“Forensic Is A Testimony To Why Remakes Are Unwarranted” – Subhash K Jha

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Sitting through the Hindi remake of the 2020 Malayalam whodunit Forensic, is not a pleasant way to spend one’s time. The mauling that the remake makers have done with the original film is inexplicably thoroughly condemnable, there should be laws protecting the source-material from such serious lynching. Just because a producer buys the rights of a successful film, he should by no means have the right to subject the original to a fury of absurd alterations. The relationship between the original and the remake should be that between the landlord and the tenant. You can’t add rooms or break walls .

Then, of course , there is the bad acting. Tomas Tovino in the original was Samuel, a forensic expert with a delightfully wicked sense of humour. In the remake Vikrant Massey , usually a dependable character, makes the forensic expert seem like a cross between a petulant child and an insensitive professional. Hi Radhika Apte playing Massey’s sister-in-law and a cop investigating the gruesome murder of little girls, looks like she has other things on her mind.

At a murder spot, Johnny(they spell his name as ‘Jhonny’ in the film) makes a joke out of the victims by reciting ‘Johnny Johnny , Yes Papa’ with his own words substituting into the original nursery rhyme(quite like what the Hindi remake of Forensic has done to the original) and reciting it in both a male and female voice, like a mock-dialogue between the murder victim and her murderer.

This is not just bizarre but also in extremely bad taste considering the circumstances. Later on a trans-gender character appears who also speaks in two voices. Which makes Johnny’s ‘Johnny Johnny’ in a dual voice seem like a cruel joke at the trans-gender character’s expense.

The trans character is vital to the plot. It is a new character, an add-on, not a part of the original film which Akhil Paul and Anas Khan had co-written and co-directed with far more sensitivity.

I must say, the remake is very badly written. Changing the identity in a whodunnit at the end is a creative crime that needs to be probed seriously. The brains behind the remake would argue that the murderer’s identity had to be changed , as the original killer had already been exposed on the OTT platform. Like the password to a hacked account?

This is exactly why the Hindi version of Forensic, with all its crimes against the creative process, should not have been attempted, let alone attempted so oafishly.

The denouement in the Hindi version is so bizarre it leaves us not just scratching our heads but also provokes us to climb up the nearest wall. Why would any filmmaker do this to a film? It is downright desecration.

Some films have a reason to be remade. With the passage of time some classics could be given a new interpretation. But certain classics are sacrosanct and inviolable. You can’t remake Sholay, Mughal-e-Azam or Gone With The Wind Or Ben Hur. No one should dare to tamper with these classics because this scripts couldn’t be carried any further. But there are other films that can be improved on. Martin Scorsese who is one of the most respected directors in the world remade the 1962 classic Cape Fear very successfully. Martin Scorsese got his first Oscar for best director for a remake The Departed.

Writer Javed Akhtar whose Zanjeer was remade into a disaster, is not opposed to remakes? In fact, Javed Akhtar would like his own Sunny Deol starrer Arjun to be remade. As the screenwriter he feels he can improve on the screenplay. per se. In fact Salim and Javed once remade a 1959 film called Do Ustad in 1974 as Haath Ki Safaai. The Salim-Javed scripted Haath Ki Safaai was based on a 1959 film called Do Ustad which starred Raj Kapoor and Sheikh Mukhtar. When Salim-Javed saw Do Ustad,they sensed the potential in the plot that was lost in translation. Javed feels Haath Ki Safaai was an infinitely superior film to Do Ustad .

I wish we could say the same about remake of Forensic.

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