Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.
You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.
When most people think of movies from India one of two things pops in to their head: Slumdog Millionaire or a cheesy Bollywood movie. This was the case for me as well up until recently. It turns out that Indian cinema isn’t just all weird musicals and one movie from Danny Boyle, there are some really great movies to come out of the country in the last few years. This article is about one of them, and hopefully, if nothing else, it will convince you to give Indian cinema a chance.
Kahaani is a movie that came out earlier this year in India, and I’ll admit it’s a little hard to get in to at first. After about twenty minutes though you will be hooked. The movie centers around a pregnant woman from London who goes to India to track down her husband who has gone missing. Very shortly after she arrives she begins to realize there may be a lot more to his disappearance than what meets the eye, as everyone that should know him denies his existence. Also, the seemingly closer she gets to solving the mystery the more people end up dead, as a major conspiracy seems to be in the works. In actuality there is much, much more to this story, but the twist ending is so good that I do not want to ruin it here, so go track down this flick and watch it yourself.
The movie is already quite entertaining so why bother remaking it? The answer is obvious and a little xenophobic, but that is the way it works: American audiences will not watch foreign movies. If Kahaani got a U.S. theatrical release it may make some money, but not nearly as much as an all out remake. It is the sad truth of our country, but lets face it: people wont read subtitles. Plus, I feel like there was some symbolism and significant cultural things that was totally lost on me, and it would be great to get some familiar equivalent content.
Picking the right director for a Kahaani remake is important. The movie centers around a strong female character trying to navigate a male dominant world whilst pregnant. She gets in to a lot of dicey situations so there is a lot of action too. There was a movie that came out recently that had a strong female character unraveling a mystery with murders and action and that was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. David Fincher would make an amazing director for Kahaani and his signature style would take an already amazing story and elevate it to new levels. Sure, Dragon Tattoo did not do that great in theaters, but a lot of that was due to when it was released, not because the movie was bad (in fact, it was one of my favorites of 2011).
I would absolutely love to see the original actress from Kahaani reprise her role (her English is great, shes gorgeous, and a great actress) but that rarely happens, so we have to think about who else would fit the character well. Ever since Monster came out I have wanted to see Charlize Theron in more leading roles, and Kahaani would be perfect for her. She is the right age and has the right acting chops to pull off a frustrated pregnant woman frantically searching for her husband in a strange new place. In addition to that, she has the absolute perfect attitude for the twist ending and I can not think of a better actress for her role. Knowing Hollywood though I would guess that Angelina Jolie would get cast because everyone is still obsessed with her for some reason.
It would be great if foreign gems could stay original, especially if they are as well crafted as Kahaani. However, if it means people will experience the story, an American remake is a necessary evil. If it is done right the Kahaani remake could make a lot of money and open up the floodgates for more Indian cinema to get exposure in the states, which would be great. The movie is a pretty big hit in India, so maybe we will see a remake, and hopefully some studio executive will have read this so it ends up worth seeing. If nothing else, try and find a way to watch Kahaani, it is worth your time.