I frequently wonder what could have occurred if Bollywood had adopted the same culture of “franchise movies” that Hollywood has. Imagine a franchise for Mughal-e-Azam or the movie Sholay. A suspenseful tale about the conflict between Viru and Gabbar’s children in “Sholay 2” or Salim-Anarkali’s new journey in “Mughal-e-Azam-Returns.” I then immediately feel grateful that there aren’t any more movies in this franchise. I enjoy the climax scenes of these masterpieces. I like how satisfying and enduring the conclusions to these stories have been.
These ideas are motivated by something. The famous Cannes Film Festival recently hosted the global premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
On June 30, the fifth installment of the Indian Jones series will be released in theaters, bringing an end to the venerable series. The popular series began in 1981 with the hugely successful Raiders of the Lost Ark. Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) came after it. Then, more than 20 years later, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) saw the return of the intrepid archaeologist. Therefore, this five-movie series spanned for 42 years. That long, indeed.
Just take a look at how many years they have been producing the same stories and characters under various names to get a sense of how deeply ingrained franchises are in the film industry. The Jurassic Park series has been running for the past 30 years; the James Bond franchise has been running for 60 years; and Halloween has been running for four decades (13 features). But do you know which film series has been around the longest in cinematic history? It is the Godzilla movie series. In actuality, this franchise got its start with the 1954 Japanese movie Gojira. From Japan’s standpoint, it initially made a potent political statement in which Godzilla’s rampage across Tokyo served as a metaphor for the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Given that background, the Indiana Jones news was a significant shock, ending an important series at a time when films like these are really saving the cinema industry. This choice was made for a purpose. When Harrison Ford dies, Indiana Jones dies, he once famously stated. By the time the movie is released, he will be 81 years old, making him possibly the oldest action hero to play such a strenuous part. No one should or can replace Ford as Indy in a later, esoteric CGI-heavy franchise film.