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It's sequel time, folks!
Subhash K Jha
It could be the most brilliant stroke of 'look'.
Subtitling J P Dutta's new film LoC as Border-2 could perhaps be the biggest crowd-wooing device in the history of commercial Hindi cinema.
"That was my father-in-law's idea," smiles JP's ever-efficient ever-grinning wife Bindiya. "He thinks viewers in B and C centres would love the idea of revisiting Border. JP and I saw the wisdom of that opinion. So we had no hesitation in adding Border-2 to the title."
If we see J P Dutta's new war epic as a sequel to Border, then LoC would be a path breaker in more ways than one.
Out in West sequels, and sequels to sequels are a dime-a-dozen. Some of them have even gone on to win bigger and more attractive recognition than the original film. Godfather-2 is a prime example.
A series of sequels such as the Dirty Harry and Die Hard films saw the rise of stars like Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis to super-stardom.
However, in India, sequels have never been a hot box office proposition.
Raj Kapoor had the script, cast and some music for three more chapters comprising a novel 4-hour sequel to Mera Naam Joker.
Next Harmesh Malhotra did try to put together a sequel to his gigantic turnstile-tempest Nagina.
But Nigaahen, as the sequel was called, just didn't click in spite of Sridevi reprising her role and Sunny Deol replacing Rishi Kapoor. Nigaahen just didn't make hissss-tory.
Prakash Mehra toyed with the idea of a sequel to Zanjeer, but hastily dropped the idea when Jaya Bachchan vehemently opposed it, arguing that there were a chain of Zanjeer's since the original, which made the notion of a sequel redundant.
More recently veteran producer G P Sippy got a brain wave. He decided to revive the sagging fortunes of his once-illustrious banner by announcing a sequel to the historic hit Sholay.
"No way!" said the sensible and pragmatic Ramesh Sippy. Old man Sippy still decided to hold a grand Sholay-2 announcement, hoping that he would rope in another top notch director, thereby overlooking one important rule of a sequel: it only works through the vision and continuity of the original director.
A number of hotshot movie makers were approached to bell the cat.
Sippy Senior's script for the proposed sequel demanded that Amjad Khan's son Shadaab Khan play Gabbar Singh's son begotten from the character played by Helen (remember Mehbooba o mehbooba).
Whether the other progenies of the original cast from Sholay would have complied with Mr Sippy's game plan is a 'mute' point, since Sholay-2 was silenced even before the bugles blew the title in the wind.
Off and on I kept hearing about plans for sequels. Not too long ago producer Feroz Nadiadwala planned to team up with Priyadarshan all over again for a sequel to last year's hit comedy Hera Pheri.
Apparently the germ of a follow up came about from the locked room in landlord Paresh Rawal's house in Hera Pheri containing costumes of an actor who had absconded without paying rent.
"We did toy with this idea of taking Hera Pheri ahead for while," reveals its leading man Akshay Kumar. "But gave up."
The one director who has finally decided to not give up is Mahesh Manjrekar. For a while now Manjrekar has been nursing and nurturing dreams of making a sequel to his path breaking Vaastav. No one believed he would really get down to making a sequel until Mahesh finally went on the floors last month.
"The new film called Pratibimb takes up the story from where Vaastav left off. Sanjay Dutt plays his own son, now looking after the family business.
Namrata Shirodkar reprises her original role of the Dutt's wife, but dies midway through the film. Shilpa Shetty is the junior Dutt's wife who thoroughly disapproves of her husband's nefarious activities.
One of Mahesh Manjrekar's favourite Sachin Khedeker is cast as Sanjay Dutt's trusted friend and lieutenant while another Manjrekar favourite Shivaji Satam is cast in the same role as the original.
Interestingly television star Anoop Soni gets his first major big-screen break as the main villain of the piece. Soni plays the son of the character played by Jack Gaud in the original.
The script sounds stunningly original, and if Pratibimb works the floodgates for sequels would be opened up like never before. Kamal Haasan is seriously toying with the idea of a sequel to his monumental Thevar Magan.
If he takes the lead, can the rest of the movie-making fraternity be far behind?
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