Gemini Studios has been one of the studios with a lion’s share in the history of Indian Cinema.Their logo consisting of twin kids with a protruding belly is one of the easiest logo which we can recall.It was the first studio in India to start Nationwide distribution for their movie Chandralekha, which was shot for 5 years and was one of the most expensive movies of India when it released. Established in 1946 Gemini Studios has a has racy history which itself can be made into a movie. Gemini Films has got back into film production in the past few years but mostly it has been remake of VVC Films.The first one being Munnabhai MBBS, which was made in Tamil with Kamal Hasaan ( Vasoolraja MBBS ) ,in Telugu with Chiranjeevi ( Shankardada MBBS ) and in Kannada with Upendra ( Uppi Dada MBBS ) . The second part was made only in Telugu ( Shankardada Zindabad )which did not do commercially well.Their most recent film was Kolaveri fame Dhanush’s Mayakkam Enna.
When Gemini acquired the distribution rights of Shankar’s Endhiran/Robo/Robot, there were rumours that Shankar will direct the remake of 3Idiots. I was surprised that they had asked Shankar to direct this. Well there’s nothing wrong in directing remakes, but for the kind of films that Shankar is known for and for his style of narration, I felt it would be a waste of talent.Shankar is a director who generally starts working on his next movie even before the release of his current movie .Finally the official announcement was made that Shankar would helm the remake and Vijay would play the role of lead.
Most of us are familiar with the story of 3 Idiots, which was inspired by Chetan Bhagat’s book Five Point Someone and hence I’m not getting into the plot and associated details.The original was entertaining in parts when they where faithful to the book, the moment they tried to bollywoodise it , the charm was lost and it become melodramatic and manipulative.
Shankar remains faithful to the story and screenplay of the Hindi Version.He does not tamper anything with it apart from adding a duet towards climax, which adds to the film’s running time which is almost 3 hour 7 minutes.I guess he also did not want to tamper with a movie which is on the IMDB Top 250 films list.
Coming to acting, for the first few minutes it seems everybody is imitating the corresponding Hindi Actors who acted in 3idiots. Vijay seems to be copying the mannerism of Aamir Khan, while it is painful to see a competent actor like Sathyaraj being reduced to a caricature who not only copies Boman Irani’s over the top mannerism but also his way of dialogue Delivery. Ileana does not add anything to the movie , apart from a song which praises the virtues of her curves. While it looks like she can’t act, added to this is the fact that her dubbing has gone awfully wrong ,the lip sync is not even proper for a second. Srikanth is just about okay, but the real star of the movie is Jiva, who rises to the occasion and carries the movie on his shoulders, he is an actor to watch out for.
Shankar and Harris Jayaraj come together for the second time after Anniyan and Nanban seems to be their weakest soundtrack in collaboration. There are music directors who copy or lift tunes, but in bylanes of Chennai it has been overheard that Harris Jayaraj is one music director who lifts(recycles) his own tunes. The songs are not at all upto mark, except for Ask Laska penned by Madan Karky. It is the only song where you feel we are viewing a Shankar film and shot in a way which mocks his style of filmmaking and also pays homage to his previous efforts.
While the main objective of a remake I feel should be to reach out to a more larger audience or viewers of particular region; I also feel that the director needs to adapt the stories keeping in mind the local culture or milieu and bring something new to the table, which is zilch in this case.No comments on the story and screenplay here, as it is a frame to frame faithful adaptation of 3 Idiots, and I wish Shankar stopped using racist jokes about skin and colour which has been done to death and after a certain point looks crude to be enjoyed.
Those who have enjoyed the original; as large section of people already have, considering the fan following 3 Idiots has and accompanied by its huge box office figures; will not enjoy this sub-standard fare. While for the other section who are viewing it for a first time, it might come across as a breath of fresh air in an industry where the hero is devoid of any intro song and punch dialogues. It may or may not alienate a section of audience who come to watch Vijay’s movie for action,punch dialogues and songs but for those who are fanboys of Shankar like me, skip this and wait for his next.