Let's face it, a Bollywood remake of Parasite is inevitable. The Oscar-winning Parasite is too big of a movie for Bollywood not to think of it. But the idea has merit too. The concepts of economic and social status are easily interchangeable from South Korea to India. Or any South Asian country, to be honest. Add in caste and religious issues, and the Bollywood remake might even be able to dig deeper than its predecessor.
Many Bollywood movies have touched upon these issues under the umbrella of a larger, unrelated story. Hindi Medium focused on the subtle differences between social classes, like the command of the English language, despite being on the same economic level. Article 15 dealt with the treatment of lower castes in India, in relation to the case of a missing girl. Not to mention the Bollywood staple of two lovers having to overcome the class divide of their respective families. Variations of which have been the go-to for the industry for decades.
But rarely has a story solely focused on the stark differences of how people live under these different socioeconomic statuses. Not from a melodramatic standpoint, but the reality of it, which shifts ambitions and motivations over the line of perceived morality. A Bollywood remake of Parasite could change that.
The nuances presented in Parasite are not often seen in Bollywood movies. Any economic issues that stem from a separation of class and entitlement, are usually shown as a Public Service Announcement style, 'poor them' attitude. Or a comedy of errors involving those less than fortunate, and their pursuit of riches. Not to mention the sometime-tropes of rich characters being demonized, while poor characters are shown as the epitome of goodness.
And despite what makes Parasite ripe for a Bollywood adaptation, it lacks the pitfalls that many Bollywood movies fall into. There are no monologues of sad-ness and circumstance. No melodramatic subplots about having a heart of gold despite the lack of actual gold. These aren't sympathetic people. They are ruthless, ambitious and motivated. And they never apologize for it.
So a Bollywood remake of Parasite that retains the same tone, where the protagonists are not to be pitied and where the supporting elite aren't demonized, would be interesting. The themes of class warfare and the morality of those that have to do more to survive could very well resonate with South Asian audiences.
Right after Parasite's Oscar win, accusations surfaced from India regarding plagiarism. Producer of the Tamil film Minsara Kanna claimed that Parasite stole their story. Minsara Kanna was a 1999 film where two people of different social classes fall in love. While I haven't seen the film itself, Film Companion does an amazing job of highlighting the differences between Parasite and Minsara Kanna. And discussing how similar premises and tropes don't always cross over into plagiarism or remake territory.
Unlike the actual Hollywood HBO remake of Parasite coming from Bong Joon Ho himself, along with Adam McKay of Vice and The Big Short fame. Mark Ruffalo was last reported to be leading the cast of the HBO remake.
In Parasite, the main group of characters was the struggling family who makes their way into the employment into a household within the upper elite of society. So much of the drama and emotional weight comes from their performance. So here's who I would cast in a Bollywood remake of Parasite. You know, if someone wanted to pay me to make this movie.
Naseeruddin Shah as the father of the poor family, Kim Taek, originally played by Kang-ho Song. Shah's (no relation) talent is never in question. And he's played many everyman characters in films like Waiting or A Wednesday. He's done the cute but feeble older dad-figure thing in movies like Finding Fanny too. So the man definitely has range, and he would be adept at blending the tragic with the vengeful, in interesting ways.
Notable mention: Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Amrita Singh could be great as the mother of the poor family, Chung Sook, originally played by Hye-jin-Jang. Singh is a powerhouse performer in every role she's in. Singh would play a shrewd and calculating mother who's the main backbone of the family with ease. We need not look any further for similar performances from Singh in movies like Badla or 2 States. Where she combines ruthless-ness with subtle comedy and intense drama.
Notable mention: Shefali Shah
Ki Woo, originally played by Woo-sik Choi, is sort of the driving force of Parasite. Ishaan Khattar as the same unassuming but devious young man would be perfect. Khattar hasn't done many movies, but the two movies he has done (Beyond The Clouds, Dhadak) is indication enough of his talent. Both films saw Khattar's role as that of a small-town boy with ambitious dreams. Given how Ki Woo's ambition is what kick starts the story in Parasite, Khatter would be excellent in that role.
Notable mention: Vikrant Massey.
Radhika Madhan is my pick to round out the cast as Ki Jung, the daughter of the family originally played by So-dam Park. Madhan's filmography ranges from Pataakha to Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota, which is brief but enough to showcase her range. The role of a smart but manipulative young woman would be easily handled by the multitalented Madan.
Notable Mention: Taapsee Pannu
Rounding out the Bollywood remake of Parasite could be Vicky Kaushal as the rich dad (originally Sun-kyun Lee), Kiara Advani as the rich wife (originally Yeo-jeong Jo), and Neena Gupta as their housekeeper (originally Jeong-eun Lee).