Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Remakes: The Marvellous and the Murderous!

Remakes are often a great idea to leverage an existing brand and encash on existing mindspace (Point in case Italian Job, Casino Royale, Scarface, King Kong. Closer home Don, Devdas). However, when the original is a revered cult, a religion, still fresh in minds, it’s better to leave it alone. No matter what, you’re already starting on a huge negative footing. What were they smoking while remaking Psycho, Planet of Apes, Godzilla? Back home Sholay, Karz?

Thankfully, on its eve of release, Agneepath sits pretty. The original, though much discussed and deliberated upon, was a Box Office failure. It has its followers for sure, but gladly no fanatics. It will be compared, but never castigated. Vijay Deenanath Chauhan is remembered, but was never loved, looked upon or worshipped (unlike Jai, Veeru, Prem, Rahul, Munna, Monty, Anthony). It may/may not do well, but it will never initiate a hate wave.

Recommendations for movie makers –

  1. Stay away from the likes of Godfather, Titanic, Saturday Night Fever, Silence of the lambs, The Mask, DDLJ, QSQT, MPK, Baazigar, Darr, Karan Arjun, Dil Chahta Hai. Your movies will always run the risk of being looked at as ‘Spoofs’.
  2. However, do revisit Manhattan, Sunset Boulevard, Great Expectations, Taxi Driver, The Shining, Qurbani, Teesri Manzil and any of Shammi-Dev thriller movies. Sure-shot recipes for success!! We have seen them, but don’t exactly recollect. We know they were good, but we are open to see their newer adaptations. They were classic tales, but definitely not ‘The sacred Bible’. They are timeless, but not time-bound. They worked then! And they offer all the possibilities to work in newer milieus, fresh characters and stunning plot twists! You’re remaking them? Wow, we’re all warmed up about the idea! Bring it on!
  3. Stay away from classic comedies (Some like it hot, Home Alone, Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, Amar Akbar Anthony, Satte pe Satta). You would be walking a very tight rope between being repetitive and being blasphemous. While it’s tough to make people laugh on same ‘ol jokes and situations, it’s much tougher to recreate or revamp those jokes and risk killing the entire essence of the original.
  4. Remaking Thrillers is the most potent formula. It provides you with all the licences to thrill, chill & kill! Simply pick up the old premise and turn it on its head. No one complains. “It was meant to be a thriller, mate!” (Case in point Don). Ofcourse, till the time you don’t dare to change genres and convert the Whodunnit to a Jab We Met. Himesh Reshammiya was dazzzzlingly adventurous with his Karzzzz. It takes creativity to convert a nicely structured reincarnation saga to a slapstick comedy. (On a different note, do try to revisit this classic during a rainy day. It’s a riot and howlariously funny in a different way. Sits pretty high amongst all those Mithun-gems that were so bad, that they were actually good!)
  5. And finally, the big caution for all remakers – Don’t stray anywhere near Dinosaurs, Aliens, Nagins and Rajesh Khanna remakes. Pack off all those DVDs to the museums. That’s where they really belong, under the section ‘Evolution of Mankind’!