Influences, inspiration or loose remake. Whatever it is, the result is always a hit! Seems like Mohit Suri has mastered the art of bringing the story from a foreign land and then Indianizing it (or shall we say Bollywood-izing it). After all, it caters to our audience which likes to watch interesting stories with nice songs. Who cares, if it is a remake or a loosely-inspired plot (for the larger chunk of young audience) when they happen to watch movies in theatres or now on their smartphones and tablets. They want to get entertained… yes! That is the word that successful Bollywood filmmakers understand very well and filmmaker and producer, Mahesh Bhatt understood it clearly, who is also the ‘creative strategist’ of Vishesh Films (to use a word for better definition in an advertising-packed cinema landscape). If on one hand, he made ‘Saaransh’ and ‘Daddy’, then on the other, he also made superhits like ’Sadak’ and ‘Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin’. Seems like Mohit Suri has learnt his lesson well from the maestro, and over the years has evolved in successfully bringing foreign stories to Indian land in its Bollywood avatar. Although, he is still to make something as deep and riveting as ‘Saaransh’.
Some might say that it is a copy or something like ‘it ain’t original’, but then what is original? You see… what I am saying. Once Martin Scorsese said "for everything that supercedes, there is something that precedes it". Once even Mahesh Bhatt (‘Bhatt Sahab’ as he is popularly known in the Hindi film industry), said that creativity is a recycle bin. It takes a fairly sound level of understanding of movies and the audience to identify which film will work where and how? Movies are also about that among other things, and Mohit Suri’s careergraph illustrates this the best. Of course, his writers are to be credited too. For instance, three big hits of his career ‘Aawaarapan’, ‘Murder 2’ and the recent hit ‘Ek Villian‘ speak volumes about this kind of cinema.
Aawaarapan, which by now has become a sort of cult movie and enjoys a dedicated fan following is loosely-inspired from the Korean film ‘A Bittersweet Life’. Same plot elements with a love story at the heart of it. Emraan Hashmi-starrer has all that too, minus the signature noirish style and Korean ultra-violence. Instead of that, it has the highly-popular music by Pritam and the well-attuned style of Mohit Suri, making it organically ‘so Hindi’.
Speaking about the blockbuster hit of Mohit Suri’s career ‘Murder 2′, which was based on ‘The Chaser’, Murder 2 was a big hit of 2011. This time, darker and a bit more violent, but woven in the texture of soulful songs (remember the soulful ‘Haal-e-Dil‘ where Emraan Hashmi is driving a car and Jacqueline is walking beside). A nicely-made thriller with a superb performance by Prashant Narayanan as the psychotic killer did wonders at box office, and was fairly received by critics too. Mohit Suri’s style continued to prosper.
And finally, there’s ‘Ek Villian’, and it’s also the right time to talk about this film. ‘Ek Villian’ is in theatres and Indian film-goers are loving it! If one has watched or plans to watch Kim Jee Woon‘s ‘I Saw the Devil’, he or she will find similarities between the Korean flick and ‘Ek Villian’. Still, the Indian audience has given a thumbs up to this one, and it is already a success. Of course, the songs once again play a vital role among other aspects. This is an undeniable fact about Hindi films (Foreign films have background scores).
What does it all speak about? The answer might be that it doesn’t only speak about Mohit Suri and his directorial talent, but at the same time, it also speaks about the people who watch films in India. Good stories are being liked by those who crave for entertainment, but the entertainment as they would like it and have grown up watching or have become accustomed to. That means stars and songs are so important, that there’s little attention given to maintaining the film’s ‘originality quotient’. These films might not achieve the classic status in the near future, or will be regarded as a classic so soon, only time will tell. But till the time the audience is completely fine with that, everybody will expect that he continues to make decent films which entertains the whole nation, and people can’t help but keep humming the songs from his films whenever it hits theatres. To a film director, it is certainly a feeling of real joy!
By Shadab Hasnain