Studios resurrect old hits, successful actor-director combos to woo audiences

  • Kamal Haasan is working with directors like Mani Ratnam and Shankar with whom he has delivered blockbusters years ago. Indian 2, a sequel to his 1996 hit directed by Shankar, is slated for release this July. Sunny Deol will collaborate with director Rajkumar Santoshi on a film titled Lahore 1947.

Lata Jha
First Published28 May 2024
While TIPS Industries will release a reboot of its 2003 hit Ishq Vishk next month, Metro…In Dino, a spin-off on the 2007 film Life..in a Metro will arrive in November.
While TIPS Industries will release a reboot of its 2003 hit Ishq Vishk next month, Metro…In Dino, a spin-off on the 2007 film Life..in a Metro will arrive in November. (X)

Film producers and studios are looking to resurrect old hits, albeit with a new star cast and contemporary storyline, and bring together successful actor-director combos, as they seek to tap into a reservoir of nostalgia to drive audiences to the cinemas.

For instance, TIPS Industries is releasing a reboot of its 2003 hit Ishq Vishk next month, while Metro…In Dino, a recast of the 2007 film Life..in a Metro, will arrive in November. A sequel to the 1997 war drama Border is also in the works.

Kamal Haasan is working with directors like Mani Ratnam and Shankar with whom he has delivered blockbusters years ago. Indian 2, a sequel to his 1996 hit directed by Shankar, is slated for release this July, followed by a third instalment scheduled to release next year. Meanwhile, Sunny Deol will collaborate with director Rajkumar Santoshi on a film titled Lahore 1947; the two have worked together extensively in the 1990s.

For old time's sake

Trade experts say there is business sense in building on recall value and tapping franchises or partnerships that have worked in the past, especially at a time audiences are finding little value in going to the cinemas for what’s on offer.

“Reboots and collaborations tap into a powerful sense of nostalgia. Films like 'Ishq Vishk' and 'Metro' hold a special place in the hearts of audiences. There's a natural desire to see how those stories translate to a new generation. It's also about the value of established brands. When you have a successful formula, strong director-actor relationships, or beloved film franchises, they create a base of viewers who are likely to be interested. Of course, it's crucial to have a fresh perspective and a compelling story to justify the revival,” Kumar Taurani, managing director, TIPS Industries, said.

Also read: Why producers are getting cold feet about big-budget films

For Ishq Vishk Rebound, the company is focused on a new narrative that captures the essence of the original while appealing to contemporary audiences, Taurani added.

Film trade experts and producers believe a lot of these films can appeal to a broader range of viewers. They offer an opportunity for older audiences to revisit their favourite stories with children or grandchildren, creating shared experiences across generations. At the same time, they are likely to be successful on streaming platforms, where a vast and diverse audience is available.

Absence of originality?

To be sure, given that they are reboots, audiences are likely to have a sense of the template of the film even before release. “The recall value helps sell the film better. And names like Kamal Haasan and Mani Ratnam coming together definitely creates excitement and curiosity,” independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said. He added that a lot of these ideas are inspired from Hollywood, where franchises hold great value and there is regular recycling of old hits. Recent projects like Indian or Pushpa are being seen as brands in themselves. That said, the trend also points to the absence of fresh, original ideas among young filmmakers, according to trade experts.

Also read: Malayalam films bounce back to box office glory

With sequels like OMG 2 and Gadar 2 having set the cash registers ringing last year, the enthusiasm for reboots and old partnerships is high. “Everyone is trying to target a set formula for a sure-shot hit. As we lose audiences to OTT platforms, this may be a strategy that works at least from a promotional perspective,” Pranav Garg, managing director at Maya Palace, a two-screen cinema in Muzaffarnagar, said.

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