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Arts and Culture

From Kollywood to Bollywood

Hrithik Roshan in Vikram Vedha

By: Asjad Nazir


Hotly anticipated film Vikram Vedha is a Bollywood remake of a hit 2017 Tamil neo-noir action thriller of the same name.

Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan take on the lead roles in the story of a police officer trying to kill a fearsome gangster, who voluntarily surrenders before telling him three stories, which could change his perceptions of good and evil. It is one of many Tamil movies that have been remade in Hindi, stretching right back to the earliest days of Indian cinema. So that inspired

Eastern Eye to look back in time, ahead of Vikram Vedha releasing on September 30, to find 20 terrific Bollywood adaptations of top Tamil films, listed in chronological order.

Azaad (1955): Malaikkallan (1954) was the first Tamil movie to be remade in five languages and one of them was this Hindi adaptation. Dilip Kumar took a break from tragedy dramas with this action-comedy opposite Meena Kumari, who was also known for deeply emotional dramas. The story of a woman who falls in love with a notorious outlaw included superb songs such as memorable dance duet Aplam Chaplam.

Nazrana (1961): CV Sridhar made a name for himself as a writer in Tamil cinema before making his directorial debut with Kalyana Parisu (1959). After further Tamil successes as a filmmaker, he made his Bollywood directorial debut by remaking the same film in Hindi. Raj Kapoor and Vyjayanthimala played the lead roles in the romantic melodrama, which would win a Filmfare Award for Best Story, and was notable for an extended cameo by Tamil superstar Gemini Ganesan.

Rakhi (1962): One of the greatest brother-sister films ever made in Bollywood was all thanks to writer-director A Bhimsingh remaking his Tamil blockbuster Pasamalar (1961). The emotion-filled drama would earn Filmfare awards for Best Story and also a Best Actor award for lead star Ashok Kumar. Bollywood would remake the same film again with 1986 film Aisa Pyar Kahan.

Khandan (1965): Writer-director Bhimsingh delivered a beautiful Bollywood remake of his blockbuster Tamil classic Bhaaga Pirivinai (1959). The multi-layered story of a divided family included a beautiful love story between a woman and a partially paralysed man played by Sunil Dutt, which won him a Filmfare Best Actor award. The award-winning soundtrack included the unforgettable song Tum Hi Meri Mandir, Tum Hi Meri Pooja.

Do Kaliyaan (1968): This hugely entertaining Bollywood remake of Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum (1965), was helmed by the same directing duo Krishnan-Panju. The story, which was originally inspired by Hollywood film The Parent Trap (1961), revolved around identical twins meeting for the first time and trying to get their separated parents back together, played by Mala Sinha and Biswajeet.

Aadmi (1968): This under-rated film, starring Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar, is rarely mentioned when speaking about all-time classics, but it deserves a lot more credit. This remake of Tamil language drama Aalayamani (1962) saw him play a wheelchair bound man who has murderous intent after suspecting the woman he loves is having an affair. He starred alongside Waheeda Rehman and Manoj Kumar in the movie, which was directed by Tamil filmmaking maestro Bhimsingh.

Bombay To Goa (1972): The remake of Madras to Pondicherry (1966) has become a cult classic, largely thanks to it being legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan’s first film as a hero. The comedy road movie loaded with catchy tunes, great gags, and memorable characters, revolves around a runaway woman on a bus trip and the handsome stranger she meets.

Shakti (1982): The iconic crime drama, which brought Dilip Kumar and Bachchan onscreen together for the first time, was very much based on Thangappathakkam (1974). The Ramesh Sippy directed film about an honest police officer going on a collision course with his criminal son is regarded as an all-time classic. It has stand-out performances from two greats at the top of their game.

Sadma (1983): One of the best Bollywood remakes of a Tamil movie underperformed when it released, but went on to become iconic. The lead stars of terrific Tamil drama Moondram Pirai (1982), Kamal Haasan and Sridevi, along with the writer-director Balu Mahendra, teamed up again for this stunning Hindi adaptation of the film. The story of a schoolteacher rescuing a woman with amnesia, who regresses into childhood, has a rainbow of beautiful emotions from start to finish.

Naseeb Apna Apna (1986): The entertaining remake of Tamil comedy-drama Gopurangal Saivathillai (1982) is a hidden gem. Rishi Kapoor plays the lead role in the story of a city dweller bullied into marrying a dark-skinned innocent villager and hating his life with her. He tries to find a way out, but soon realises what real love is and that beauty is on the inside. The same film would later inspire Tamil TV serials Kasthuri (2006) and Sundari (2021).

Aakhree Raasta (1986): One of the many movies where Bachchan has played a double role includes this remake of Oru Kaidhiyin Diary (1985). After writing the original, K Bhagyaraj made his Bollywood directorial debut with this story of a wrongly convicted man, hellbent on revenge, who must also contend with his estranged police officer son. Bachchan brilliantly plays the father and son.

Dayavan (1988): The 1987 Tamil film Nayakan is widely regarded as the greatest Indian gangster movie of all time and was India’s official entry for the Oscars. Although this Bollywood version wasn’t as good, it still captured the spirit of the original and became a big box office success. Vinod Khanna took on the lead role in the story of a homeless orphan who rises up through the underworld ranks to become a fearsome gangster.

Beta (1992): One of the most successful Bollywood remakes of all time was a Hindi adaptation of Tamil film Enga Chinna Rasa (1987). The highest grossing film of that year saw Anil Kapoor play the simpleton being manipulated by his evil stepmother and Madhuri Dixit take on the role of his street-smart wife, who takes her on. The blockbuster hit won multiple awards and has regularly made it into the lists of the 100 greatest Hindi films of all time.

Chachi 420 (1997): Haasan starred in the hit Tamil version of Hollywood film Mrs Doubtfire (1993) with Avvai Shanmugi (1996). Then a year later, he remade the comedy as this equally successfully Bollywood version. He wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the
hilarious story of a man who dresses up as a female nanny, so that he can look after his children after getting divorced.

Nayak: The Real Hero (2001): Acclaimed Tamil writer-director S Shankar made his Bollywood debut by remaking his own film Mudhalvan (1999). The political action film headlined by Anil Kapoor revolved around an honest television cameraman who becomes an unlikely hero and suddenly starts making a positive difference. A sequel to the popular film has been in the planning.

Saathiya (2002): Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukerji take on the lead roles in this stunning Hindi version of successful romantic drama Alaipayuthey (2000). The story revolves around a man frantically searching for his wife, who doesn’t come home one day. Through flashback we learn how they had initially met. The resounding success had everything, from a clever story structure, top-drawer performances, and great music to superb surprise cameos from Shah Rukh Khan and Tabu.

No Entry (2005): The highest grossing Bollywood film of 2005 was an official remake of Tamil comedy Charlie Chaplin (2002). The comedy of errors, starring Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Fardeen Khan, Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta, Esha Deol, and Celina Jaitly, didn’t make much sense, but was loaded with jokes and was a box office hit. A spiritual sequel with some of the same cast members is on the way.

Ghajini (2008): The Bollywood blockbuster is a remake of a 2005 Tamil crime thriller of the same name, which was inspired by Hollywood film Memento (2000). Aamir Khan completely transformed himself for the hard-hitting story of a man with short-term memory loss trying to catch the killers of the woman he loves.

Singham (2011): Ajay Devgn brilliantly portrayed the title role of a super cop who takes on the dark forces in this smash-hit remake of 2010 action film Singam. The film was such a success that it kick-started a franchise that included a sequel and two successful spin-off movies. There is a third instalment on the way with further adventures of the brave super cop.

Good Luck Jerry (2022): There have been better Tamil remakes, but this Hindi adaptation of Kolamaavu Kokila (2018) deserves a mention because it has been a bright moment in a very bad year for Bollywood. Janhvi Kapoor takes on the lead role in the entertaining black comedy crime drama, which revolves around a young woman who becomes a drug mule and gets in way over her head.

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