With rumours trickling in that what has been shot of Mangal Pandey is not its original script, the ever inquisitive Ramchandra Mutt discovered that the film’s original story was completely different, and revolved around an uprising by the paan-chewing Babus in Mumbai’s Municipal Corporation’s office. To avoid the cost and fuss involving costumes, to facilitate revenue through brand promotion, and to avoid the box-office risk associated with period films – the story was set in the present.
Here’s the complete story:-
Following massive protests after the Mumbai floods, the authorities decide to take action and implement some undeniably draconian laws. These include cruel and insensitive ones like disallowing the babus from coming late, imposing taxes on bribes and worst of all – making it compulsory for them to actually work! However, the last straw – the strict ban on chewing and spitting paan in office was the most sacrilegious of all.
Discontented, the babus meet at their usual extended lunch breaks, and finally arrive at a course of action (suggested by the lead babu, played by Aamir Paan)- a Bandh! The date of the bandh is fixed as 20th August, because it coincides with the finals of an important kabaddi tournament. As expected, the bandh brings the city to a standstill. However, the twist in the tale comes when, the public actually enjoy the holiday and encourage them to go ahead and have more of such bandhs. This forces the babus to protest on the streets – surprising ‘coz it involves large amounts of physical activity, something the babus don’t indulge in.
As advised by their lawyers, the babus protest on the grounds that the new laws are unconstitutional, against human rights, and harmful to the environment and ecological balance. People questioning the logic of their claims are spat upon with chewed paan. The babus soon realize that their protests are not evoking any sort of response.
Investigations by mobile cameras reveal that ever since the babus stopped working the city is functioning very smoothly and bribing has also gone down considerably – a good thing for the economy. Without babus, public work is no longer stalled for trivial reasons. Also paan consumption has gone down by 70%, making the city more cleaner. The babus now have no other option but return to work. This way the revolt is crushed in a non-violent way.
This script, however, was abandoned by the makers, partly because it lacked drama, and largely because it was in general a very silly story, and didn’t have any scope for fitting in item numbers.