Come again?

Once more

Twice over: Stills from  ‘Double Dhamaal’The startling fact is that, as of now, almost 25 sequels are being planned, written or shot.

Till 2006, sequels were jinxed in Hindi cinema as much as they were revered in Hollywood.

But the super-success of Krrish, Phir Hera Pheri, Dhoom 2 and Lage Raho Munna Bhai changed perceptions forever, as these four films collectively topped that year’s hits.

Since then, sequels have had a mixed run and have progressively become predominant in Hindi cinema. In 2010, Golmaal 3 set a record as the first ‘threequel’, if one can call it that. Rohit Shetty’s madcap comedy became a brand when Golmaal — Fun Unlimited did better on home video and performed only averagely in theatres. Golmaal Returns (2008) became a super-hit and Golmaal 3 went even further to cross the 100-crore barrier and become one of  the only seven films to cross that collection figure.

Sequels are essentially of two kinds. There are those that are a continuation of the original story, placing the same protagonists in a different tale or setting, and those which are sequels in spirit, but without the same characters that were present in their earlier versions. True sequels include Krrish, Dhoom 2, Phir Hera Pheri, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Sarkar Raj and two 2011 releases — Double Dhamaal (which did better business than the first) and Bheja Fry 2 (which tanked). Coming soon is Don 2, a unique case as its first part, released in 2006, was a remake of the 1978 blockbuster of the same name. Sequels of the other kind include Raaz — The Mystery Continues, Murder 2, Haunted 2 and Darna Zaroori Hai, all of which were horror films. 

There is an in-between breed as well: The Golmaal franchise looks at the same actors playing different characters, but with the same names and personality traits. In films like Race 2 and Once Upon A Time Again, a key protagonist is dead and newer characters are introduced — a proper sequel in terms of story progression.

The sequel contagion has caught on so much that filmmakers have begun to devise open endings to accommodate a possible follow-up film, as was the case with Double Dhamaal and Rascals. If the film works, the next part is contemplated. Today, this phenomenon is at its peak: Ankhiyon Ke Jharonkhon Se (1978) had a sequel in the non-starter Jaana Pehchana (2011) a full 33 years later. Mukesh Bhatt (Aashiqui) and Dharmendra (Ghayal Returns) are planning sequels to films that were released 21 years ago, even the 1973 movie, Zanjeer.

“At this rate, they will even devise a sequel to Mughal-E-Azam,” quips trade analyst Amod Mehra. Says another trade analyst, Vinod Mirani, “The reason for this trend is very simple — lack of original writers and filmmakers. So, they make either sequels or remakes of classics.” Adds Mehra, “Don’t forget south Indian remakes. Besides, sequels are easier to make, market and sell because of a certain safety quotient that comes with a tried-and-
tested product.”

No guarantees

However, both the veteran observers affirm that sequels are not foolproof, despite their recent impressive record and that nothing can compensate for a great script and smart execution. However, this trend does put filmmakers in a dilemma as they are often compelled by market forces, tempted by good money, lured by ‘almost assured success’ and encouraged by the public to move in for parts two or three, rather than trying out different themes to explore their creativity. A classic case is that of Rohit Shetty: After the Golmaal franchise, he was also said to be planning All The Best 2. All the same, this hugely talented director chose to make the action drama he had been craving for, Singham, and is now into Bol Bachchan, a fresh comedy, though inspired by the 1979 Golmaal. But then, everyone cannot be mentally strong like him, especially when a fortune is offered to continue in a successful groove. As Shetty stated, “I was asked by a child when I was making Golmaal 4 just after part three released! And now, everyone is awaiting Singham 2!”

Shetty insists that unless the new ]installment turns out bigger and better (and in the case of comedies, funnier) there is no point in making a sequel. Agrees Rajkumar Hirani (Munna Bhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai), “We scrapped one Munna Bhai subject because the script was not working out. Now, I am working on two scripts, one of which is on Munna Bhai. Whichever works out better will get going.” Hirani, like Shetty, dared to break the sequel pattern, with the whopping 3 Idiots before even considering a return to the franchise. Says Hirani, “While making the next film, we have to do our best all over again. We cannot keep the original in mind.” Most filmmakers add that every part has to be given its own 100 per cent, though in actual practice, it does not work out.

Sagar Ballary did a near-total rehash and skilled Indianisation of a French movie with the super-hit, Bheja Fry. His limitations came to the fore when he attempted an original script on the same character in Bheja Fry 2, on ten times that budget. On the other hand, despite the lesser level of commercial success, Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt must be lauded for making cinematically better films in Raaz — The Mystery Continues (which blended the topical theme of multinationals exploiting Third World countries with horror) and Murder 2 (which expanded the connotations of the title to include multiple murders and the hero killing a girl even without having met her).

Clearly, innovation and imagination had ruled over just commerce. Says Pritam, who has composed music for two of the three Golmaals and all the Dhooms, “The advantage of doing sequels is that you know which direction you have to take and yet, you have the option of taking a new path. The real pressure is in living up to people’s expectations and past successes.” He adds, “I will come to know the real pressure only next year, because, apart from Dhoom 3, I will be doing Race 2, Jannat 2 and Once Upon A Time Again.” And he laughs heartily when we mention the possibility of sequels to two of the most highly awaited films, Desi Boyz and Players.

Approach

There are also rare sequels that do not have many changes as compared to their predecessors. Music directors were changed after the first Munna Bhai and Golmaal films. The Dhoom and Hera Pheri writers, Vijay Krishna Acharya and Neeraj Vora, took over as directors in parts three and two respectively. The leading ladies are usually changed, with rare exceptions —  the Krrish series and Golmaal series have retained Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor respectively. On the other hand, Rekha will no longer be in Krrish 3.

Date problems also cause cast changes, apart from personal conflicts, like in the case of Sangeeth Sivan’s unavailability for Kya Super Kool Hain Hum, the sequel to Kya Kool Hain Hum. Abhinav Singh Kashyap’s and Samir Karnik’s exit from the respective sequels of Dabangg 2 and Yamla Pagla Deewana were due to problems with the Khans and Deols.

Like everything else today, the media is going overdrive with false buzzes and half-baked information. The slightest whisper of a planned sequel leads to ‘scoops’ that baffle even the people behind a film. Sunny Deol insists that he is not making any Betaab sequel to launch his son, though Ghayal Returns is on. And Aamir Khan instantly refuted a rumour that Delhi Belly is to get a sequel. On the other hand, it’s almost certain that the intended Bbuddah franchise, which planned on placing Amitabh Bachchan in different adventures, has been abandoned after the failure of Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap.

 Other sequels that are at definite stages of production and pre-production are Mr India 2, Partner 2, Wanted 2, Dostana 2, Haunted 2, Raaz 3, Murder 3, Dedh Ishqiya (sequel to Ishqiya) and Jism 2. Housefull 2 releases April 2012. When and how they make it remains to be seen, but clearly, sequels are here to stay.

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