Lately, Bollywood has seen the trend of making sequels to hit films go on a rapid rise. Whether it’s lack of good writers (which is debatable) or lack of original writings or whether the producers are keen to take the tried and tested route rather than invest in new stories is anybody’s guess. But for now, sequels and remakes are the way forward in Bollywood.

Today, ‘Bheja Fry 2’ is all set to unfold on the big screen across the country. A sequel to the one of the biggest sleeper hits ‘Bheja Fry’ in 2007, once again it’s dimwit Vinay Pathak in the role of an Income Tax inspector with a dream of becoming a singer. And once again, he’s out to make life miserable for others specially for businessman Kay Kay Menon. Already there is a good buzz generated for this film. But then didn’t just the announcement of the sequel did that?

Over the last few years, big budget sequels have been regularly rolling out of Bollywood. But few can recall as to when this trend actually started. For some, the birth of sequels might be associated with movies like the Rohit Sharma directed ‘Golmaal’ or maybe ‘Vaastav’ (1999) that was followed by ‘Hathyar in 2002 or ‘Krrish’ that was the sequel to the mega hit ‘Koii… Mil Gaya’ of 2003 – the year which also saw the Sanjay Dutt starrer ‘Munna Bhai MBBS setting the base for its sequel in 2006, ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’.

For those who think the above films set the precedents for sequels, they might be wrong altogether.  It would have to be the 1958 film, ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi’ which laid the foundation stone for its sequel 24 years later with ‘Chalti Ka Naam Zindagai’. But technically, it has to be ‘Johar Mehmood in Goa’ in 1965 which resulted in a sequel in 1971 with hit film ‘Johar Mehmood in Hong Kong’ that actually set the sequel ball of yarn rolling.

‘Bheja Fry 2’ will soon be followed by ‘Double Dhamaal’, sequel to the 2007 hit, ‘Dhamaal’. This film is set to release on 24th June and two weeks later, ‘Murder 2’ will rock the nation with Jacqueline Fernandez replacing the oomph girl Mallika Sherawat who featured in the first installment. Then there’s Shahrukh Khan starrer ‘Don 2’ in December. The next six months and 2012 will see a lot more sequels hitting the marquee. Coincidently, ‘Don 2’ is a sequel to ‘Don’ which in turn is a remake of the Amitabh Bachchan starrer and Chandra Barot directed ‘Don’ that had come out in 1978!

There’s ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai’, ‘Housefull 2’, ‘Race 2’,  that will see the light of the day sometime this year and the next year hopefully should play big budgeted and big films like ‘Krrish 2’, ‘Dhoom 3’, ‘Dabangg 2’, ‘No Entry 2’ and ‘Dostana 2’ along with some other films lined up. Sequels definitely are here to stay and most of it has become big brands by itself. Commercially, these brands attract the target audience in multitudes to the theatres. Marketing and promoting these brands doesn’t cost much on a wider scale as its predecessors have already created a cult status for the brand. No wonder mindless comedies like ‘Golmaal Returns’ and ‘Golmaal 3’ had a good run at the box office thanks to the first ‘Golmaal’ film that was completely laughaton and a huge hit way back in 2006.

Over the years, even remakes have seen a good rise and it became more popular with the Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini in 2008, remake of a film with the same title from south and Salman Khan starrer ‘Wanted’ in 2009 that was remake of the south film ‘Pokiri’.  Both the films went on to become a phenomenon and set the cash registering rolling. No wonder, Salman Khan came out with another remake in ‘Ready’ with another remake ‘Bodyguard’ following closely. Both remakes of films from south. But Salman is not alone in the remake game currently. There is Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Singham’ directed by his pal and a sequels specialist Rohit Shetty. Even John Abraham is a part of ‘Force’ and appears in a completely different avatar in the film. Both ‘Singham’ and ‘Force’ have been lifted off from the south.

Few might argue that remakes have been happening in Bollywood for a long time. But nowadays these remakes more or less happen legally. Earlier it used to be more of a case of bland copying or as some producers/directors proudly say, ‘Have been inspired from so and so movie’. But few producers go out of the way to buy the legal rights such as the makers of upcoming Hindi film ‘Players’ starring Abhishek Bachchan, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor among others. Some of the earliest remakes as per history would definitely be of mythological films. But ‘Devdas’ has been one film that has been remade more than a dozen times over a period of eight decades. The first version based on the novel of the same name by legendary writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay came out way back in 1927 but it was the legendary actor Dilip Kumar’s version in 1955 followed by Shahrukh Khan’s version in 2002 that rose to prominence.

So with quite a handful of sequels and remakes lined up over the next few months, audience has nothing to worry about where full on entertainment is concerned. Because producers and directors are sticking to the tried and tested formula of making sequels and remakes. A trend which is going to stay around for a long long time. Does that spell doom for new and upcoming writers? It’s just a matter of being patient and waiting for this whole sequel and remake fire to fizzle out. One or two big duds and these new struggling writers will be up for grabs. But for now, the audience can make merry while stars shine on the big screen in sequels.

 

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