HIMMATWALA and reality check on remakes

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It had to happen one day or the other, fortuitously or otherwise it has happened with HIMMATWALA, which has clearly shown a mirror to the producers and directors of the world of Hindi cinema that indeed the supposedly safe option of making a remake of a hit film from the past is not the surest way to make a film a commercially successful proposition.

HIMMATWALA and reality check on remakes

One could argue that remakes have been successful by giving the example of DEVDAS  which has been made thrice over. But the moot point is DEVDAS could succeed as it was based on a literary work, and a work of literature provides ample scope for a director to interpret it in his own way. William Shakespeare’s copious volumes of work, that continue to inspire scores of producers and directors around the world including India is a living testimony to this proposition, Vishal Bharadwaj, being the most passionate fans of Shakespeare and continue to getting inspired from his work.

The template of remaking has been successful in the case, otherwise when films successful in a different language from India have been adopted by the world of Hindi cinema, and off-late this has become one template which has reaped handsome dividends for the filmmakers at the box office. But to extend the premise and start making remake of successful films from past under the anticipation that the reflected glory of the past would rub off some sheen on the new interpretation as well, is not coming good.


Ram Gopal Verma had tried it with SHOLAY which he made as RAMGOPAL VERMA KI AAG but the fire could not be kindled and it was a non-starter. There was a DON which was a success, but an UMRAO JAAN fell flat on the face, or for that matter the remake of KARZ, one of the most successful films from the past, where Himesh Reshammiya tried to play a Rishi Kapoor and the film was rejected by the fans, or for that matter remake of VICTORIA NO.203 , which also fell flat on the face. As a matter of fact Ram Gopal Verma could be one of those directors who after facing abject failure in RAM GOPAL VARMA KE AAG , still went on to remake his magnum opus SHIVA with the same name where Mohit Ahlawat tried to enact the role of SHIVA and the tandav of fans against it, made the filmmakers eat a humble pie.

With the all round of criticism of HIMMATWALA remade, what portent does it hold for more such remake films which are releasing shortly, and include CHASHME BADDOOR, ZANJEER where quite a lot is at stake. The underlining point is that it is not the norm – in cinematic lexicon name adopted of a successful film from the past- that would ensure box office success. Success would only be ensured if there is an element of novelty in the content, HIMMATWALA has underlined the fact that one cannot just transpose the content of two-three decades ago, retouch it and present it to the audience as a new product. The audience is not going to accept it. Hope Sajid Khan and those of his ilk who are trying to follow this template listen and induce necessary corrections in their film making process.

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