remakes

Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Deewar’ was remade in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam – and Cantonese

‘The Brothers’, a remake by the Shaw Brothers studio, sticks to the story of a criminal who clashes with his police officer sibling over their mother.

Deewar, the classic drama about crime, morality and punishment between brothers on opposite sides of the law, has inspired several remakes. Directed by Yash Chopra in 1975 and written by Salim-Javed, Deewar’s versions include Magaadu in Telugu, Thee in Tamil and Nathi Muthal Nathi Vare in Malayalam – and The Brothers in Cantonese. The Brothers (1979) stars Tony Liu as Amitabh Bachchan’s criminal, while Danny Lee steps into the role of the righteous police officer brother played by Shashi Kapoor.

The remake was produced by the renowned Shaw Brothers studio, which is known internationally for kung fu and period dramas. The Brothers was directed by Shaw Brothers regular Hua Shan, who had previously delivered the cult movies Super Inframan (1975), Soul of the Sword (1978), Little Dragon Maiden (1983), and Portrait in Crystal (1983).

The Brothers is a mostly faithful remake. The dialogue is transcribed directly from the original in many places, and many of the emotionally charged scenes survive with a few notable changes.

Several notable Hong Kong actors show up in The Brothers, including the legendary Ku Feng, playing the role of Davar Seth (Iftekhar). Shaw Brothers regular villain Chan Sen plays Madan Puri’s Samant. Parveen Babi’s Anita, played by Chow Lai Guen, has barely any screen time, while Neetu Singh’s character has been excised from the Hong Kong version.

The crucial character of the mother, who becomes a source of conflict between the brothers, is played Nam Hung. The Hong Kong cinema veteran can hardly match up to Nirupa Roy when it comes to conveying the original film’s emotional thrust.

The Brothers is shorter than Deewar, clocking 90 minutes. Like Deewar, it begins with a strike (at a fishing pier instead of a coal mine), but the father (Riki Harada instead of Satyen Kappu) is killed off in the beginning itself.

There are other important differences. The criminal is not killed by his police inspector brother but by a group of armed policemen after a fist fight. The character played by Parveen Babi in the original is raped. The badge numbered 786, which is worn by Amitabh Bachchan’s character, has its own subplot in Deewar. The number stands for the value of the words “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim”. In The Brothers, Tony Liu has a badge numbered 838, which signifies the Chinese Year of the Horse.

The remake fails to capture the essence of Deewar. Tony Liu and Danny Lee lack the aura and chemistry of the original actors. Although Danny Lee went on to become a sought after actor in the cop genre, acting in such notable movies as John Woo’s The Killer (1989), he looks tacitly out of place in The Brothers.

Tony Liu has done commendably well in many Shaw Brothers kung fu movies, but he too does not fit the part of the smouldering and brooding man who blames the world for the hardships heaped upon his family. The lack of a bond between the brothers is glaring, and perhaps the movie would have worked better with another combination of actors, such as Shaw Brothers regular Ti Lung, David Chiang and Alexander Fu Sheng. Hong Kong star Ti Lung went on to play a similar character in John Woo’s classic A Better Tomorrow (1986).

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.