie with my cousins during the VCD era :) - This was one of the first few movies I saw on VCD. I did remember the overall story, but didn’t recollect it scene by scene. I was in my early teens when this movie released, so I felt it would be a good idea to watch it again. This movie released in the early 2000s. I remember it becoming a big trendsetter at the time - it was the first movie to focus on a group of friends and their lives post college (much before Ullam Ketkume arrived). It was also perhaps one of the first, non-obscene movies of this generation (apart from Rhythm, may be?) to explore the area of love stories post marriage. The ending too, was probably the first of its kind - open-ended and not the typical happy or the typical sad ending you’d have otherwise seen in most movies of the time (I won't mention the ending here for the sake of those who haven't watched the movie).

I’m sure every 90s guy and girl who has seen this movie has good memories of it. After watching the movie, I couldn’t help but wonder, much to the cringing of my wife, what a sequel to this movie, set in the present, would look like. This is how I imagine a 2017 sequel to this movie, 15 years since (the movie released in 2002) :) -

( Please forgive any logical loopholes - this isn’t well-thought out. It’s just a random scribbling of what came to my mind :P)

A 42-year old Elango languishes in urban poverty, in Switzerland. He loses his job and is broke - his European wife deserts him, along with their child. She gets involved with someone else and moves on. He becomes an alcoholic and is soon told by doctors that he’s diagnosed with cancer and has only 2 months to live. He decides to return to India and meet his friends one last time before he departs.
He looks them all up on Facebook, sends them friend requests as well as messages. Back home, on the “Five star” Whatsapp group, Elango’s friend requests become the topic of the day. All the group members decide to reject his request. His private messages aren’t seen by any, as they’ve all gone to their “Other” inboxes.

Cut to the real world - from the manager of a photo studio many years ago, Eshwari has now become the most sought-after wedding photographer. Constantly busy with the pre-wedding, wedding, post-wedding, pre-maternity and post-maternity photo-shoots of all the bigwig couples in the country, she’s almost always traveling. Prabhu and her are room-mates who live together, but their relationship is platonic. They’re best friends. She’s still not fascinated by the idea of marriage. Prabhu nurses feelings for her and wants to marry her & start a family with her, but never tells her. He’s ready to wait many years or even decades until Eshwari wants to do so. Whenever she asks him about why he isn’t getting married, he tells her he wants to remain a bachelor all his life.

True to their word, the 4 friends (Prabhu, Sundar, Priya and Indra) quit their earlier company and launch a startup named “Five Star Technologies” which becomes the country’s top mobile app development firm. Indira is the CEO, Priya the CTO, Prabhu the CFO and Sundar, the vice-president. Indira’s and Priya’s kids are in college - one pursuing law and the other pursuing gaming. Their best friends too, study with them in college. Sundar’s kid is busy with his 2nd PUC exams and wants to do his engineering in IIT. The 5 of them form a “Five star juniors” group and are thick friends. They all stay in the same apartment complex on ECR and have their dinner together.

On one weekend, Eshwari has to rush to Madurai for an urgent assignment and does not get a flight - so she has to travel by train. Prabhu accompanies her. A good-looking lady comes in front of Prabhu and requests him to exchange his lower birth seat for her aged father. A firm Eshwari says “Sorry, mudiyaadhu!” but Prabhu agrees. “Thank you Mr. Prabhu!” she smiles. Prabhu is surprised that she knows his name. She then clicks a selfie with her father and posts it on social media. “Enna ya! Train lerndhu indha vaatiyum thongittu peru paarka poriya?” the bald TTR asks him. Prabhu laughs and says, “Adhellam vera kaalam.” He quickly opens his Instagram app, searches for “traveling to Madurai” and finds the lady’s name.

Eshwari frowns and shakes her head. Soon, they reach Madurai and Eshwari recollects her old memories of her own wedding and gets emotional. Prabhu consoles her. They finish attending the wedding and just board the flight to Chennai, while Elango arrives. Elango meets the elders in his village, who are in an old-age home - after chastising him for a bit, they all accept him after listening to his situation and decide to help him find his friends. Elango breaks down with folded hands, in front of his father’s portrait. They drive him to Chennai.

When they’re all relaxing during a long weekend (while Eshwari is away on another assignment), Elango comes and sees them. They initially ask him to get out of the house and drive him away. Heartbroken, he walks away. But then, the folks from his village tell them about the situation and that he has less than a couple of months to live. The friends rush out and find him in a wine shop. An emotional reunion happens. They forgive him and decide to make the last month of his life as joyful as
possible. They go back to college and relive their best moments. Priya’s junior, who confessed his love for her earlier, is now the dean of the college. He has a teenage daughter, named Priya. The old hostel mess worker recognizes Elango and gives him a bear hug. The 5 of them even perform their song in college. While the others are in the canteen, buying food, Elango advises the Five Star juniors to never let go of friends and to never do the mistake he made.

Elango’s last wish is to be forgiven by Eshwari and ensure that she’s married to someone of her choice. After the Five Star juniors arrange a meet up, Elango finally gets to meet Eshwari, who breaks down. He asks her for forgiveness, but she refuses to forgive him. As he walks away in sadness, he collapses on the road. He is rushed to the hospital and the doctor says that due to lack of any treatment plus due to the regular intake of alcohol, he now has less than a week. Eshwari sits by him on the hospital bed and finally forgives him. He tells her that his last wish is to see her happily married before he passes away. Eshwari is not sure and walks away. Indra and Priya talk to her and advise her to marry
Prabhu and tell her how he has silently been nursing feelings for her for more than a decade now. Eshwari tells that she too, had been nursing feelings, but didn’t have the courage to tell him. After he told her that he wanted to remain a bachelor for life, she decided to never tell him. She now decides to propose to Prabhu with the same card he had given her more than a decade ago.

Prabhu arrives with the woman he met on the train, much to Eshwari’s shock. The woman is a widow, who also has a kid. Eshwari’s card falls down and opens up, with music playing. Everyone collectively sighs. Prabhu asks them all to relax and says that he was only bringing her home to meet their friends.

After more than 15 years, Eshwari finally shows Elango the card she always wanted to - the one which Prabhu had given her and the modifications she did to it. Elango is overjoyed and they quickly rush to the registrar office and get married, with Elango as a witness. Malu and her family arrive just in time,
from Europe. They too, congratulate the newly weds. The 5 of them and their families then head to their usual spot in the beach, where the 5 kids are hanging out. A huge flower-shop exists right next to them. The flower-seller lady tells them that she lost the bet with their parents, but her daughter would hopefully have better luck.

The Five star and five star junior groups dance in the beach, celebrating the marriage, as an emotional
Elango wipes his tears of joy. He collapses to death, smiling.

The story then cuts to another 20 years forward, where the bunch of 5 old, now retired friends sits on the beach and pays respects to Elango. They all buy flowers from the flower seller lady’s granddaughter, who smiles and walks away. A little ahead, she sees the next generation of Five Star friends sitting and chatting. She holds the same bet with them.

The End.

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