The Telugu remake of Malayalam film Maheshinte Prathikaaram released on Netflix on Thursday. Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya has been directed by Venkatesh Maha and is receiving praise on social media for being a faithful adaptation. Read the TNM review of the movie here.
However, remakes are always a difficult proposition for a director, especially when the audience is now watching films across languages and comparisons are inevitable. Remaking a really popular film might also backfire because the new one offers no surprises. As for cult classics, the remakes may do well but fans of the original may fret and fume if it isn't a faithful adaptation!
Here are six Malayalam films which were remade in other languages but fell short of the original.
Vadakkunokkiyanthram: Written and directed by Sreenivasan, this 1989 tragicomedy is about a husband with a deep inferiority complex about his looks, who is forever suspecting his beautiful wife. The film is considered to be one of Sreenivasan's best works. It was remade in several languages - Sandeham in Telugu, Dindigul Sarathy in Tamil, Nanjangudu Nanjunda in Kannada and Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh in Hindi.
However, though some of these remakes received positive reviews, they did not become as commercially successful as the original or attain its status as a classic.
Kireedam: Sibi Malayil's 1989 searing drama about a man who is pulled into a world of violence against his will, saw six remakes (Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, in Bangladesh and Tamil). The Mohanlal starrer is an emotional story of a young man who intervenes to save his father, a policeman, from a gangster. However, he ends up wounding the gangster grievously and his whole life goes for a toss.
The most recent of the remakes is the 2007 Ajith-Trisha film by the same title. However, the AL Vijay directorial was a far cry from the original, turning the story into a regular masala flick. The film, however, did well at the box-office.
Manichitrathaazhu: Fazil's 1993 psychological horror film is a timeless favourite with the Malayali audience. Starring Shobana, Suresh Gopi and Mohanlal, the film is about a couple who move into an old mansion in the family which is believed to be haunted. Strange things start to happen. But we find out that there is a perfectly rational explanation for it all.
The film was remade in Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Bengali as Chandramukhi, Apthamitra, Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Rajmohol respectively. However, though the remakes also did well at the box-office none of them matched up to the original. The Tamil adaptation, starring Rajinikanth and Jyotika, for example, was changed to suit the mould of the superstar film.
Katha Parayumpol: The 2007 drama, directed by Mohanan, is about a film star and his childhood friend. A simple, straightforward story told well, the film has Mammootty, Sreenivasan and Meena in memorable roles. It's a contemporary take on the well-known story of Krishna and Sudama.
The film was remade in Tamil and Telugu as Kuselan and Kathanayakudu respectively with Rajinikanth reprising Mammootty's role in both. Pasupathy and Jagapathi Babu played Sreenivasan's role in Tamil and Telugu respectively. It was remade in Hindi as Billu, with Shah Rukh Khan and Irrfan Khan. While the Tamil and Telugu films were disasters that included too many commercial elements, the Hindi film was a closer adaptation. However, the Hindi version too included an item song and lacked the charm of the original.
Bangalore Days: This 2014 multistarrer film directed by Anjali Menon was nothing short of a blockbuster. The film revolves around the bond between cousins, played by Dulquer Salmaan, Nazriya and Nivin Pauly, and the people who come into their lives. The film was remade in Tamil by Bommarillu Bhaskar as Bangalore Naatkal.
However, fans were not happy with the remake and the film received a very lukewarm response at the box-office despite the stars in the cast. Although the adaptation was close to the original, the very premise of the film â€” the fascination that Keralites have for a big city like Bengaluru â€” rang false in the Tamil version.
Premam: This 2015 coming-of-age film directed by Alphonse Puthren was so hugely successful that the remake was trolled even before it hit the theatres. Starring Nivin Pauly, Anupama Parameswaran, Sai Pallavi and Madonna Sebastian, the film was replete with situational comedy and organic romantic moments.
The Telugu remake by the same title and directed by Chandoo Mondeti, starring Naga Chaitanya, Anupama, Shruti Haasan and Madonna, may have done decently at the box-office but was subjected to ruthless trolling on social media. The remake was far from capturing the magic of the original.