It all started with Muskurahat in 1992 when director Priyadarshan decided to remake his hit Malayalam movie Kilukkam in Hindi. From then on, there has been no stopping him. The film maker has rehashed, remade, dubbed and has been inspired more than 40 times since then.
Hardly a couple of these were worth the attempt, while the majority turned out to be ghastly cinematic blunders. Now, he threatens us with his plans to remake Vetrimaaran’s critically-acclaimed Tamil movie ‘Visaranai’ (Interrogation) which is itself based on M Chandrakumar’s novel ‘Lock Up’.
The film deals with police brutality, custodial deaths, corruption and loss of innocence in a depraved world of crime and lust for power.
Priyadarshan can undoubtedly be considered the doyen of remakes and rehashes but here are three movies which he should have just left alone.
Bhool Bhulaiyya (Manichitrathazhu)
One of the greatest all-time classics in Malayalam, it is an accepted rule in every Malayali household that if Manichitrathazhu is being shown on TV, no one dares to miss it. We can recite the dialogues in our sleep and act out every scene.
Thousands of spoofs and memes based on the movie continue to make its rounds, careers of several mimicry artists skyrocketed and every wannabe director considers it his/her own little Gita. So how dare Priyan even think of adding it to his list of dreadful remakes?
He had the audacity to visualize Akshay Kumar reprising our Lalettan’s Dr Sunny! Now, that is the height of perverse sadism. Not only did Mr Kumar botch up his act as expected, we had murderous thoughts watching it. However, the biggest gaffe was Vidya Balan’s on and off psycho comical take on Shobana’s flawless rendition of Nagavalli.
Her Manjulika who breaks into Bengali with 3D voice in the backdrop, eyes peering upwards, lips compressed and a gait that was a cross between a robot and a spaceship was a laugh riot.
If Shobana’s Nagavalli was spine-chilling, Manjulika made us smirk. If the comedy in Manichithrathazhu was irrepressible, the Hindi version was bland, the actors even more so. As for the climax, next one, please.
Kyon Ki ... (Thalavattom)
What in the world was Priyan thinking when he approached Salman Khan to reprise Mohanlal’s brilliant act in Thalavattam? Maybe Priyan thought Khan’s abs were enough to see him through. Thalavattom, which in turn was an adaptation of ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ was one of the first blockbusters from the Mohanlal-Priyadarshan stable.
Till date, it is considered as one of the director’s best works. With great performances, good music, and flawless direction, Thalavattom had indeed delivered.
While Kyon Ki ... was a box-office failure and much of it can be blamed on the casting and direction. Salman Khan’s insane act was more a comic caricature, Kareena Kapoor was there just to make the frames look good and the supporting cast simply failed to match up to the Malayalam original.
Billu ( Katha Parayumbol )
Scripted by writer-director Sreenivasan, Katha Parayumbol (2007) is a modern-day take on the Krishna and Sudama tale with Mammootty doing a cameo as superstar Ashok Raj and Sreenivasan playing Balan, a barber. If not for its intriguing climax, it is a simple, no-frills story about a barber struggling to make ends meet.
This super hit was later remade in Tamil (Kuchelan), only to flop big time. Though Priyan managed a casting coup of sorts, roping in Irrfan Khan to play Billu and Shah Rukh Khan as the superstar, the remake did not live up to the original.
While the director astutely did not extend Khan's cameo like P Vasu did with Rajinikanth, the item numbers further trivialized the plot. But the final nail on the coffin was the climax speech- Khan's monologue did not leave you moist-eyed as Mammootty's did.
This first appeared on www.fullpicture.in