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Sequel Mania

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By: Arya Aiyappan
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The latest fad - the sequel craze has seized the entire Bollywood industry by a storm ushering in an array of sequels, with the original and follow-up standing shoulder-to-shoulder embarking on a tussle for fame. The current arrivals the Don, Umrao Jaan which were launched amidst much expectation following the success of Krrish, Lago Raho Munna Bhai, Phir Hera Pheri, Devdas to the other forthcoming releases Sholay, Dhoom 2, poses pertinent questions of how one responds to questions of 'fidelity' to the original and vouchsafe for the same.

A novel idea when transformed into a film the creativity and imagination account for the changes transpired bearing the imprint of the director and the screenplay writer. Sequels consider the question of replication along with the interest it has sustained to vibe with the hype it generated among the audience. Krrish following Koi Mil Gaya, Lage Raho Munna Bhai for Munna Bhai MBBS and Phir Hera Pheri for Hera Pheri probes the audience to make comparisons between the original and the replica, the prior cast and crew to the modern day heroes and heroines. Audience' expectations soar high with the state-of-the-art marketing and hoopla is raised even before the release of the film!

Dearth of ideas do not account for the train of sequels being released one after other, for on the contrary the novelty and freshness that films like Sholay had brought forth years back cannot be replaced by the replica. However one cannot overlook the idea of sequels probing into unexplored terrains of experience whereby films like Lage Raho Munna Bhai with its unique 'Gandhigirism' has revamped the entire concept of sequels proving to be equally good as the original. However films like Hathyar sequel to Vaastav and Hyderabad Blues 2 to the highly successful Hyderabad blues have failed to evoke any response let alone sustain the audience' interest.

Shahrukh Khan's Don competes with Amitabh's original to the extent of actors' histrionics and the Khan's acting talent put to real test. Khan phenomena has to take over the Bachchan essence which breathed life into "Don" rendering it an iconic image spanning years of ardent movie goers.

Directors resort to sequels as a safe bet on their production cost with the time tested stories being newly packaged and presented in the theatres amidst the pre-release controversies. The latest trend of extravagant locales, highly studded star cast, and time-honoured story line is the formula that engulfs the Bollywood film industry with directors toeing the line one after the other.

Duplication is the prime issue as far as the sequel story goes. Shahrukh in Devdas carried the remake onto an edging success with the superb storyline pepped up with the Khan charisma, the raving beauties Aishwarya and Madhuri Dixit as the lead heroines and opulently rich sets.

The recent splurge of sequels setting up new genres in Bollywood has taken the audience for a roller coaster ride down the memory lane. Classics like Sholay, Umrao Jaan have captivated the multitude of viewers with its scintillating freshness and superb star cast leaving an indelible imprint on the minds of the audience over the years and it remains a Herculean task for the new age directors to completely overcome the years of enduring and enlivening experience.

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