Has Bollywood run out of ideas?

Mumbai – A glut of Bollywood sequels are due out in the coming months, prompting questions about whether the industry has run out of ideas or is just milking a successful formula in troubled times.

More than a dozen follow-ups are in the pipeline, including “Bheja Fry 2” (Brain Fry), a second “Dabangg” (Fearless), a third in the “Dhoom” franchise and another instalment of the “Golmaal” series.

Shah Rukh Khan is also getting in on the act, with a sequel due out by the end of the year of his hit “Don”.

Bollywood studios are increasingly desperate for a money-spinner, with box office takings in the Indian film industry as a whole down for the last two years and the lack of original, quality script writing a common complaint.

But “Bheja Fry 2” director Sagar Ballary rejected the notion that follow-ups are an easy option since success was not guaranteed.

“I didn’t rush to make the sequel immediately after the first film came out in 2007. We waited for the right script to make this part two,” he said.

“Every film stands on its own. Whether it’s a sequel or not, the film has to be good to work.”

Follow-ups are an established part of Hollywood. Some films, like those in the “Godfather” trilogy, are arguably better than the original. Others, like the Star Wars prequels, fail to find favour with fans or critics.

In Bollywood, notable franchises include the “Golmaal” series, which were all popular.

Director Rohit Shetty has no qualms about doing another follow-up.

“If I have created a brand. Why should I be apologetic about making money on it? You reap what you sow, right?”

Shetty was quoted as saying in the Hindustan Times newspaper recently.

Filmmakers admit that financial factors are important.

With the “brand” already known, less has to be spent on marketing and success is more likely, the argument goes.

“Producers are demanding because for them it’s good business,” said Ballary. “They know sequels will surely recover the cost of the box office because of the success of part one and there’s not much to lose.

“There are many scripts and good story ideas in the market but producers don’t want to risk new ideas and they feel it’s safe to work with a sequel because audiences like it.”

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