First Rank Raju to Kirrak Party: Tollywood turns to Sandalwood remakes

Kannada cinema is in demand in the Telugu cinema circuit, it seems, given that at least half a dozen remakes of Kannada films are set to get released during the coming months. In the past too, Kannada films have been remade or dubbed into Telugu, but this renewed attention serves as recognition of new-age Kannada cinema, which has been consistently churning out critical and commercial hits that have cut across regional boundaries. Some of the remakes we will  be privy to over the next few months include those of Kannada superhits like U-Turn, First Rank Raju and Kirrak Party.

Actor Nikhil, who is on a roll with five hits, is working on the Telugu remake of Kirrak Party, a campus love story that featured Rishab Shetty. The Happy Days-actor is convinced that the sstory of a collegegoer whose life turns upside down on an ill-fated day, will enthrall local audiences. “The youthful nature of the film (Kirik Party) caught my attention and made me want to be part of its remake. It’s a script that will appeal to all sections. We have taken the core idea alone, and have made several interesting changes. Director Sharan Koppishetty has done a wonderful job and I’m eagerly awaiting its release, this summer,” says Nikhil.

He says the script is of paramount importance for him. “Except for Shankarabharanam, I’m happy that all my recent films like Swamy Ra Ra, Karthikeya, Surya vs Surya, Ekkadaki Pothavu Chinnavada and Keshava have performed well. When I choose a script, not only do I look for freshness, but I also look for commercial viability.”

Director Pawan Kumar’s critically-acclaimed film, U-Turn, a mystery-thriller about motorists who die under mysterious circumstances for violating traffic rules, is being remade in both Telugu and Tamil with Samantha in the lead. The film’s shooting has begun on February 17 in Rajahmundry.And then, we have First Rank Raju, an entertaining story about an exemplary geek called Raju, who always aims at securing the first place. Maruthi, who’s presenting the Telugu remake, says, “The film is a commentary on the present educational system without ever giving up on the entertainment quotient. It’s a first-of-its-kind film in Telugu which somehow conveys a wonderful message without getting too preachy. We have retained the essence of the original and made very few changes.”

Interestingly, history hasn’t been kind to our filmmakers when it comes to Kannada remakes. The vast majority of them failed to do well  here. Films like Antham Kadidhi Arambham (remake of Antha), Vaana (remake of Mungaru Male), Yogi (remake of Jogi), Nagavalli (remake of Aptha Rakshaka), Potugadu (remake of Govindaya Namaha) and the latest romedy, Idi Naa Love Story (remake of Simple Agi Ondh Love Story), have all failed to live up to the success of the original.

But Maruthi is convinced his film will work. “There is interest in films with unique content. Kannada industry is making new-age cinema that can appeal to audience from all sections. There is no need to worry about the prospects of First Rank Raju, given the universal appeal it has,” he says.


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