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  Entertainment   In Other News  20 Aug 2017  Old wine in new bottle

Old wine in new bottle

Published : Aug 20, 2017, 12:12 am IST
Updated : Aug 20, 2017, 12:12 am IST

With films today running with similar plotlines as some nineties’ films, we explore if this is a conscious effort or just coincidental.

Still from Bareilly ki Barfi
 Still from Bareilly ki Barfi

Ever go to a theatre to watch a film you were eagerly waiting for, and experience a sense of déjà vu? You sit there wondering if you were ever told that this is a remake of some film you watched a long time ago. But it just doesn’t click. If you watched Bareilly ki Barfi over the weekend, chances are you may have already drawn parallels between it and the 1991 drama Saajan, starring Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan, in a more or less similar love drama.

A still from SaajanA still from Saajan


In fact, there are said to be similarities between Kajol and Dhanush starrer VIP 2 and Sridevi and Anil Kapoor’s Laadla (1994) as well. So, if the plotlines are hackneyed and recycled from your ’90s films, how does the audience sit through these films?

Film distributor Rajesh Thadani has a theory. According to him, if the audience doesn’t know that a certain film is a remake of another film, they will always go and watch. “Most of the times, producers don’t let it be known that their film has picked a plotline from some other film. And the trailer is made such that it seems different and original,” he says.

Vinod Mirani, trade analyst, that it could be entirely coincidental that certain plotlines happen to match. “With a particular situation, say a love triangle or a drama, there are only so many possibilities that can be explored for the big screen,” he says, adding that beyond that, there is a dead-end. “Out of these handful of possible plotlines, some are taken by daily soaps on television. That leaves even fewer options for the big screen to explore,” he says.


Kajol and DhanushPoster of ' VIP 2'

Here is exactly where repackaging comes into picture. Consider the aforementioned instances, Bareilly ki Barfi, showing a resemblance to Saajan and VIP 2 having similarities with Laadla. The films cater to a different generation.

Director Avinash Das terms this as recreation. “Every film caters to a certain said generation. Now the ’91 hit Saajan had a different audience than the 2017 Bareilly ki Barfi. There is a proper generation gap between these two movies — and so they are okay with consuming the same story,” he says, adding, “I wouldn’t call this an out and out copy of the former, but recreating the storyline according to the generation.”


Rajesh also adds that a new generation film comes with a brand new star cast that is relevant to that generation of audience, making it palatable. “What makes most of these films contemporary and pertinent is the star cast. With a young and sharp star cast in a film today, youngsters lap up the films,” he says.

Film historian S.M.M. Ausaja instances a few examples of films with similar plotlines that went on to become a hit.

“There was a comedy sequence in Dilip Kumar’s Leader that was picked as it is for Amitabh Bachchan’s Mard. But the audience loved both the films without any complaints,” he says.

He also adds that because there was a generation gap between both these films and a completely different fan following for both these actors that their films sold so well.  


Avinash adds since the age-old “formula” works at the box-office, stories will always be recreated or adapted. “Even though it is difficult to really predict what will and what won’t work with the audiences, there is always a formula that works. The audience has ways of demanding an end product from the film,” he says, concluding with, “And this aligns with the formula more often than we think — why else would formula films do so well?”

Tags: bareilly ki barfi, vip 2, dhanush, kajol