Biopics, franchise, remakes: Has Bollywood stopped chasing originality?

Off lately we have come across Bollywood happily entering the den of biopics, franchises and remakes. When the Indian cinema was emerging strongly, storytelling on the big screen seemed to be a brain storming task that emphasised on originality. Be it music or the entire story, remaking is good to entice the younger audience and mint money, but as of now it is failing miserably to capture quality appreciation from the band of critics and avid cinema lovers.

For some reason, it seems the grapevine industry has good resources, but in the bargain of celebrity status and turning investments into sustainable profits, our filmmakers have forgotten the core value of capturing reels that actually make one stay on the edge of their seats. Good content prevails, all it needs is a podium and good marketing.

However, there are directors and producers who actually wish to bring in never seen before concepts. Some of these include upcoming movies like Dream Girl, Chhapaak or Brahmastra that have given it a good amount of creative thinking to urge a movie buff to buy the ticket. So what’s killing Bollywood partially? Here’s our breakdown.

Remakes

Films that suggest remakes made from the ones in the past or regional cinema are an exertion of an effort that was already put in while developing the original. Films like Dhadak, Bharat, Kabir Singh, have ruined the idea of Bollywood rehashing content for their masala lovers. Following similar footsteps are upcoming films like Coolie No 1, Pati Patni Aur Woh, Dear Comrade, Satte Pe Satta, and Laal Singh Chaddha that may or may not do the same. Have we run out of way to make films or is this just a new business strategy for producers to make money when there’s no story on board?

Biopics and True Stories

Not to be brutal here, but Akshay Kumar has outdone his attempts when it comes to biopics and true stories. The list is heavy with films like Airlift, Rustom, Gold, Kesari, Padman among others. Most of these films are made in a rush with the singular view that Indian audience is emotionally gullible. Add the 2019 trend of political biopics made on PM Narendra Modi or The Accidental Prime Minister, nationalist fever is another element added by Bollywood.

That being said, there are some who do good amount of research and present it in a convincing narrative such as Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mary Kom that actually encouraged biopics at the infant stage. Also films like Raazi, Gully Boy, added layers to the same concept and turned it into a sweet fruit of sheer hard work.

But is that all we’ve got? Biopics to play around in an era where we’re clearly not short of topics. Kudos to directors of films like Queen, Badhaai Ho, Judgmental Hai Kya, who dared to experiment and introduced India to an open minded cinema that is not selfish.

Our honourable mentions include upcoming biopics such as Vikram Batra, Gunjan Saxena, Sam Manekshaw, Uddham Singh, ’83 (Kapil Dev), Saina Nehwal, Ajit Doval and probably more to be added in the near future. We do hope the standards of filmmaking go higher than just a potboiler of songs and adrenaline rush.

Coming to true stories, films need not stick to the hard and fast facts during cinematic representation, after all its fiction, but celluloids like Article 15, Madras Café, Talvar, Dangal, and Paan Singh Tomar among others did a commendable job, focusing on good research, writing and taking actors on board who can act for starters. All in all we’re not against the idea of biopics, true stories and remakes, we simply wish for better representation when we’re bound to pay for a better experience.

Sequels and Franchises

While certain films do an exceptional job with their sequels, B-town is yet to understand when they need to pull the plug. Franchises like Krrish, Housefull, Golmaal, Baaghi, Commando, Dhoom, and Race are some that had exerted themselves at the initial stage itself, but for the sake of monetary gains, producers didn’t intend to back down and went ahead for ruins.

Is there a way to stop?

With more and more OTT Platforms emerging with fresh and original content, films may not be the cardinal source of entertainment in the coming years, especially for the millennial squad. And no we’re not naming the west here. Indian stories such as Sacred Games, Delhi Crime, Ghoul are some exceptionally well made series one would binge on any day than watching a seemingly flop film, that too at the same price or less.

While cinema holds its place concrete with good filmmakers, it’s high time they realise that the audience is also evolving and expecting portrayals that go beyond real. This also doesn’t mean that all original contents do exceptionally well. But experimentation is the key to success. Some get it right, some don’t. It is not the war of concepts but execution onscreen. After all films are not made overnight with stardust right?

Also Read: Bollywood bowled over by biopics