Although many might not have noticed the timing of Salman Khan sharing a picture of Bobby Deol as Yash, a character from their upcoming film Race 3, it was rather fortuitous. The star tweeted his co-star’s picture just a couple of days before the tenth anniversary of the release of the first film in the ‘Race series’, Race (2008).
With a major overhaul both in front and behind the camera with Salman Khan replacing Saif Ali Khan as the male lead and Remo D’Souza helming the project instead of Abbas-Mustan, the third film in the action-thriller franchise is all set to join the likes of Jolly LLB to get a reboot — where the film ages the stakes only get bigger.
Traditionally, the concept of sequels tends to lose a bit of sheen with the passage of time. Take the case of Charles Bronson’s Death Wish series, which became a barely noticed almost B-film by the time the fifth film released 22-years after the original that came out in 1974. And then there’s First Blood (1982), the debut of the Rambo series, which was made on a budget of $15 million USD but the third, First Blood III (1988) was mounted on a budget of over $60 million USD and even though the film made almost $200 million USD the idea had became jaded and it would be two-decades before the fourth film, Rambo (2008) hit the screens.
In the context of Hindi films, the sequel has come as god sent and the combination of a ‘sequel’ and a ‘reboot’ has only made things better for the stars. For Salman Khan, the Race franchise offers the slick urban thriller template that is a stark contrast to his other franchise, Dabangg, where it’s the Chulbul Pandey character that lends repeat value. There are talks about a third Dabangg rumored to be directed by Prabhudeva and chances of a fourth Race cannot be ruled out as it gives the producer, Tips Films, a go-to project every couple of years.
Similarly, for Ajay Devgn, the Golmaal series offers a template that could work as well with or without standard character (Gopal) while Singham gives him the character that he could play well into his sunset years, a la Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson with Dirty Harry and Death Wish series. For Akshay Kumar, Jolly LLB offered a chance to go back to doing comic roles but with a tinge of social messaging, which has come to be seen as his forte.
For a Kangana Ranaut, and nearly most of the Tanu Weds Manu primary cast (R. Madhavan, Swara Bhaskar, Deepak Dobriyal, and Eijaz Khan) their characters in the series can be rekindled at any point in the future without much thought.
The is no question that the near-obsessive drive with which producers and production houses are investing in reboots and remakes is an indication of an abject lack of fresh ideas. In fact, it’s rather saddening to see how filmmakers, as opposed to paying homage to the greats from the previous generations, are choosing to rehash the past simply because frankly, they don’t give a damn (beyond making money, that is).
Some part of this nostalgia-driven reboot/ rejig drive is also an easy way out for many – after all, it’s all about the relationship between characters and the viewer, so why not revisit the tried and tested beloved characters rather than reinvent the wheel?
Salman Khan tweeted about Race 3 in the same week as the release of the film film, a decade ago. Race 3 also seems to be a subtle attempt to rekindle the memories of Salman Khan’s Wanted (2009); the pose that Khan is captured in on Race 3’s first poster is almost Wanted redux.