Beyond West: Bollywood moves to books, world cinema for inspiration

  • Prashant Singh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jan 01, 2015 13:30 IST

Next year, Ramesh Sippy will return to direction after two decades (his last outing was Zamaana Deewana in 1995 starring Shah Rukh Khan), with an adaptation of the French film, De Vrais Mensonges (2010). But Sippy isn’t alone.

Hollywood has served as an inspiration to several Bollywood film-makers over the decades, but directors are now exploring newer pastures such as French, Korean and Japanese cinema.

While Karan Johar is slated to remake the 2006 French hit, Hors De Prix with Sidharth Malhotra, another French project, The Intouchables (2011), will be adapted by Mohit Suri.

A still from The Intouchables.

Also, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s comeback film, Jazbaa, is believed to be a remake of the 2007 Korean thriller, Seven Days. Jazbaa director Sanjay Gupta feels several Hollywood films find their way to Indian theatres anyway. "Most Hollywood studios have set up shop in India, so filmmakers here can’t just lift their film’s ideas like earlier. Also, if they have the rights, won’t they produce them on their own?" says Gupta.

Trade analyst Komal Nahta says that the Indian audience has become receptive to new concepts. "At one point, we would say, ‘women-oriented films don’t work.’ But that has changed now. The taste of the audience has changed, and they have an appetite for world cinema. But since it’s (taking cues from international films and books) a new phenomenon, how well these films will do is something only time will tell," says Nahta.

In the recent past, too, Bollywood has often been inspired by world cinema. But, if we analyse the record, such remakes and adaptations haven’t yielded desired results. Total Siyapaa (2014) was an official remake of the Spanish film, Only Human (2004), while Hansal Mehta’s CityLights was an Indian remake of Metro Manila (2013), a British-Filipino film.

Explaining why more film-makers are opting for Japanese or Korean scripts, film-maker Anees Bazmee says, "Ultimately, all creative people always look for a good script — be it from Japan, Korea or south Indian cinema. Language is never a concern. Plus, those film’s prices are also less when it comes to buying their rights. In comparison, Hollywood films are expensive to buy," he says.

A still from The Man From Nowhere

Filmmaker Sajid Khan is remaking the 2009 Korean romantic comedy, My Girlfriend Is An Agent, while John Abraham stars in Nishikant Kamat’s adaptation of the Korean film, The Man From Nowhere (2010).

Also, Tigamanshu Dhulia’s Yaara is a remake of the 2011 French drama, Les Lyonnais. "Indians are emotional, and world cinema — in the absence of big budgets — focuses more on fleshing out characters and scripts, which resonates with our audiences’ taste," says filmmaker Rohan Sippy, who adapted the 2003 French comedy, Après Vous, as Nautanki Saala (2013).

Book marked

Bollywood film-makers are also taking cues from novels and stories for these upcoming movies

Half Girlfriend: Mohit Suri will helm the movie adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s latest best-seller.

Battle For Bittora: Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan will be seen in the official adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s 2010 best-seller.

Revolution 2020: Raj Kumar Gupta will be directing the screen adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s 2011 novel.

The Immortals Of Meluha:
Amish Tripathi’s best-seller will be adapted by film-maker Karan Johar. Tiger Shroff is likely to star in it.

The Accidental Apprentice: Director Sriram Raghavan will helm the adaptation of the novel by author-diplomat Vikas Swarup.

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy: The Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer is based on the detective character Byomkesh Bakshi created by the Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay.

Bombay Velvet: Anurag Kashyap’s magnum opus is based on historian Gyan Prakash’s book, Mumbai Fables, set in Mumbai of the 1960s. The movie stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar.

Fitoor: Abhishek Kapoor’s next, starring Aditya Roy Kapoor, Rekha and Katrina Kaif, is inspired by Charles Dickens’s classic, Great Expectations.

Yet-untitled: Saif Ali Khan is set to play the lead role in the remake of Japanese novel The Devotion of Suspect X which has seen film adaptations in Japanese and Korean.

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