Staying true to the original, this remake benefits immensely from Kamal Haasan's incredible screen presence
When you are going to watch a Kamal Haasan movie, you know it your mind that no matter how the film turns out to be, that man is going to give his 110% onscreen. It is been over five decades since the terrific actor made his presence felt as a child artist in Kalathur Kannamma.And upto this date, he has been true to his craft, giving his best in every film. Here he is once again trying to show that why he is called the most versatile actor in Indian cinema. His latest flick Papanasam is here for the world to see. Directed by Jeethu Joseph, who also helmed the original flick Drishyam, Papanasam brings back the evergreen pair of Kamal Haasan and Gauthami together. While it is given that Kamal Haasan will give his best shot, lets see if Papanasam is one of his better films or not!
What's it about:
Suyambulingam is a cable TV operator in the small village of Papanasam near Tenkasi. Though he is not well educated, he has a very sharp mind thanks to his addiction to films. He lives happily with his wife and two daughters. The happiness of this family is threatened when the spoilt son of Inspector Genral shoots a bathing video of the eldest daughter secretively. When he tries to blackmail her, the daughter accidentally kills him. Now, it is upto Suyambulingam to save his family from the long arms of law. So how does he manage to fool the police with his sharp mind and movie knowledge forms the rest of the story!
The best part of Papanasam has to be the acting of Kamal Haasan, who has got under the skin of his character of Suyambulingam. Be it his dialogue delivery, his Tirunelveli Tamil dialect, his expressive eyes or his body language, the actor shines throughout the film not letting the ball drop for even one moment. Gauthami, who is coming back to films after two decades, does a good job playing the naive wife but is clearly overshadowed by Kamal. Gauthami gives her best in emotional scenes. Both the Niveda Thomas and Esther Anil have acted well, playing two daughters of Kamal Haasan and Gauthami. Coming to the story of the film, Papanasam sticks to the original and doesn't try to experiment much with the plot. The second half of the film is riveting as the entire plot unfolds beautifully in front of our eyes. The police investigation scenes and Kamal's attempts to dodge the suspicious queries are spine chilling. Also the film has an emotional ending, which has been handled well by the director. There are two songs in the film, but they only take the story forward and doesn't come in the way of narration. Asha Sarath as the IG of police does a commendable job, looking stern and cruel during interrogation scenes and looking vulnerable as the mother of missing son. All the character artist including Kalabhavan Mani and MS Bhaskar have made most of their small roles.
The biggest problem with Papanasam is its three hour run time, which will test your patience. The first half of the film is very slow and I failed to understand why did the director take so much time in building up the central plot. Papanasam could be more crisper and efficient if it does away with its rather not interesting family banter which consumes way too much time in the first half of the film. According to me, 40 mins of the film could be easily edited out for the betterment of the film. The romance between Kamal Haasan and Gauthami clearly lacks the spark which it had 20 years back.
What to do:
If you are Kamal Haasan fan you won't even need to read this review to watch Papanasam. If you are not a Kamal Haasan fan, please don't miss it for anything in the world as it is very rare that a good script meets a great actor. And if you are thinking ' I have already watched Drishyam', I would say give Papanasam a chance as it has the potential to blow your mind. Be a little patient in the beginning and it would pay rich dividends.
3.5 out of 5
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