After the age of biopics, it is now looks like the age of remakes. Happily, the better of the films are being remade. Subhash Kapoor's rivetingly-told courtroom drama, Jolly LLB -- on the lines of Perry Mason's exhilarating legal adventures -- will now be made into Tamil. Mueenuddin Ahmed, famous for his 2013 romantic comedy, Endredrum Punnagai, will helm the untitled Tamil version with Udhayanidhi Stalin playing a struggling lawyer, a part Arshad Warsi did in the original. And what a performance his was.
Not just him. Jolly LLB had two other superb co-stars, Boman Irani and Saurabh Shukla. The surprise came from Shukla -- for, we have always known Irani to be an excellent performer. Shukla sat on the judge's chair in the movie, and engaged us like no other with his peculiar mannerisms and deadly dialogues.
The battle royal, so to say, in the confines of the courtroom was staged with the right dose of drama, the right measure of emotion. And with Warsi's Jolly pleading for those run over or crippled by a rich drunken driver (we are now watching this unfold in real life), his earnestness and sincerity could not be missed -- even as Tejinder Rajapal (Irani) fought desperately to defend a murderer.
The moot point is, will Ahmed and Stalin be able to match the brilliance of Jolly LLB and its actors?
Much like an adaptation from a book to a film, remakes can never be easy. Audiences will tend to compare, however odious that may be. And, we now have another significant remake of the Malayalam runaway hit, Drishyam, coming. In fact, it is being done in two languages -- in Hindi (also titled Drishyam) with Ajay Devgn portraying Mohanlal's character in the original and in Tamil (called Papanasam) with Kamal Hassan in the lead.
Mohanlal was extraordinarily good as a cable-television operator -- who despite having studied just up to the fourth standard, fools and foxes the police. An avid lover of movies (staying up late into the night to watch all kinds of cinema), he picks up the most inventive methods to save his family of wife and two daughters after they murder a rich boy trying to blackmail them.
Drishyam started on a low-key but rolled into a roaring success, a large part of which can be attributed to the common man's anger against police brutality. This writer, watching Drishyam in a Chennai theatre, recalls the thunderous applause Mohanlal received every time he out-manoeuvred the cops.
Devgn and Hassan have quite a task on hand. Indeed.