I have personally always had a good experience when it came to remaking films. I have mostly experimented and remade good South-Indian films that have been big hits like Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, Hamara Dil Aapke Paas hain, Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai, Badhaai Ho Badhaai and Tere Naam. However, I was disappointed with Gang of Ghosts, a remake of Bengali film Bhooter Bhabishyat. But considering Tere Naam was a huge blockbuster, I shouldn’t be complaining. I would say, it depends on the creator also as to how he perceives the film.
But remaking Hindi films is very difficult because the masses are already aware of it and perceive it in a certain way. I too have not had a good experience when I made the Himesh Reshamiyya-starrer Karzzz. After the Rishi Kapoor- film that was a huge hit with its foot-tapping music, I think people did not accept this film in a different avatar and hence it did not stand a chance. That made me think and realise that classics should not be touched.
Today, the audience is very smart and will not accept anything that is dished out to them. However extravagant the product may be, they want to relate to it before accepting it whole-heartedly. Even if it is a remake, they want it to be at par or above the original, which rarely happens. Moreover, copying a film is not intellectual cinema. Many times, it is done when the makers are fascinated or like a particular film and think they can make it better than the first one. But usually that fizzles out.
Another reason for this is the dearth of good scripts that is compelling film-makers to copy old films. On what basis can one judge that the remake too will make a mark at the box-office? While lately South films remade in Hindi like Kick, Singham, to name a few, have become hits, it is sad that remake of Hindi films like Himmatwala, Khoobsurat, and for that matter Karzzzz, did not appeal to the audience. There were talks to even remake Mr. India. In my opinion, it should be left untouched as I don’t think anyone can remake it. It had a different flavour and is loved and watched even today by young and old alike. I hear Mahesh Bhatt is remaking his own Janam and Subhash Ghai’s Ram Lakhan is to be remade. Classics like Sholay, Devdas, Chashme Buddoor, etc, when remade, did not garner the kind of attention that the originals do even today. These films created magic. Recreating magic is impossible. They should just let be. The solution to this would be to locate good stories that would be universally appealing, which have a heart and soul and should reach out to everyone.
Unlike the olden days, today the audience is different and is ready to accept varied subjects. They do not shy away from watching bold subjects that were hitherto considered taboo by film-makers of yore. The onus now lies on the creator to take that bold step and make films with original ideas.
As told to Namita Nivas