There was a time, not so long ago, when remakes of South Indian movies were considered the safest bet in Bollywood. Just buy the rights of a commercially successful masala film, cast a popular actor with a decent fan following, and voila! You have a a superhit film.
But things have taken a drastic turn in the last couple of years. A remake is not a safe bet anymore, and we have ample proof of this.
Akshay Kumar and Emraan Hashmi’s film Selfie, which was released on February 24, has tanked at the box office. The film finished its first week on a disastrous note, earning Rs. 14.59 crore in seven days. And it looks like its lifetime collection won’t pass Rs. 25 crore. Things are not looking good for Kartik Aaryan’s Shehzada either. The action masala hit the theatres on February 17, and in its two weeks of release, the film’s total collection now stands at around Rs 30.55 crore. Both films will be removed from theatres due to such a lukewarm response from the audience.
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Both Shehzada and Selfiee were among the most anticipated movies of 2023, and hence such a lukewarm response from the audience was a big shock to the fans of the actors as well as industry insiders.
Also Read: Kartik Aaryan’s Shehzada Registers Poor First Week Collections
Both received average-to-above-average ratings from the critics, so what is the prime reason behind this lukewarm response to both films? The only thing that is common between both films is that both are remakes of fairly successful and popular South Indian movies. Selfiee is a remake of the Malayalam movie Driving Licence (2019), while Shehzada is a remake of Allu Arjun’s Telugu film Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (2019). And this is also the prime reason behind their lacklustre box office report.
In fact, not just these two, but almost all the Hindi remakes of South Indian movies have failed miserably at the box office in the last year or so, with the exception of Drishyam 2.
Akshay Kumar’s Bachchan Pandey, Cutputlli, Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan’s Vikram Vedha, Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey, Janhvi Kapoor’s Mili, Rajkummar Rao’s HIT: The First case, Abhimanyu Dassani’s Nikamma, all these remakes of south Indian movies met the same fate.
The primary reason for the audience’s lukewarm response to remakes is the easy accessibility of the original content. Most of the films that are being remade by Bollywood are already available on YouTube and other OTT platforms. Most of the time, they are also available in Hindi for free on YouTube. If one has an easy access to the original content, and that too for free, why would that person once again spend his/her money and time to watch the same content?
Another reason for the audience’s lack of interest in South Indian remakes is that the filmmakers just copy-paste the original content in Hindi without trying to add something new to make it a bit unique or different from the original content.
Ajay Devgn starrer Drishyam 2 is the only exception to this ongoing trend of flop remakes. But the reason the film managed to somehow escape from getting caught in this trend, is that it had already built its own fan base with its first part, Drishyam (2015). The first part did average business at the box office, but over the years, the film became a pop culture phenomenon with its October 2 dialogue sparking a meme fest. And by the time film
So all in all, its quite evident that Bollywood filmmakers should now stop resorting to remakes and come up with new, original and unique ideas for their films to strike a chord with their audience once again.