Hyderabad, AP India (PressExposure) January 08, 2007 -- The year 2006 will go down in the annals of Indian cinema history as the year of remakes. Besides Farhan Akhtar's Don, J.P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan and Percept Pictures' Jai Santoshi Maa that hit theatres, filmmakers also launched remakes of old hits like Ram Gopal Varma's Ram Gopal Varma Kay Sholay that had taken ideas from Ramesh Sippy's Sholay, Kamal Sadanah's Victoria No. 203 based on Brij Sadanah's Victoria No. 203, Pritish Nandy's Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam based on Guru Dutt's film by the same name and Tips' Amar Akbar Anthony that is a take off on Manmohan Desai's classic.
The point to be noted here is that the directors have added their own twists and turns to the original scripts before making them into full-fledged films. Compared to Chandra Barot's Don, Akhtar's remake appeared to be more stylish, slick and in sync with today's time even though some felt disappointed with the climax of the film.
Since Don was a remake of Amitabh's old hit, it was the curiosity to compare the old with the new, especially the performances of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, that drew people to theatres. The same was the case with J.P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan that was a disaster at the box office. Dutta made the film based on Ruswa's book and had nothing to do with Umrao Jaan made by Muzzafar Ali. But compared to the Rekha-starrer, Dutta's Umrao... was more glamorous and rich.
Percept Pictures changed the story of Jai Santoshi Maa keeping today's generation in mind. Varma has planned to make his Sholay different from Sippy's. In fact he even told the media that his Gabbar Singh was based abroad. And the character of the widow who chose to be silent in the original Sholay, that was played by Jaya Bachchan clad in white, would be played by Sushmita Sen, dressed in black, and was going to be a rebel of sorts. He also brought changes in the character of Basanti. While in the original, Hema Malini was a taangewali, Varma's Basanti is called Ghungroo and is played by Nisha Kothari, who would be an autorickshaw driver. Varma's Sholay also shows an interaction between the two female leads, Sushmita and Nisha, that never happened in the original.
While Varma has already embarked on his Sholay, other filmmakers, who have an-nounced the remakes of classics have still to begin shooting their pet projects. Says Kamal, "Victoria No. 203," is the first 'original remake'. I call it that because Victoria No. 203 was made by my father, so all the rights regarding the script and the story content are with me." Kamal says that the basic premise of his Victoria No. 203 would be the same. The only change he would incorporate is to make it look more contemporary. When asked why he signed Ananth Mahadevan as a director, Kamal said, "I liked the way Ananth narrated the new Victoria No. 203 to me. Also, I was too emotional about the film to direct it myself. I needed someone who would work on it in a rational fashion and Ananth is the right man."
As for Pritish Nandy's Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam to be directed Rituparno Ghosh, insiders have it that the project may never take off. Even Tips' Amar Akbar Anthony that brings together the three Khan brothers, Salman, Arbaaz and Sohail, in the lead for the first time, is yet to take off. Till then, one can just wait and watch for more remake announcements to be made, as that seems to be the fast-catching trend.