With over half a dozen remakes of classics under various stages of production, harshikaa udasi takes a look at the remakes that clicked and those that bombed over the years

One would have thought that ‘remake’ would be a banned word in Bollywood after the fate suffered by Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala and David Dhawan’s Chasme Buddoor. Far from it. The remake fever has not waned in Bollywood. Let alone remakes of southern (with rights) and international (without) film, revisiting Bollywood classics too has become a mindless trend in this part of the film world.

At the moment, there are over half a dozen remakes of classics under various stages of production — Zanjeer (releasing this September 6), Masoom, Khoobsurat, Baton Baton Mein, Shaukeen, Seeta Aur Geeta, Chupke Chupke, Hero, Andaz Apna Apna and reportedly, even Amar Akbar Anthony. A comparison of remakes through the last few years reveals that despite their supposedly bankable scripts, they have failed at the box office. Bad, worse and worst are the only epithets to go with them, their rejection mainly arising from scepticism about treatment of the classic film, inability of the filmmaker to adapt the plot to the contemporary scenario or some mindless twist to the original.

Remakes that bit the dust

Ram Gopal Varma’s Aag: There is only one sort of poll this film would top and that’s this one. RGV himself once jested that there is only one thing that gives him the creeps and that is that the ghosts of all the crew and cast of Sholay would come back and haunt him for having remade their film! Amitabh Bachchan has admitted it to be his biggest mistake. Concept film. Colossal loss.

Karzzzz…: It was ironical that this film had those extra Zs. Possibly, that’s when its fate was sealed. Or was it when Himesh Reshammiya was selected as the protagonist. Reprising Rishi Kapoor’s role? Were they joking?

Umrao Jaan: One would have thought that Aishwarya Rai’s beauty would have been able to pull off this wonderfully aesthetic film. But J. P. Dutta’s dream venture fell woefully short.

Chashme Baddoor: Sai Paranjpe all but took David Dhawan to court for tampering with her film. The rest could have been actually done by those who watched the film. And had watched the original.

Himmatwala: Over indulgence is a very bad thing. Sajid Khan learnt it in a rather expensive way. His mega-budget, over-hyped remake of the 1980s superhit film starring Jeetendra and Sridevi failed miserably.

Remakes that were worth the effort:

Devdas: Remade the third time by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Devdas may have been more about Shah Rukh Khan’s histrionics and opulent sets and not so much about the nuances of the story but it set the box office on fire.

Dev.D: Anurag Kashyap’s turned-over-its-head remake of the classic was widely appreciated because of its strong characterisation and visual attack on the senses. It was the director’s own take on the original and that offered a fresh perspective.

Agneepath: Kancha Cheena turns more evil than before and Vijay Dinanath Chauhan embraces evil like a forgotten friend. Enter another evil character Rauf Lala and the entire premise of the original Agneepath turns turtle giving audiences something they had never expected. Top of the charts.

Don: Shah Rukh Khan as Amitabh Bachchan in and as Don may not have been a very encouraging thought for many but the script of the remake was so different and engaging that it worked wonders at the box office. Producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Deshmukh were enthusiastic enough to work on a sequel which also turned out to be a great entertainer.

Upcoming…

Given the report card of remakes, it’s best to keep expectations at bay. More often than not, remakes rely on the final acceptability of the original script, genuine acting and good music to hit the bull’s eye. Currently, more than six filmmakers are trying to grab your attention to their wares.

1. Zanjeer

Original: Prakash Mehra/Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan

Reloaded: Apoorva Lakhia/Ram Charan Teja, Priyanka Chopra

2. Khoobsurat

Original: Ashok Kumar, Rakesh Roshan, Rekha

Reloaded: Shashanka Ghosh/Sonam Kapoor, (reportedly) Prosenjit Chatterjee

3. Masoom

Original: Shekhar Kapoor/Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi

Reloaded: Bedabrata Pain/Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai

4. Baton Baton Mein

Original: Basu Chatterjee/Amol Palekar, Tina Munim

Reloaded: Details not out

5. Shaukeen

Original: Basu Chattterjee/ AK Hangal, Utpal Dutt, Ashok Kumar, Mithun, Rati Agnihotri

Reloaded: Rumi Jaffrey/Akshay Kumar, Nargis Fakhri, Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor

6. Seeta Aur Geeta

Original: Ramesh Sippy/ Hema Mailini, Sanjeev Kumar, Dharmendra

Reloaded: New director or Dibakar Banerjee/Katrina Kaif

7. Chupke Chupke

Original: Hrishikesh Mukherjee/Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bachchan, Om Prakash

Reloaded: Umesh Shukla/ Paresh Rawal

8. Hero

Original: Subhash Ghai/Jackie Shroff, Meenakshi Seshadri

Reloaded: Nikhil Advani/Sooraj Panscholi, Aathiya Shetty