Adaptations are tricky business. You can either surpass expectations set by the original or fail to impress the audience who have high hopes from the remake. Unlike in the past when Bollywood would rip-off international movies in the name of ‘inspiration’, filmmakers have started buying the rights of movies in order to officially adapt them. Case in point, the recently-released Laal Singh Chaddha, an adaptation of the Hollywood blockbuster Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks. Early reviews that have poured in seem to suggest that Aamir Khan’s movie which has been 14 years in the making has done complete justice to the much-loved original.
However, Bollywood adaptations have often been a hit or miss with the audience. Zee Zest takes a look at a few official adaptations of international films to see whether they received bouquets or brickbats.
1. The Girl on the Train (2021)
Parineeti Chopra played the protagonist in The Girl on the Train, the official Hindi adaptation of 2016’s successful Hollywood movie of the same name. Based on a novel by Paula Hawkins, the mystery psychological thriller with Emily Blunt as the protagonist had received widespread acclaim. However, and in spite of the earnest effort by Chopra and the rest of the cast, the Hindi counterpart could not do justice either to the writing or to the performances.
2. Bang Bang (2014)
If there’s anyone who can match Tom Cruise’s good looks and charm in Bollywood, it’s got to be Hrithik Roshan. The light-eyed actor starred in the official Hindi remake of Cruise’s 2010 movie Knight and Day. Katrina Kaif plays an unassuming bank receptionist whose chance encounter with a mysterious thief (Roshan) leads to a series of high-octane stunts, car chase sequences and high-on adrenaline action, before the couple are reunited in a dramatic way.
3. Dil Bechara (2020)
Actor Sushant Singh Rajput gave one of his career-best performances in the official Hindi remake of The Fault in our Stars. The 2014 Hollywood film was based on John Green’s 2012 novel of the same name. Unfortunately, the Bollywood movie, also starring Sanjana Sanghi, turned out to be Rajput’s swan song and was released posthumously. Formerly titled Kizie Aur Manny, Dil Bechara was about two terminal cancer patients who fall in love with each other. The movie was praised for its performances and characterisation.
4. Badla (2019)
An adaptation of the 2016 Spanish film The Invisible Guest, Badla was lauded for its genuine twists and solid performances by its two lead actors – Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu. Playing a lawyer and his client respectively - with the latter insisting that she has been wrongfully accused of killing her lover – the two actors were in great form in the whodunit.
5. The Body (2019)
Rishi Kapoor, Emraan Hashmi and Shobhita Dhulipala starred in the official remake of the Spanish film The Body. Directed by Jeethu Joseph, the mystery thriller revolves around the disappearance of a businesswoman's dead body from the morgue. When the inspector in charge, played by Kapoor, investigates the husband (Hashmi), he discovers there is more to the truth than meets the eye. Although the film had some solid performances by the cast, the box office wasn’t too kind to its fate.
6. Notebook (2019)
The Hindi adaptation of the 2014 Thai film The Teacher’s Diary was the debut vehicle for both its lead actors – Pranutan Bahl and Zaheer Iqbal. Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, it tells the tale of a retired army officer who joins his father’s school as a teacher. He comes across the previous teacher’s diary and falls in love without even meeting her. The movie did average business at the Box Office but Bahl and Iqbal were lauded for their confident performances.
7. We Are Family (2010)
Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts’ popular movie Stepmom saw its Hindi adaptation with Kajol and Kareena Kapoor stepping into their Hollywood counterparts’ shoes. The English movie was a much-loved one with some superb performances. Who can forget Sarandon dancing with full abandon to Ain’t No Mountain High Enough! However, the Hindi film wasn’t as successful and received mixed reviews from critics who were not impressed with the melodrama about a dying woman and the woman her husband is in love with.
8. Looop Lapeta (2022)
The critically-acclaimed German experimental film Run Lola Run won several accolades when it was released in 1998 and was even selected as the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Academy Awards. In 2022, Taapsee Pannu got into Franka Potente’s shoes as the woman who has to arrange for a large sum of money within 80 minutes in order to save her boyfriend. The quirky Hindi adaptation turned out to be a fun watch, but didn’t exceed any expectations.
9. Dhamaka (2021)
Stepping away from his usual rom-com roles, Kartik Aaryan played the role of a news anchor in this adaptation of The Terror Live, a South Korean action-thriller. Though it was not his comfort zone, Aaryan was convincing as the journalist running against time to save the city from a terrorist attack. Directed by Ram Madhvani of Neerja fame, Dhamaka received mixed reviews from critics who praised the lead actor’s performance but felt that the story lacked the drama to make it a real edge-of-the-seat thriller.
10. Tubelight (2017)
A few years earlier, Salman Khan too stepped away from playing his usual macho roles in favour of playing a simpleton in Kabir Khan’s Tubelight. The Hindi film was an adaptation of the 2015 movie Little Boy which had not exactly received raving reviews when it was released. Khan’s film is set in pre-independence India and sees him playing a simple guy who wants to reunite with his brother who has been sent to war. Unlike Aaryan though, Khan could not do enough to convince the audience with his rather flat and unconvincing performance.