(Updated: January 13, 2021) Bollywood’s generally bankable tradition of remaking international blockbusters has seen an uptick in recent years despite lukewarm results. Last year’s Sujoy Ghosh thriller Badla (The Invisible Guest) is the most notable in a generally underwhelming list containing the likes of Bharat (Ode to My Father) and Brothers (Warrior). The formula, once extremely viable, seems to have taken a backseat in the face of thriving original content.
Yesteryear classics seemed to do a better job in this space, nonetheless; the late Basu Chatterjee’s 1986 courtroom drama Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (12 Angry Men) and Kamal Haasan’s 1997 comedy Chachi 420 (Mrs. Doubtfire) are proof. Films like these have successfully accommodated the originals into the Indian milieu.
With the unconvincing past couple of years, the culture looks to return to winning ways. Here is a list of 6 upcoming bollywood remakes we’re looking out for:
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1) The Intern
Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway’s extremely soothing chemistry in this 2015 corporate tale of the same name achieved the difficult balance of popular and critical acclaim. De Niro plays a 70-year-old widower who becomes a senior intern at an online fashion website, of which Hathaway is the CEO. Discussed by many as a defining performance of De Niro’s latter years, the old-new relationship in the film was waiting to be remade in Bollywood.
And hence it was no surprise that at the beginning of the year, an official remake was announced by Azure Entertainment. Sadly, the film was set to have megastars Deepika Padukone and Rishi Kapoor as the protagonists. The latter’s poor health had already resulted in recasting, but no conformation has been made as to the actor yet.
2) Begin Again (Remake Unnamed)
2013 saw John Carney (his 2016 Sing Street is a must-watch) write and direct an instant musical comedy-drama with Begin Again. The plot follows a singer-songwriter (Kiera Knightley) who is discovered by a struggling record label executive (a delightful Mark Ruffalo). Adam Levine, the lead singer of the mammoth Maroon 5, acts in the film as well. The song sung by him (Lost Stars) at the film’s close, was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The Bollywood version is set to be directed by Shashanka Ghosh (Veere Di Wedding) and scripted by Arshad Syed (Shaadi Ke Side Effects). While the leads haven’t been announced, press releases mention several modifications in the films to cater to Indian audiences.
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3) Laal Singh Chaddha – Forrest Gump
If you’re reading this and haven’t watched Tom Hanks’ iconic American marathon in Forrest Gump (1994), you’re lucky enough to watch it for the first time. The story deals with a man with a learning disability, and his wondrous travels across the annals of American history. The Tom Hanks-starrer film can be watched on Netflix (it has won 6 Academy Awards, if you required more convincing).
Anyway. Aamir Khan announced that he shall be playing the eponymous character in the film’s loose remake which shall trace notable elements of India’s history through the protagonist’s medium. Kareena Kapoor Khan also stars in the film. It has been reportedly shot in over 100 locations in India, and had completed more than half of its shooting days, when the COVID crisis forced production to shut down. Initially scheduled for a 2020 Christmas release, the film will now see light of the day early this year.
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Sylvester Stallone’s action-fueled films have created ripples across generations. Other than the unforgettable Rocky series (even The Expendables to an extent), his most revered character is that of Rambo, which has 5 successful parts. The first of these was released in 1982, and the last in 2019. Not a lot of films (and even actors) can boast of spanning across almost 4 decades.
But if there is anyone who can duplicate this model, it is this generation’s action-icon Tiger Shroff. While he would do well to improve in the acting department, the ridiculous athleticism and strength he possesses is the perfect concoction for a film like Rambo. The film’s poster even reveals him sporting the now-iconic bandana. The film was set to be released on Gandhi Jayanti this year, but matters are murky at the moment. Siddharth Anand will helm the film. Sylvester Stallone even took to Twitter to offer his support and luck for the remake.
5) The Girl On The Train
Based off of British writer Paul Hawkins’ critically acclaimed 2015 debut novel, the 2016 American film was directed by Tate Taylor. The film boasts of an extremely strong cast with Emily Blunt at the forefront, along with the likes of Justin Theroux, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow. The film, in line with the novel, follows a divorced alcoholic (Blunt) and her increasing involvement in a missing person’s investigation. The movie received mixed reviews due to its treatment as an exploitative drama rather than a thriller. But it was unanimously lauded for Emily Blunt’s relentless performance.
Ribhu Dasgupta of Te3n fame returns to the mystery thriller genre with the remake. Retaining the title, the lead role is to be played by Parineeti Chopra while Kirti Kulhari plays a pivotal role as well. Parineeti has talked about her intense preparation for the film in several interviews; how the process has helped her realize who she is as an actor. The posters released look pretty grim, although it could easily receive the same criticism the original received, especially since Bollywood is at the helm. Nonetheless, this could definitely make for an exciting watch.
The film is set to release February 26, 2021 on Netflix.
6) Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai
The South-Korean blockbuster Veteran (2015) is an action-comedy film directed by Ryoo Seung-wan. It is currently the 5th all-time highest grossing film in Korean cinema’s history. The plot follows a determined detective’s repeated attempts at capturing an arrogant young millionaire.
The title of the remake is enough to pinpoint a viewer to the lead detective in the film. Following the Ode to My Father remake, Salman Khan stars in this film directed by Prabhu Deva. It also stars Disha Patani, Randeep Hooda, and Jackie Shroff. The film’s distribution falls under YRF’s purview; despite an initial release date of May 22, 2020, it now stands indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic.
By Abhay Budki
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A professional writer, I was selected to compete in the 'India Story' category at MAMI 2020. Assisted National Award-winning filmmaker Kireet Khurana for a feature film script and worked as an associate writer for the feature film 'Janhit Mein Jaari'.