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Movie theatres in India will bet big on Bollywood sequels in 2021. Starting with the second installment of Yash Raj Films’ comedy Bunty Aur Babli starring Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Siddhant Chaturvedi, and debutant Sharvari on 23 April, there is John Abraham’s action drama Satyameva Jayate 2 in May for Eid. Horror comedy Bhool Bhulaiya 2 starring Kartik Aaryan is slated for November while the second part to action drama KGF, originally in Kannada, will be dubbed in multiple languages including Hindi, and hit screens in July.

To be sure, the franchise model has benefited several films in the past, with the trend stemming naturally from a built-in audience and fan base and increasing the likelihood of the film turning out to be good, explaining why Bollywood has often leaned on sequels. It’s always easier to work around and attract people with known subjects, be it a book, play or something that has seen success at the box office, media experts say. Films in the Dhoom, ABCD and Munnabhai series are examples of successful projects that have carried on the goodwill and curiosity of their respective franchises.

However, several critics also point out that not too many filmmakers in India have understood the concept of a franchise because several of these films are not related to each other at all. The point of a sequel or a franchise is that it takes the characters up to a certain level and then gives the same characters and names, a different set of circumstances, a different world to play in and to take the story forward. Films in the Raaz, Kya Kool Hain Hum, Grand Masti and Tere Bin Laden: series have faltered miserably in the past after great starts.

It doesn’t make sense to milk a franchise for the sake of it, trade experts agree. There are certain stories that don’t lend themselves to a franchise and filmmakers and studios have to be careful. There has to be a powerful and meaningful reason to take the characters and story forward. Only the thought of a franchise is not sufficient.

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