‘Bruhaspathi’ review: Watchable in parts if you can forget the Dhanush original

While it falls short of Dhanush’s 'VIP', the movie is benignly entertaining in itself.
‘Bruhaspathi’ review: Watchable in parts if you can forget the Dhanush original
‘Bruhaspathi’ review: Watchable in parts if you can forget the Dhanush original
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Remaking a mass hit is always a tough job, particularly one that is firmly identified by a star’s performance in the original. So you have Bruhaspathi, a faithful adaptation of Dhanush-starrer Velaiyilla Pattathari (VIP).

While benignly entertaining in itself, the Kannada remake, starring Manoranjan Ravichandran, falls far short of the original – largely because the actor’s performance fails to hit the same notes that Dhanush did.

For those who came in light, Bruhaspathi is a straightforward masala entertainer. Sudheer (Manoranjan) is a jobless engineer who refuses to become a cog in the IT sector. His dream is to become a successful civil engineer and transform the cityscape, but no one wants to hire him. His mother (Sitara) loves him to death, but his father (Avinash) can’t stop comparing him to his gainfully employed younger brother.

Until tragedy strikes at the interval, this conflict dominates the narrative, as Sudheer’s joblessness seems to define his whole life. Post interval, circumstances bring him a job in a construction company. There’s also a massive slum reconstruction project, and some baddies who are enraged that Sudheer stole their government contract and are determined to see him fall.

Much like the original, which director Nanda Kishore makes sure never wanders significantly far from, Bruhaspati feels like two different films split by an interval. While the first half has a more human story that could have made an interesting film all by itself, the second half moves into mass territory and becomes a fairly predictable affair. But both halves are entertaining enough to keep you engaged for the most part.

The biggest drawback of the film is its star. Bruhaspathi, like many other star vehicles, revolves entirely around the hero. There are perhaps a handful of scenes where the character of Sudheer doesn’t occupy the camera’s focus. So, while supporting cast members like Sitara and Avinash turn in a fairly creditable job, and Thaarak Ponnappa has interesting flashes as the baddie, the film has to sink or float on Manoranjan’s performance. And here, the young actor’s inexperience shows.

In the Tamil film, Dhanush underplayed his character in the first half, but knew how to roll out the punches when it came to moments like the big monologue about the blood, sweat and tears that ordinary young men pour into their degrees and job hunts. Filling his shoes with an almost word-for-word translation in some cases, Manoranjan overplays his hand in the smaller scenes and disappoints in his hero moments. It’s not as if he’s unwatchable, but the performance certainly leaves one wanting.

But some of the disappointment also comes from the fact that director Nanda Kishore stays so faithful to the original, and fails to add anything fresh to mark the Kannada remake from the original. Even some of the humour, like the mother’s pithy description of the movie Titanic, which could easily have been varied for a different flavour, are faithfully reproduced.

Still there are moments to enjoy in Bruhaspathi, with the song “Ontharadalli Ella Hayagide” making a strong impression. And if you can manage to forget the original that inspired it, this film can be fairly entertaining. 

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