Sequels to films have always had a connect with the original story and often featured the same actors, but rarely ever the female actor! The following parts to films such as Munnabhai MBBS (2003), Ishqiya (2010), Raaz (2002), Murder (2004) and Race (2008) had a new lady each time. And some like Bipasha Basu Singh Grover had spoken up against the disparity.
But times have changed and sequels to hit films Rock On!! (2008), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Kahaani (2012), Fukrey (2013) and Baby (2015) will see a heroine repeat.
Is this a conscious decision? “It’s the demand of the story. There is no rule whether you will retain or not retain a heroine in the film. If the character follows from one film to its sequel then be it an actor or an actress, they will be repeated. That is what guides everything, from paper to film and that is how I look at it. It could be different for different people but for me it is the story is the hero,” says Ali Abbas Zafar, who will direct actor Katrina Kaif in the sequel of Ek Tha Tiger.
The ladies, of course, are happy. “Usually sequels are made of projects that click at the box office. I’m delighted that makers are recognising the contribution of the actresses in the film’s success,” says Richa Chadha, who’ll reprise her role of Bholi Punjaban in the sequel to Fukrey.
Actor Taapsee Pannu, who’d be directed again by Neeraj Pandey in the sequel of Baby, says: “There are so many changes happening in cinema in our industry today that even this change was probably inevitable. I’m extremely proud and thankful of the fact that my makers not only retained me for the sequel but also gave me the title role to play. Times are changing for good and probably soon we will find the much talked about and much ignored equality.”
Aanand L Rai, who directed actor Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu (2011) and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015), says the trend is a lot about filmmakers than anyone else. “It’s not just about cracking it with the right actor and getting audience attracted. Filmmakers are now more confident about telling their stories. No sequel should allow you to change the actor. In Tanu Weds Manu Returns I got my characters four years later and changing actors is not the right thing to do. After a point, actors are just characters for the audience. If I change Tanu, then I will lose the connectivity she has with audience,” says Rai.
Whether an actor or actress, trade analyst Atul Mohan says it’s always advantageous to have a face which has been identified in the original film. “You have to maintain that connectivity. It will definitely give an edge to the filmmaker when an actress is repeated. It also gets a lot easier even during promotion,” he says.