Of remakes and sequels
Devoid of fresh ideas and storylines, Bollywood re-films successful past ones.
CLASSICS AND HITS: Sholay's new version will have Amitabh Bachchan as Gabbar Singh.
The cry is not for new faces. Bollywood has dozens of these. It is for new scripts and story ideas. So what does a filmmaker do when he doesn't get either? He goes back to the good, old hits from the past, and films remakes. Or goes for sequels with the hope that they will be half as good as the original.
Film industry, the world over, has relied on classics and their remakes. They have credible stories, interesting characters and snappy dialogue. No wonder, the recent remake of "Pride and Prejudice" won Oscar nominations.
Director Farhan Akthar says, "Classics can be remade successfully if they are handled sensitively and with a good cast."
Out of ideas
With the Hindi film industry fast running out of themes (dealing with adultery, marital discord and sex romps), there is a keen demand for remakes and nearly Rs. 300 crores are invested in a host of interesting remakes and sequels.
Many of these originals are not all that old, but so what? The king of Bollywood romance, Yash Chopra, is planning a remake of his own "Kabhie Kabhie" which gave Amitabh Bachchan a chance to prove that he can handle sensitive, romantic roles and get rid of the Angry Young Man image.
Feroz Khan will redo his earlier hit Qurbani.
Director Farhan Akthar is already shooting a remake of the 1970 hit, "Don" with Shah Rukh Khan playing the role of Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra in the female lead. How will the king of coarse comedy, David Dhawan handle the remake of Manmohan Desai's "Amar, Akbar, Antony?"
Pritish Nandy, an active producer, is planning a remake of the Guru Dutt hit, "Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam" and Feroz Khan has announced a new version of his earlier hit, "Qurbani."
Some of the remakes announced recently did encounter problems. When Director-Producer Ramgopal Varma announced a remakeof "Sholay" with Amitabh Bachchan as the villainous Gabbar Singh, the media wrote of copyright problems with the original script owned by the Sippys. These seem to have been sorted out.
Similarly, evergreen star Dev Anand was unhappy with a proposed remake of his classic, "Guide," based on an R. K. Narayan novel. Director Rituparno Ghosh clarified that his film, "Rahgir" with Akshay Kumar in the lead would be `inspired' by "Guide" and was not a copy. And Dev Anand was satisfied.
With the taste of audiences changing rapidly, a repeat of the old themes may not work out. The remakes have to offer new elements and the producers are aware of this. The films have to be slicker, they need special effects, modern song and dance sequences, and exotic foreign locales. The new version of "Guide" will not be shot in rural India, but in Bangkok. Ramgopal Varma will not create a second `Sholay nagar.' His version is likely to be shot in Mumbai areas where the underworld has a presence, andthe heroine will be not be driving a `tonga' but a taxi!
James Bond type
"Don" will travel to exotic Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. There are reports that Shah Rukh will not be a country-bred Don, but more the James Bond type familiar with the latest gadgets. He and Priyanka Chopra will ride flashy motorbikes and display martial arts skills.
The new Don will, of course, be singing that popular song, "Khaike Paan Benaras wala" which has been retained in the new sound track. A happy blend of the new and the old seems to be the formula.
Having its fill of remakes, Bollywood is also busy with sequels of box office hits.
Leading the parade is "Munnabhai meets the Mahatma" which promises to be more rib-tickling than the original, "Munnabhai MBBS."
Sanjay Gadhvi is busy with his "Dhoom 2" which has Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan in the lead while producer Priyadarshan is planning, "Phir Here Pheri" which will take off from where his earlier "Hera Pheri" has left.
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