Wù Shā (Manslaughter) is keeping the cash registers ringing at the Chinese box office. The movie, whose English title is Sheep Without a Shepherd, is the Chinese remake of director Jeetu Joseph’s crime thriller Drishyam, which had Malayalam superstar Mohanlal in the lead role.
Since its release in China on December 13 last year, Sam Quah directorial Wù Shā has managed to earn over 168 million dollars, beating Donnie Yen’s Ip Man 4.
When Malayalam film Drishyam hit screens in 2013, it collected Rs 75 crore at the box office. Between its initial release and 2015, the film was remade in four different languages – Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. It was a commercial success in all the languages. And there was also Dharmayuddhaya (2017), the Sinhalese remake of the movie.
Drishyam is about the struggles of a father who tries to cover up a murder committed by his daughter in self-defence. It aligned with the Indian middle-class’ sentiments about the criminal justice system. The movie was an indictment of the broken legal system that is perceived to favour powerful perpetrators over ordinary victims. However, Wù Shā director Sam Quah has made some changes in the Chinese remake.
While in Drishyam’s climax, the father (Mohanlal) gets away with the cover-up, in Wù Shā, the father, played by Xiao Yang, turns himself in. Also, the movie is set in a fictional country called Sai and the cops that torture and terrorise the family are not of Chinese origin.
Not surprisingly, director Sam Quah is drawing flak for altering the climax. But, who could blame him?
“…Because every investor asks you whether you can pass the censorship and go into the Chinese market. If the answer is no, you get no money,” Hong Kong filmmaker Derek Chiu Sung-Kee told indiaexpress.com earlier talking about the heavy-handedness of the state censorship. He took about eight years to finish his movie No 1. Chung Ying Street as he was self-funding it.
Derek was in Bengaluru last year for the screening of his movie No 1. Chung Ying Street at the 11th Bengaluru International Film Festival. “My movie went to 10 film festivals and won some awards. But, the Hong Kong International Film Festival did not play my movie. It’s a movie based on Hong Kong history. Even if you think that the technique was not good enough for the jury, it’s a Hong Kong movie. So why don’t you screen it at the Hong Kong film festival?” he added.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines