Kannada audiences give a thumbs down to remakes

Kannada film audiences have been thumbing their noses to Sandalwood remakes, preferring original storylines. Vedanth has more…

The Kannada film industry was known as one of the best film industries in 1970 and 1980's. Big stars of other film industries would wait for films of Dr Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan, so that they could remake it in their respective film industries. Not only big commercial films were setting trends, even art films in Kannada made waves in those days.

However the industry went through a rough patch in 2000, when top stars started to depend on remakes for story ideas. With the exception of a few directors, all of them started to invest in remakes. It became a safe trend. Upendra, who was known for his original films as directors also took to the same route as actor. Initially he gave many hits, all of which were remakes. But after initial success, his remakes films started to fail badly.

Everything worked fine initially, But easy accessibility to watch films in other languages, due to internet and English subtitles, make remakes a "big no" in Sandalwood at present.

If we see in 2017, there were 16 films which were remade from other languages. In these 16 only Aake and Anjaniputra managed to do well. Aake was technically well made and was done in a small budget, which resulted in profits. While Puneeeth's stardom helped Anjaniputra, the film met with average response from audience and is out of theatres in two weeks. All the remaining failed badly. Upendra's Upendra Matte Baa and Ganesh's Pataki were utter flops.

The audience in Sandalwood have shown their preference for original films. The reason for this must be the cosmopolitan culture of Karnataka. As we all know, Karnataka is the only state in India, wherein films of five languages (Kannada, English, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi) can generate a business more than 10 crores. In a few years we may also see Malayalam joining the list. People in Karnataka watch and support films of other languages as well.

Those who do not know the language also end up watching the film due to English subtitles. Therefore when a remake of a particular film is made in Kannada, they ignore it. Due to this, most of the films have failed.

Commenting on this trend, Vijay Gowda, an IT employee said, "I watch movies of all languages. I understand Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. Therefore I watch all big star films of these languages. From past few months, I am watching films of Marathi and Malayalam languages as well through Amazon Prime and Hotstar app, wherein there will be English subtitles. When a successful film of other language is made in Kannada, I do not feel like watching it. For instance last year, Marathi blockbuster Sairaat was made as Manasu Mallige. The film was a disaster here, even though it was scene to scene copy of the original film. The days of remakes are over. Audience have become smart and they are rejecting poor films."

The biggest problem with remakes is the nativity factor. A film, which would have worked in Telugu may not work in Kannada. The reason is nativity. In Telugu films, illogical action and comedy scenes are their forte. But here it does not work. Therefore films like Pataki and Upendra Matte Ba, which were blockbusters in Telugu were utter flops here, even though they had big stars in the lead. Similarly in Tamil, we see too many local factors, which cannot be replicated in Kannada. In Malayalam, the film making process is different.

Luckily big stars have come to realize this. Darshan and Kiccha Sudeep, who were known for working in remakes have not signed any remakes for the foreseeable future. Kiccha Sudeep’s last remake film as lead was Ranna, which released in 2015. Whereas Darshan’s last remake was Brindavana, which released in 2013. Puneeth is the only star at present who seems to be comfortable with remakes, as after every two original films, he does one remake. Young superstars Yash, Rakshit Shetty, Dhruva Sarja and Sriimurali only prefer original scripts.

We normally see films of Tamil and Telugu films being remade in Kannada. But in 2017, for the first time ever, a Punjabi film was remade in Kannada. Punjabi hit film Singh vs Kaur was remade as Satya Harishchandra. And the result was a flop again at box office.

But on a good note, Kannada films are also being remade. In the next few months we will see remakes of Kirik Party, College Kumara and Operation Alemelamma in other languages. Rakshit Shetty can be called a trendsetter in this matter. As of now, he has acted in seven films as lead hero. In these seven, remake rights of four have been sold. Simple Agi Ondh Love Story, Ulidavaru Kandanthe and Kirik Party have been remade in the Telugu, Tamil and Telugu film industries respectively. The remake rights of Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu has been acquired by Prakash Rai, is planning to direct the film in Hindi along with other South languages.

The writing is now already on wall. Audiences in Kannada are rejecting remakes. Filmmakers should work on original films and hope that their films are remade in other languages.

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