It’s not just Hollywood that shovels up films to be remade.
Bollywood producers are always on the lookout for possible titles that can be given a slight tweak – or in some cases, no change at all – and repurposed for Indian audiences, with added song and dance sequences, of course.
With Warners warning them not to touch The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button without approval, we look at other films that seem remarkably similar to American blockbusters…
The original: Collateral (2005)
The remake: The Killer (2006)
How similar are they? Identical, as far as we can discover.
The Killer features Vikram, a ruthless and well-dressed hitman who, who slaughters his victims professionally and without batting an eyelid. Sound familiar?
One fateful night he gets into the cab of Nikhil, who ferries him around at first without realising just how dangerous his latest fare is.
The only real difference we can find is that Nikhil has a bar dancer as a girlfriend instead of Jamie Foxx’s flirt-target, US prosecutor Jada Pinkett Smith.
Do we recommend the original or the remake? Despite the presence of Indian beauty Kothari, we’ll still take Michael Mann’s broody, digi-noir style thriller.
The original: The Usual Suspects (1995)
The remake: Chocolate (2005)
How similar are they? Pretty close, though we must admit that Chocolate – by the way, remaking it 10 years later doesn’t make it any less copyright infringement-worthy, folks – does apply some interesting twists.
Christmas Eve, London. While the snow-clad city gets ready to celebrate the festival of peace and joy, a series of bizarre incidents shatter the Christmas calm. A couple of luckless Indians find themselves hauled by the London police and made scapegoats.
Or are they? Chocolate unfolds a web of sinister plots, slowly unearthing true and mystifying personalities of seven individuals - seven high-strung, distinctive people who have chosen to remain in the foreign land hoping to make or break their lives.
Do we recommend the original or the remake? You know what? Much as we love Bryan Singer’s original, we actually want to see this one.
The original: I Am Sam (2001)
The remake: Main Aisa Hi Hoon (2005)
How similar are they? 90% according to the experts.
The essential plot is the same – mentally handicapped man fights to keep custody of the little girl he’s raising, even as the authorities try to move her to a foster family.
There are a few changes – spoiler alert - in the Sean Penn version, Sam loses custody of Dakota Fanning. The Bollywood version prefers a happy ending, in which the main character (Ajay Devgan) marries his lawyer and the pair win custody of the girl – from her grandfather, not a social worker.
Do we recommend the original or the remake? We'll take this one, we're suckers for happy endings.
The original: 3 Men And A Baby (1987)
The remake: Heyy Babyy (2007)
How similar are they? It’s set in Australia (what is it with Bollywood remakes and globe-trotting?) but otherwise the majority of the film is near identical.
All three of the blokes in Babyy are womanisers, as opposed to just the Ted Danson character in the original.
There’s also some more complicated love triangle business to deal with in the remake as all of the three men are pinpointed as a possible father for the child.
Do we recommend the original or the remake? The original features the mighty trio of Danson’s smooth charm, Tom Selleck’s ‘tache and Steve “The Gut” Gutternberg. It’s also directed by Leonard Nimoy. No contest.
The original: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975
The remake: Kyon Ki... (2005)
How similar are they? Aside from some basic plot elements, the Bollywood version also borrows from classic Hindi pic Khomoshi. And also serves as director Priyadarshan's adaptation of his own previous Malayalam film Thalavattam.
But we still love this this shoddily written plot description that we dug up online… “Salman, a mad man who kill his girl friend Rimi and is sent to the metal house. In there is a lady doctor Kareena who helps him to get better and falls in love with Salman, but she has a fiancé Sunil. There are twists and turns and in the end Salman dies and Kareena becomes mental.” It’s like a YouTube comment come to life.
Do we recommend the original or the remake? The original is an Oscar-winning classic. Will stick with that, cheers.
The original: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
The remake: Aabra Ka Daabra (2005)
How similar are they? Using the classic defence that they’re “inspired” by JK Rowling’s novel, the filmmakers worked up this take on Harry’s story. And people wonder why Warners gets legal.
"Shanu's father dies while performing magic show, after which life becomes miserable for him as well as for his mother. His mother earns money by doing household chores.
Shanu reaches the magic school, 'Aabra Ka Dabra', located at outskirts of the city and in dense woods. He meets the principal of the school Ms. Rang Birangi. She is the woman who creates fears among school kids in their dreams. Shanu makes many friends and enemies too."
Do we recommend the original or the remake? Considering how much the Potter series has improved over the years, and the fact that the Bollywood version features what looks like a bad Elvis impersonator meets a young version of Brando in Superman, it’s the original for us. Actually, we take that back - that description sounds brilliiant!
The original: John Q (2002)
The remake: Tathastu (2006)
How similar are they? Identical, for the most part, except for the sport the son plays.
When young Gaurav faints while playing cricket, they take him to the nearest hospital in Bandra, where Doctors Nita and Sen inform them that their son is dying until and unless he receives a heart transplant with a high cost. A heart is available for transplant but the hospital will perform the surgery after they receive the money in advance.
A desperate Ravi turns to his insurance company, which declines to renew his policy; his employer, with whom he has worked for over 11 years, can't sanction enough. When nothing works out and Dr. Sen informs that his son will soon be discharged, Ravi gets a gun, holds 30 people hostage in the hospital until his son gets the necessary surgery.
Frankly, we’re a little surprised as to why the film was considered successful or popular enough to bother remaking. Actually, maybe that was the main reason… No one would be worried.
Do we recommend the original or the remake? The original is a saccharine bore, so the remake can surely only be an improvement.
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