“OK Jaanu?”…. Not exactly! Because I am a Mani Ratnam fan.

 

I booked myself for the first day first show of OK Jaanu today as I am a dedicated fan of the man called Mani Ratnam, the director, producer, screenwriter of Tamil Cinema, whose work is a standard in itself. His oeuvre means a lot for any Cinemaholic; fans across the globe acknowledge his reputation in Indian cinema. When his name is attached with a project, one tends to expect a feel of the magical spell his movies cast over the audiences down south. He has extracted exceptionally superior acting out of almost every actor he has casted in his movies. His films are intense & possess some of the best musical compositions by the Mozart of Madras A.R Rahman. He ventured into Bollywood with his trilogy on terrorism, Roja, Bombay & Dil Se & since then every piece of work by him has gathered respect.

 

I love Dil Se[1998] till date & refer it to my next generation. Every song from this epic is played in everyone’s playlist today; the lyrics by Gulzar saab hold meaning even in this era where love seems to have lost its meaning; “Ai Ajnabi” gives me goose-bumps every time I play it on my i-pod, “Jiya jalle” is what “Lata Mangeshkar” gifted us for our kinds, SRK & Manisha Koirala delivered magical performances….a chemistry so superior that is stands out as the rarest. Hand me a cinema lover who doesn’t appreciate this movie! Roja(dubbed)(1992) presented us with patriotism along with a hint of romance when I was in my teens. Every song composed by A.R Rahman for this movie is history.  Bombay(dubbed)(1995)… every beat, every note of the compositions, the delicate subject & it’s execution, the sensitive portrayal by its lead cast moved the nation. A simple actor/artist stole our hearts, who went by the name of Aravind Swamy & received a recognition in the era of the Khans (especially in the northern part of the country).

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Circa 1996 – I moved to the southern part of the nation & initiated my romance with Tollywood with “Thalapathy”(1991)- Rajnikanth & Mammooty & Shobhana…my first experience individually with their respective original flair. I witnessed the phenomenon attached with the Thalaivva in his native state & language, and it was a part of him I could never witness earlier; perhaps the way he was presented by filmmakers from Mumbai came with limitations. Nayakan (1987)- unmatchable & a rare masterpiece which could compete with the Hollywood’s Godfather. A movie, which is a cult in its genre, with Kamal Hassan delivering a role which has gone down in history as the finest… we had our own Brando!!

Iruvar(1997) which launched Aishwarya Rai in the industry with Mohanlal & Prakash Raaj & Tabu & Gautami & Revathi (what an ensemble!).

Anjali(1990) is a movie about a special child who ended up winning the hearts of the entire nation. Need I say more? It moved every bit of a father & a mother in India.

Alaipayuthe (2000) showed a glimpse of a couple’s issues post marriage & Madhavan surprised me because he acted really well along with Shalini.

 

Thiruda Thiruda(1993), Kannathil Muthamittal(2002), Aaytha Ezhuthu (2004) which he made simultaneously as “Yuva” (his 2nd venture in Bollywood)  & many more to his credit. This is very little of his work I managed to view on the VCD.

 

Then came Guru(2007) which gave me a reason to bestow my respect upon Abhishek Bachchan for once being able enough to rise above the shadows of his legacy. He gave a memorable performance which earned him accolades but one cannot deny the contribution of the man behind the cameras. Ravaan (2010) was rejected by the audience though but I still rate Abhishek’s version better than Vikram’s from Raavanam.

Coming to the remakes of his originals by others… well Feroze Khan did attempt Dayaavan(1988) but it was a “scene to scene” copy.

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Alai Payuthey– remade as “Saathiya (2002) established Rani Mukherji & Vivek Oberoi as solid actors in our industry. I don’t think Vivek could repeat the intensity Shaad Ali was able to extract out of him. The presentation of this version was received well by the audience simply because of the magnificent chemistry b/w the lead pair. Expectations were elevated when OK Jaanu was promised to the audience as an official remake of O Khadhal Kanmani (2015). Shaad Ali has given some good piece of cinema to us, so the trust went along with him. But he failed this time. Simply because he chose the wrong cast & a narrative not suited for a true “Hindi” Romantic flick. He copied the version without adapting it for movie lovers like me who look for all the elements in a movie: music, chemistry, romance, intensity, drama….suitable to the plot yet adapted not copy-pasted.

Mani Ratnam is not any other guy but a reputation. I am disappointed today because the biggest production house of Bollywood is behind its remake. Shaad Ali took charge but he failed. He failed to show me what Mani Ratnam gave his Tamil audience. I feel sorry for my alike, for the cinemaholics, for the keepers of this tag “lovers of cinema”. The choice of actors, the execution of its plot, the treatment…………it all failed me because I did not carry a single “Mani Ratnam” feeling with me back home. Instead I was bored by the repeated silliness in the name of acting by the Hero. He is cute indeed but not fit  to portray such intensity as Ratnam’s actors are known to exhibit. I did not receive a single moment on screen which was worth carrying in my mind. The lead pair & the build-up of their characters just did not present a single/genuine romantic scene to speak of. They seemed with each other because they were meant to be according to the script.

Please do not promise me a remake which is not replicated with a proper execution; especially a one based on the original work of a maestro. Please do not copy-paste these originals but rather adapt them suitably or just let these creations exist as they are supposed to be. “Originals”. Give us dubbed versions instead… for we have loved them in the past.

Sorry!! Not “OK” Jaanus!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Successful Re-makes of English Movies in Bollywood.

Hindi film industry has been majorly influenced by Hollywood & some of its successful movies. Directors have taken “Inspiration” from various renowned screenplays and have successfully adapted them to suit Indian set-up. Some of them went ahead and made scene to scene replicas which proved disastrous at the Box-office. In the auteur dominated fifties, the screenplays & plots were original. Raj Kapoor adopted the mannerism of Charlie Chaplin and Dev Anand imitated Gregory Peck (to quote some examples) but the theme of their movies was strictly Indian. Feroz Khan made “Dharmatma” [1975] which was a visible remake of “The Godfather” and hence the trend of “Lifted”/ “Copied”/ “Adapted” Screenplays began. Till date, barring a few films made by experienced directors, most of the re-makes have flopped. Some notable Movies, which were re-made in Bollywood and gathered popularity are:

1. It  Happened one Night [1934]:

Frank Capra’s classical Romantic Comedy [starring Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert] was re-made as Chori Chori[1956] by Anand Thakur. The story of a pampered/rich socialite, who is trying to get away from her influential father; her meeting with a roguish reporter and their eventual journey together, was presented by the “Golden Pair” of classical era “Nargis & Raj Kapoor”. It was the last film they did together & had an extraordinary soundtrack of romantic songs [Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi, Aaja Sanam, Jahan Main Jaati Hoon etc]. A little bit of “Roman Holiday” was added to the plot, which turned it into a major hit. Later on Mahesh Bhatt directed “Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin”[1991] ,starring Pooja Bhatt & Aamir Khan, based on the same plot, which was a huge musical hit as well.

2. Seven Samurai [1954]:

Akira Kurosawa’s Japanese masterpiece had a plot of bandits terrorizing poor villagers, who seek help from mercenaries. Its screenplay has been a source of inspiration for many movie-makers globally. In Bollywood, “Mera Gaon Mera Desh”, “Khotey Sikke”, followed by the ultimate “Indian Blockbuster”- “Sholay” [1975] were inspired by its plot. Sholay rose above all, simply because of its perfect narration & orchestration of characters. Some major iconic characters were handed over to the audiences [Thakur, Gabbar, Basanti, Jai, Veeru, Sambha & Kaalia], to be embedded in the minds forever. Ram Gopal Verma attempted a disastrous remake “Aag”[2007] where he handed over the role of “Gabbar” to Big B. Raj Kumar Santoshi made “China Gate” [1998] previously, bringing the biggest supporting actors together with Mamta Kulkarni. “Ramgarh ke Sholay” [1991] with duplicate actors of Amitabh, Dev Anand, Govinda, Anil Kapoor & Mehmood was another silly spoof. In Hollywood, “Magnificent Seven”[1960] was a faithful ‘Western” adaptation of the original script, directed by John Sturges [ starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen & Eli Wallach]. Its story was credited to The Japanese maestro.

3. West Side Story [1962]:

The deadly rivalry b/w 2 New York street-gangs, where the best friend of a gang leader falls in love with the sister of the other, was the original theme of this romantic musical drama. Directed by Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins, it became an Oscar award record holder for a musical movie. Hailed internationally as a Cult/Classic Musical, it motivated many directors to adapt the screenplay. Mansoor Khan casted SRK [after the original choice for the lead role, Salman Khan, refused to get paired as a sibling to Ash] & Aishwarya Rai in “Josh” [2000], which was set in Goan ambience as an official remake. With Priya Gill, Chandrachur Singh & Sharat Kapoor in supporting roles, this movie boasted of a song “Appun Bola” sung by SRK in his own voice, and was declared a Hit.

4. The Reincarnation of Peter Proud [1975]:

The formula of reincarnation and revenge was floating in Bollywood since long. Madhumati, Mahal, Neel Kamal, Mehbooba & Milan were successful films based on traditional Indian belief of life after death. “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” was a supernatural suspense thriller by J.Lee. Subhash Ghai adapted the theme & presented the plot in a refreshing manner with cool Disco Music & freshness of Rishi Kapoor along with Tina Munim in Karz[1980]. The dashing “Simi Garewal” arrived as the latest brand of femme fatale. Kudrat [1981] & Karan Arjun [1995] were the other hits based on this plot. Om Shanti Om [2007] & Karzz[2008]  were official remakes of Ghai’s version which stirred the audience to some extent. Movies like Suryavanshi [1992], Hamesha [1991], Love Story 2050 [2008] & Teri Meri Kahani [2012] flopped.

5. Godfather [1972]:

Francis Ford Copolla’s criminal drama, based on Mario Puzo’s novel, is Hollywood’s No. 1 movie till date. The mafia tale has been copied, adapted & loosely re-invented by various film-makers internationally. Feroz Khan was the first director who adapted it in Bollywood as “Dharmatama”[1975] and played the role of Michael Corleone, while handing over the role of Vito Corleone to Premnath. He added Buzkashi, dances & songs and an Indian theme of Matka[gambling] King while shooting it exclusively in Afghanistan. Feroz Khan reached new heights as he successfully focused the screenplay around his own character while reducing the other highlighted one’s. This movie was a blockbuster and was hugely appreciated by all. He made Dayavan [1988] [loosely based on Godfather 2] which was based on Vito’s journey from Sicily on to becoming the indisputable Don. Viraasat [1997] by Priyadarshan highlighted the dilemma of a family where the son finds himself as an outsider to his own background. He eventually sacrifices his independent ideology to take the seat vacated by his father. Anil Kapoor & Amrish Puri excelled in their respective roles. In Raajneeti [2010] Prakash Jha added some plots from Godfather as well. Sarkar [2005] (followed by Sarkar Raj in 2008) is cited as one of the finest films made on Indian Underworld (It is also considered as RGV’s best film so far). The tale of an aging Don with a treacherous elder son who fails & a younger sophisticated son who takes over the reins from him, is the finest tribute paid to the original masterpiece. Aatank Hi Aatank [1995] starring Aamir Khan is not worthy of a mention here.

6. Love Story [1970]:

Written by Erich Segal in the form of a novel by the same name & directed by Arthur Hiller, Love Story is an epic “Tragic” love saga hailed as the No. 1 romantic film of all times. The simple tale of a rich boy falling in love with a poor girl & eventually leaving his fortunes to marry her, has been adapted from time to time in numerous versions. The opening lines from the classic “What can you say about a 25 year old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach? The Beatles? And Me?” and the dialogue “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” are capable of giving goosebumps to movie lovers of all ages even today. Rajshri remade the classic as Akhiyon Ke Jharokon Se [1978]. Ranjeeta received national acclaim for her poignant portrayal of “Lily” while Sachin gathered adoration from all. The soundtrack also became popular like the original movie’s musical score.

7. Return to Eden [T.V Series 1983]:

Rekha’s comeback vehicle was launched by Rakesh Roshan as Khoon Bhari Maang [1988] which was a scene to scene copy of this famous Australian mini-series. A wealthy widow is almost killed by her greedy second husband & thrown among crocodiles in front of her best friend. She gathers her lost courage and sets out for revenge. The screenplay was not tampered with at all & the popularity of KBM broke the myth in Bollywood that only a male protagonist could guarantee a box-office success.

8. Memento [2000]:

Christopher Nolan’s “neo-noir” psychological phenomenon was based on an innovative story which explored the neurobiology of human memory. It was adapted by A. R Murugadoss as Ghajini [2008], who directed & wrote the screenplay for both Tamil & Hindi versions with Asin as lead actress in both. Surya [Tamil] & Aamir [Hindi] played the lead male roles. Aamir went on to defend Murugadoss by saying that he got inspired to write the script after reading about the concept of “short-term memory loss”. It was very well adapted though, to suit the indian audience’s tastes. Aamir built six-pack abs for the movie which went on to become Bollywood’s first movie to cross the “100 Crore” landmark in terms of revenue collection. The hero uses tattoos, short notes & Polaroid camera to hunt for his wife’s murderer while training & reminding himself of his mission. This movie has a rare feature of having been named after the villain.

9. Romeo and Juliet [William Shakespeare]:

The tragic plot by Shakespeare, of children from warring families falling in love and eventually dying in the end, has been the all-time favorite formula of Indian Cinema. Renowned Directors have enveloped the idea in various social surroundings while presenting the original theme of “Love meets Death”. Ek Duje Ke Liye [1981] presented class/cast disparities and also marked the debut of Kamal Hassan in Bollywood, along with Rati Agnihotri. Laxmikant Pyarelal’s soundtrack won instant recognition all over the nation. QSQT [1988] arrived as a breath of fresh air in the action-dominated era. Aamir Khan & Juhi Chawla starred in this most loved Romantic “Tragic” Film. Ishaqzaade [2012] was blended with local politics in U.P and also presented us with a headstrong “Juliet” [Parineeti Chopra] & a cunning “Romeo” [Arjun Kapoor]. Sanjay Leela Bhansali gifted us with a unique version in “Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ramleela [2013]” with Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh’s superb acting, coupled with his superior vision.

Raj Kapoor altered the ending by uniting the lovers in Bobby[1973]; so did Sooraj Barjatya in Maine Pyar Kiya [1989].

10. Macbeth, Othello & Hamlet [William Shakespeare]:

Vishal Bhardwaj is the modern age Master of adaptation. He has presented the “trilogy” of the extra-ordinary “Anti-heroes” and their tragic lives as a Vintage collection. Maqbool[2004] showed us the audacity of the ambitious “Macbeth” [Irrfan Khan] who is torn between loyalty & ambitions; who faces the wrath of guilt. Saif Ali Khan stunned the Bollywood Fraternity & Fans with his brilliant performance as Langda Tyagi, while Ajay Devgan essayed the role of Omkara [2006] based on the fearless, good hearted & suspicious “Othello”. The chocolate boy Shahid Kapoor as Haider[2014] was a 360 degree image make-over; not only did he play the madness of “Hamlet” perfectly, he delivered the fake psychotic behavior with precision.

 

Coming to the second part, which might seem rather silly as a reader, here are the names of some other flicks based on Hollywood Films, only for the sake of general knowledge. I would like to remind the readers that Sleeping With The Enemy [1991] starring Julia Roberts, was remade as Yaarana[95], Agnisakshi [96], Daraar [96] & Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe [2002] starring Madhuri, Manisha, Juhi & Esha Deol respectively. All flopped! And Raakesh Roshan should get the award for attempting most re-makes. Only Khudgarz & Koyla seem “original” out of his kitty.

Successful:

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers  – Satte Pe Satta

Arthur- Sharaabi

Streets of Fire – Tezaab

A Kiss Before Dying – Baazigar

Sabrina – Yeh Dillagi

Hard Way- Main Khiladi Tu Anari

Breaking Away- Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander

Twin Dragons – Judwaa

Mrs. Doubtfire – Chachi 420

On The Waterfront – Ghulam

Dead Poet’s Society – Mohabbatein

Consenting Adults – Ajnabee

While You Were Sleepin – Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega

Hitch – Partner

I Now Pronounce You Chuck N Harry – Dostaana

Mickey Blue Eyes – welcome

Good Bye Lover – Race

Boeing Boeing – Garam Masala

All My Sons/Jesus Of Montreal – Rang De Basanti

Miracles – Singh is king

Changing Lanes – Taxi no 9211

E.T – Koi Mil Gaya

Unfaithful – Murder

Body Heat – Jism

Bonnie & Clyde – Bunty Aur Babli

When Harry Met Sally – Hum Tum

The Rock – Qayamat

Disclosure – Aitraaz

 

Disasters:

 

North By Northwest – Inaam Dus Hazaar

Make Way for Tomorrow – Bhagbhan

Indecent Proposal – Karobar/Sauda

One Good Cop – One 2 Ka 4

Duel in the Sun – Jaanbaaz

Beverly Hills Cops – Jalwa

The Front Page – Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

The Parent Trap – Do Kaliyaan/Kuchch 2 Khatti Kuchch 2 Meethhi/Pyar Ke Kaabil

Bad Boys – Badde Miyaan Chhotte Miyaan

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Khel

Truth About Cats n Dogs – Mujhse Dosti Karoge

Nick of Time – Baadshah

Coming to America – Dil Hi Toh Hai

The Devil’s Own – Baadal

Blackbeard’s Ghost – Chamatkar

Overboard – Ek ladka Ek ladki

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle – Khalnaika

Kramer v/s Kramer – Akele Hum Akele Tum

The Fugitive – Criminal

What about Bob – Deewana Mastana

Blue Streak – Chor Machaye Shor

French kiss – Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha

An eye for an Eye – Dushman

The Silence of the Lambs – Sangharsh

Leon the professional – Bichchoo

A Walk In The Clouds – Dhai Akshar Prem Ke

The Wedding Singer – Kahuin Pyar Na Ho Jae

The Fatal Attraction – Pyar Tune Kya Kia

Liar Liar – Kyonki Main Jhoot Nahin Bolta

Jagged Edge – Kasoor

The Whole 9 Yards – Aawara Paagal Deewana

A Perfect Murder – Humraaz

Reservoir Dogs – Kaante

Cellular – Speed

Love Actually – Salaame Ishq

3 Men And a Baby – Heyy Baby

Bruce Almighty – God Tussi Great Ho

Italian Job – Players

Rain Man – Yuvraaj

One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest – Kyonki

I am Sam – Main Aissa Hi Hoon

Cactus Flower – Maine Pyar Kyon Kiya

The Eye – Nainna

Out of Time – Zehar

Double Jeopardy – Jurm

Notting Hill – Humko Deewana Karr Gae

Oldboy – Zinda

John Q – Tathastu

The Collateral – The Killer

Analyse This – Hum Kissi Se Kum Nahin

Primal Fear – Deewanagi

My Best Friend’s Wedding – Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai

What Lies Beneath – Raaz

Suicide Kings – Plan

Dragonfly – Saaya

The Witness – Paap

I Know What You Did last Summer – Kuchch Toh HaiIt

Watching some of them actually requires patience.