Saturday, July 23, 2011

No substance

"Dance step involving shaping his hands like the claws of a tiger" 

"When he bashes up people, he mimics the big cat, pawning with his fists while the background score roars"

These two statements summed up what one should expect from the Hindi movie 'Singham'. This movie is a remake of the Tamil super hit 'Singam' which means Lion. Now I fail to understand why the Hindi movie went by the same name. 'Singham' does not mean Lion in Hindi. Yet, the hero's body language and behavior seems to mimic the big cat as mentioned in the movie review. And whats with that extra H there? Numerology? Hmm..Anyway this post is not about the movie.

Its about the remake culture. Lack of creativity and independent thinking seems to be the cause for remakes. Yet, take a close look; directors are creative for all the wrong things - introducing a lion-ish body language or the signature hair-cut of Salman Khan in Tere Naam which was a remake of Tamil cult Sethu.

Put in the unwanted, airbrush the original plot and what you finally get is a messy potpourri; often making audience wonder what the heck was so great in the original movie that it vouched a remake. Its misguiding the audience; isnt it? The originality is lost; so is the opportunity of watching what is in fact a good movie; thereby encouraging a mass wrong opinion about the quality of originals.

There are really good South Indian movies - with wonderful story lines sans the glamor and the convention of how a hero/heroine should be.  Concentrating on the looks and the setting of the movie while forging the story line, script and the character doesnt spell success. Few things are best left in its original state - you can remake a movie but cant remake the character; the dialogues, the timings, the slang, the authenticity.

So then how about dubbing them? Thats insane. Have you watched an English movie in Hindi or Tamil or any vernacular? It will be amusing; if you want a good laugh; watch a dubbed English movie. I recently happen to watch Hindi remake of Sivaji for few minutes. I felt sad; sad because of what the Hindi audience missed. A real good movie seemed crappy. The conversation between the hero and the comedian was reconstructed so pathetically that it wont be wrong if people walked out of the cinema hall and wondered for what good reason was the movie successful in South India.

The dialogues were all below average, the timing totally haywire, the dubbed voice too pathetic to hear; it was sad. If this is one case, there are other cases where the dialogues are copied verbatim in other languages.

Ultimately, the audience are at loss; pay to watch a potential good remake and come out disappointed.


  1. Super Insignia as always. Many Indian (Tamil) movies are based on Hollywood movies. For example, Rajni Kanth’s Arunachalam is pure copy of Brewster’s Million. As you rightly said it is fun to watch dubbed movie, especially English movies in Tamil.

    I am glad at last a few Tamil words are incorporated in Hindi. It used to be South Indians used to humm Hindi Songs. Ever since A. R. Rahman came out with Chinna Chinna Aasai, there is a turnaround.

  2. Another example is Avvai Shanmugi (Hindi: Chachi 420). Exact copy from Hollywood movie, Mrs. Doubtfire. But they denied this. They argued that Avvai Shanmugi has 7 songs and Mrs. Doubtfire has no songs. Therefore, they did not copy.

  3. B, You certainly are intelligent, even though your watching these movies - remake- dubbed versions may question that.
    Then why do you waste your time in watching the SalmanKhans ( who were born with 6 packs)and the likes?
    Don't you have better things to do like sitting under the shower?
    Certain things and people are incorrigible, so B leave them and their fantasies aside. Mercifully Hindi movies moved away from the oft beaten theme of lost children and widowed mothers . My generation was constantly fed on those stereo typed stories.

    If you can download or manage from somewhere watch the English movie of the 1950's "Inherit The Wind".
    That is just one of the many In can suggest. Dont miss that.

  4. Ah all dubbed movies are ruined in a way or the other isn't it? Watch Harry Potter and just LOL. Moaning Myrtle become Mayoos Meena. I am avoiding the houses' names. Heh.

    And actually, the originality has gone bonkers nowadays. Only remakes and all. Sigh.

    And Singh means Lion in Hindi, adding m makes it Sanskrit-ish. Probably that's why.

  5. I have enjoyed some of the best regional movies with English subtitles in Doordarshan .DD used to telecast them on Sunday afternoons.Right before the movie the announcer would narrate the story of the movie in short .To my delight i caught few minutes of another such movie last week (not sure of the day though) ,i had no idea that DD still telecasts them.Watching a dubbed or a remake is not as enjoyable.Loved your post as always
    Have a nice Sunday B:)

  6. Even I was wondering why the name is singham ? Yeah,I agree that most of the so called remakes are pathetic.Especially for us who have already seen originals.This movie 'Sivaji' in fact is the remake of malayalam movie 'katha parayumbol'.To tell you my opinion,it's not worked out well even for sivaji,and the other one 'billu barber 'is pathetic too.

    Now there are of course certain good movie remakes in India, of English movies.One such commercial hit was 'pyar to hona hi thaa' and 'Avvai shanmughi'.But as you mentioned here,all such successes are been well worked on script.

    Malayalam Director Priyadarsan is the prophet of re-makers in Hindi.Since he is jus remaking hit malayalam movies to Hindi,nothing really bothers.But his scripts are well worked.For example even a simple dialogue usually we see in Malayalam movies showing male dominance,he just erase them too.All fine.But there what matters is characters.If you see Mohanlal in Manichithrathazhu and Akshay Kumar in it's remake,we can't just concentrate.It's not that Akshay is a silly actor.But the vivid style change and dialogue delivery,I mean none can do that.

    What we really need to think is,we have problem with good writers.We don't have good stories or subjects to tell.May be the reason why we depend on someone's work.And in Malayalam the trend now is remaking the old Malayalam movies..Pathetic.Isn't it ?

  7. @ Abhinav, LOL @ mayus Meena :P I have seen Harry potter movies in hindi too many times on pogo, as i am a huge fan :P and you are right about singham too

    Insignia, they have used Marathi name here - Bairao Singham. Not hindi too. So an original tamil movie is re-made in hindi by giving it a marathi title. we are truly seculear!

    with great movies like Sivaji, if they translate it as it is, it won't be nice as hindi movies are different. the audience has different taste altogether. a hindi hit won't do too well in south maybe as they don't enjoy such style. Maybe that's what they have tried in case of Singham - giving it a bollywoodish touch for that kind of audience.

    we talk about copying hollywood movies or other language movies, but we forget that so many people have not seen the original! for them, it's a new movie. where these people go wrong is that they do not acknowledge the original art or at leastbuy the rights. They simply make the movie. If people notice, then fine. if they don't then amazing!

    at the end of it, everyone can't be pleased! Those who like the movies get entertained. rest become critics and earn! win-win situation :)

    Bah, I talk so much!! you can choose not to reply to this crap ok? i won't mind :P

  8. Surya is Surya ! Screen presence might be a vague term but then, it takes quite a bit to do something that Surya does !


  9. Movies, like almost everything else in our world, are made with the prime objective of making money. Commercial film-makers have no qualms about quality so long as they can rake in the moolah. So they toy with different ideas which catch the attention of movie-going public of the time. Creativity etc has no relevance in this matter. If remakes are what the public want, so be it, as long as it does not flop in the market.

    The mass gets want they want. Lack of quality in the movie world is a reflection of the aesthetics of the society itself.

  10. Hey B,

    True!! but in a way or other... every movie is being copied from somewhere or the other...
    movie making = money making

    And yea.. the dialogues in Hindi version of shivaji.. No comments!!

  11. SG,

    Yes. there are many such movies SG. When we watch the original, we realize the difference.


    :) Oh no, I dont watch these movies. I read a review and also I saw few minutes of Sivaji in Hindi - this prompted me to write this post.

    Lost children and widowed mothers - hahaha. I can name so many movies with these theme.

    I shall sure try to grab a copy of the movie you mentioned.


    :) Oh yes. I can quote some dialogues as well. We will laugh our gut out


    Oh yeah, I used to like those regional movies on DD kavita. Didnt know they continue to have it even now,

    Have a great week ahead :)


    Sivaji is not the remake of katha parayumbol. Its Kuselan. Yeah I didnt like Kuselan.

    And the movie Manichitrathazhu - it was remade as Chandramukhi. I liked the way they morphed the story line to accommodate Rajnikant's style and dialogue.

    Talking about Priyadarshan, he is the master of remakes :)


    Hmm...Yes, audience are different. So they must actually cater according to audience's taste without demeaning the original. I think thats a tough job.

    At the end of the day; its better to learn multiple languages to appreciate the original :D


    You made a simple statement - 'sema' statement :)

    Surya is Surya :)


    Smiling at your "Lack of quality in the movie world is a reflection of the aesthetics of the society itself"

    What have we gotten ourselves into?


    :-) Yup! but i hate to lose 1000 bucks for a mediocre movie.

  12. Every time they did a re-make of a Tamil movie, I always hated the bollywood version, for the same reason that it gives a very wrong image of the original one to the bollywood audience, even if we ignore the plot/dialogues of any such things.. they also fail to do justice to the music as well.... Haven't watched Singham yet, but kinda liked Singam.... I can NEVER dislike a Surya movie :P

  13. Meety,

    Yeah I agree. Who ever can dislike a Surya movie :)


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!