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Content makers tap feel-good stories after pandemic blues

Sony Pictures will recreate Shaktimaan, the superhero television show that aired on DD National in the late 1990s while content studio Applause Entertainment will look at animated stories based on Amar Chitra Katha. APPremium
Sony Pictures will recreate Shaktimaan, the superhero television show that aired on DD National in the late 1990s while content studio Applause Entertainment will look at animated stories based on Amar Chitra Katha. AP

  • Modern remakes of humorous hits like Angoor (an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors) and Govinda’s 1998 comedy Bade Miyan Chote Miyan are in the offing

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NEW DELHI : Filmmakers and content creators are looking to tap into feel-good, light-hearted stories and nostalgia to draw audiences emerging from two stressful years of the pandemic. Modern remakes of humorous hits like Angoor (an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors) and Govinda’s 1998 comedy Bade Miyan Chote Miyan are in the offing.  

Media and entertainment industry experts said nostalgia has always been a great emotion to milk, and feel-good classics will appeal to both older and newer audiences. 

Sony Pictures will recreate Shaktimaan, the superhero television show that aired on DD National in the late 1990s while content studio Applause Entertainment will look at animated stories based on Amar Chitra Katha. The surge in viewership and listenership for old films and songs during the pandemic speaks of the affection for the old and quaint.  

“We don’t see Amar Chitra Katha as nostalgia as much as a reimagination of our classics for younger Indians and newer global audiences. Some stories are timeless and universal, and can be reimagined for new generations. That’s why they are remade," Sameer Nair, chief executive officer, Applause Entertainment said. The company plans to animate the comic books with cutting-edge technologies to make these ancient and medieval stories relevant to 21st century domestic and international audiences via global streaming platforms, Nair added.  

Nostalgia related to sad stories may not work but happy stories can always be revived, said Ambi M.G. Parameswaran, brand strategist and founder of Brand-Building.com, pointing out that new streaming platforms in India have begun to cater to older audiences, including the 60 plus population, in a big way, making these feel-good classics easy to market. “Happy nostalgia is always good to look back at," he said. 

Marketing expert and CEO of Futurebrands Ltd, Santosh Desai said there have always been assets and properties that remain enduring enough to milk over a period of time but also lend themselves to new audiences and energies. “Every new generation thinks of how it can reinterpret these formats in its own time. It reminds you of a simpler time, and you can look back with affection to seek comfort in the familiar," said Desai. Even the original show or film remaining available on streaming platforms does not exclude the possibility of something shinier and slicker coming up without the old, seemingly quaint version posing real competition to the new offering, he added.  

During the covid-19 lockdown in 2020, video streaming platforms saw impressive viewership for classic movies. Initially considered niche services appealing primarily to urban, millennial crowds, OTT services discovered a new audience in the 40-plus generation during the pandemic that turned to it as other avenues of entertainment remained out of reach.  

Lyricist and writer Mayur Puri, also a member of the Indian Performing Right Society Ltd, said the association has seen massive discovery of older songs, by singers such as Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi, during the pandemic.  

 “Nostalgia is definitely a profit-making enterprise. It is the biggest tool to remind you of old connections so makes complete trade and business sense and is most welcome as long as the original creators have been involved," Puri said.  

However, Sandeep Goyal, managing director, Rediffusion was quick to point out that remakes have low chances of success in an era where the original plot may not be relevant to the current audience, citing the example of sports drama ’83, which though not a remake, was centered on the 1983 World Cup that happened before the lifetime of most millennial movie-going audiences. “The consumer has moved on and if you try to contemporarize the creative, you take liberties and not much of the original remains," Goyal said.

 

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