• Saturday, December 02, 2023


Tollywood to Bollywood blockbusters

Ahead of Shehzada remake being released, 20 top Hindi adaptations of all-time classic Telugu movies


THIS month’s big Bollywood release Shehzada is a remake of hit 2020 Telugu language blockbuster Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.

Kartik Aaryan plays the lead role in the story of a constantly rejected son, who finds out he was switched at birth and belongs to an affluent family, which leads him on an action-packed journey.

This is the latest Hindi adaptation of a Tollywood film across the decades. Eastern Eye decided to use that as a good enough reason to present 20 great Bollywood adaptations of a Telugu film, listed in chronological order.

Insaniyat (1955): The remake of Palletoori Pilla (1950) is best remembered for being the only film to bring all-time great actors Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand together on the big screen. The blockbuster hit about a soldier who becomes a rebel, had plenty of memorable moments and a winning soundtrack composed by legendary musician C Ramchandra.

Miss Mary

Miss Mary (1957): Telugu film Missamma (1955) was remade in Tamil (Missiamma) the same year and then in Hindi as Miss Mary in 1957. All three versions of the comedy were directed by LV Prasad. The hit Bollywood version was particularly memorable because it was one of the rare comedies starring tragedy queen Meena Kumari. She plays a down on her luck woman, who pretends to be the wife of an unemployed teacher, so he can get a job.

Gharana (1961): The powerful drama starring Raaj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar and Asha Parekh was a huge hit when it was released. The remake of Shanthi Nivasam (1960) explored the dynamics of a family and bucked the trend of having the perfect mother, by making her a tyrannical troublemaker. It would influence complex family dramas that followed.

Sasural (1961): Director T Prakash Rao scored a big success with his Telugu drama Illarikam (1959). He successfully remade it in Hindi with Rajendra Kumar and B Saroja Devi in the lead roles. The story of a man, who agrees to get married and move in with his in-laws connected with audiences. A stand-out moment included classic love song Teri Pyari Pyari Soorat Ko.


Milan (1967): Ace filmmaker Adurthi Subba Rao scored a big success with his romantic drama Mooga Manasulu (1963) and also directed the Hindi remake. Sunil Dutt and Nutan played a honeymooning couple, who discover their bond from a past life and how it led towards tragedy. One of the greatest reincarnation movies ever made in Bollywood would win multiple awards and had a stunning soundtrack that included the all-time song Sawan Ka Mahina.

Farz (1967): When the James Bond inspired Gudachari 116 (1966) was released, it was noted as perhaps the first real spy film of Telugu cinema. It was successfully remade a year later as Farz with Jeetendra in the lead role and became the third-highest grosser of 1967. Although it very much revolves around a secret agent, the movie is best remembered for Bollywood’s greatest birthday song Baar Baar Din Ye Aaye, which remains popular today.

Ram Aur Shyam (1967): Arguably the greatest double role ever made in Bollywood was a remake of Telugu comedy Ramudu Bheemudu (1964) and had the same director (Tapi Chanakya). Dramatic actor Dilip Kumar brilliantly showed off his funny side in the story of identical twins, separated at birth, who grow up in very different circumstances and with contrasting personalities.

Jeene Ki Raah (1969): The entertaining remake of Bratuku Teruvu (1953) had an award-winning soundtrack that included timeless classic Aane Se Uske Aaye Bahaar. Jeetendra, Tanuja and Sanjeev Kumar headlined the story of an impoverished man who starts to live a double life and gradually finds everything going out of control.


Khilona (1970): Legendary actor Sanjeev Kumar delivered a star-making turn in this all-time classic about a mentally unwell man who has a strained relationship with a kind-hearted prostitute brought in to look after him. The remake of Punarjanma (1963) would win a Filmfare Best Movie award and earn Mumtaz a Best Actress honour. Incidentally, it was remade the same year in Tamil as Engirundho Vandhaal.

Chhoti Bahu (1971): In 1956 KB Tilak directed Telugu film Muddu Bidda, which was based on Bengali novel Bindur Chhele, written by the famous Devdas author Saratchandra Chatterjee. He would then successfully remake it himself 15 years later in Bollywood with superstars Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in the lead roles. The beautifully made film about a troubled woman’s bond with a young child was embraced by audiences.


Sargam (1979): Although this musical drama is best remembered for classic song Dafliwale Dafli Baja, it was so much more than that. Writer/director K Viswanath remade his film Siri Siri Muvva (1976) and recast Jaya Prada in the same role, which would become her Hindi  language debut. She starred opposite Rishi Kapoor as a mute dancer trying to realise her dream. The film would become a huge hit and turn Jaya Prada into a bankable Bollywood star.


Himmatwala (1983): The remake of Ooruki Monagadu (1981) became a huge blockbuster and is best remembered for turning Sridevi into a superstar. The cult classic action-drama about a man, who returns to his village and takes on dark forces saw her star opposite Jeetendra. The film’s many memorable moments included iconic dance number Naino Mein Sapna, which became a rage. (There was also a 2013 Bollywood remake, but it was terrible and should never be spoken about).

Justice Chaudhury (1983): Jeetendra and Sridevi quickly followed up Himmatwala with another Bollywood remake of a Telugu film. This adaptation of blockbuster hit Justice Chowdary (1982) saw Jeetendra take on a power-packed double role of a chief justice on a collision course with bad guys and a lookalike. It had the original film’s writer-director K Raghavendra Rao at the helm.


Eeshwar (1989): National Award-winning drama Swati Mutyam (1986) was India’s official entry for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category. Anil Kapoor took on the original role portrayed by Kamal Haasan in the Hindi remake. He played the lead role in this beautiful story of a simple kind-hearted villager with a low intellect, who helps a young widow. The remake received a Filmfare Award for Best Story.

Saajan Chale Sasural (1996): The undisputed king of comedy during the 1990s was Govinda and he had some of his biggest successes with director David Dhawan, including this hit film. The Bollywood adaptation of Allari Mogudu (1992) saw him play a naïve villager, who inadvertently finds himself married to two women and must keep them apart.

Judwaa (1997): The remake of Telugu hit Hello Brother (1994) had Salman Khan in a double role. He portrayed identical twins, who are separated and grow up to lead decidedly different lives. The comedy of errors film would later inspire the 2017 reboot Judwaa 2 with Varun Dhawan playing the twins, which like the original, was also directed by David Dhawan.

Judaai (1997): The rule breaking romantic comedy drama saw Sridevi brilliantly play a greedy wife, who literally sells her husband (Anil Kapoor) to a wealthy woman (Urmila Matondkar) wanting to marry him. The hit Hindi movie was one of many successful remakes of the National Award-winning Telugu original, Subhalagnam (1994). It would be one of Sridevi’s last roles before she took a long break from acting.


Wanted (2009): Salman Khan headlined the action entertainer, which began his hugely successful run of Eid blockbusters. The remake of Pokiri (2006) saw him play a violent man who is caught up in the crossfire of gang wars and corruption. The escapist entertainer would influence multiple Bollywood films in subsequent years, including remakes.


Simmba (2018): It may have been blended into the cop universe started by Bollywood hit Singham (2011), but this action drama was remake of Telugu hit Temper (2015). Ranveer Singh played the lead role in the blockbuster hit, which revolves around a corrupt cop, who takes a more positive path after tragedy strikes.

Kabir Singh

Kabir Singh (2019): The romantic drama headlined by Shahid Kapoor in the title role became a huge blockbuster hit and even inspired a successful TV serial. The remake of smash hit romantic drama Arjun Reddy (2017) revolves around an alcoholic surgeon with anger management problems, who goes down a path of self-destruction, after losing the woman he loves.

Shehzada is in cinemas next Friday (17)

Eastern Eye

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