Beginning on a serious note, I really feel sorry looking at the way our Indian regional cinema is ignored by the Hindi film viewing audience, considering it always something loud, over the top and action based fast moving drama to be eluded. In fact it really makes you feel the pain finding a film like DRISHYAM (Malayalam) not reaching a wider audience all over the country despite being capable of redefining ‘Indian Cinema’ breaking all the preset notions and assumptions about regional movies.
So as a review of the film’s original concept, its similarities with a foreign flick and other triumphs achieved, I would like you to read my earlier write-up on DRISHYAM (included in BTC’s Movies To See Before You Die List) at the following link:
And as a review of PAPANASAM, here are my honest views about the worthy, must watch remake given below.
Directed by Jeethu Joseph himself (the man behind DRISHYAM), PAPANASAM is a very loyal remake of its original since it even follows the lengthy first half as it is, that was pointed out to be ‘a drawback’ by many viewers and critics together. But looking at these initial 40 minutes of the film from a different viewpoint, it does help in building a solid base of individual friendships, rivalry and family-bonding having their own interconnected importance in the later crucial part of the film as required.
The biggest attraction of PAPANASAM (literally meaning ‘Destruction of Sins’) remains Kamal Hassan returning to his much adored portrayal of a simple, common man that was missing in most of his recent films featuring all ‘heroic’ or ‘larger-than-life’ characters away from reality. So here we have a loved maestro (Kamal) carrying the bright torch lit by another hugely respected maestro (Mohanlal) with the same dedication, sincerity and perfection that deserves to be experienced as a must.
Plus PAPANASAM also has Gauthami reappearing on screen after many years, once again proving her immense talent in the tough role superbly. In fact it was great watching them together as a couple making me recall those lighter days of APPU RAJA and many more. Just like the original the entire supporting cast here is again well chosen (a few retained from the original), contributing hugely in the overall impact of the film with many key sequences bringing you onto the edge of your seats repeatedly. Having a longer duration (3 hours) than the Malayalam film, PAPANASAM has a couple of catchy tracks and a powerful background score that successfully takes the film to the next level undoubtedly. And one of the major highlights of the film is its climax conversation scene between Ananth Mahadevan (better than the original) and Kamal Hassan that forces you to join your hands together praising their commendable job wholeheartedly.
No doubt, comparison between the two veterans is bound to become a matter of debate within film institutions & keen students of cinema in the coming months or years. But ideally instead of comparison, one should focus on the different approaches followed by the two in their individual portrayals on screen deserving a huge applause.
To give you the exact gist, where Mohanlal’s solid act in DRISHYAM stressed more on intelligence, confidence, patience and ruthless expressions in his interpretation of a concerned father, there Kamal Hassan in PAPANASAM keeps emotions in front and stays an intelligent emotional father right till the finale sequence crying in front of Ananth Mahadevan. And this major difference in their respective visions can be studied in the police torture scene & the climax in particular, dealt distinctively.
However in my personal opinion since a super composed, intelligent and less emotional personality remains more close to the ‘thinking’ character of the father hiding the unintentional crime, therefore Mohanlal and his DRISHYAM stays ‘one step ahead’ venture for me putting it honestly. But at the same time that doesn’t allow me to rate PAPANASAM any lower deserving an equal praise, successfully giving you the same pulsating, unpredictable, emotional and mind boggling experience in the theatre that needs to be cherished at the earliest without any slightest of doubt. Moreover it also becomes a must watch for the younger generation in particular since it raises a valid question on the use of all new age gadgets that can become both a boon as well as a curse if used with wrong intentions following an evil mind.
Coming back to the subject of regional films, if after reading and listening such strong positive views about the exceptional content of Malayalam DRISHYAM and now the Tamil PAPANASAM all over the media, if you still haven’t seen any of these films due to some of your own (silly) language reservations………. then that’s like a crime committed willfully by a supposedly true lover of great cinema if I must say that.
Summing up, where most of us (in the north) unfortunately missed watching DRISHYAM on the bigger screen making us feel the unparalleled excitement and the jaw dropping thrill like never before, PAPANASAM is right there in the theatres this week (with English subtitles) and we should certainly make an effort to watch it as a must grabbing the opportunity given.
Ratings : As DRISHAM, PAPANASAM also goes into BTC’s Movies To See Before You Die List right away. And it’s the first instance when both the original and the remake are there together.
(On a personal note : If you really wish to feel the magic on screen like never before, then please don’t wait for its Hindi remake version to release soon with the same title DRISHYAM featuring Ajay Devgan, Tabu & more. Since it’s going to be ‘almost impossible’ to excel what Mohanlal and Kamal Hassan have already displayed in their gigantic portrayals. However that’s my personal opinion and I would love to be proved wrong supporting great cinema)