Betting Safe

Sequels, however, need not follow the chronological graph of its original. These have recurring traits in common. The Murder series, for instance, enjoys the reputation of being Bollywood erotica. Mahesh Bhatt of Vishesh films, which owns the franchise, says, "In Murder, the audience looks forward to new stories on modern-day relationships in the mould of a thriller."

But the primary reason behind sequels is their business potential. "After creating a loyal audience, you can ride on its popularity," says Dhulia. This also helps cut down the marketing budget for the film. "Sequels are easier to market since its image is already in the mind of its audience," says Tanuj Garg, CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures, which is set to produce this year's only prequel Shootout at Wadala (to Shootout at Lokhandwala) apart from two sequels OUATIMA and Ragini MMS 2.

Forcing a sequel to an earlier success, driven purely by financial prospects, however, can spell doom for a brand. "You can't just make film after film with no similarities to the original and market them as sequels. You may make money once, but the audience will eventually see through," says Garg.

The burden of expectations set by the predecessor often weighs heavy on sequels, and few films, such as the Munnabhai series, are able to surpass it. "First of all you are pompous enough to declare a sequel; then comes the task of taking the story forward while keeping the spirit of the original intact," says Dhulia.

Franchise fever

Race 2 Jan 25

Murder 3 Feb 15

Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns Mar 8

Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Again Aug 8

Shooutout At Wadala May 1

Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 Jun 7

... contd.

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