Remakes

vasureddy@aol.com
Vasu Reddy from Chicago

I really love movies.  Always have.  Even as a kid I loved to watch a movie every chance I got.  We have been making movies for over a century now.  We make them in just about every language and just about every part of the world.  From simple movements on film without voice on celluloid to the mega budget movies of today, the business of movie making continues to evolve and also continues to get more sophisticated and continues to keep up with technological advances and user preferences.  All this except when we try to remake popular movies of the past.

India makes more movies than any other country, all in multiple languages.  It makes more movies than Hollywood, in fact a combination of all other markets don’t even come close to the number of movies made in India.  India also has a variety of audiences; regional markets with their own languages, dubbed movies from one region to the other, movies simultaneously made in multiple languages, English and other language films that fill the void for the audience to lap up anything shown on a Friday night, and any other language film, even if it is not something the audience understands, all of them have a great audience in India.  India and Indians love movies and whatever is screened there is an audience for it.

One of the more recent phenomenon in the movie making business is dubbing regional movies into Hindi and releasing them thru the internet.  We have a billion plus viewers and most of them not just with television but with smart phones and internet, the market is obvious for the content, and what better content than dubbed movies to keep the audiences glued to the small screen in the weekdays.

The movie makers have already become adept to various audience segments, and have been making movies to cater to them; romance, action, rom-com, and western, comedy, serious, historical. Mythological and whatever term that existing the movies can be categorized for even urban and rural audience.  Whatever name the makers can give a movie to bring the audience to the theater.  In reality the makers are depicting a writer’s vision to the audience for a couple of hours.  The audiences have many options every Friday, and catchy marketing is the name of the game to get people into the theater.  Marketing and promotions are a major part of the movie business these days.  At least until the first show and then the critics take the stick to the movie.

Our movies have evolved with times, technology, travel, style and adaptation all have been updated as to today’s viewer preferences, and continues to be updated, while the writers and directors try to keep up with the audience aptitudes.  Stars remain a fixture, most of them aging in front of eyes and remaining to pretend to be young and supreme beings.  The media remains the same, always finding fanny.  Our story telling remains true to Indian mythologies, although given a contemporary twist every 20 years or so.  It is difficult to imagine new material for movies, as we make so many of them in so many languages.  The writer’s continue to exploit the well told and well accepted lines, and keep repeating them with alarming success.

One of the things that also is happening is remaking movies.  Remakes are not being limited to popular and classic movies.  Even main stream movies are being remade.  When a movie was made 20, 30, 40, or 50 years ago, the story telling, action and screen play would be typical to that time and treatment.  If it was a huge hit or continues to be appreciated by the current generation of moviegoers, the acceptance of the continued mastery of film making after the years is simply the creative inputs that remain in the mind of the audience, irrespective of time.  Indian audience also have a great respect for movies that become a part of their life, and when a something is considered a classic; movie, music, drama, literature and person all of which remain in the hearts of the people, irrespective of the generations past.  Movie remakes typically attempt to retell the story that was successfully told, and try to make a contemporary celluloid of the past.  This new version of an old classic will be constantly judged based on the original.  It doesn’t matter how much time has elapsed, but the original version will remain as a benchmark.  There is little question that some of the new versions of old classics such as Devdas, made in multiple languages multiple times, have not only retained the originality of the classic, but also integrate the nuances of today’s audiences, with great care.  But majority of the remakes are simply a cut and paste of the originals and neither retain the essence or time of what the movie goers see as a classic.  Simply spending money and marketing can’t deliver a classic remake.  The sensibilities of the context and today’s movie goer’s preferences along with capturing the imagination of a mindset that was set in a different era, all of which along with the nuances of every role, all of which and probably more will make a remake work.  Some of our recent remakes cost a huge amount of money to make and equally huge amount of money to market, and all we see is a reference to the past; a remake of “MOVIE”.

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