Remaking a classic is risky business. The copy rarely lives up to the original, comparisons are inevitable and fans don’t forgive you. But that hasn’t stopped film-makers: Vashu Bhagnani is remaking two of his hits – Hero No.1 (1997) and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998), and Parineeti Chopra and Diljit Dosanjh will soon be seen in a remake of the 1986 comedy Chameli Ki Shaadi.
We asked five film critics – who suffer it all – about the one film they’d love to see remade, and one they feel shouldn’t ever be touched.
YAY: Padosan (1968)
A lively comedy, representing the innocence and pure fun of that period. That needs to be recaptured. Our comedies today are loud, the gags seem to be taken from WhatsApp jokes – there is nothing fresh.
NAY: Pyaasa (1957)
Although Pyaasa was rooted in its time, it was also very prescient of the things it said about commodification of culture, creativity not being recognised, poverty – the issues a newly independent nation faced. All those issues are still relevant. But I wouldn’t want it remade because we don’t have a Guru Dutt today.
YAY: Thodasa Roomani Ho Jaayen (1990)
A gentle musical about a plain-looking girl (Anita Kanwar) who can’t find a suitable match and is on her way to becoming a spinster. Then a man comes along (Nana Patekar) and brings magic in her life. Parallel cinema was dying then, but there are film-makers today who can handle such a subject well.
NAY: Chupke Chupke (1975)
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s classic comedy was subtle and had a delicate sensibility – something which is lost in contemporary comedies.
YAY: English, August (1994)
Dev Benegal’s adaptation of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s novel, deals with the gap between India and Bharat, that still remains. Also, the way I imagined Augustya – a lanky, dope-head without a care in the world – is not who I saw in the movie (played by a buffed-up Rahul Bose). He could be played better.
NAY: Satya (1998)
Ram Gopal Varma’s cult film is perfect – the plot, the depiction of the Bombay underworld, the depth of each character, the performances. You empathise with everyone, from the police commissioner (Paresh Rawal), to Satya (JD Chakravarthy) and Bhiku Mhatre (Manoj Bajpayee).
YAY: Dekh Kabira Roya (1957)
A film about three men and women who have certain expectations of what their lover should be like. But they end up falling in love with entirely different people. It’s a modern take on love, but not a well-known film. It could be worth replicating.
NAY: Chhoti Si Baat (1975)
One identifies with this film, its characters, the tone and tenor, so closely – whether it’s Ashok Kumar, Amol Palekar or Vidya Sinha. Palekar plays a typical middle-class bumbling hero and Ashok Kumar is a ’70s Dr Love. I can’t imagine anyone else playing them the way they did.
YAY: Ram Lakhan (1989)
I am waiting for the re-make of Ram Lakhan. It was great fun; I’d like to see how the film gets reinterpreted. I am curious to see who plays Rakhee, their mother.
NAY: Sholay (1975)
Don’t go there. You can’t remake Mughal-e-Azam or Mother India. When you get movie magic like that, all the stars align and everybody works to the peak of their form – something right just happens. It’s an inexplicable alchemy that goes into making movies like these, which cannot be replicated.
From HT Brunch, July 24, 2016
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