Remakes typically aim to retell an existing film’s story while improving upon the original’s flaws and presenting the storyline with a fresh perspective. However, while there are many remakes, only a small percentage of them truly measure up to the original, with the majority falling short and ultimately disappointing audiences. This article will discuss a few reasons why many remakes ultimately fail to deliver.
Lack of Proper Scripting and Clarity by Makers
Most remade movies have excellent source stories or sequences that have stood out and made audiences gasp in awe. The base and foundation of such movies are solid scripting, without which, we cannot expect the remake to do justice to the original. The remake also needs to bring out the elements of the original that worked well with viewers across the world, failing which they would never accept it.
An example of this would be ‘Traffic’ and its remake in Hindi. The Malayalam version was an industry-defining film, creating an atmosphere of tension and thrill. The storytelling in Traffic (2011) was mind-blowing, with several storylines intertwined as the movie progressed. However, the intensity and thrill were missing in the Hindi remake released in 2016. The story that was celebrated by the masses when it was first released in Malayalam was panned and ignored when the remake was released. Despite having stalwarts acting like Manoj Bajpayee and Sachin Khedekar, the film still flopped. They did not fully grasp the impact created by the original.
Unless this effort is taken while making a remake, along with a formidable script that is at par with the original script, the remake will not deliver.
Inability of the story to fit in a particular geographical region
Numerous stories have their roots in specific geographical locations. Nowadays, many filmmakers opt to remake stories that have been successful in a particular regional industry, hoping to replicate that success in a different industry. However, it is important to understand that specific stories are only relevant to their original location, and attempting to recreate them elsewhere could ruin the film’s impact.
Such stories utilize the location as an integral part of the storyline, i.e., the way ‘Hridayam’ utilizes Chennai as an integral part of the film and makes it relatable to the viewers. This cannot be achieved in any remake of the film because the story won’t fit in the geographical location of any other language as perfectly as it did in Malayalam. Besides the geographical location, the cultural values and elements deeply rooted in that specific society cannot be replicated easily. The same holds in the case of ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’, wherein the cultural and social divide in the film was not showcased in its Telugu remake ‘Bheemla Nayak’.
Nevertheless, some films have managed to do the same to a considerable extent, such as the ‘Drishyam’ franchise. But, it still lacks the naturalness and rawness the Malayalam version embodies. The makers should pay particular attention to choosing stories which can be universally adapted in different locations while setting out for a remake.
Poor choice of actors for the project and their inability to pull off the roles
Several films have been made memorable due to the excellent acting of the cast members. Be it an incredibly emotional performance or one that makes the viewers laugh out loud, these performances remain memorable. When a remake is announced and executed, the makers need to cast artists who can do justice to the roles they are handed. With the plethora of remakes coming in, the casting has been messed up, so they falter miserably.
An example of this could be the casting of Mamta Mohandas in place of Tabu, in ‘Bhramam’, the remake of ‘Andhadhun‘. The impact Tabu had on the film was something else, due to which the character balanced on a thin line between generating humour and being borderline creepy and scary. However, in ‘Bhramam’, Mamta Mohandas could barely reach the surface level of the intensity brought out by Tabu. This is one reason why the remake faltered. This is an example of poor casting choice.
If the makers of the remake manage to rope in artists who can pull off such challenging roles, then the remake would be worthwhile to watch.
The OTT phenomenon
The interest in movies amongst the masses increased tenfold during the COVID pandemic when we saw the rise of the OTT platforms. From sourcing old and forgotten movies to the latest releases that were lined up, OTT platforms became the most popular resource for movies. The option of having subtitles made movie enthusiasts watch movies in different languages. Due to this, the original version of films had a wider reach amongst the public. As a result, when remakes for prominent films were announced, there was a sense of disregard towards the remake. If not for subtitles, the provision of having the film dubbed in several languages when it releases on OTT platforms makes the original version of the film a much hotter and more popular choice compared to remakes. Hence, remakes weren’t able to attract many viewers, and even if they did so, they were still subject to comparisons with the original.
An example of an OTT film getting a remake that was panned critically and commercially is ‘Shehzada’, the Hindi remake of the Allu Arjun starrer Telugu film ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramulo’ as well as ‘Selfiee’, the Hindi remake of ‘Driving Licence’. Now that the OTT is as popular as theatres, the makers should definitely reconsider their decision to remake a film.
Also Check Out: 10 Malayalam Movies That Were Remade In Hindi
While a few successful film remakes have surpassed their original versions, the majority tend to falter. This article has outlined several reasons why this may be the case, but there are likely other factors contributing to the trend. We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject – what do you believe are the possible reasons for the failure of many film remakes? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.
This article has been edited by Izza Maryam Ahsan.