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Shruti Haasan’s Trolls and Why We Don’t Need Remakes

Shruti Haasan’s being trolled, Premam is being remade in Telugu. Both endeavours are idiotic, misguided and wrong. 

Updated
Entertainment
4 min read
The Telugu remake of the Malayalam movie <i>Premam </i>stars Shruti Haasan (d/o Kamal Haasan) and Naga Chaitanya (s/o Nagarjuna). (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Shruti Haasan’s being trolled big time by Tamil audience, for acting in a Telugu remake of the Malayam hit Premam. Here’s one of the more decent memes out there.

I’m no fan of Shruti Haasan’s work, both as a singer and an actor. But, I did enjoy her performance in Dhanush’s 3. This tells me that what she lacks isn’t acting chops, but good direction. Here’s a song from 3 I really enjoyed.

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Good, isn’t it? The last scene teared me up. Now, here’s a scene from the original Premam and then the Telugu version, where Shruti Haasan thinks she’s a kindergarten teacher, and responds to a ‘toddler’ showing her his new doodle.

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Remakes are a Whole New Ball Game

There’s three ways to do remakes. Star Power Style, Bollywood Style, Actually good remake (this exists, in theory). Shruti Haasan isn’t high on star power, the remake isn’t Bollywood style, and it sucks. But like I said, it’s unfair to pick on her alone.

Bigger stars and better performers have tried and failed miserably. Here are some remakes of Malayalam movies that have violated the original in unimaginable ways;

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Chandramukhi - Rajinikanth and Jothika

Star Power Style. It stars Super Star Rajinikanth. This was his comeback movie after the mega flop Baba. Rajinikanth’s presence on screen blinds the audience to all that’s wrong with the movie. It is the ‘original’ remake of the award winning Manichitrathazhu, starring Mohanlal and Shobhana.

Mohanlal was his usual self, while Shobhana was brilliantly scary. Jothika needed tons of make-up and special lighting in the eyes for scenes that Shobhana dusted off with sheer performance.

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I’d rather not talk about the forgettable, but aptly named Hindi re-re-remake, Bhool Bhulayya.

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Papanasam - Kamal Haasan and Gauthami

This is Kamal Haasan’s remake of Mohanlal’s Dhrishyam. It’s the story of a middle-aged middle-class man trying to save his family by any means possible. What I loved about the original, which the Kamal Haasan starrer killed, was the chemistry between the couple. Kamal tried to stick to his lover-boy-no-matter- how-old-I-am persona. This, and the overtly emotional climax made it less real.

The Bollywood remake, again, made it such a big-budget, big-release big, Big, BIG movie, that it was impossible to look at Ajay Devgn or the rest of the cast as ordinary people. It wasn’t personal anymore. Plus, I’m wary of movies with three minute trailers.

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36 Vayadhinile - Jyothika

This is actor Jyothika’s comeback remake. The Malayalam How Old Are You was Manju Warrier’s comeback movie -14 year hiatus for Manju and 6 year gap for Jyothika. And there the similarities end. Despite the fact that the remake is a spitting, frame-by-frame reproduction, the difference in sensibilities and performances are telling. In fact, they’re screaming.

For a female-lead oriented Tamil movie, 36 Vayadhinile is a decent film. But too much effort goes into making Jyothika look good, and too little into getting her to keep it real.

Here’s a scene from the original. Even if you don’t get the language, the way Manju delivers the monologue hooks you.

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Seedan - Dhanush and Ananya

Nandanam, a 2002 Malayalam movie starring Navya Nayyar, Prithviraj and Siddique (as Lord Krishna) was unstated brilliance. The movie will make you believe that Lord Krishna is actually the heroine’s close friend and confidante. In fact, the is-he-is-he-not question lingers till the very end, because everything about him is so down to earth and relatable.

The Tamil remake did a Bollywood by making everything larger, gaudier, richer, slower and dumber. But what really got lost in translation, was the music. All of the songs in the original are memorable, hummable and full of warm fuzziness. I don’t remember anything except the comedy in the Tamil movie. Here’s a song from the original.

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Moral of the Story

See and enjoy. Do not destroy.
Random garden in Vizag
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Here’s a Malayam classic that breaks both the language and the age barrier and one that can’t be (re)made cuter. Kuttichathan - 1984 (dubbed as Chota Chetan in ‘97)

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Except in the case of Masala movies (Pokiri-Wanted types), remakes usually suck. Also, I believe we’ve outgrown remakes as an audience. Nowadays a good movie gets seen across the country regardless of the language barrier. That’s what subtitles were invented for.

This Malayalam movie has attained cult status among Tamil audience. (Photo Courtesy: Awesome Machi)
This Malayalam movie has attained cult status among Tamil audience. (Photo Courtesy: Awesome Machi)
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#SayNoToPremamTamil has been doing the rounds for quite a while now. I guess that’s why it got (un)made in Telugu. (Photo Courtesy: Awesome Machi)
#SayNoToPremamTamil has been doing the rounds for quite a while now. I guess that’s why it got (un)made in Telugu. (Photo Courtesy: Awesome Machi)
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Trolling Shruti Haasan is pointless, and unfair to the actor. It would be better if we stop spending time, money and intellectual real estate on remakes. Then again, who’s listening?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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