It is no secret that Bollywood has never shied away from lifting plots from the west, adapting Hollywood movies with added flair and masala for Indian audiences. These reimaginations have varied widely in their execution, from the frankly disconcerting Hitch remake Partner, starring Salman Khan and a bumbling Govinda, to Aamir Khan’s fantastic Ghajini, a worthy remake of Christopher Nolan’s Memento. Here are Hollywood movies we want to see remade by Bollywood next:
- Blade Runner:
Has there ever been a truly great Indian science-fiction film? With a steady directorial hand, there is now enough budget and technological expertise in Bollywood to make a serious stab at a well-told, visually striking science-fiction film. While the Mumbai of old was perhaps still too idyllic to also serve as inspiration for a futuristic film, the city in 2018 embodies the aesthetic of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner as much as anywhere else in the world. We have the towering skyscrapers and the street-level grit to create a fascinating setting, faithful to the spirit of the original. The little things would be what makes the film; seeing the places and behaviors we know so well reimagined fifty years from now.
- This Is the End:
The comedic team of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and James Franco came together to make This Is the End in 2013, an especially laugh-out-loud addition to their irreverent filmography. The film follows actors portraying themselves in fictionalized but very conscious spoofs of the their personas; Jonah Hill, the biggest star in the film, is a self-obsessed diva, while the innocent awkwardness of Michael Cera is subverted into a hedonistic deviant. Bollywood’s stars have seldom given themselves to this great a degree of self-deprecation, and it’s time we at least see an ensemble cast of the younger generation go all-out making fun of themselves. We all like to make fun of our actors and their often ridiculous antics, and it would be great for them to commercially acknowledge, and indeed exploit the jokes that already circulate across Whatsapp group chats.
- 21 Jump Street:
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill came together as an unlikely buddy-cop duo undercover in a school in 2012’s 21 Jump Street. The. The film garnered acclaim not necessarily for its overarching plot, but for its accurate portrayal of a modern American school, which clashes with the older cops’ memories of what it was like to be in school. The Indian youth change interests as quickly as they change phones; what was cool five years ago is never guaranteed to even be relevant today. There’s a great film to be made by dropping two mid-twenties characters who went to a school that we are used to seeing on screen, one named after a saint and with chalkboards that haven’t been replaced since Independence, into the fast-paced setting of school in the new urban India. The fish out of water jokes would write themselves, and there’s a feel-good theme of generational conciliation to explore.
2008’s Frost/Nixon serves to humanize one of the most tarnished political figures in recent history in the form of former American president Richard Nixon. Nixon is interviewed by David Frost, a prominent journalist, and his aggressive line of questioning brings out a more vulnerable side of a once extremely powerful man. Many of India’s own politicians seem to lurch from one scam to another, ruthless in their willingness to exploit their position for personal gain. A film focused on the exploration of a character like this would be fascinating in a Devil’s Advocate sort of way. Give us a gradually repentant Naseeruddin Shah and the film halfway there.
Yes, Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen’s most infamous work, Borat follows him in character as a fumbling reporter from Kazakhstan across America. Cohen intentionally riles up the Americans with his outrageous, frequently obscene behavior, poking fun at them as he travels across the nation. India is unparalleled across the world in its suspicion of outsiders, and is very protective of its customs and culture. An actor undercover as a foreign reporter with the intention of drawing a reaction as he tries to learn about India could very easily offend, but if done with the same spirit as the original, will undoubtedly entertain.
Featured image: Screengrabs