The Indian film industry seems to have discovered its sure-shot way to success: remaking iconic Indian films and producing sequels of runaway hits.
The film ‘franchise’, a concept which has proven extremely successful abroad in the superhero (Spider-Man, Batman and Superman) and action (James Bond) genres, and most recently Harry Potter and Twilight, is something Bollywood filmmakers are experimenting with.
While Bollywood has remade films like Don and Sholay, it is also venturing into sequels. Munna Bhai MBBS had a successful sequel but plans for a third film – Munna Bhai Chale Amreeka – have been put on the backburner. Dhoom is being turned into a franchise as well, which stars A-list actors such as Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. Even Dostana, the romantic comedy starring Bachchan and John Abraham, is getting the sequel treatment with a new female lead: Katrina Kaif. Bachchan also starred in Sarkar and the sequel, Sarkar Raj, but director Ram Gopal Varma has shelved plans for a third film. Farhan Akhtar is combining the remake and sequel phenomena – his remake of the 1978 film Don was a hit, and production on the sequel will start this year.
The newest addition to the roster is Singh is Kinng which starred Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Ranvir Shorey, Om Puri and Neha Dhupia. It was one of the biggest hits of 2008 in India, and did extremely well in Pakistan, too.
Director Vipul Shah reportedly told the Indian media, “Yes, after much planning and plotting, and two years since the first film, we’ve finally cracked an idea that works. My writer Suresh Nair and I are happy with what we’ve come up with.”
However, the film’s female lead, Katrina Kaif, is unavailable to shoot for the film this year.
Singh is Kinng was filmed in Egypt and Australia and the hit soundtrack included a song by American rapper Snoop Dogg.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Akshay Kumar has dedicated the sequel to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The film’s title song “Singh is Kinng” was used for Singh’s re-election campaign as well. Its success prompted a number of actors to play Sikhs as well, including Saif Ali Khan in Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal and Salman Khan in Heroes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2010.