Trade Winds Movies

It’s raining remakes in Kollywood

Vidya Balan in 'Tumhari Sulu'; Jyothika

Vidya Balan in 'Tumhari Sulu'; Jyothika  

What connects Jyothika, Prakash Raj, Samantha and Dhruv Vikram? They’re all doing the Tamil versions of successful films

The season of remakes is here, with last week’s Arya-starrer Ghajinikanth being the latest to hit screens. In the next three months, there are many more remakes in the pipeline.

On August 31, there is the Radha Mohan-directed Prakash Raj and Vikram Prabhu’s 60 Vayadhu Maaniram (a remake of Kannada film Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu). On September 13, there is Samantha’s U Turn, a bilingual in Tamil and Telugu and a remake of the 2016 Kannada film of the same name.

On October 18, there is Jyotika’s Kaatrin Mozhi, again directed by Radha Mohan - which is the remake of Vidya Balan’s Tumhari Sulu (2017). And in November, the biggest of them all will be here: director Bala’s Varma (remake of Telugu superhit Arjun Reddy), which will be the launchpad of Vikram’s son Dhruv.

Vijay Devarakonda in Arjun Reddy; Vikram and Dhruv

Vijay Devarakonda in Arjun Reddy; Vikram and Dhruv  


Do remakes still work in Tamil? There used to be a time it used to; from the early 60s till very recently, there was a huge market for “proven hits” from other languages to be remade in Tamil. All the big superstars of Tamil cinema, like MGR, Sivaji Ganeasan, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, have done remakes that have worked big-time at the box-office. Some of Vijay’s early superhits (like Ghilli, Friends and Pokkiri) were remakes that moulded the star’s mass hero image. Jayam Ravi and his elder brother Mohan Raja also teamed up successfully on remakes.

For a brief period, there was a lull in remake market as many young directors preferred original subjects with nativity. Big stars shunned remakes as it affected their markets outside Tamil Nadu. The last remake hit with a big star was Kamal Haasan’s Papanasam (2015), a remake of Mohanlal’s Malayalam superhit Drishyam.

Today’s big Tamil heroes are particular that they will no longer do remakes as they are likely to affect their Telugu and Hindi (satellite) markets, thus leaving the smaller stars to opt for subjects that have done well elsewhere. In today’s world, it is the budget that can make or break a film and remakes have proven to be a safe bet. That could be perhaps because the number of shooting days required for a remake is far less than for a straight film. The shoot of Kaatrin Mozhi, for instance,was completed in 40 days, which means huge savings for the producer. Its producer G Dhananjayan explains, “Today, the biggest challenge is having the right script for a film. In a remake, as it is already a proven subject, the guarantee of it working depends on the casting and how well it connects emotionally with the audience. In Kaatrin Mozhi, director Radha Mohan and Jyothika are coming back after 9 years and that has created a good buzz.” The film has other highlights, including STR doing a cameo and the chartbuster ‘Jimikki Kammal...’ being used in the film.

Remake rights are currently selling in the ₹30-75 lakhs range, depending on the language from which it is remade. While the Malayalam to Tamil remake market has crashed in recent times, Telugu and Kannada remakes seem to be the flavour of the season. The buzz is that Tumhari Sulu’s remake rights (including Telugu dubbing rights) were purchased for somewhere between ₹60-75 lakhs. Trade sources say that the highest ever remake rights purchased in recent times was for Arjun Reddy which is said to have been sold for ₹1.5 crore (Tamil and Malayalam rights). At the moment, negotiations are on for the remake of two recent Telugu hits, RX 100 and Goodachari.

Leading producer Kalaipuli S Thanu, who is backing 60 Vayadhu Maaniram, says,“It’s the human element that works when you remake a film. This remake is sure to strike a chord with the audiences as it is about an old father with Alzheimers (played by Prakash Raj) who goes missing and his son played by Vikram Prabhu goes in search of him.”

Mukesh Mehta of E4 Entertainment, the veteran producer and distributor who is producing Dhruv’s debut film Varma, says, “A lot of people ask me why I chose a film like Arjun Reddy to be remade as Dhruv’s debut film. I believe 50% of the success of the film is due to Vijay Deverakonda and the other 50% because of the content. Varma will have the essence of Arjun Reddy; it will be a little more humorous and the running time will be 20 minutes shorter. I think casting is the key to success of a remake and Varma is the perfect debut film for Dhruv to be launched by Bala, who gave that memorable break to Vikram with Sethu.” The success of these films at the cinema halls will determine the course the remake trend takes in Kollywood.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 9:13:42 PM |

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