Remaking the same vision, Bollywood bets on original directors

What is common between Shahid Kapoor’s ‘Jersey’, Janhvi Kapoor’s ‘Helen’ and Hrithik Roshan-Saif Ali Khan-starrer ‘Vikram Vedha’? Not only are these films going to be remakes of highly successful films from the southern film industries, they will also be helmed by the same directors, who called the shots for the successful one.

After the success of director Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s ‘Kabir Singh’, (‘Arjun Reddy’ in Telugu), it seems like Bollywood producers are showing a lot of faith in the original directors.

Interestingly this is not the first time directors of original films are helming the remakes. In the past filmmakers such as Priyadarshan, Mani Ratnam, Prabhudeva have been among others who have directed their own originals. However, the frequency of directors remaking their own films was far less than now.

Director Sailesh Kolanu, who directed Vishwak Sen-starrer Telugu film ‘Hit: The First Case’, will be directing the Hindi remake as well, starring Rajkummar Rao.

While it is exciting for the filmmaker to enter a new market with a remake, it comes with its share of challenges as well.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Sailesh tells IANS as he adds: “It doesn’t matter if an original director is remaking or not. It’s just that to recreate what was captured once, is definitely a challenge. Also, when you remake it, it will be set in a different location, with different actors acting in it and even the technicians who will be working in it will be different.”

He adds: “I have to retain the soul of what I had created before and at the same time, try to find out what are the nuances of the actors I will be working with right now. Also, my film is very atmospheric, which means that I usually add a lot of entertainment to my film. Depending on where the film is set, I will have to capture the essence of that location. There may be other directors who will say that they have to recreate it frame to frame but I will not recreate it frame to frame.”

Producer Aman Gill, who is the co-producer of Shahid Kapoor’s upcoming ‘Jersey’ – a remake of a Telugu film of the same name – highlights an interesting reason behind trusting the original director for the remake.

“When the original director directs, he knows his story better than anybody else and hence when it gets adapted, they try to make it for a pan-India audience without changing the story and keeping the soul intact and making it relatable to other language audiences,” says Aman, whose remake has been directed by the Telugu film’s original director Gowtham Tinnanuri.

He adds: “Emotionally driven content probably works better with the original director but commercially driven content could be adapted by any director. When the film is commercially driven, you are not following the emotional journey, it’s just a commercial entertainer with certain beats that you are maintaining but emotionally driven films like ‘Jersey’ and ‘Kabir Singh.”

Tamil star Suriya recently announced the Hindi remake of his Tamil film ‘Soorarai Pottru’, which will also be directed by the original director Sudha Kongara.

Sudha, who is currently working with a set of writers in scripting the Hindi adaptation, had said earlier in a statement: “I was instantly drawn to the story of ‘Soorarai Pottru’, the story of Captain Gopinath, an adventurous maverick and an inspiring entrepreneur who epitomised the New India of the nineties. I’m grateful for all the love we have received so far and look forward to telling this unique and amazing story in Hindi. I hope this official Hindi remake also gets the same love as the original.”

While making a remake, the budgets also change. How does a director adapt to that?

Sailesh answers: “Honestly speaking, you exclude all the remuneration, technicians’ fees and all that, what matters to me is that as a director how many days of shoot I am going to be doing and what scale I am going to be doing. Even for the Telugu version, which was my first film, I stuck to the genre and world that I was building. My producers Nani and Prashanti basically put whatever money was required to create that world in the most honest way and I am going to do the same thing for Hindi also.”

He adds: “For me, I don’t take that (budget) as a criteria for remaking the film. For me, creating that world in the most honest way is the important thing and if you work in an organised way you can control the production budget which I will be doing. Because I would like to be called a producer’s director and try to pull it in the most effective way.”