"Babumoshai... Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi..." This classic dialogue delivered by India's first Superstar Rajesh Khanna in the yesteryear cult movie Anand still remains trending among movie buffs. Anand is listed in the "Top 100 movies you should watch before dying" list and is one of the memorable movies of the actor. As the dialogue says, the Superstar was gone too early but he 'lived life king size' with a huge stardom.
On Thursday, Sameer Raj Sippy announced the remake of his grandfather N.C. Sippy's classic Anand, which starred Rajesh Khanna in the lead role with Amitabh Bachchan playing a crucial part in the movie as well that still is reminisced by film lovers and fans of Big B till date.
While the 1971's hit drama was helmed by ace director of the era Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar penned down the dialogues. Apart from the Superstar and the present Millennium Star, several others left remarkable footprints with the movie including comedy king Johnny Walker.
In the titular character portrayed by Khanna, the helmer presented the story of a man who embraces the difficulties and challenges of life happily though death looms over him and he is all aware about it. Anand delivers an empowering message of optimism and harmony. On the other hand, Bachchan played the role of Dr Bhaskar Banerjee, an oncologist and was fondly referred as Babumoshai by Anand.
Anand & Babumoshai
The classic cult also showcased a bond of friendship between a doctor and his patient. It portrayed how Dr Banerjee at first treated Anand just like any other patient, but once he started realising the heartfulness of the man despite his awareness about his short life span, he started getting closer to the patient.
Anand has not only scripted multiple records but also left impressions in the minds of movie lovers from the 70s or 80s, all up to the new generation.
The film won several awards, including the National Film Awards for Best Feature Film in 1972. Bachchan, who was then struggling to find an identity in the industry earned appreciation and accolades including the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. The movie also clinched the awards in Best Film, Best Story, Best Editing, Best Actor and Best Dialogue category in the 19th Filmfare Awards.
A remarkable movie in all aspects
Apart from its story and the enriched character portrayals, the movie included some of the best songs of the time. Kahin Door Jab, Maine Tere Liye and Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli still remain in the playlist of classic music lovers. Moreover, Bachchan's recital of Maut Tu Ek Kavita Hai went to another level.
Will audience accept Anand's remake?
As Sameer Sippy feels, such stories need to be narrated to the new generation especially when there is a great appetite for good content.
The makers have announced the remake of the movie which will once again come up with a new blend and catch the hearts of the cine lovers. However, several others have opined otherwise, which is proven by a flood of negative reactions in the social media platforms.
One user said, "How will you find another Rajesh Khanna, Johnny Walker, Lalita Pawar, Ramesh Deo? How will anyone make and replace those soulful songs? Please don’t spoil the film”.
Another said, “#anand shouldn’t not be remade!
Who can step into the shoes of the Kaka & Big B?
No actor in the current era can match the stature of the legendary thespians like Kaka and Big B. However, if the makers have made up their minds, they should pick the characters who can step into the shoes of the iconic characters and justify them.
What the history says!
History is proof that remake of movies regarded as cult don't live up to the expectation, whatsoever may be the efforts.
1981's Umrao Jaan starring Rekha was remade in 2006 with Aishwarya Rai in the lead. The movie bombed at the box office and also received negative reviews from critics.
Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma also dared to adapt from the cult movie Sholay in 2007 with Aag as the title. The movie included big stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Mohanlal, Ajay Devgn, and Sushmita Sen. But, the movie turned out to be a disaster and the maker received backlashes.
Similarly, 1980 musical flick Karz featuring Rishi Kapoor in the lead was remade by Himesh Reshamiya as Karzzzz in 2008 which turned out to be a huge letdown. Even Jeetendra and Sridevi's Himmatwala was remade in 2013 with the same title starring Ajay Devgn and Tamannaah Bhatia. But the remake was utterly disaster.
On the other hand, Big B's Zanjeer was also remade in 2013 with Ram Charan in the lead. However, the movie was a debacle.
Earlier, Amitabh Bachchan's don was remade in multiple languages in different eras including Shah Rukh Khan's Don in 2011. However, the makers twisted the story a bit while leaving a major part untouched. Though SRK's flick achieved success, it couldn't impress a set audience.
Devdas (2002), Agneepath (2012), Chashme Baddoor (2013) and Bol Bachchan (2012 movie inspired from 1979's Gol Maal) did exceptionally well.
The history has mixed reviews but thinking about who can replace Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan's iconic characters in Anand is certainly challenging.
Probable actors who might fit into the shoes
A-listed actors like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, etc might portray the characters with extreme zeal but, the young generation might not be able to connect with them. Here we bring a few names of the next-gen actors, who possibly could be considered for the casting.
Rajesh Khanna - Ayushmann Khurrana/ Amit Sadh
Kaka became the first superstar of Indian cine industry with consecutive blockbusters. He stole the hearts of the viewers with his intoxicating smile and his expressions helped to rule the hearts. Undeniably, there can't be another Rajesh Khanna in all aspects.
However, regarding short listing the actor for Anand's character, Ayushmann Khurrana could be a decent choice. The Vicky Donor actor has till date portrayed multiple characters in different genres. Even he has the potential to keep the audience glued to their seats and engrossed to the story.
"Ayushmann is the only actor that I can think of who could justify Anand's character. He has already proven himself and his acting skills in different genres and he too has an intoxicating smile," said Itishree Purohit, a movie buff.
Amit Sadh, the Kai Po Che actor could also be taken into consideration. The actor has till date been seen in serious roles and probably the audience can't even think of him as a replacement of Kaka. Though he is yet to be seen in a jolly and charming character, he might give more efforts to fit into the character of Anand.
Amitabh Bachchan - Abhishek Bachchan/ Randeep Hooda/ Rajkummar Rao
Amitabh Bachchan owns an unmatched personality with a tall height, speaking eyes and a slaying smile. Dr Banerjee's character has a full blend of emotions that needs an actor with high proficiency and dedication.
Abhishek is the first name that comes to mind when we think of Big B. Though Junior Bachchan has a 'not so successful' history, the list of his recent movies certainly can convince anyone to accept him in the role of Dr Banerjee.
"Abhishek's recent movies like Dasvi, Big Bull, Bob Biswas and the web series 'Breathe: Into the shadow' are enough to prove that he has enhanced his acting skills. Even his performance in movies like Guru, Players, Paa, Delhi-6, Sarkar, Bunty aur Babli can't be ignored. He could be the best replacement for his father in Anand remake, in my opinion," said Itishree.
Randeep Hooda is another underrated actor who can meet the requirements of portraying Dr Banerjee's character. His prolific acting skills can work impressively to keep the audience glued to their seats.
Rajkummar Rao is another brilliant actor who has shown different shades of acting and has made a space in the hearts of movie lovers. His character portrayal in movies like City Lights, Shahid, Trapped, and Bareilly Ki Barfi can't be ignored.
Johnny Walker - Paresh Rawal/ Vijay Raaz
Though comedy king Johnny Walker played a brief role in Anand, his character was influential. His comic timing and facial expressions tickled the funny bones of every movie lover at the time. In the current era, there could be hardly any person who can make the audience laugh in a decent way.
However, while considering the remake, actor Paresh Rawal could be a great match as he has proven time and again with his acting skills. Even Vijay Raaz, though an underrated actor, could fit into the shoes of the comedy great.
Some other actors like Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Nawazudin Siddiqui and Boman Irani could be considered for certain characters.
Anand mara nahi...
As said in the movie, "Anand mara nahi, Anand marte nahi…" there is no need to remake the classic movie as Kaka still remains in the hearts of all movie lovers. However, if the makers consider remaking the movie with the new generation star cast, it is essential for them to connect with the audience. Everything depends on fate or else, "Kab, kaun, kaise uthega … Yeh koi nahin bata sakta hai."
The remake will be set in the post-Covid era, and will be co-produced by Vikram Khakhar. The makers said that the film is in the scripting process and a director is yet to be finalised.