Changes In Sequels

Probably the most successful example of a change in director that led to a hit sequel is Ali Abbas Zafar, who outclassed Kabir Khan by leagues in “Tiger Zinda Hai,” the sequel to “Ek Tha Tiger.” (photo provided)

In theory, it is the most lucrative concept: a sequel or a franchise on a successful movie. But how many sequels repeat the crucial names that helped make the original hit movie? Now that is an interesting study indeed!

“Race 3,” the next sequel that will hit screens (Eid 2018) has major changes. Director-duo Abbas-Mustan have been replaced by Remo D’Souza, choreographer-turned-director, who has been known for one social and two dance-based movies. The film repeats Jacqueline Fernandez from the second part, but obviously she is not playing the same character (“Race 2” was a true sequel).

Anil Kapoor was a private eye in both the earlier films. He is now Salman Khan’s dad, and we have no clue if he is playing the same character: Khan was never connected with the “Race” series at all. The rest of the cast is all different. And instead of Pritam, we reportedly have 10 (!!!) composers, one doing a re-creation of Pritam’s famous song “Allah Duhai Hai!”

A different ‘direction’

Not many sequels, therefore, take the route of the forthcoming “Dabangg 3,” a true sequel—one where the story is taken forward. Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha with Arbaaz Khan (also its producer) star again in the new film. Prabhu Dheva, the new director, quips, “I am the only newcomer. Everyone else is a veteran!” This includes composers Sajid-Wajid. “Dabangg” (2010) was directed by Abhinav Singh Kashyap, its 2012 sequel by Arbaaz Khan himself. Part 3 is now being helmed by Prabhu Dheva.

Another not-so-luminous example was “Ab Tak Chhappan 2,” though the story continued from “Ab Tak Chhappan” (released in 2004!), but nothing about the new film was common except for the protagonist played by Nana Patekar! There is no hint of the original producer Ram Gopal Varma, no trace of the director Shimit Amin (it’s Aejaz Gulab now), and even the composer’s credit for the background music in this song-less film changed from Salim-Sulaiman to Sandeep Chowta.

In a field where rights are all-important, Varma was retained as director in the 2012 flop “Bhoot Returns 3D,” a sequel in spirit (no pun intended, just something that means a film that follows the overall tenor yet neither the plotline nor characters are the same), while the producer was someone else.

Even the “Bheja Fry” sequel was produced by Mukul Deora and not Sunil Doshi, though the writer-director Sagar Ballary and leading man Vinay Pathak remained unchanged. This was a ‘sequence’ sequel – of the same lead character/characters put in a completely different story without a plot-wise continuation, like the “Munna Bhai” series, “Singham Returns,” the “Dhoom” franchise, or in which the characters were similar or had the same names, as in “Grand Masti.”

Thus, directors—the captains of the ship and the main entities responsible for the success—are freely changed at the producers’ will whenever there is a need to capitalize with the simplest way out—a sequel. A case with a difference was Karan Johar, co-producer and director of “Student Of The Year,” who has entrusted Punit Malhotra with the direction of “Student Of The Year 2.”

So the actual change can have multiple reasons—creative ennui (at one point, Rakesh Roshan was planning to entrust “Krrish3” to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra!); lack of will (Priyadarshan refused to make a sequel in principle in the case of “Hera Pheri,” while his writer, the late Neeraj Vora, thought there was immense scope and made “Phir Hera Pheri” and was even planning “Hera Pheri 3”); a possible lack of dates (“Baaghi 2” went to Ahmed Khan after Sabbir Khan turned out a hit in “Baaghi”) or creative disagreements (Sangeeth Sivan helmed “Kyaa Kool Hain Hum,” Sachin Yardi in “Kyaa SuperKool Hain Hum” and Umesh Ghatge directed “Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3”).

(Interestingly, Priyadarshan directed the disastrous “Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal,” sequel of his utterly delightful “Malamaal Weekly,” after refusing to conceive the “Hera Pheri” sequel!)

Finally, as with “Dabangg” and “Dabangg 2,” a personal tiff led to a change is stewardship with “Welcome 3”— which has a fresh director instead of Anees Bazmee, who had directed “Welcome” and “Welcome Back.” Samir Karnik had a fallout with the Deols, and so Sangeeth Sivan was brought in to helm “Yamla Pagla Deewana 2,” a fiasco.

“Ragini MMS 2” and “Hate Story 2” were more such examples. But after these sequels, “Ragini MMS” became a web franchise, and “Hate Story 2”’s new director Vishal Pandya continued for two more films.

Sajid Khan was not entrusted Sajid Nadiadwala’s “Housefull 3” franchise for personal reasons—his producer no longer has the same equation with him, and the new film was directed by their writers Farhad-Sajid. However, he is back in the ambitious “Housefull 4,” and happily, Farhad-Sajid continue to write as the series’ main writers.

Let us see more examples: Sanjay Gadhvi had finished his three-film contract with Yash Raj Films, and so the third film in the “Dhoom” series went to his writer Vijay Krishna Acharya. And Mahesh Bhatt, though creatively involved backstage in the 2013 “Aashiqui 2,” was not repeated as director as he had quit direction fourteen years before the sequel! Speaking of long gaps between a film and its sequel, the record is held by “Ghayal Once Again,” the Sunny Deol-directed actioner, whose true sequel came a full 26 years after its Rajkumar Santoshi original!!

Franchises that were stories in the same tenor could well afford the liberty of a new perspective or a new ‘direction’, so we had “Raaz” (Vikram Bhatt and Mohit Suri with Bhatt returning in the third and fourth films), “Murder” (Anurag Basu, Mohit Suri and Vishesh Bhatt), “Jism” (Amit Saxena and Pooja Bhatt, who also co-produced both films) all changing directors. With “Darna Zaroori Hai,” the ever-inventive-in-ideas Ram Gopal Varma replaced the prequel “Darna Mana Hai”’s director Prawaal Raman with six directors—including himself—each doing one part of the episodic franchise. It flopped!

But probably the most successful example of a change in director was Ali Abbas Zafar, who outclassed Kabir Khan by leagues in “Tiger Zinda Hai,” the sequel to “Ek Tha Tiger.”

Cast Changes

A change of cast is almost a thumb rule in a sequel in spirit, while protagonists who were shown ‘dying’ in the previous true prequel also obviously not brought back. Also in sequence films, heroines are the first casualty as there are almost no movies with a heroine being one of the ‘fixed’ characters. However, in a rare case, Priyanka Chopra was repeated in both “Don 2” and “Krrish 3” in the same roles. But then again, both were true sequels.

Kareena Kapoor, like Ajay Devgn, Arshad Warsi, Shreyas Talpade and Tusshar, was repeated from “Golmaal Returns” in “Golmaal 3,” but as a different character, while the four men too played different characters, as in the “Golmaal” franchise style, with the same names and traits! However, she was missing from the fourth film, “Golmaal Again,” which was a look back at the heroes’ childhood, and had an element of horror along with the comedy!

But sometimes again, lack of dates, a deficit in intention, a plunging career or the mere passage of time leads to changes even in the heroes. Riteish Deshmukh refused the third “Kyaa Kool…” sequence because of his present stand about refusing to do coarse comedy. However, he later did a cameo in it. On the other hand, “Total Dhamaal” sees three new stars, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Ajay Devgn, in addition to the complete roster of the four ‘series heroes’!

Sharman Joshi too was replaced by Shreyas Talpade from the second film in the “Golmaal” series due to some friction between him and the filmmakers. Of course, characters can sometimes be scrapped in sequels, like that of Ajay Devgn, the conscience-keeper of the three philanderers in “Masti,” after he refused to be a part of “Grand Masti,” the ribald follow-up. According to Aftab Shivdasani, Devgn was to be originally cast in it.

Rimi Sen, who played Abhishek Bachchan’s wife in “Dhoom” and “Dhoom:2” (the latter in a cameo) was never seen in “Dhoom:3.” This reflected on her declined market status, as the three films came in 2004, 2006 and 2013 respectively!

Music matters

Hit music being the perennial need, many sequels kept changing composers out of market compulsions more than anything else, like Anu Malik being dropped in his low phase from the “Hera Pheri,” “Munna Bhai,” “Murder” and “Kya Kool…” series.

Vishal-Shekhar claim that both the “Golmaal” sequels successively came to them, but they were too busy to accept the assignments, that were both done by Pritam. On the other hand, Pritam preferred to remain loyal to his movies, to the extent of foregoing “Ek Tha Tiger” for “Dhoom:3.” But a notable film where Pritam was dropped in favor of multiple composers, besides “Race 3,” was “Golmaal Again.”

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