Third time lucky! 2018 will see Bollywood rolling out third films from hit franchises
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Third time lucky! 2018 will see Bollywood rolling out third films from hit franchises

Race 3, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3, and Total Dhamaal have been announced. Also in the pipeline are Dabangg 3, Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se, Gangs of Wasseypur 1.5, and Munnabhai 3.

bollywood Updated: Dec 19, 2017 14:02 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Prernaa Arora,Dabangg,Dabangg 3
Salman Khan joins the Race franchise, stepping into the third film, replacing Saif Ali Khan.

Three may be a crowd when it comes to relaxed socialising, but three seems to be the lucky number for several Bollywood franchises, which are set to roll out their third films in 2018 — some of these will be released next year, and some will go on the floors.

The ones that have been announced include Total Dhamaal, Saheb Biwi Aur Gansgter 3, and Race 3. There are a few more in the pipeline, such as Dabangg 3, Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se, Gangs of Wasseypur 1.5, and Munnabhai 3.

The third instalment in the Dhamaal franchise, Total Dhamaal, has been announced. Sanjay Dutt (above), who was in the first and second parts, makes way for Ajay Devgn.

On why there are so many franchise films lined up one after the other, Bollywood producer Prernaa Arora feels that there’s shortage of content and actors have become very selective about what they want to do, so everyone is just following the trend of what’s working. “It’s like, just because someone else has made it, I should also try it,” she says. “And filmmakers know that some actor would be attracted to it, because there’s a power value of the previous film in the franchise. There’s a clear trend — as it was [for] biopics and comedy films; then, everyone was after comedy films, and now, cashing in on franchise films is the fad.”

Fail-safe or not?

Though the tried and tested formula of sequels has worked for a long time, a third (or fourth) instalment has a lot more attached to it, in terms of expectations and box office stakes.

Industry experts feel that if a film is made with the right intention and has the right brand value, it’ll work. Trade analyst Komal Nahta says that it’s the acceptance from a wide range of viewers that paves the way for these franchise films. “But that doesn’t mean every sequel or every franchise film works. It has to generate the right kind of hype. You can’t rest on past laurels, so your trailer, songs and cast have to appeal a great deal when it’s time for the next [franchise] film to release,” he says.

The common thread

Franchise films always have some common elements that people remember, so keeping them intact in the plot lines brings viewers back. Remo D’Souza, director of Race 3, explains, “As a filmmaker, I have to make sure that the audiences have that recall [from the previous films] and, at the same time, they should see something new and exciting. You can’t just turn around and do something drastically different. You have to stick to what people have previously liked and, in that space, you have to come out with a creative story.”

‘What next’ quotient

The hype around the third instalment is also based on people’s curiosity to see what happens next, which puts a lot of pressure on the filmmakers. “When coming out with part three, we have to bring a new angle in terms of story, characters, and dialogues. The audience wants to see bigger characters and a more interesting storyline, [something] better than the first two parts. Once a film has become a hit, the next time, filmmakers focus more on minting money; but if you make a good film [again], you will make money out of it,” says Zeishan Quadri, writer of Gangs of Wasseypur Part I and II, who’ll be directing Gangs of Wasseypur 1.5.

The third part in the Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster franchise has also been announced.

New leads do the trick

What’ll be interesting in 2018 is that most of these third films have replaced the lead actor from the first two films. For instance, Sanjay Dutt has opted out of the Dhamaal series, making way for Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor. Race 3 will no longer have Saif Ali Khan, as Salman Khan is the fresh entrant. And in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3, Randeep Hooda’s place has been taken by Sanjay Dutt.

In every film, one actor has been replaced by a more (currently) marketable one. Nahta says, “You can’t take the risk of getting a lesser star, as people tend to associate a lead actor with that franchise. But if you get a bigger star than the original [actor], then even the audiences are okay [with it].” D’souza says about the casting switch, “If you replace the main star, yet keep the essence of the film the same, that’s not a problem. As a filmmaker, if you’ve got a conviction about your story, you can make it work [with] any actor.”

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First Published: Dec 19, 2017 14:02 IST