Sheep Without a Shepherd is a remake of the 2013 film directed by Jeethu Joseph, which also spawned an Indian Hindi-language remake of the same name from Nishikant Kamat in 2015. All three films tell the story of a father who fights against police using the anti-reconnaissance techniques learned from watching movies in order to protect his daughter.
According to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan, Sheep Without a Shepherd earned 1.33 billion yuan($206 million) in the Chinese mainland, making it the ninth highest-earning Chinese film in 2019.
“As a remake of Drishyam, the success of Sheep Without a Shepherd lies in its construction of a humanistic environment familiar to Chinese audiences and telling a story that could happen to them, which gave it emotional resonance. Meanwhile, it put aside the original film by adding more humanistic characteristics to make the story more reasonable,” Shi Wenxue, a film critic and professor at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Due to the high popularity of Sheep Without a Shepherd, both Indian films rose in popularity among Chinese moviegoers, who have given the films over 8/10 scores on Chinese review site Douban.
While the two Indian versions have scored high among Chinese audiences, Drishyam 2, which debuted online on February 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has not been able to compete as well as its predecessors, only earning a 7.3/10 score on Douban.
“The problem of Drishyam 2 is that the plot has twists, but compared with Drishyam, there are too many twists and so the theme gets lost and the pace of the film is slightly slowed down,” according to a review from the popular WeChat film blog duliyudianying.
Some Chinese fans of the original film have recently started debating on social media whether Sheep Without a Shepherd 2 would follow in the steps of Drishyam 2.
“Just like the sequels to Finding Mr Right, The White Storm and Overheard, Sheep Without a Shepherd 2 is more likely to keep the same name but tell a totally new story. We have been constantly improving our original ability, no need to keep remaking,” said Shi.
Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times that rather than try and remake Drishyam 2, it would be better to produce a new remake of some other Bollywood blockbusters like Andhadhun and Ittefaq.
According to Maoyan, Sheep Without a Shepherd 2 is scheduled to be filmed in October and November overseas and will be released during summer 2022. The cast will see the same actors of the first film return, but they will be playing different characters as the second film will not be a direct sequel to the original story.