Cashing in on the past: Can old hits rework their magic at the box office?
As a number of actors work on sequels, remakes or adaptations of bestseller books, we ask experts if tried-and-tested formulae guarantee box-office returns.Updated: Mar 23, 2017 20:11 IST
Come 2017 and Varun Dhawan will start working on an ambitious film — the sequel to his father David Dhawan’s 1997 hit, Judwaa. “I am excited about playing a double role. How you do it, what to research, what will be the hairstyles, and how the two characters will talk — a lot of work is going to go into this film. But it will be different from whatever I have done till now,” says the actor.
A number of other actors are also preparing for remakes, sequels or adaptations of bestsellers. While Saif Ali Khan will star in the Hindi remake of the Hollywood hit, Chef (2014), Sidharth Malhotra will reprise the late Rajesh Khanna’s part from Ittefaq (1969) in a remake. Aditya Roy Kapoor will also be seen in the Hindi remake of Mani Ratnam’s 2015 hit, O Kadhal Kanmani. Also in the pipeline is the film adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s 2014 bestseller, Half Girlfriend, starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor. Plus, talks are rife that Tiger Shroff will star in the Hindi remake of Hollywood hit, Rambo.
“With a movie that has been successful, film-makers get a gripping story and a certain amount of recall value. But the audience’s tastes change every few months. So, the idea must be to adapt the story to appeal to today’s audiences,” says exhibitor and distributor, Akshaye Rathi.
But can expectations become too much to handle? Varun says it doesn’t matter, as he’s just seven-films-old in the industry. “How can I be compared to a superstar [like Salman Khan]? Whoever is comparing us is wrong. They should be like, ‘Yeh bachcha hai aur Salman superstar hai [He’s a kid and Salman is a superstar]’. But it was actually Salman bhai who laughed and told me, “You better act properly, because they will compare you to me,” he says.
Varun’s father, David Dhawan, adds, “Initially, I was a bit scared and was thinking, yeh kya panga le liya maine [what have I done]? But now, as the script works out, I am confident that we will be able to live up to the expectations. I’m not nervous, but the idea is to give the audience an equally funny and entertaining film,” he says.
At the same time, Sidharth admits that he is “extremely excited” for the Ittefaq remake. “The benchmark has already been set for me, as superstar Rajesh Khanna was a part of the film back then, and I have to match up to his acting abilities in this remake,” he said in an interview. Arjun, who has just wrapped up shooting for the Half Girlfriend adaptation, adds that “no actor should have a comfort zone”. “I think that is what kills actors, especially when they start repeating themselves. So, this movie doesn’t fall under any comfort zone,” says the actor.
Blast from the past
Several old hits – from Hollywood as well as Bollywood – such as Chashme Buddoor, Zanjeer, Khubsoorat, Don, Agneepath, Knight and Day, Stepmom, and The Italian Job have been remade or adapted in Hindi in the recent past. However, barring a few, most have received a lukewarm response at the box office.
“It’s not necessary that remakes or sequels will hit the bullseye. It all depends on how well a film has been made and how brilliantly it has been adapted. The case in point being the remake of one of the biggest Hindi films ever — Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag (2007) [it was a remake of Sholay]. So, ultimately, everything boils down to the quality,” says Rathi.