Kaushik L M




Leonardo DiCaprio said in Inception that “an idea is the most resilient parasite.” When that idea happens to be a film which turns out to be commercially viable and rakes in the moolah, it turns all the more resilient and long-reaching. That sums up the phenomenon of remakes, one which encompasses every film industry on Planet Earth.

Ever since the release and subsequent positive reception that the recent Hindi film Kai Po Che received, the online space has been buzzing with requests from fans on a possible Tamil remake for this film. UTV Motion Pictures’ South Chief has been flooded with such requests and he even updated that he has requested a couple of topnotch filmmakers to see the film and evaluate if a Tamil remake was possible.

Now, as said before, remakes as a phenomenon are ever so prevalent in the cinema industry as a whole and some of the biggest hits in one language are often remade and released in other languages. As the director of cult films like Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, Jonathan Demme said “I don't think it's sacrilegious to remake any movie, including a good or even great movie.”

Remakes offer a comforting cushion to filmmakers for they have the knowledge that the original worked wonders and there is every reason that the remake will also work, provided it is done properly.

This takes us to the crux of the column, remaking a film properly! There have been examples of remakes which honored the original in every way possible like the remakes of Manichitra Thaazhu, 3 Idiots, Okkadu, Pokkiri, Munnabhai and A Wednesday to name a few. Each of these films were subsequently remade in many languages and earned the same amount of success and respect that the original got.

Noted Italian horror film director, screenwriter and producer Dario Argento said “It's interesting to remake a film for the contemporary audience today. I think it's a good idea; it needs to respect the original idea. Don't just take the title and change everything else”

What he says is very relevant when we take a look at the success of the above said remakes. All these films “respected” the original idea, made some suitable nativity changes and delivered a product which was essentially same in spirit as the original.

In the coming months we have a high profile remake movie which is waiting to hit the screens in Tamil Nadu. This movie as we know is a remake of a recent Hindi adult comedy, who’s USP was irreverent content which bordered slightly on the sexual. This movie was replete with cuss words, its female characters weren’t averse to indulging in explicit suggestive sexual activity and it had one song which glorified an oft-used expletive. It was targeted at a limited audience base and had an A certificate, but at the end of the day it still proved to be a highly profitable venture as the intended target group simply lapped up the offering.

When the Tamil remake was announced, the makers announced that they intended to make a family entertainer which wouldn’t have any adult content as opposed to the original and I started wondering if the makers were indulging in something risky by tweaking an original which worked like a charm. Did they assume that there wasn’t an audience for an adult comedy in Tamil Nadu? After the music of the remake was released, my doubts grew as there were some typical commercial peppy songs which were a part of the album. Where did the director get the idea to fit in extra songs in the narrative of the original which was fine by itself?

The original’s soundtrack by Ram Sampath was something out of the ordinary in all aspects but the Tamil remake’s soundtrack was a typical commercial fare in comparison. I really hope the movie doesn’t end up as a commercial compromise, like the soundtrack has. With a perfect cast in place for the remake, the makers could have gone all out and made a solid remake which was true in spirit. But, will their watered down remake still work with the viewers? We have to wait and watch.

Now with talks of a remake of Kai Po Che doing the rounds, I really hope that we don’t get to see another compromised version as the remake. The original was all about a fresh cast and their earnest performances which did the trick in a simple tale of bromance and ‘making it in life’ against all the odds. Kai Po Che was itself a faithful adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s book and it respected the book and didn’t change anything needlessly. It helped that Chetan Bhagat himself was involved in the screenplay work of Kai Po Che.

One really hopes that any intended remake of Kai Po Che also adheres to what Kai Po Che did with its source material. The last thing I would like to see in the remake is three established heroes with three corresponding girls as their pairs and featuring songs shot in foreign locales, exaggerated stunts, a hotshot comedian etc.

Here’s hoping that UTV Motion Pictures gives a memorable remake as well, just the same way as they have recently done with the original.  

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