To remake or not to remake Sholay?

MUMBAI: Remakes of Indian films have been in the offing for some time now. Those of films like Devdas, Don and Umrao Jaan were still acceptable, but to remake a film like Sholay does sound preposterous. However, Ram Gopal Varma attempted it and failed miserably. What’s more Pritish Nandy Communications is planning not one but four ‘official’ films on Sholay.


One can understand the sentiments of filmmakers who want to pay homage to their favourite and most inspiring movie – Sholay. However, isn’t it high time that these filmmakers take into consideration the sentiments of the audience too? Does the audience really want to see their favourite film being remade?


At the risk of “remaking” Shakespeare, we ask — ‘To remake or not to remake Sholay: that is the question.’ asked an industry professional, who also happens to be an avid film buff whether he would like to see another version of Sholay? This is what he had to say, “Why are people going helter-skelter to remake old films? I would rather watch the old Sholay a hundred times over than watch its remake. If they want to give tribute to old films, then they should stop remaking them. We have recently seen films like Naya Daur and Mughal-E-Azam being coloured and re-released for a new generation of audience – that, in my eyes, is paying tribute to a film.”< Page Break >


Just the way Sholay may have inspired many to choose filmmaking or acting as their career options in life, it may have also aroused film viewing interest in a lot many people.


People associated in movie making art/business don’t make movies for themselves; they do so to entertain their audience. So it’s only fair to know whether the audience wants to see the remake of Sholay.


Another movie fan and student Swati Jaggi opines, “If you go to see the fate of remakes – Devdas and Don starring Shah Rukh Khan have been well appreciated. Shah Rukh is a smart actor and chooses his films carefully and the audience goes to theatres to see him. On the other hand, recent remade films like Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag and Victoria No 203 have fallen flat on their face. No body wants to see the remake of these classic films because they have no scope of being bettered.”


When certain filmmakers like Imtiaz Ali take care while titling their films and feel the need to conduct public polls, then why not conduct a poll and ask the audience if at all they are interested in seeing Sholay, in any other version than the one made in 1970s… if at all they want too see any one else playing the role of Gabbar, Jai, Veeru, Thakur and Basanti?


Spinning money at the box office may be considered another reason for remaking Sholay, with a hope to repeat the box office success and track record that the film created. But now-a-days any good, fresh concept oriented and well crafted movie can be a winner, so why touch a legacy?< Page Break >


Another question that can be posed here is why the chairman of Sholay Media and Entertainment Sascha Sippy handed over the remake rights of Sholay to Pritish Nandy Communications and not to Ram Gopal Varma? While one is not privy to the reason for this but it can well be understood.


While Varma managed to remake the film in a budget of Rs 250 million (Rs 25 crores), without even having the films’ rights then what exactly will be the calculations for this approximately Rs 4.10 billion (Rs 410 crores) deal?


“The deal is still being structured by our chartered accountants and lawyers. The $ 100 million includes cost of the franchise and also the production cost involved in making the remake, prequel, sequel and animation version,” says PNC chairman Pritish Nandy.  


Pertinent to note here is that after the announcement of PNC’s $100 million deal for Sholay, the company’s stock price has been steadily rising. While it stood at Rs 74.70 last Monday, 27 August; the stock price was last trading at Rs 93 on Monday, 3 September on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). This is a jump of 22.21 per cent in a week’s time.


Moreover, now that it is registered in the audiences’ minds that Varma’s version of Sholay bombed and that a Sholay remake shouldn’t be attempted, PNC may actually have to go that extra mile to undo this mental block.


Just before Varma’s remake was scheduled to hit screens, PNC and Sascha Sippy made a front door entry through dailies across the country and made an announcement of the official remake of Sholay.


Whatever said and done, the film is being remade yet again. However, what remains to be seen is who will take the onus of directing a legacy yet again? Who will dare portray the legendary characters of the film yet again? And who (if anyone) is going to watch another Sholay remake yet again?



Post your comments here on whether you would want to watch another remake of Sholay.