‘Classics’ here is, of course, a bit of a loose term. They’re not necessarily “old” films, but significant ones in context of the changing Hindi-film landscape over the years. Some of them are even contemporary-ish. Given the recent epidemic of music directors ‘remixing’ popular 80s and 90s melodies into moldy dance numbers though, don’t be surprised even if decent films made just five years ago are already being considered to be remade by young directors with ‘modern’ visions. Masala template Bollywood classic movies like Don, Himmatwala, Agneepath, Hero and Sholay have been officially remade with horrifyingly mixed results, but the time is fast approaching when this industry sets it lazy sights on 90s Bollywood – perhaps the most colourful, eclectic and pulpy era for the movies.
Here are five movies nobody should get their grubby paws on:
It’s only a matter of time before the current avatar of Ram Gopal Varma decides to remake his own 1995 tapori drama. This will, needless to mention, be disastrous for everyone involved – given that Varma will probably replace Aamir Khan with jazzy DSLR camera angles and Urmila Matondkar with a Lokhandwala starlet. The thing about Rangeela, much like Satya, was that it was a clutter-breaker of a 90s movie – a genre reverser, back when experiments were not very well received, especially if ‘romantic’ chocolate heroes suddenly put on their Mumbaiya accents. Yet, this film was a resounding success, not least due to the world recognizing the unique talent of one young music director named A.R. Rahman – whose stunning songs lent this film a sound that separated it from its contemporaries.
DILWALE DULHAINYA LE JAYENGE
How do you remake a film that has already unofficially inspired dozens of pretenders and a bunch of self-referential YRF love stories? Given the form of its maker Aditya Chopra (after Befikrey) and Karan Johar, it could just be one of them deciding to take the classic and modernize it with a tadka of launching new star kids. But how does one recreate the novelty of the time DDLJ released in? You can’t. The India then was different, the value system different, the culture and perception of Europe/NRIs so different. That’s what most filmmakers these days don’t understand, when they decide to ‘adapt’ old templates into modern culture. It’s when the original film came out that matters – the era it defined or occupied, not so much its artistic value and commercial success.
ANDAZ APNA APNA
I hear this is a real possibility. Or at least, a sequel of it is. And it’s worrying because Rajkumar Santoshi’s goofy 1994 Bollywood classic double-hero comedy acquired such a cult following over the years (after its early failure) that a sequel with new actors is destined to be judged against a whacky yardstick of humor honest, it’s destined to not only bomb but be a horribly dated attempt at recreating something that was somewhat ahead of its time – or an acquired taste – back then. The lines, situations and characters have become so famous, given the dearth of passable commercial comedies after that, that its fame is a liability onto its own legacy – if Santoshi is so keen on continuing it. As far as a loyal remake is concerned, don’t even think about it. One would rather create original successful contemporary comedies than replicate “the good old days”.
India? Pakistan? Armies? Flags? Patriotism? Fighter jets? This is a high possibility, given the law of the current land. But it will be nothing more than a rabblerousing attempt of political significance, more than artistic, destined to tell a story that has been told 100 times since then but only with better visual effects. Border worked for its time because it was a war film in an era of zero war films and much war; now is not the time to promote similar ideologies, even if Sunny Deol is immensely capable (and looks the same!) of replicating his performance.
KABHI HAAN KABHI NAA
This one can’t be remade even if someone wants it badly. It was so progressive and simple and smart that it holds even today, both technically and performance-arts wise. It remains Shah Rukh Khan’s finest and most underrated turn, and simply can’t replicate the old charm of 90s Goa and its faces in 2017. Because the innocence is already lost. A simple, no-frills tale today will be laughed at. Never mind that no scriptwriter has the skill to write something so novel, yet familiar and soothing for its generation. No modern filmmaker will be able to resist from a bunch of psychedelic dance songs on beaches and perhaps a ‘DJ group’ instead of the fun-loving, eclectic band from the original coming-of-age drama. It won’t tell us anything new, and there is absolutely no chance anybody right now can replicate the iconic role of the lovable ‘Don’ (the inimitable Goga Kapoor).