Yes, I have watched the Malayalam version starring Mohanlal. The original was an amazingly twisted, adrenaline-rush and chase-laden film with fizz and grip, especially amazing due to Mohanlal's good performance. But within the broader swathe, the film was a tad overlong, and menacingly boring.
'Papanasam' is that unique film which is better than the original in every sense of the word. While it superbly stages the drama right from the beginning, it pays priceless details to the camerawork, which is all dazzle, but also all-appealing. Kamal Hassan makes the film work even more with his humor and expressive talents. The reason why I found this brilliant Tamil film absolutely better than the original version is its command on the storytelling which makes it an intellectually stimulating watch. But it has room for the relatability and emotional quotients, which I found missing in the Malayalam version as a whole.
You need to watch 'Papanasam' even if you have watched the Hindi version. It is a thrilling experience not to be missed. I'm going with 4 out of 5 for 'Papanasam'. It makes cultural sounds.
Over the years, numerous remakes has flooded the theatres but only a handful of them actually managed to do justice to the original. Invariably, a significant number of Malayalam movies has been remade such as "Kireedam", "Manichithrathazhu", "Traffic" etc...& the latest to join this group is Jeethu Joseph's blockbuster "Drishyam". It's already been made in other languages such as Kannada, Telugu with Hindi in the pipeline as well, but the Tamil version was helmed by Jeethu himself with Kamal Haasan in the title role. So will the remake appeal to the audience especially for the ones who have seen the original???
Since the storyline is pretty much known to everyone, I believe that I dont have to go into the details of it. Except for the names & places, the basic premise has remained faithful to the original. Suyambulingam (Kamal Haasan) was a hard working individual who led a contented life with his small close knit family. Inspite of having studied only till the 4th, he was a person who was well versed with the happenings around the world which was partly due to his avid love for movies. Things moved along serenely in his household, until an individual who seemed capable to wreak havoc in their lives announces his presence. How Suyambulingam rises upto that challenge forms the crux of the movie.
"Drishyam" is the biggest blockbuster of our industry (maybe "Premam" might overtake it) & the full credit for that goes to Jeethu Joseph. The reasons were pretty obvious as apart from impeccable execution he had penned that brilliant script as well. Even in "Papanasam", it is indeed applaudable that though the movie runs close to 3 hours, it never takes a toll on the audience as we are totally engrossed in it. If at all there was a significant difference between the two, it was with regard to the character of the protagonist as Lalettan seemed calculative and more restraint in his emotions while Kamal displayed more of an emotional side amply showcased in the climax sequence. All the technical aspects were impressive be it Sujith Vaassudev's visuals, Ghibran's music (though I felt Anil Johnson's original score & BGM were much better) & Ayoob's editing.
It's true that it's unfair to compare, but when it comes to remakes it's inevitable to be frank. If Lalettan had made Georgekutty memorable, in Tamil the mantle was on another legend Kamal Haasan & he has performed brilliantly. It wouldnt be prudent to accept the fact that we finally got to see the character rather than the star which had restricted his ability to showcase his acting skills in the recent past. Gowthami was average at best as she seemed kinda rusty & also it was a role which was tailor made for Meena. Coming to Nivedita Thomas, she seemed better than Ansiba while Esther didnt seem quite at ease here. As for the rest, Asha Sharath rocked while Kalabhavan Mani (I expected more from him as I personally feel he is more talented than Shajon), Anant Mahadevan etc have done a fine job.
Verdict: Undoubtedly, this is definitely one of the best movies that have come out in Tamil in recent times. Just like "Drishyam" was a landmark in Malayalam, I wouldn't be surprised if it's remake turns out to be one as well. In short, give it a try as its a well crafted remake. On a lighter note, though Jeethu rectified the flaw he made in the original with regard to the phone call; he forgot that "Anjaan" was released only on August 15th while Suyambulingam & family saw it 10 days earlier!!!
The idea behind Papanasam is a cash cow from filmmaker Jeethu Joseph. While he cashed in on the original Malayalam film, which was terrific for a Malayali like me, he also dressed as the writer for the Telugu and Kannada remakes and will also be donning the same cap for the Hindi release.
Sparing you further insight about the makers, the film works mostly because of its village setting, a family drama, and the suspense that grips its viewer for most of the 160 minutes. There are lots of things to think about here, starting from the ethics that surrounds a crime.
It will highly appeal to the Tamil audience, but if you are one of that guy who has already watched the original version or one of its two remakes, chances are that you will definitely compare the films. And the comparison will let you down.
BOTTOM LINE: Papanasam is of course a brilliant thriller, and it will look amazing if and only if you have not watched the original Malayalam film and you have not read the book The Devotion of Suspect X.
VERDICT: 5 stars out of 10. Watchable.