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8 Oct 2006

Season of Remakes

Posted by Oblivion in General | 11:50pm

Shiva just went past and Don is next in line. Not surprisingly, Ram Gopal Varma's much talked-about remake of his debut movie (telugu, not the hindi one) turned out to be a hugely disappointing work. Remake is always a challenge, and it's even more so if the original was a good one. So far as I remember, Virasat, Gardish, and Nirnayam (telugu) are the only remakes that were as good as the originals. Interestingly, all these are Priyadarshan's works. 

Shiva, made in 1989, was a path-breaking movie. Anybody could identify himself with the setting. Simple yet compelling script, backed by Ilaiyaraja's brilliant work, outstanding audio effects, superb performance by Raghuvaran made for an irresistible package. It outperformed the success of Mani Ratnam's blockbuster Gitanjali at the box-office. It made Nagarjuna a superstar. Fittingly, neither Varma nor Nagarjuna had to look back ever since.

Cut to Shiva 2006. Barring a few typical Varma shots and a couple of great background scores by Ilaiyaraja, this stands nowhere in comparison with the original. Not that Varma's talent has depleted, but just that the original was too novel a film that any attempt to remake is doomed for failure right from the ideation stage.

Varma, one of the best directors now, is also remaking Sholay. Now, if one picks five outstanding hindi films that should not be remade, Sholay would feature as the first. Given the legendary status of the movie, I have no doubts as regards how utterly Varma's remake would fail to match up.     

A few days from now, Farhan Akhtar's Don will hit the screen. Don - the original -had, besides the imposing presence of big B, great music. It's too early for me to dismiss the remake, but I'm confident it'll not have any magic that the original had. The promos suggest the movie would be definitely more stylish than the original, but there ends it. The remix version of Ye Mera Dil sounds awful for anyone who loves Asha's number. And the only actor who can do a Bachchan is Bachchan himself. Shah Rukh might impress, but the Don would still remain Bachchan.

I'm not against remakes, but the idea doesn't sound appealing to me. You cannot remake great movies any more than you can rewrite Russell's or Tagore's works. Good that nobody has thought of remaking The Godfather. And thank God, Sandid Ray is not contemplating the project of remaking Ray's movies!

May this 'season of remakes' end soon. I'm happy with 'good' originals.      

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