Rewind to the ’80s

Thirty years after the release of Himmatwala, the film that's said to have started the wave of B-grade cinema, a remake takes a comical look at the era.

He was all of 11in 1983, when Himmatwala released. A movie buff who thoroughly enjoyed larger-than-life entertainers, Sajid Khan watched the movie, directed by K Raghavendra Rao, 36 times on the big screen. "The drama and garishness of the '80s were almost humorous and they left a huge impression on me," says Khan.

It is a common practice for filmmakers to pay an ode through their work to the artistes they admire. In a similar vein, Khan had always wanted to evoke the '80s in a film and remaking Himmatwala seemed the best way to do so. The film, in fact, releases exactly 30 years after the original — on March 29.

A film that brought together all the elements that comprise a Bollywood potboiler — love, lust, revenge, item songs and action — Himmatwala, with its tacky production, catapulted the careers of both Sridevi and Jeetendra. It also started a trend of remaking south Indian films. Many of these films enjoy a cult following today.

It is perhaps this knowledge that aided Khan in making his remake. "Those who are in their teens today haven't experienced the cinema of the '80s. The idea was to give them a taste of the same — right from music and art to story and dialogues," he says. The idea is to make it entertaining, almost comical, to all age-groups.

The original is a tale of a son (Jeetendra) who sets out to re-establish his father's reputation, maligned by the baddie (Amjad Khan), and falls in love with his errant daughter (Sridevi) who eventually comes to his rescue. Khan, however, claims his version is hardly a remake but "more of a rewrite". "It is not the same movie at all. What we have retained are the characters and the treatment," he says. The remake has Ajay Devgn and South Indian actor Tammannah play the lead roles.

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