With More Than 11 Sequels in Development, Has Originality Taken a Backseat in Bollywood?

Shrishti Negi
·3-min read

Much of what modern Bollywood puts out is either a reboot, remake or sequel to an already hit movie. Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal, Tiger Shroff-starrer Baaghi, and Salman Khan-led Tiger are just three franchises that will soon come out with their fifth, fourth, and third installments, respectively. Plenty of other sequels and remakes are arriving.

John Abraham is gearing up for the release of Satyameva Jayate 2, which is a sequel to the 2018 hit vigilante action film. Earlier this month, Tiger Shroff had broken the news about the sequel of Heropanti 2, also starring Tara Sutaria. Kartik Aaryan will be seen taking on Akshay Kumar’s role in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. He also has Dostana 2 in his kitty. Other upcoming sequels include Hungama 2, Bunty Aur Babli 2, Badhaai Do, Kick 2, Go Goa Gone 2, Love Sex Aur Dhokha 2 and Ek Villain 2.

Meanwhile, filmmaker Karan Johar has acquired rights to Vijay Devarakonda’s Telugu film, Dear Comrade, to remake it in Hindi. RX100 is also getting a Hindi remake, titled Tadap, starring Sunil Shetty’s son Ahan and Tara Sutaria. Shahid Kapoor’s upcoming film Jersey is also a remake of Telugu sports drama directed by Gowtham Tinnanuri. One of the highly anticipated releases of 2021, Laal Singh Chaddha, starring Aamir Khan, is also an adaptation of the 1994 Hollywood film Forrest Gump.

Other than a very few original stories such as Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s upcoming film Toofan, Abhishek Kapoor’s Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, Aanand L Rai’s Atrangi Re, Ranveer Singh-starrer Jayeshbhai Jordaar, and Anubhav Sinha’s political drama Anek, it’s mostly biographical dramas or adaptations that are going to flood the big screens in 2021.

It seems that originality is becoming an increasingly declining resource in Bollywood. However, it’s hard to overlook the massive revenues that these sequels and remakes generate at the box office. The unprecedented success of Shahid Kapoor-starrer Kabir Singh, which was a Hindi remake of Vijay Deverakonda’s Arjun Reddy, and Salman Khan’s ‘Tiger’ series are the biggest example of that. Sequels of hit films have the benefit of being backed by their loyal fanbase. Many would rather go see something safe such as a new Golmaal or Baaghi film as they both are hugely popular film series.

In fact, this makes every part of the filmmaking process easier. Suddenly, it is easier to get financing, to rope in big names, and most importantly, to sell tickets.

On the other hand, when people are not familiar with a project, in this case, a new original film, it takes a lot more effort and convincing to draw them to theatres. It sounds difficult but certainly not impossible. The box office successes of original films like Stree, De De Pyaar De, Badhaai Ho and Thappad, proved that a good novel idea will always strike the right chord. These films benefitted entirely from positive word of mouth that they received upon their release.

It’s hard to pinpoint what cinema-goers want. The average cinema-goer may want something safe because there is a sentimental value attached to that, whereas those who are a lot more passionate about cinema may want a totally new original story.

But times are changing and so are we. With OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime dominating awards season, the audience is getting to witness more original and unconventional stories. They would rather enjoy an original film instead of having to put their health at risk during the coronavirus pandemic to step out for cinemas.