This is not just about individual comebacks, or of the ubiquitous “re-created” songs, or even about film remakes. This is about successful teams making a comeback after years, if not decades. As of now, the low-key beginning we saw was in last year’s Begum Jaan, which brought back Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt with composer Anu Malik after an association that had begun in 1993 and ended in 2005, the high-points being Sir, Naajayaz, Saaya, Murder and Malik’s few compositions in Zeher. However, despite the brilliant music, the new film bombed and the anti-trend songs were not even heard.
In times to come, however, we expect better things from the return of the jodis of yore.
Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor in 102 Not Out: They are playing way ahead of their ages as a father and son pair who are 102 and 75 years-old respectively! They are coming back after 27 years, that is, after Ajooba, which was an also-ran. However, their track-record is actually illustrious, with Kabhi Kabhie (1976) besides the Manmohan Desai trilogy of Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Naseeb (1981) and Coolie (1983), in all of which they played brothers.
The casting coup by Umesh Shukla is thus fortuitous because both Amitabh and Rishi remain formidable lead character artistes even today and are prestigious brands in their individual right, combining powerhouse talent with contemporary relevance.
Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit Nene in Total Dhamaal: Ashok Thakeria and Indra Kumar made the blockbuster Beta way back in 1992 with Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit (now Nene). They then worked with both separately but never together. Also creators of the Dhamaal franchise, they have now got the star-pair into the third instalment, Total Dhamaal! Of course, the Anil-Madhuri team has also given other mega-hits in Tezaab (1988), Ram Lakhan (1989) and Kishen Kanhaiya (1990).
Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit Nene in Kalank: Sridevi’s demise paved the way for a return of the Thanedaar pair of Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit, even as their song ‘Tama Tama Loge’’s re-created version was a chartbuster last year in Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Though they worked all the way from 1988’s Khatron Ke Khiladi to the delayed Mahaanta released in 1997, they also had the mega-hits Saajan in 1991 and Khal-Nayak in 1993. However, there was some hesitation this time from Sanjay’s side as they had been in a personal relationship that Madhuri ended when he was jailed. But now, all bygones will be bygones, with the ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ girl stepping into Sridevi’s role.
Ajay Devgn and Indra Kumar in Total Dhamaal: Indra Kumar’s successful adventures with Ajay Devgn included Ishq (1997) and Masti (2004), and no flops. After a 14-year vanwaas of sorts, they come back in Total Dhamaal.
J.P. Dutta and Anu Malik in Paltan: Dutta broke through with his debut production Border (1997) after directing four big flops in a row. Anu Malik proved his mettle here, and improved upon this with Refugee (2000), for which he won the National award for Best Music. And while Refugee, LOC Kargil (2003) and Umrao Jaan (2006) all misfired at the box-office, Anu’s music was a substantial thematic support to each of them. Dutta, after signing two newbies for an aborted production some years ago, has now returned to Anu with his attempted comeback Paltan, another war film based on a real saga.
Bappi Lahiri and B. Subhash in Disco Dancing Star: B. Subhash, who directed Disco Dancer, Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki and Dance Dance in the 1980s (among many others) and last made the flop Classic-Dance Of Love in 2005, is making a comeback with a film titled Disco Dancing Star. Bappi had co-composed the last film along with Sukhwinder Singh, but was a B. Subhash regular all through the ‘80s and most of the ‘90s, even scoring background music for his English film Divine Lovers that had no songs. Still known for his disco numbers, Bappi is back in the B. Subhash fold.