Malayalam movies are known for their strong and innovative story lines. This is perhaps one of the reasons that lure filmmakers from other languages to look at and borrow from Mollywood to please their audience.
The trend is not new. Many super hit Malayalam movies have been remade into other languages in the past. However, the trend seems to be growing now. Latest in the list is Premam, Bhaskar The Rascal, Charlie, Puthiya Niyamam and Hello Namasthe.
What are the aspects filmmakers look at while making a remake? “There are many criteria. However, success is the decisive factor. No one would take a movie that didn’t create any waves in the box office,” says director Siddique.
Most of his movies have been remade into other languages and reaped success. Discussions are on for the remake of his latest craft Bhaskar The Rascal.
“Taking a movie involves a lot of risk. In the case of a remake, belief is that a movie that has paid off in the box office has the potential to please the audience. So, the makers have a story ready; all they need is to make some changes in the screenplay, which reduces the risk factor,” he elucidates.
“Malayali audience is brilliant. If they accept it, the movie would appease other audience as well,” adds Siddique. Director A. K. Sajan whose Mammootty-starrer Puthiya Niyamam has got remaking offers, concurs with Siddique. “We have got offers from many languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and Marathi. As of now, we have confirmed for Kannada. They have suggested Priyamani for the female lead,” says Sajan, who is of an opinion that strong story lines are the attracting factor of Malayalam movies.
“In other industries, easier way to convince an actor is showing a visual narration than a script penned down on a paper. Compared to ours, their budget for filmmaking is high and hence they do not want to take any risks,” he explains one reason for the increase in the number of remakes.
“With the advent of multiplexes and all, now it is easy for them to watch Malayalam movies during the time of release itself,” says Sajan. According to the directors, other industries closely observe developments in Mollywood. In most cases, they approached the Mollywood filmmakers with remake requests. If one producer likes a movie, he will approach its director to get consent. Then, he will show it to the actor. If he confirms it, the project is on. It goes like that.
The recently released Hello Namasthe got a remake bid from Tamil. “Discussions are going on. Right now, we are busy with the promotional works of the Malayalam movie. We also want to remake Hello Namasthe into Hindi,” says Jayan K. Nair, director.
It is true that the trend is rising. But, if observe keenly, you would realise that only a few movies were able to keep the success saga in other languages too. And, directors attribute the failure to flaws in making style.
Director Siddique whose movies have been a success in other languages too says that remake is a challenge. “When you do a remake, you must think from the perspective of the audience of that language. For instance, if you are doing the movie in Tamil, you must try to incorporate elements that they like.
The movie shouldn’t look like a Malayalam movie speaking Tamil,” he explains the point citing his movie Body Guard. “The concept of bodyguard is not so common among Malayalis and Tamilians. So, when I took Bodyguard in these two languages, I need to convince the audience the reason for the hero choosing to be a bodyguard. However, in Hindi, I didn’t have to do that because the audience is familiar with that concept.”
Besides cultural differences, while doing a remake one must keep in mind of the image of the actor who does the key role in a movie. “While choosing Salman for Hindi remake of Bodyguard, I had his two traits — innocence and power — in mind. That only helped my movie,” adds Siddique.
A successful remake is born when one adds these elements without altering the core story. “Remake is good. It is an added income to the filmmaker,” says Sajan.