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Litmus test for Bollywood

Litmus test for Bollywood
Highlights

In one line. Bollywood does not know how to make sequels. If ‘Dabangg 2’, ‘Dhoom2’, and ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, come across as our better-made sequels...

In one line. Bollywood does not know how to make sequels. If ‘Dabangg 2’, ‘Dhoom2’, and ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, come across as our better-made sequels then you can well imagine the quality of sequels Bollywood has dished. Most of them have turned out to be disasters compared to the first like ‘Nigahein’ and ‘Ghayal Returns’. In fact, some of them are called a ‘Raaz 2’ or a ‘Murder 2’ only to cash in on the success of the first big hit. There is no story connection between the new and the old movie. Therefore at least a ‘Dabangg 2’ or a ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, come across as better made or epic sequels.

We cannot put Anurag Kashyap’s very well made ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ because that one was actually made as a five-hour movie, which was then edited to two parts to make it watchable. By and large Bollywood has delivered dud sequels, our writers or those who insist on writing the sequels simply do not have it in them to give us a ‘The Godfather 2’ or ‘Terminator 2’ kind of sequels, where at times the original, no less a classic, fades out in front of the sequel.

So in that sense ‘Aksar 2’ and ‘Fukrey Returns’ are two notable attempts from Bollywood in trying to get its sequels record straight. However, half the battle seems to be lost already. ‘Aksar 2’ as is evident from the trailer itself is not a sequel. It is just a trick to drive some revenue from the success of the first avatar, which is now remembered more for Himesh Reshammiya's loud and B-grade effort called “Jhalak Dikhla Jaa”.

This one has Zareen Khan, who is now becoming this decade’s answer to Mallika Sherawat and should this one hit the bull's eye at the box office it will make Zareen Khan typecast in a bracket, where I don’t know how comfortable she will be in the long run. Whatever be the end result ‘Aksar 2’ has a different story, different characters and it does not carry the story forward. Therefore it remains a movie franchise. The primary premise of this movie remains what is evident from the trailer. However, sense of fair play says we should wait till it is released it might have a good story to tell – you never really know.

Better hope, of course, is from ‘Fukrey Returns’, the bunch of four golden-hearted middle-class Delhi boys, who did get a happy ending in the first part. In fact, this one is the first hardcore sequel to come out from Bollywood. If ‘Sholay’ were to ever have a sequel the most logical outcome would be Gabbar walking out of the jail and once again gunning for Thakur and Veeru.

‘Fukrey Returns’ takes an exactly the same plot point as we are told in the trailer. Bholi, the nemesis of the foursome is back and she wants to get back at the boys as it was they, who were responsible for her prison trip. The plot has all the main narrative points of the first one like Chucha’s crush on Bholi, in fact, we are told his gifts have evolved and he now can see the future too.

Will ‘Fukrey Returns’ have the same dark humour as the first one? Will it carry the same local Delhi flavour in this one? Most important will it have the same mingling of fates and plot points and unexpected twists as we had in the first one? These are the questions to which if the director has the right answers then in a thin list of quality Bollywood sequels ‘Fukrey Returns’ will find a place.

Whatever be the outcome you cannot rule out one fact about Bollywood that its biggest surprises usually come out of nowhere and if I were to predict one season, where Bollywood surprises us it is winter. Some of Bollywood’s most remarkable trendsetters have come in winters. ‘Aksar’ was a surprise hit so was ‘Fukrey’.
My personal bet is on ‘Fukrey Returns’ and let's hope it raises the bar a little higher for an industry, which despite being one of the biggest showbiz producers in the world, somehow still does not know how to make sequels.

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