Bollywood's big question: to remake or not to remake?



Poor box office response to Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala, a remake of the 1983 hit film, has made the industry sit up and think about what awaits the other remakes that are lined up for release later this year. The big debate is whether it’s a profitable idea to remake a cult film at all, given the huge fan following of the original and the big expectations from the reboot.

Veterans and senior actors, along with trade experts, are of the view that classics should remain untouched. The younger generation, on the other hand, feels there is no harm in presenting old wine in a new bottle.

“To create remakes has become a shortcut instead of finding newer ideas and working hard,” says 56-year-old Deepti Naval, whose 1981 blockbuster Chasme Baddoor has been re-created by David Dhawan and releases today. Actor Tapasee, 25, who plays Naval’s role in the new adaptation, however, says, “Remakes are a hit formula; they mould films into modern times and have great potential.”

The 1990 superhit Aashiqui, which made Rahul Roy, 45, a star, also has its remake releasing next month. Though the makers are certain about the film’s success, Roy says, “It might be a good film but one can’t recreate the magic that the original had. I feel we should not have remakes, as beating the nostalgia is impossible. It also shows there’s a dearth of ideas.” Film expert Atul Mohal says, “Remake a film only if you can pay a fair tribute to the original. It insults a cult film if you can’t match up, and that spoils its performance.” To this, actor Tusshar Kapoor, who is a big fan of his father’s original Himmatwala, argues, “So what if the new one did not work … I am still in favour of remaking old cult films. Hits and flops are part of the game ... some remakes would do well while some won’t.

Other remakes in the pipeline are Zanjeer (starring Priyanka Chopra), Karishma Kapoor starrer Satte Pe Satta and Abhay Deol starrer Satyakam.