Remaking a movie is neither an easy job, nor a cakewalk as it is visualized by many. You not only need to repeat the success but also ensure that you are not tampering the original to give a bad output. Except that the film maker starts off with a readymade story and screenplay, everything else about the film is original and filmmaking is any day not a word document to cut and paste from other’s work. Having said these, remaking a classic to give another classic that receives universal acclaim is no easy job. The Nanban team has done such an excellent work that they deserve this success. For Vijay haters, the review ends here and the page close button is on your top right. Others can read further.
It has been many years since we saw a Vijay film sans heroism, fights and villains – a film that relies only on emotions, relationships and situations, where character is the hero. There was Jeeva of Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, Kutty of Thulladha Manamum Thullum, Bhoomi of Kavalan, but they were still avatars of Vijay who are heroes in their own right. But the hero this time is Panjavan Paarivendhan aka Paari – the hero Vijay has completely got into the skin of the character that you forget the hero in him. He is your friend, your nanban.
The script of the movie done by Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi has been beautifully adopted for Tamil audience such that you don’t feel anything alien in the whole proceedings. The dialogues written by Madhan Karky and Shankar are crisp, youthful and fit in exactly with the mood of the scenes. The speech of Silencer, which was much acclaimed in the original, leaves the audience ROTFL much talked about song lyrics, especially Ask Laska and ‘All Is Well’, are well brought out in the visuals. Lot of intelligence has been put into the film and it has paid off.
The chemistry between the lead pair, though they appear together for very few scenes and couple of songs is really cute and they really make a good pair. Their subtle love that runs along with the story is a delight to watch. But what makes a bigger impression is the chemistry between the lead trio – Vijay, Jiiva and Srikanth. It has worked out so well, otherwise we would not have been on an emotional journey with them for 3+ hours.
Muthuraj’s art direction is easy on the eyes and colorful – be it the hostel settings, the grafitti train in ‘Ask Laska’ song or the grandeur in ‘Irukaanna’ song. Being a film based on education, the intelligent usage of simple and complex scientific concepts in the film deserves a huge applause, ofcourse, credits to the original. Special mention to the delivery scene of Anuya who plays Illeana’s sister. It has been brought out so well that it is not just convincing but also emotional.
Sound Engineering and Film Editing
Oscar winner Resul Pookutty has a major role in making the audience feel like being part of the visuals, through his excellent sound mixing, especially in college scenes. Editor Anthony takes the credit of keeping the audience glued to the screen despite the 3+ hours length of the film, without a single boring moment.
Harris Jayaraj’s songs, which are already chartbusters, have become visual treats in the film. In a film with just three songs (the rest are used in background with situations), he stands out with his excellent background score, probably a comeback area for him. “En Friend ah pola” song appearing both in title and end credits lingers in mind for a long time. The new end credit version is a sweet surprise.
The three songs choreographed are a celebration. If ‘All Is Well’ is funny and entertaining, ‘Ask Laska’ is an intelligent treat, Shobi deserves a big applause for both. Farah Khan makes best use of the dancer in Vijay in Irukaanna song, both sexy and colorful with belly dancers.
The camera work by Manoj Paramahamsa is one of the biggest strengths of the film. The lens man brings out the college backdrop so well that you feel like watching your own. If use of black-and-white in the scene at Jiiva’s home is hilarious, it is breath taking when his camera shows Indian locations in a never seen before grandiose. Also worth mentioning are his romantic presentation of ‘Ask Laska’ and the sexy camera work in ‘Olli Belly’ song.
Frankly speaking, having received brickbats for his handling of student life in Boys, Shankar presents a diagonally different view of the same through a rollercoaster of emotions. Whatever would have been good has been made to be the best – the Shankar touch is evident throughout. No one else could have recreated the magic of 3 Idiots so well, his urge to do better than the original is visible in every frame. The perfect casting, excellent adaptation, getting the best out of his cast and crew and simple things like Shankar’s guest appearance in ‘Ask Laska’ song, the funny clap boards, the effort put into making All is Well song (as earlier seen from the making video) are what Shankar brings into Nanban to make it a guaranteed entertainer.
There is more than Engineering and Medicine in education and things other than marks and ranks in college life. Your life should be decided by what your heart feels and not what others feel about you. This is what is the film speaks about through a gripping narration and this review more or less brings out the same. There is a lot more to look for in education.
The Rank Holders
Supporting cast: There is a huge supporting cast in the film of which the short appearances of Vijay Vasanth, Balaji (of Jaya TV) as college senior and S.J.Suryah are worth a mention. Rest of the cast inclusing Anuya, Uma Padhmanabhan, Rinson (of Jodi No.1) as Millimeter, Manobala and others do what is required of them.
Sathyan: He has a meaty role in Nanban unlike the sidekick roles he usually does. He surprisingly manages well till the end and leaves the audience in splits in his teacher’s day speech scene.
Sathyaraj: As the nightmarish college dean Virus, Sathyaraj has given a convincing performance, far different from his usual style. Villainism is nothing new to him but playing the character that has been immortalized by Boman Irani in Hindi, he has lived to the expectations.
Illeana: As a naughty daughter of Sathyaraj, the ‘Olli Belly Jelly Belly’ girl has played her role well, especially in scenes where she confronts her father trying to save Jiiva from his revenge and when she helps her sister deliver her child through web conferencing. Her funny lines in the scene where she gets drunk and in the final scene deserve a mention. And yes, she looks stunning in the two songs she appears in.
Srikanth: This is a lifetime opportunity for the actor who has been starring in not so great films in recent times. And he has utilized it well, being the narrator of the film in his ‘cursed-to-be-engineer’ role of Venkatramakrishnan. His emotional scene with his parents brings the best of him.
Jiiva: A fine actor, he lives his role as Sevarkodi Senthil, performing brilliantly in comedy and emotional scenes. If he makes us teary in the scene where he attempts suicide, his comedy timing in ‘Induction motor’ scene makes audience roar with laughter. Shankar has effectively used the fabulous natural actor in him.
Vijay: If there is a backbone that supports the whole film, it is Vijay’s role as Panchavan Paarivendhan, which I doubt anyone else would have done with such utmost sincerity and at the same time fitting perfectly for the character. Having played many physically powerful mass hero roles and sweet romantic hero characters, he has shed all his heroism and image to underplay the role of a mentally strong genius. As a naughty student wishing to see a change in education system, caring friend who wants his friends to get the best out of life, romantic lover who locks his emotions, daring youngster to challenge his dean, novice helping his lover’s sister to deliver a child – Vijay’s role has a lot of dimensions to it and shines in each of it outstandingly. From an uneducated local mechanic to a college topper, everything comes to him with ease and all it requires is a skilled director to use it in a powerful script. And this time, everything has fallen into place which gives every fan the delight of watching Vijay in the role of a lifetime. Thalaivaa! You are great!
To sum up, Nanban is one of the best engineered remakes. Disliking a film like this definitely prescribes you a doctor appointment for psychiatric cure. You see it as a copy, you copy paste your comments of hatred usually made for Vijay films. You see it as a remake, you will end up making only comparisons. You see it as a Vijay film, your bias on Vijay will alter your opinions. You see it as an entertainer, it gives you loads of entertainment, more than what you expect. It is a beautiful journey of life that every movie lover will enjoy.
Verdict: A for Awesome, B for Blockbuster. All izz Well!