Lately, it has been observed that instead of experimenting with new stories, directors prefer to remake old Bollywood hits. Films like Agneepath, Sholay, Don, Karz, Umrao Jaan, and Devdas have been made again by modern directors. Not all of these films did considerable business but the effort made is negligible. After bringing more flops than hits in a bid to remake old films, the trend doesn’t seem to dissipate and rumor has it that Ram Lakhan is going to be remade as well. What compels directors and producers to look towards old films for their new projects? What can be done in order to enhance the quality of remakes so that they can earn better ratings?
Perhaps, one aspect of the whole case is that the present age has a very few talented writers who can write proper scripts for films. In the absence of new innovative and creative stories to show on the screen, the directors go towards remakes of old movies and remixes of old songs as well. This statement finds justification in the fact that most of these remakes have proven to be blunders, except for a very few. Had it not been out of sheer necessity to go about their projects like this, one could have expected a better performance of these films.
Furthermore, this also shows that not a lot of effort is put into the remakes. In an attempt to bring “innovation” in these old stories, some serious mistakes are made which mess the new films up. For one, the quality of acting of new artists is often not as immaculate as that of the old ones. Aag, the remake of Sholay and Himmatwala are two examples of remakes gone wrong. In these films, the directors have made an attempt at producing old wine in new bottles but have drastically failed at doing so.
But all is not lost here. There are remakes like Devdas and Don which depict good acting skills. The little digression from the original films, adds to the beauty of these remakes and the sincere effort put in them is clearly seen. The picturesque aspects of Devdas, the magnificence of dialogues and the evident glamor in the film makes it a complementary to the original. Don, on the other hand is a modern version of the older one featuring Amitabh Bachan. Even songs from the old film have been made into a remix to be incorporated in the new film. Both these films caused evident stir among the audience and compelled people to watch the original films, irrespective of their having watched them already.
Moreover, it is noteworthy that Bollywood has created a number of remakes of Hollywood films and has given a particular flavor to them and the addition of remix songs is just a cherry on the top. God Tussi Great Ho, Partner, Satte Pe Satta, Badshah, Murder, and Knock Out etc are only a few examples. Such remakes include some greatest hits of Bollywood and some of them project a higher idea than the one in their parent films. Knock Out, for example, is a film inspired by a Hollywood film, “Phonebooth”. Where Phonebooth shows merely an infidel boyfriend being blackmailed, Knock Out moves on a story line with a higher purpose: recovery of Indian money from Swiss accounts; consequently, the film conveys a message of deep patriotism.
The problem lies in the purpose for which remakes are made. According to a very logical and general opinion, when a remake is dealt as the last option to go with, the whole film deteriorates because it fails to attract enough effort from its creators. Similarly, in this case a film cannot actually flourish when it is made out of obligation instead of being made with keen interest.
Secondly, sometimes the wrong cast in a remake can make things go bad, too. If an actor in a remake is unable to pull off the given role nearly as good as the corresponding actor in the original, the remake automatically loses the interest of the audience. These shortfalls are seen in most of the flop remakes and should be addressed to while going for further remakes.
The trend of remaking existing films is not a new one in Bollywood and has proven more effective than it has proven to be a disaster for the industry. The orientation of audience towards a particular existing film is the most important factor that the modern directors should take into account before remaking any film; that would give them a fair idea as to how they should go about a particular film.
The trend of remaking is not a negative one. It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery and therefore remaking old films is more than producing old wine in a new bottle; remaking implies paying tributes to past legends and their masterpieces, but if it is done correctly. The trend should continue in the industry but the directors and producers should begin taking things more seriously and should produce films that at least match the standard of the original if not exceed it. In this context, only good hopes can be attributed to the upcoming remake of Ram Lakhan.