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It’s high time that Bollywood understood the actual meaning of sequels

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Despite so much technological advancement, our film industry is still lagging behind in so many aspects. In Bollywood, there’s no dearth of talent but still, there are certain filmmakers who believe in following a tried and tested formula. Our filmmakers have no qualms in blindly following the herd mentality and churning out the same stories with a renewed packaging.

Cashing upon the success of one film by merely suffixing the title of their next film with ‘2’ or ‘Returns’ is a trend that our filmmakers are currently following haphazardly. What is disappointing is that they don’t take their viewers seriously.

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There are so many examples that fit into the definition of sequels. Others are just an attempt to commercialize the project and reach a wider audience. This year, there was Punit Malhotra’s ‘Student Of The Year 2′ which had almost zero connection with Karan Johar‘s ‘Student of The Year’ that released in 2012. The film is hands down the biggest disappointment of this year and everyone wondered what was the need to make it in the first place.

When you project your film as a sequel, first of all, you need to understand what a sequel is exactly. A sequel is a film that takes the story of the previous film forward. You just can’t call a film a sequel just because you want to encash upon the success of the previous film. There is something known as a continuation of a story, and that’s what a sequel is supposed to do. Sequels like ‘SOTY 2’ and ‘Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3′ were a total wastage of everyone’s time and money. They simply ended up tarnishing the reputation of their previous parts.

Recently, Karan Johar announced the sequel of his 2008 film ‘Dostana’. So the new film again will have none of its original cast reprising their respective roles. Instead, we have an altogether new cast. Janhvi Kapoor and Kartik Aaryan will be seen in ‘Dostana 2’ whereas the third lead has not been revealed yet.

Just a few days back, the first look posters of Kartik Aaryan from ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ were unveiled. Kartik would be stepping into the shoes of Akshay Kumar in this sequel. Again, it won’t have any of its original actors. Now, it’s too early to comment if ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ has any connection with its prequel or not. Similarly, we have films like ‘Baaghi 3’ and ‘Sadak 2’ on the anvil.

Aanand L Rai’s 2011 romantic drama ‘Tanu Weds Manu‘ was followed by ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns‘ . This Kangana Ranaut and R Madhavan starrer actually fits into the ‘sequel’ category. ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ took the story of its predecessor forward and that’s what sequels are meant to do. Interestingly, ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ went on to become a greater success as compared to its predecessor. It was simply because the makers invested and focused on its story rather than resorting to any gimmick.

And how can we forget SS Rajamouli’s ‘Baahubali‘ franchise? The two films released under this franchise – ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ and  ‘Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’ – showcase the way a story should be actually told. The films in this franchise can’t stand Alone and you have to watch the first part to understand the second. Also, a cliffhanger makes you impatient for the next part. ‘Katappa ne Bahubali ko kyu mara?,’ was the question whose answer everyone was dying to know. Your storytelling technique is what makes you stand apart from the rest.

Then we have sequels which are announced 2-3 decades after the release of the first film. Now, what is this supposed to mean? What’s the need to have such a huge gap if you really have a worthy story to tell? Films like ‘Judwaa 2’ are nothing but an unnecessary remake passed off as a sequel. And if you say that it was a reboot, then what was the need of the title ‘Judwaa 2’?

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But the way some of our big banners and filmmakers are churning out sequels these days, they have little or no regard for continuity. They take their audience for granted and clearly undermine their intelligence. Why can’t Bollywood make standalone films instead? If the story is good, it will become a hit no matter what. Or is originality and creativity a rare thing to expect from the big banners and commercial filmmakers?

If your film’s story demands a sequel, then it’s a different thing.

Invest in writers who can come up with stories that will do justice to the previous film and keep the intrigue level intact. Then take the story forward by announcing its sequel. Is that such a difficult route to take?

Also Read: How Bollywood’s supremely talented young brigade has brought in a paradigm shift

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