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Play It Again

Friday, November 11, 2016
By Deepa Gahlot

In 2008, Abhishek Kapoor directed Rock On, a film about contemporary urban characters, with a passion for music.  Rock musicians and their lifestyle, portrayed in the film, were not commonly seen in Hindi films then.  Farhan Akhtar launched his acting and singing career with this film and has not looked back since.

Eight years later, Rock On 2 comes along, this one directed by Shujaat Saudagar.  One of the characters (Luke Kenny) had died in the earlier film, some others like Shraddha Kapoor and Shashank Arora have been added to the cast, and the action moved to hitherto unseen locations in the North East.

The thing with sequels is that they should not come out so late that audiences have forgotten the characters and story in the original film; a sequel should ideally be out when people still care about the characters. It goes without saying that only a successful film would generate a part two. Only the foolhardy would attempt to make a sequel to a flop movie.

Still, Sunny Deol made Ghayal Returns a quarter of a century after the first film, and integrated the time span into the story. Most sequels don’t take that long to appear.

In Hollywood, the concept of a sequel is accepted and popular films even run into multiple part franchises—the superhero films in particular. In Bollywood, the success of a film, and the popularity of the characters dictates whether a sequel will get made. That, and the availability of the actors who appeared in the first part.

If a Hera Pheri 3 is being made now, it’s because the characters—especially the short sighted Baburao Apte, played by Paresh Rawal—have become so popular that fans remember their lines years later.  Rohit Shetty can make any number of Golmaal and Singham films, and be sure that the audiences will accept his style of comedy and action. The Krrish movies have also done well for themselves, so have the awful Housefull series. Can’t say the same about the Masti films, the last one was deplorable. The first Dabangg still retains the admiration of Salman Khan fans, not so much the second one.

For an actor, a sequel or a franchise (those Murder, Jism, Hate Story potboilers) could be like a vanity thing, if a role worked for them once, why not make it work again, And again till audiences tire of it. However, the story is still the main attraction, and that dash of freshness to make the package attractive for viewers.

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