A New Era Begins
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Old production houses that are plotting a Bollywood comeback are not relying on lineage alone
WHEN producer Amit Mehra, the son of filmmaker Prakash Mehra, decided to revive his late father's banner with the remake of his father's blockbuster Zanjeer, the casting proved to be a tricky aspect. After all, the actor would have to fill the rather large boots of Amitabh Bachchan. "Then I remembered my dad telling me how Amit uncle (Bachchan) was just about finding his feet in the industry when his performance in Zanjeer established him as the 'angry young man'. So I opted for an actor who is unassuming but can take on the moniker," says Amit, about casting Telugu actor Ram Charan Teja. The remake will revive Prakash Mehra Productions, which made films such as Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Laawaris, Sharaabi and Namak Halaal before it folded up in 1996.
Even as the Zanjeer remake readies for release, several other iconic banners are in the process of being revived. Shakti Samanta's son Ashim recently released Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai under the family banner, Aradhana Films. Although the film did not succeed, Ashim is determined to keep the banner afloat. Producer Pramod Chakravarty's grandson Prateek is bringing back Pramod Films with a romcom, From Sydney With Love. Father and son, Moti and Amrit Sagar Chopra, are reviving the late Ramanand Sagar's banner, Sagar Arts, by branching out as Moti Sagar Productions. Their first film, a love story titled Rabba Main Kya Karoon, is set to release soon.
Several others are in the offing — Bombay Talkies plans to launch Abhay Kumar, the grandson of late Rajnarayan Dube, one of the founders of the production house, while Ketan Desai plans the return of Manmohan Desai's banner MKD. Shatrughan Sinha's banner, Shotgun Moviies, has a film going on floors soon; Sunny Deol's Ghayal Returns marks the comeback of his home banner Vijeyta Films; and Fardeen Khan wants to re-establish his father Feroz Khan's FK International with Qurbani's remake. "Revival of a banner is just a matter of confidence and the right timing. When you feel the time is right and you have everything falling into place, then you just go for it," says Ashim, who launched his son Aditya in their comeback venture.
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