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5 Thoughts I Had While Watching Durgamati Trailer: Will Bhumi Pednekar Be Able To Recreate The Appeal Of Anushka Shetty’s Bhaagamathie?

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In the past few years, the horror genre seems to have a found a new lease on life, internationally. Whether it’s movies like Get Out, Us, Midsommar, The Lighthouse in Hollywood or even back home, Stree, filmmakers are finally finding ways to mix traditional elements of horror with psychological ones, to create some incredible cinema. Nobody really gets spooked by flickering lights or scary faces anymore. But play with the audience’s minds, give them uncertainty or prey on their very real fears and phobias cleverly, and you’ve got ‘em. The 2018 Telugu horror thriller, Bhaagamathie, starring Anushka Shetty and directed by G. Ashok, managed that feat. And now, its Bollywood remake, Durgamati – The Myth, starring Bhumi Pednekar, Arshad Warsi, Jisshu Sengupta, Mahie Gill and Karan Kapadia, and directed by Ashok himself, is here with its official trailer, attempting to recreate that spook.

 

 

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Since you know Durgamati is a remake, it’s easy to get the plot spoiled for you, which takes the thriller out of the horror. And that’s not very nice, is it? But since I didn’t mind, I’m going to save you some trouble there and give you a spoiler-free version of what the OG Telugu film was about. The story can be described as a political thriller-cum-horror film, where an incarcerated female IAS officer is taken out of prison to a dilapidated mansion so she can spill dirty secrets about a popular politician who is suspected of being corrupt. The mansion is presumed to be haunted by the ghost of a Nizam queen who, of course, had a wrongful death and thus her spirit supposedly wants badlaa-the revenge.

Now, I haven’t watched the Anushka Shetty starrer Bhaagamathie, but the film was reportedly quite the success at the Box Office and even acclaimed by the critics for keeping them at the edge of their seats with twists at regular intervals. Anushka Shetty’s performance, in particular, was lauded. Clearly, Durgamati then has some large shoes to fill. Not to mention, it needs to heal us, the audience, from the horror inflicted upon us by Laxmii.

Also Read: Laxmii Review: Akshay Kumar, Kiara Advani Starrer Is A Phuski Bomb That Went Bust With Our Expectations

Here’s are five thoughts I had while watching the Durgamati – The Myth trailer:

1. We get it. Durgamati is a remake of Bhaagamathie. But does that mean the scenes have to be EXACTLY the same?

Like I said, I haven’t seen the OG film. But trailer dekhna toh bantaa hai na boss? Mostly because I’ll admit, I liked the Durgamati trailer enough to get my interest piqued. What I realised is that while both trailer began differently, some of the most important scenes were frame by frame lifts from the original. Bhaagamathie begins with a love story that morphs into a political thriller-horror. While Durgamati skips the love angle and gets straight to business by focusing more on the corrupt politician and the IAS officer’s interrogation.

Look, I understand, same director, same story. But haven’t we learnt from past experiences like the very recent Laxmii, that if you lift things so obviously, the comparisons are going to be unavoidable. And then, you make it harder for the remake and its actors to get their dues, especially when the original is so widely appreciated. Already in the comments under the trailer on YouTube, there are fans saying it will be impossible to top Anushka’s performance in Bhaagamathie.

Left: Bhumi Pednekar in Durgamati (2020); Right: Anushka Shetty in Bhaagamathie (2018)

Personally, I feel like remakes, when done by the same directors/writers, are like second chances to iron out any issues that the original might have had. And it’s also a chance to change things up a bit. You want to go with the tried and tested formula? Sure. But itna same to same cheez karoge toh we might as well watch the dubbed version no?

Besides, this is not a one-off thing. As this one guy in the comments pointed out, Bollywood’s become this lazy student who’d rather copy his homework off the ranker baccha than use his own head.

I feel ya, dude.

2. Intrigued to see what Bhumi Pednekar as the eponymous Durgamati brings to the character!

I had my Anushka Shetty appreciation awakening rather late, only after Baahubali, forgive me. But she really blew my mind with her act in just the trailer of Bhaagamathie. And looks like Bhumi Pednekar is all set to do the same with Durgamati. Bhumi’s a good actor, and I have faith. She did seem a shade less awe-inspiring than Shetty was in that red-saree scene, but see? This is what I meant by comparing and not letting the standalone performance speak for itself.

When Vidya Balan did Monjulika in Bhool Bhulaiyya, she cemented her possessed act in our minds forever. I’m rooting for Bhumi Pednekar to make Durgamati memorable too.

 

 

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3. They’ve got quite the talented cast, and I’m especially excited to see Arshad Warsi in a grey role.

Arshad Warsi plays a politician who could be dirty… and that’s something I am keen to see. Warsi’s become so synonymous with comedy roles after Munnabhai and Golmaal, that I long to see him in more serious, character-driven roles. I thought he did a spectacular job in Jolly LLB (I maintain he should’ve been in the sequel too) and even Asur on Voot. And since I know the plot of this one, I am excited to see him in it.

There’s also Jisshu Sengupta, who is a delight to watch on screen always, because so much talent and so much handsome! Mahie Gill’s playing a badass female cop, so we gonna watch out for some intense scenes between her and Bhumi’s Chanchal!

4. I’m really digging the title track that plays towards the end of the trailer!

So the album music is by Tanishk Bagchi, Naman Adhikari, Abhinav Sharma, and Malini Awasthi. And the title track that accompanies the trailer towards the end is peppy, like you could do one of those intense tandav dances on it or play it at a club (haan haan, after COVID) as a trance remix and watch people head bang over it. Especially, when it goes ‘Durgamatiiiiiiiii’!

I’m feelin’ it!

5. It’s a little ironic that a movie about the triumph of good over evil had to change its name to avoid backlash!

Films ending in ‘I’ have a 100% chance of having their names changed. Padmavati became Padmaavat. Laxmmi Bomb, not technically ending in ‘I’ but still, became Laxmii. And now poor Durgavati had to become Durgamati. A story about a powerful female spirit who could make grown men piss their pants has to be afraid of Twitter hashtag trends and threats from fragile egos. But it’s either that or face stupid backlash for “hurting religious sentiments”. But then that’s publicity also. And let’s be honest, the new name rhymes better with the Telugu original. Bhaagamathie. Durgamati. Ah, they sound like sisters!

Produced by Akshay Kumar’s Cape of Good Films, T-Series and Abundantia Entertainment, Durgamati – The Myth is an Amazon Original movie that will begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video from December 11, 2020.

Also Read: Moral Police Now Wants Us To Boycott Netflix Over ‘A Suitable Boy’. Can Y’all Just Stop Telling Us What To Do?

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