Remakes: Is Bollywood running out of ideas?

With the official announcement of the remake of Pati Patni Aur Woh, another of Chupke Chupke on the cards and speculation over Coolie No. 1 and Ram Lakhan being remade, filmmakers are clearly revisiting Bollywood classics. However, will a story that worked a few decades back again create magic with the millennial audience? After a dream run for out-of-the-box plots in 2018, which won accolades, are new story ideas drying up in 2019?

Millennials like to revisit classics

Filmmaker Mudassar Aziz, who’s directing the remake of Pati Patni Aur Woh, feels it’s important to revisit successful plots from the past. “While approaching classics as filmmakers, we do start with a weight on our shoulders. But as an audience, millennials look at it as an independent film. Their prime concern is if your film is entertaining enough,” he says. Trade analyst Amod Mehra believes a filmmaker shouldn’t divert too much from the plot. “If a successful film is being remade, it might work like Don and Agneepath. But the Zanjeer remake failed to deliver as it went off track. Hence you shouldn’t tamper with the originals in totality,” says Mehra.

Juhi Chaturvedi, who has scripted October and Piku, says, “A remake should push boundaries only to the extent that it can recreate the same hype and emotions as the original version.” She adds, “Whenever you’re remaking a classic you’ve to make it better than the original if you want to do full justice to the film.”

Let classics be

However many feel classics should never have remakes. “There can never be a more heart-wrenching remake of Pather Panchali or an even crazier and satirical version of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. Films like Masoom, Arth, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai or Mirch Masala can never have a better creative or pertinent version,” says Chaturvedi.

Screenwriter Mayank Tewari, known for films such as Newton and The Accidental Prime Minister says, “Remakes at times are not able to do justice to the original work.”

Kanika Dhillon, who wrote Manmarziyan and Kedarnath says, “It’s more important to be excited about your own stories or even the one you are retelling and bring your own voice and take to it.”

Can original ideas thrive?

At times, commercial success may elude original content creators especially when everyone wants to cash in on classics. Aziz disagrees. Citing Hollywood, he says, “One of the front runners at the Oscars, A Star Is Born, is a remake…the director provided it a new voice and setting.”

Mehra adds, “Hindi film industry produces over 200 films per year. Not all are successful. So, there’s no point of any threat to originality of ideas.”

Interact with Anurag Singh Bohra at Twitter/KashiNomad.

First Published: Feb 11, 2019 14:09 IST

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