What happens when a movie gets over? An obvious reply would be, 'audiences rise and walk towards the exit.' But do their minds really exit the film per se? You don't need ESP to notice that everyone leaving the theatre is keenly discussing the film for whatever reasons. They could be criticising, praising, feigning indifference or laughing over it.
What if the film is a great one? What if it's so good that it's ending makes you uneasy? Despite leading a voyeuristic existence for three hours, you haven't had your fill. Some screen characters are so fantastically life like or extraordinarily larger than life, that you always wonder what happens to them after the curtain falls down. These characters are hard to let go.
Some shrewd filmmaker understood this emotion rather well and capitalised on the viewer's need for more of the same. And the concept of a sequel was born.
Let's take Hollywood first. Statistics state that sequels work fabulously. Witness Spider-Man 2, Shrek 2, The Matrix Reloaded, Mission Impossible 2, Batman Returns, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, X2 so on and so forth. Then there are these films that work like episodes: The Godfather and The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Star Wars and The Harry Potter series. Besides making pots of money, these films worked marvellously because they have memorable characters.
Don Vito Corleone, Michael Corleone, Peter Parker, Yoda, Darth Wader, Harry Potter, Hermione, Ron Weasley, Neo, Morpheous, Trinity, Ethan Hunt, Bruce Wayne, Wolverine, Gandalf, Frodo, Aragorn, Shrek, Fiona, Donkey are celebrities in their own right.
Now let's talk about Hindi films. Think sequel. Think snakes. Remember Harmesh Malhotra's Nagina? It was about an ichadhari naag (played by Sridevi), one who has the power to transform herself into a human on will. Three years later he made a follow up to the snake fest and called it Nigahen. Sridevi was cast yet again as the daughter of the earlier snake. While Nagina was a success, Nigahen was not.
Mahesh Manjrekar too failed when he tried to continue the story of Vaastav through Hathyar. Both featured Sanjay Dutt.
Everybody loved the simplicity and humour of Nagesh Kukunoor's Hyderabad Blues, which was about an NRI (Kukunoor himself) struggling to do things, including romance, the Indian way. In Hyderabad Blues 2, he explores the relationship between the same protagonist and his wife. Some audiences didn't find anything charming about it.
Why do sequels not work here? Maybe the story wasn't good enough. Maybe the viewer wasn't interested in knowing about part human-snakes' and dead gangster's progenies any more. Maybe some subjects don't have a repeat value. Maybe.
Irrespective of the fate sequels in Bollywood have met so far, there are still a handful of filmmakers who are open to experimenting.
Hera Pheri's crazy trio of Baburao Apte (Paresh Rawal), Raju (Akshay Kumar) and Ghanshyam (Suniel Shetty) will return with a new set of adventures for Phir Hera Pheri.
After his memorable stint at medical school, Munnabhai MBBS is reportedly trying his hands at law in Munnabhai LLB.
One heard rumours suggesting a possible sequel to Koi… Mil Gaya, but the film's hero Hrithik Roshan didn't confirm their legitimacy.
Whether he'll do a Koi…Mil Gaya 2 is entirely his call. There are numerous other subjects, which have a potential sequel in them waiting to be explored.
I can even think of a bunch of films that I would love to see sequels of:
Sholay: I loved Sholay. But then, who didn't? I didn't like one thing though: Jai's death. So in Sholay 2, Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) would make a comeback. No, not as a restless soul vying to make contact with the perpetually muted Radha (Jaya Bachchan). Instead Jai will have a secret twin brother Vijay (Big B again) of whom no one, including Salim-Javed, knew of. Many years later, after he learns of Jai's death, he contacts the happily married Veeru (Dharmendra) and Basanti (Hema Malini), who now are proud owners of Dhanno Racecourse. Where was Vijay all this time? In rehab of course, trying to kick his drinking habit.
Vijay and Veeru click instantly and sing a remix version of Yeh dosti hum nahi chodenge. But Gabbar's dark shadow still lingers. One of his many illegitimate sons, Babbar Singh (Rajpal Yadav), seeks revenge. He attacks Ramgarh, which is now a happening town with multiplexes and malls. Thakur Baldev Singh calls on his mini army of Veeru and Vijay to fight the evil. Vijay and Radha don't waste any time exchanging glances. They sms their feelings to each other and get married. The climax of Sholay 2 is its turning point. Guess who shoots Babbar in the head? Not Vijay. Not Veeru. Not Thakur. It's Chacha Imamsaab(A K Hangal).
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron: Vinod (Naseeruddin Shah) and Sudhir's (Ravi Baswani) bogus adventure continues. After they are bailed out of jail, they sell Beauty Photo Studio and decide to join the police force as constables. Cop dramas are in, remember? One night while gobbling a banana, as always, at Antonio Park they find a dead body. It's Srivastava (Deepak Qazir), the commissioner who replaced D'Mello (Satish Shah). Evidently, Tarneja and Ahuja (Om Puri and Pankaj Kapur) are at it again. Vinod and Sudhir don't have any proof against them. They decide to secretly blackmail the two bigwigs and get them to admit their crime. Predictably, Sudhir bungles up. They are on the run from Tarneja and Ahuja. During the chase, Vinod bumps into Shobhaji (alas! Bhakti Barve has passed into the ages, so may we suggest Shabana Azmi for the role?), who hosts a talk show. She decides to lure the emotional Vinod. In turn, she protects them from T & A.
What happens next? I am not sure. But I am thinking of a more unrealistic ending, wherein Vinod and Sudhir are made joint commissioner of police.
Maybe Amar and Prem are married to Raveena and Karishma respectively. Their dream of becoming rich without working for it is finally realised when they are entrusted with the property. And Uncle aka Ram Gopal Bajaj flies back to UK. Bajaj's twin brother Teja is bailed out. He collaborates with Crime master Gogo (Shakti Kapoor) to swindle the 'paplu taplu' off their newly acquired riches. There is a kidnapping. And this time the 'plan'ning is perfect. They hold Raveena and Karishma to ransom. Only our Amar and Prem are fed up of this 'so-called' marital bliss so they ask Teja and Gogo to keep them for as long as they want.