A Bollywood studio is spending around $100 million to make four versions of Sholay, one of India's most popular movies, local media reported.
The deal is one of the biggest in an industry which operates on low profit margins and spends an average of $1-2 million on a film.
Such was the success of Sholay, a 1975 film about two reformed crooks who save a village from a neurotic, foul-mouthed bandit, that it ran in theatres for years and arguably became the greatest Bollywood film ever made.
The characters -- especially of the tobacco-chewing, maniacal villain with a staccato laughter -- became cinematic legends and inspired scores of films.
The film was repackaged at various times, but an official remake is now going to be made by the Pritish Nandy Communications which has signed a deal with the producers of the original.<b1>
The plan is to film a remake, a prequel, a sequel and an animated version of Sholay.
"The creatives are being discussed," Pritish Nandy, head of the studio known to promote experimental cinema aimed at multiplex audiences, told Reuters.
"As for the size, it could be $100 million. It could be more, we really don't know at this stage," Nandy said. "But yes, $100 million seems reasonably close to it."
Work on the animated version will start in a month or so. "The remake would start almost simultaneously," Nandy said.
The latest attempt to remake Sholay sparked a copyright controversy.
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who reversed roles of some of the characters in his remake and added his own to the story, has had to rename the film as Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag and is releasing it on Friday.