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Bollywood filmmakers faithfully remake 'Unfaithful'

Indo-Asian News Service [Thursday, April 08, 2004]

Ever wondered about the spate of Bollywood films based on similar, if nor identical, subjects? If last year there were as many as four films based on the legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, this year films based on the police force were expected to be the chosen flavour.But a sleazy trend has overtaken the box office now. It's the theme of adultery, inspired by Adrian Lyne's erotic thriller "Unfaithful". The original film from the director of passion flicks like "9 1/2 Weeks" and "Fatal Attraction" was a minor hit. Diane Lane who played the errant wife was even nominated for an Oscar.

Going by the initial reaction, Mallika Sherawat too is having a big impact in its Bollywood version, "Murder". The Hindi film industry seems to be going through an endless season of faithful remakes of "Unfaithful". It all started with Aruna Raje's "Tum" a month ago where Manisha Koirala played the wife whose guilt-ridden one-night stand with a stranger ended in murder.

Last week Karan Razdan's "Hawas" borrowed the entire theme, including individual scenes and shots from Adrian Lyne's film.Now, within a week, another "Unfaithful" remake has hit the theatres. Coming from Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt whose production house has a reputation of ripping off Hollywood films, "Murder", featuring Mallika as the bored and neglected housewife who goes out and has an affair with a reckless rocker, is unarguably the best "Unfaithful" adaptation so far. Incidentally the Bhatts also adapted Lyne's "Fatal Attraction" as the blockbuster "Raaz".

There's one more coming - producer Boney Kapoor's "Bewafaa", featuring Kareena Kapoor as the reluctant wife who continues to see her lover Akshay Kumar after marriage. It will be ready for release in the next couple of months.

What's it about Adrian Lyne's "Unfaithful", which has attracted filmmakers en masse? Says filmmaker Hansal Mehta: "It's the potential to project a fair amount of sex and nudity in a tale of marriage and related values. Very heady mix."

This isn't the first time when more than one Hindi film is sourced to the same Hollywood film. Adrian Lyne's "Indecent Proposal", about a husband who persuades his wife to sleep with a millionaire, was made into two Hindi films, "Sauda" and "Karobaar". But the two versions of "Indecent Proposal" were released at a decent interval.

Never before have so many versions of the same Hollywood film been released all together. Will the audiences accept at least one of these remakes?

Is Bollywood sidelining women again?

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