Bollywood is infamous for terrible sequels. The makers have, most times, exploited the concept for commercial gains to ride on the popularity of their prequels. But there are a handful few sequels that have not only lived up to expectations but also opened up possibilities for further storytelling. Here are 5 successful Bollywood franchises that not only raked in numbers but won audiences’ hearts.
Director: Shashank Khaitan
Both the films in the franchise have had a great run critically and commercially. They’re light, breezy entertainers you can afford several viewings of, without getting bored.
Debut director Shashank Khaitaan hit all the right notes, keeping us involved in the proceedings throughout. The humor is never overdone or repetitive.
A modern spin on the classic DDLJ, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania has all the elements of a Bollywood romance. Varun Dhawan and Ali Bhatt share a warm, easy chemistry that’s visible in their performances and have you rooting for them and their love story. The entire cast brilliantly supports the film. Ashutosh Rana is a perfect foil as the antagonist father in the follow-up Badrinath Ki Dulhania.
This is mainstream Bollywood romcom done right.
There’s been much talk about the third film in the Dulhania franchise but here’s what the director said in a recent interview. “I’ve not consciously sat down to write it. Sometimes Varun, Alia and I have come up with an idea to immediately realise it’s a bad one, and we shouldn’t be stupid. It’s taken a lot of work to create this loved franchise. We want to come with honesty and not make it to cash in on the franchise.”
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
The Munnabhai franchise is an amazing satire on society today that values money over morals. It takes up the concept of fulfilment in life and pits it against academic and societal success.
Its comedy style is poignant and hard-hitting, and its often over-the-top tone lends itself to a very unique juxtaposition of the ideal and the material.
Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi share great chemistry. Together, they’re like a house on fire. The comedy is often coupled with a slew of emotional scenes, which makes the payoff even more satisfying.
The third film in the franchise Munnabhai Chale Amrika has been long overdue. But Rajkumar Hirani confirmed in an interview recently that the script they had written didn’t match up to the first two films. They’re now working on a different idea. When that materializes is an altogether different story.
Watch Munna Bhai MBBS on Netflix >>
Watch Lage Raho Munna Bhai on Netflix >>
Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Ishqiya is a story about two runaway criminals. The action-packed romantic drama comprises of poetry, guns, romance, violence and obviously, love. With an ensemble cast, this movie is a fine contemporary work as it exuberates true love while keeping the setting modern and original.
A roaring debut by Abhishek Chaubey, both the films rest on terrific writing and are equally well performed (Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Madhuri Dixit, Huma Qureshi, Vijay Raaz). Not underestimating the script’s potential but any lesser actors wouldn’t quite have delivered the same end result.
The two Ishqiya films have given us Naseeruddin Shah in a different light than what we are used to seeing him in. But here too, he excels in his portrayal of a criminal anti-hero as he becomes the character he is given to play, encompassing all the shades of the character’s psychology and personality. The subtle accent change can easily go unnoticed and that is what is brilliant about this portrayal – the things he does deliberately also seem to be quite natural. A perfect fit for the role, Madhuri Dixit as Begham Para is the epitome of grace and charm.
2. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Gangs of Wasseypur doesn’t exactly fall in this category. It was originally made as a 5-hour film but no theatre agreed to run it for its 319-minute runtime. It was, therefore, released in two parts. Nevertheless the audiences got a film that was Kashyap’s best work to-date.
The story spans close to seven decades and chronicles the dominance between warring factions in the small, coal-rich town of Wasseypur.
The novel-style storytelling deals with themes like political corruption, family legacy, revenge, cultural strife, etc. It all starts with a mogul Ramadhir Singh deciding to kill a notorious outlaw named Shahid Khan.
The first part focuses on Shahid’s son, Sardar, who vows to avenge his father’s death. In the second part Sardar’s four sons get embroiled in a conflict with the enraged Qureshi clan.
The scope and ambition with which Kashyap treats this saga of betrayal and deceit is much subtle and deeper than the usual rise-and-fall arc. Kashyap’s visual acuity sets stage for some of the best set-pieces in this gangster thriller.
For all its stomach-churning violence, gore and profanities, the characters and dramatic scenes are effectively realized.
Altogether, it’s a perfect mix of history, social commentary, and crime-genre entertainment.
Director: S.S. Rajamouli
I am in absolute awe of the Bahubali adventure, the scale and magnificence of its production design and the power and audacity of the imagination of its creator, SS Rajamouli. The fantastical cinematic extravaganza makes you more than suspend disbelief. It takes you to the realm of the possible: gigantic waterfalls, a mythical kingdom, a rising to the clouds city, water to air transport, palace intrigues, unusual war sequences and so much more.
All choreographed and shot with such dexterity that it makes you marvel at human prowess and skill.
Kreem’s music is spellbinding and trance-inducing.
Indian cinema has seen or experienced nothing like this celestial madness.
I hope that one day soon Rajamouli can pack in these two parts into one glorious film of three hours, subtitle it in English and expose the global audiences to the magic of Indian cinema.
This is magic surrealism and superhero ethos rolled into one mind-blowing journey. And it is more than that.
Awesome all the way, overwhelming in most parts and extraordinary from conception to execution.
There we are!
Your turn! What did we miss? Tell us your favourite sequels or the best franchises to have come out of Bollywood in the comments below.