Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kamal's remakes and Dasaavathaaram

Rumour has it that Kamal's Dasaavathaaram is a remake of the Spanish TV movie Tempus Fugit (Time Flies). This rumour has gathered momentum owing to the discovery that Kamal has bought the rights to remake Tempus Fugit and the indismissable similarities between Dasaavathaaram and Tempus Fugit.

This rumour launched me on an armchair travel through Kamal's remakes to figure out a couple of them I liked the most. The contention was not for the first spot, which was unequivocally clinched by Anbe Sivam, but for the second spot. I was finding it hard to decide between Thenali and Kurudhippunal, and finally let them tie.

Anbe Sivam, arguably Kamal's seminal movie, directed by C. Sundar, is loosely based on the Hollywood flick Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I call it 'loosely based' because the movie's theme is not inspired but the means to the theme is inspired from the original. The movie, in bringing together two noble characters who are as different from one another as possible (which is the inspired bit) etches the theme - love is God, and God is love - (which is very different from that of the original) in the minds of the audience. This is a perfectly balanced movie with the right blend of comedy, sentiments, love, friendship, politics and satire. In addition, brilliant performances from Kamal and Madhavan, witty dialogues by Madhan and mellifluous music by Vidyasagar make it my favourite movie of all times.

On the other hand, Thenali directed by K. S. Ravikumar, a movie that is loosely based on the movie What about Bob?, is a commercial entertainer that relies on 'Crazy' Mohan's wordplay, Kamal's versatility, slapstick and physical comedy. Through funny, and sometimes contrived, circumstances, Thenali (Kamal) hooks on to Dr. Kailash (Jayaram) and slowly transfers his lunacy to the Doctor himself. The movie owes its success mainly to the rhythmic exchanges of dialogues between Kamal and Jayaram. The movie is one of my favourites among the Kamal-'Crazy'Mohan ventures.

Kurudhippunal, a remake of the Bollywood classic Drohkaal, directed by the veteran cinematographer P. C. Sreeram, is the story of the cop Adi NarayaNan (Kamal) going through, within himself, a battle between his love for his family and his conviction as a cop. Stellar performances by Nasser (playing Badri the terrorist), and Arjun (playing Adi's friend Abbas, a cop) strengthen the movie's impact. This is a movie without any songs and so thankfully we're saved from seeing the hero and heroine run around trees and play hide-and-seek. The brilliant cinematography is a treat to the eyes.

Avvai ShaNmugi, a remake of the Hollywood hit Mrs. Doubtfire, and Vasool Raja, a remake of the Bollywood blockbuster MunnaBhai MBBS are the other movies that were in close contention. Avvai ShaNmugi gave Thenali the run for its money.

Kamal is one film maker who can improvise on books or other movies and create a remake that is even better than the original. Hence, I share the confusion with randramble of not knowing whether I want to see Tempus Fugit before Dasaavathaaram...

Update: I don't consider Nayagan a remake even to the extent that Anve Sivam is a remake. Nayagan is based on real life events of the don Varadaraja Mudaliar. Some scenes may be inspired from God Father, but that isn't criterion enough to consider it a remake.


Karthik Sriram said...

Good analysis dude!

There is this orkut community called Tamil Cinema, where all kamal fans refused to acknolwdge thenali.

oLi said...

Karthik: Thenali's comedy caters to the taste of a wide gamut of audience - from lovers of dialogue based comedy to lovers of slapstick. And just that one scene where Kamal retrospects speaks volumes. If you notice, it is one complete shot when his emotions go from a smiling face to tears running down his cheek back to a smiling face - none other than UlagaNayagan could have pulled that off!

I just wish I could debate with those people who don't agree :)

Karthik Sriram said...

@ Oli

yes its a one shot - very obvious and it was a very good effort... u mite have heard this very often, i wonder if Kamal and Rajni had competed on the same level, we would have been treated to a feast!

I seriously feel Rajni is too good an actor to be doing sivaji kinda movies....

Wonder if Rajni and Kamal can do something like face/off - i know its asking for too much - but still worth a thought!

oLi said...

Karthik: Agreed Rajini is an excellent actor. But I also like his style and comedy and I don't know if I'll be willing to trade the fun I have in movies like Baasha, Padayappa, Sivaji for more 'quality' movies. But Rajini should definitely occasionally do 'quality' movies.

Yes, there has been some rumour that Kamal and Rajini keep talking about doing a movie together (I also read as recently as yesterday about it), and I hope they do it soon. Found the link:

Anonymous said...

oli, what do you mean by seminal movie? Looked up in google - define:seminal and came up with something totally unrelated.

oLi said...

@Arun: The following is the meaning from and I meant meaning # 3 :). Hope that helps. Thanks for visiting and keep coming back.

sem·i·nal (sĕm'ə-nəl) pronunciation

1. Of, relating to, containing, or conveying semen or seed.
2. Of, relating to, or having the power to originate; creative.
3. Highly influential in an original way; constituting or providing a basis for further development: a seminal idea in the creation of a new theory.

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