After watching — and enjoying — Bharat, I was curious to know how much of the original Korean film was translocated into its Indian counterpart. So I watched Ode to My Father and came up with some startling similarities and dissimilarities. While the basic plot of a hot-tempered man’s journey through the history of his country, remains the same, there are two basic changes that the adaptation has undergone.
Both, I am told, were on demand from the film’s hero. The first change has to do with the rather randy nature of the original hero Yoon Deok-soo (played by Hwang Jung-min). Put bluntly, Yoon Deok-soo in the original was a horny young chap leering at women and discussing their anatomy. In fact the first time that Yoon Deok-soo meets his beloved Young-ja, he openly peers down her blouse.
Salman Khan being a puritan would have none of the original’s salaciousness in his character. Writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar was asked to ‘clean out’ the hero. “If it’s Salman you can’t have him leering at women like the original Korean chap,” says a source close to Bharat. Salman for the record loathes any physical intimacy with his heroines on screen. In this sense he’s like the original ‘Bharat’ Manoj Kumar who refused to embrace his heroines lest his fans cast aspersions on his patriotic purity.
A more radical change to the original script was the character of Yoon Deok-soo’s beloved. In the original Young-ja is a nurse with far more limited screen time than what Katrina Kaif is given in Bharat. In the original, the Everyman hero and his beloved marry and grow old together. In the remake Salman’s character never marries the woman he loves, although they are still together when he grows old.
This again, is a Salmanesque fantasy. In real life too Salman knows Katrina won’t marry him. But he’s sure she’ll be around. Given Salman’s unconditional generosity towards Katrina it isn’t surprising that she occupies a lot more screen space in Bharat than her Korean counterpart Yunkin Kim in Ode to My Father. Katrina has been written early into the script when she’s shown recruiting the hero and his friend into a mining operation in the Gulf.
At this point of the plot in Ode to My Father there’s no love interest no lead actress. A source reveals how Salman “urged” director Ali Abbas Zafar to incorporate Katrina into the script as early as possible and to lengthen her role to the optimum.
The entire circus episode, missing from the original Korean film, with Disha Patani was incorporated at Salman’s insistence. That apart, Bharat is in spirit as close to Ode to My Father as Shekhar Kapoor’s Masoom to Man Woman & Child.
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