Can you spot the Telugu thriller Kshanam in its “official” remake Baaghi 2? The Hindi version of Kshanam is so far removed from the original that one wonders why producer Sajid Nadiadwala bothered to buy the remake rights in the first place. Not that I wasn’t warned. Even before the shooting of Baaghi 2 started Nadiadwala told me, “We are just taking the core of the plot and turning it around completely. It won’t be Kshanam when we finish with it.”
Nadiadwala kept his word. This is certainly not the entity that I saw two years ago. Baaghi 2 is as different from Kshanam as Madhuri Dixit from Jacqueline Fernandez, give or take the ‘Ek Do Teen’ number. Revisionist versions of original works are permissible, even welcome. Sudhir Mishra has transformed Saratchandra Chatterjee’s Devdas to an unrecognizable beast in the forthcoming Daas Dev. And if you’ve seen that excellent film Bornila Chatterjee’s The Hunger you will find it hard to find Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus in it.
But these are revisionist versions of acknowledged classics. What Baaghi 2 does to Kshanam is plunder. The remake goes at the original with hammers and tongs, reducing the raging drama of Kshanam to a high-decibel desi tadka-boosted take on Pierre Morrel’s Taken.
But Adivi Shesh who wrote Kshanam and starred in it, plays it cautiously when I question him about Baaghi 2. As expected he claims he hasn’t seen the remake. But here is why Adivi must make peace with the remake.
Adivi who is one of Telugu cinema’s rising stars, has cut a business deal with Nadiadwala. While Nadiadwala was given Hindi remake rights for Kshanam, Adivi Shesh got the Telugu remake rights of Nadiadwala’s production 2 States, a film about a South –North marital alliance.
Says Adivi gleefully, “Kshanam got adapted for Hindi and now 2 States is being adapted in Telugu. It’s Serendipitous. Sajid Saab has accorded us the rights for the official remake of 2 States in Telugu. Shooting kicks off on April 5 and we hope to do a good job adapting it for the Telugu screen.”
Serendipitous? Not at all! The entire plan was to exchange the remake rights between Sajid Nadiadwala and Adivi Shesh. Hence, as per deal, while Nadiadwala got to do what he likes with Kshanam, now Adivi Shesh can exercise his own free will on 2 States.
We hear the Telugu remake, featuring Adivi Shesh and Shivani Rajashekhar, will be radically opposed to the Hindi original. The love story is no more a Punjabi-Tamil alliance but an alliance involving two South Indian protagonists from different states, most probably Telugu and Tamil. The conflicts are also changed and the characters would no longer be battling the conflicts we saw in Hindi.
So then, are we now entering a new phase in the hoary history of remakes where the original would find it difficult to recognize the remake?