Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Because Indian cinema reflects multiple styles, cultures, and languages, successful films in one market are often remade in others.
Here is a look at an original and the remakes:
Original - Singam
English Title: "Lion"
Release Date: 28 May 2010
Music by: Devi Sri Prasad
Description: Tamil action-masala film. Influential Chennai gangster Mayil Vahanam (Prakash Raj) is admitted to the hospital as a ruse to identify those who seek to kill him. Sub-Inspector Durai Singam (Suriya) lives in Nallur, Tamil Nadu and uses his position wisely, so is respected by everyone. He meets and falls in love with visiting Kavya Mahalingam (Anushka Shetty) but faces strong opposition from her Chennai-based businessman father, who does not approve of him. When Mayil Vahanam is ordered to to report to Nellore to sign a conditional bail. He tries to use goon power to intimidate Singam but instead ends up humbled and humiliated. Vahanam ensures that Singam gets transferred to Chennai where he plans to terrorize him and those around him. Little does Vahanam know who he is dealing with.
Remake 1 - Singham
English Title: "Lion"
Release Date: 22 July 2011
Director: Rohit Shetty
Music by: Ajay-Atul
Hindi action film. After being accused of crimes he didn't commit, Goa Inspector Rakesh Kadam (Sudhanshu Pandey) commits suicide. We later learn that his police integrity angered Jaikant Shikre (Prakash Raj), a don and politician, who retaliated by tarnishing Kadam's reputation. Meanwhile, respected Sub-Inspector Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) lives and works in Shivgarh, a small village near the Goa-Maharashtra border. Here he meets Kavya (Kajal Aggarwal) and their love story begins. When Goa don Jaikant Shikre is forced to report to Shivgarh to sign his conditional bail, Singham angers Shikre who has him promoted and transferred to Colva police station where he can threaten him with impunity. Singham battles not only with Shikre, but with a corrupt system that is under Shikre's control. Singham confronts the officers for not abiding to their duties and being dishonest and unfaithful to their profession by protecting Shikre, and the officers are convinced to take action.
Why I Love These Films: While these films tell similar stories, they are definitely different films. For a western viewer, the Tamil Singam takes a little while to get used to because it is very stylized for south Indian movie-goers. The action is fast, furious, and sometimes ridiculous - but it is all to establish the nature of the character Durai Singam (Suriya). Some of the humor may also seem a bit over-the-top and culturally-based that you may tune it out. But stick with it and you'll see stylized justice meted out the Singam way. The Hindi Singham adds a sub-storyline to the film - that of seeking justice for driving the previous Inspector to suicide - and is more accessible to western audiences. While the action in Singham is a bit over-the-top at times, the action just adds to the entertainment factor and highlights the effectiveness of the character. What stands out about these films is that police officers are viewed in a positive light. However, if you are new to Bollywood, I recommend that you view the Hindi version before the Tamil version.
But wait, there's more. However, this version is harder to find.
Remake 2 - Kempe Gowda
Release Date: 10 March 2011
Music by: Arjun Janya
Description: Kannada action film. Pretty much a scene-for-scene remake of the original Tamil Singam, with updates targetting Bangalore audiences, this version is a bit harder to find. This version features Kempe Gowda (Sudeep) as a Sub-Inspector in a dusty village of Rona in Hubli. His love interest is Kavya (Ragini Dwivedi). The villain is Armugam (P. Ravi Shankar) who is brought down to his knees by Gowda at the local police station. Their egos clash and Armugam, who has never had to face an opposition before, decides to teach Gowda a lesson. He is transferred to Bangalore, where Amugam makes clear that he runs the show. As Gowda begins to unearth Armugam's misdeeds, he realizes that he is up against a real challenge.
- Prakash Raj played the villain in both the Tamil and Hindi versions.
- The film was also made in Bengali as Shotru.
- Tamil Singam II was released in July 2013 and the Hindi Singham 2 is expected to release on 15 August 2014.
If you liked this, check out our other Bollywood Remakes posts.