Thursday, September 04, 2003

the priyadarshan phenomenon

In 2001, Priyadarshan talked about "being consumed by the idea of directing Shah Rukh and Aishwarya in a romantic comedy set in a mental asylum" (a remake of the Nicholson vehicle One flew over the cuckoo's nest, complete with songs and twisted around to be a comedy). What he neglected to mention was that this horrifying prospect was nothing but remaking his Malayalam take on the subject, Thalavattam, starring Mohan Lal.

The bulk of Priyan's Hindi remakes have been Mohan Lal starrers, directed either by Priyan himself or someone else. Lal is a more versatile and talented actor, and also enjoys commercial appeal. Moreover, Priyan seems to be more at home directing movies in his mother tongue (malayalam) set in his native land (kerala). The best Malayalam cinema seems to benefit from the regional bias and is a little too strongly rooted in the culture, customs, practices and norms of the state of Kerala to lend itself to easy adaptation. No actors in Hindi cinema can boast the attributes that Lal lends to a movie he stars in. All this makes Priyan's remakes stink to the high heavens in the most cases. I wonder if there's anything beyond commercial success and more widespread mainstream appeal (read: any really artistic reason) that compels Priyan to churn out borefests like the recent Hungama. Here's a list of Priyan's Hindi films/remakes, along with information about the originals, and (since this is a blog after all) my rants and raves about either.

* Muskurahat (1992) {his own Kilukkam (1988)}. Revathi carried over, but Jay Mehta did not make even a passable replacement for Mohan Lal. Amrish Puri barely passed muster, standing in for Thilakan.

* Gardish (1993) {Sibi Malayil's Kireedam (1989)}. Incidentally, Dum was a remake of the Tamil film Dhill, which was also a remake of Kireedam. Dum had Mukesh Rishi playing a good guy, and Rishi had made a big splash as the baddie in Gardish.

* Virasat (1997) {Bharathan's Thevar Magan (1992)}

* Saat Rang Ke Sapne (1997) {his own Thenmavin Kombatha}. Pointless replacing Mohan Lal and Shobana with Arvind Swamy and Juhi Chawla

* Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (1998) {the Tamil hit Kaadalikku Maryada}

* Hera Pheri (2000) {Siddique Lal's Ramji Rao Speaking (1989), which also spawned a sequel called Mannar Mathai Speaking (1995)} [early reactions to Hera Pheri]

* Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar (2001) {Sathyan Anthikad's Sanmanasullavarkku Samadhanam (1986) and apparently fragments from Minnaram and Vandanam}. Again Sunil Shetty for Mohan Lal.

* Hungama (2003) {Poochakkoru Mookkuthi (1984) | director: Priyadarshan}

As an aside, here are some Priyan films that were remade into Hindi, but not by him:

*Chandralekha (remade as Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega), although itself a remake of While you were sleeping

The one film I haven't managed to track back is the shoddy Kabhi Na Kabhi (1997), which lay in the cans for a while, and was one of A R Rahman's first Hindi movies (he signed on for this even before his eventual Hindi film dé Rangeela). The story is a rehash of Saagar (and one of the characters is Kacharaa Seth, played by Paresh Rawal, who shares a name with a character played by Shakti Kapoor in Hungama). Any surprise considering Javed Akhtar contributed to both? And mil gayii mil gayii is the same as a.njalii a.njalii in Duet.

related: discussion board for priyadarshan's remakes | Priyadarshan's films banned (June 2003)

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