Karan Johar recently released Dhadhak, the Hindi remake of the Marathi superhit film, Sairaat. Whether Dhadak made inroads in the box office is another story, but the buzz created gave Sairaat a whole new audience on the streaming platforms. Sairaat had a great following on its own, but many people who hadn’t watched the film did so on the streaming platforms. Conversations over coffee had people who ‘had not seen Sairaat’ to those who were ‘planning to see Sairaat on the streaming platforms’ to people who had ‘watched it in theatres and would relive the experience on the streaming platforms.’
In 2018, producers have a new avenue, the streaming platforms. The relationship between producers and streaming platforms has grown by leaps and bounds, with brand new films releasing on streaming platforms within months.
Reboots and sequels are par for the course in media since a long time. Bollywood has famously shied away from making full fledged sequels until the late nineties has now started making them. The first recorded sequel in Bollywood was Nigahen, the sequel to the superhit Rishi Kapoor Sridevi starrer Nagina. That film didn’t work out and anyone thinking of making a sequel to a successful film developed cold feet immediately. It was only in the early 2000s that sequels were made. And that was when some genius distributor must have found out:
A sequel immediately makes the original saleable once again.
The concept has been around ever since sequels started. As soon as the buzz about a sequel increased, cable tv – yes, that old relic from the 90s – would play the original. Those who didn’t have that would play the music videos from the on the music channels, so on and so forth.
Sequels selling prequels didn’t start at cable and neither did it end there. Back when buying physical copies of a film was still a thing, sellers would routinely bundle a prequel and a sequel and sell it as a money saver. It even made sense for the buying customer – they’d be getting 5 hours of entertainment instead of the usual 2.5 – everyone was a winner.
Indian audiences have come a long way in the sequel game today. While Nigahen was a flop, somehow, somewhere, Koi… Mil Gaya became the first Indian superhero franchise. We even have a rarity, a successful comedy franchise in the form of the Golmaal series.
Vikram Bhatt warmed up to the idea of franchises and that’s when the franchise demon was unleashed. Jism had a Jism 2, Jism 3 and Jism 4. There are 3 Murder films and we also rebooted a franchise with Raaz Reboot.
Somewhere down the line, Ram Gopal Varma decided to make two sequels to his runaway hit Sarkar, with the 3rd Sarkar film going out without a whimper at the box office. Then again, Farhan Akhtar, that maverick director not just recreated Don, he converted it into a franchise, and the third film in that franchise is one of the most anticipated films in Bollywood, not just sequels.
Anurag Kashyap created a flawless franchise with his Gangs of Wasseypur. The concept of announcing a sequel and keeping a story half said was rare in India. There’s this discussion that Indian audiences were still not ready for a franchise that was not a superhero, comedy or a horror one. The concept further states that nobody would have gone to theatres if they had announced that there would be a Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2, but that’s just that – conjecture.
In all these cases, the older films have become hot properties once again, and the ones who have aged well have become more critically acclaimed. Hera Pheri is considered a comedy classic, some even comparing it to the Hrishikesh Mukherjee films – surely the mediocre sequels it spun off has added some sheen to the original? Basically, the business wisdom goes like this – once a sequel releases, audiences will watch it the new release because it is a new release, and the old one will have a renewed interest because the new audience wants to see what’s the hullabaloo is all about.
Coming back to Sairaat and Dhadhak, it’s simply an evolution stage that Dhadak will find its way on one of the streaming platforms soon – and that’s when the real competition will begin between the two films.