Kannada cinema's 'remake trend' reverses

Kannada film 'Bell Bottom: Adventures of Detective Divakar'

Kannada film 'Bell Bottom: Adventures of Detective Divakar'  

Other film industries are looking at the Kannada industry for stories, a debate triggered by Akshay Kumar's 'Bell Bottom' and Ayushmann Khurrana's 'Bala'

There was a time, when the Kannada film industry was into remaking successful films from other languages. The common reason cited was that there was a lack of stories in Kannada. Dwarakish, one of the stalwarts of the Kannada film industry, was once subjected to a great deal of criticism for his penchant for remaking successful films from other languages. He was even accused as the man who brought the remake culture into the Kannada film industry.

Remaking films is not a new thing in cinema. Seven Samurai was remade as Magnificent Seven, which was remade as Sholay. Many films are scene-for-scene or shot-for-shot remakes of movies from other languages. Producers look at remakes as a safe bet as compared to putting money on an unproven original story.

According to film critic, Chetan Nadig, ‘Crazy Star’ Ravichandran has acted in over 50 Kannada films, all of which were remakes. In fact, it is said that it was the release of these films that rescued the actor’s position in the film industry, especially, when his Swamake (an original Kannada film) failed at the box office.

Now, it appears like this trend has reversed. Other film industries are looking at Kannada cinema for stories to remake successful Kannada films including; Mungaru Male, Lucia, U-Turn, Ugram, Godibanna Sadharana Maikattu, Mr and Mrs Ramachari, Kirik Party, Victory, Simpallagi Ondhu Love Story, Ultidavaru Kandante, Rama Rama Re, Shivalinga, Govindaya Namaha Rathavara are all being remade in other languages.

Raj B Shetty’s trend setting debut film Ondu Motteya Kathe (2017) was remade as Ujda Chaman with Sunny Singh Maanvi Gagroo and Karishma Sharma in the lead. The film was directed by Abhishek Pathak. The film, however, failed to make an impact as the Kannada original. Shetty looked natural and the film had a heart-warming look and feel. In Ujda Chaman, the baldness seemed artificial and Sunny fails to make an impact.

Kannada cinema's 'remake trend' reverses

Actor Akshay Kumar’s tweet about his next venture too drew a lot of attention. His tweet read: Get ready to go back to the 80’s and hop on to a roller-coaster spy ride #BELLBOTTOM! Releasing on January 22, 2021.

Following the tweet, the Kannada film industry rejoiced thinking that, Akshay’s Bell Bottom is a remake of the Rishab Shetty starrer Bell Bottom: Adventures of Detective Divakar directed by Jayatheertha. This film is also set in 80s and was based on a story by TK Dayananda. This film was not only one of the highest grossers of 2019, but also completed 100 days.

Akshay, however, claims the film is not a remake but “an original screeplay inspired by true events.”

Jayatheertha who directed the Kannada Bell Bottom, says the Hindi film has taken everything — title, theme, character from his film. Akshay is claiming that his film is not a remake. I don’t understand, whether it is a ‘remake’ or ‘free-make’.”

He adds that the producer of his film, Santhosh Kumar, “is talking to those who have acquired the right of our Bell Bottom.

Citing the example of the recently released Bala, starring Ayushman Khurrana, Jayatheertha says; “Ondu Motteya Kathe was remade in Hindi as Ujda Chaman. Bala is also based on a similar concept. The film created a buzz in the box office because of its star-cast.”

Only time will tell whether Akshay’s Bell Bottom is actually a remake of the Kannada version.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 4:41:11 PM |

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