Saturday, September 19, 2009

EENADU: Lost in translation

Spoilers ahead. If you have plans to watch 'Eenadu', I would advise you to read this post later after watching the movie.

If someone already saw 'A Wednesday', he or she may hardly find anything interesting in 'Eenadu'. This is a big minus considering that the credits claim a certain Kamal Haasan. Even for those who didn't see 'A Wednesday' there would not be as much thrill here as it were in 'A Wednesday'. Right now, I can think of two reasons.

1) Hold your breath, Kamal Hasan is miscast! It is his passion that drove this project but sadly he is not fit for a 'common man' role, that a low-profile Naseeruddin Shah played in the original, 'A Wednesday', (which i commented on at . I cant resist a comparison here. When the movie starts, Naseer triggers a guessing game for the audience about his actions, motives and yes, even his religion. His fluency in Urdu while talking to the terrorist over phone could have made the audience speculate about his association with terrorists and his own religion. It was pure mind play. Kamal Hasan's own beard and his occasional referring 'Commissinersaab' does not substitute that. Kamal's liberal use of English does not help the character either. That made his character more of a learned man not a common man. In fact, Eenadu leaves the subtlety about his religion and tries to directly inject that idea into audience through a few dialogues but even that didn't work.

2) The second main drawback: Inexplicably, the common man character has been diluted. Naseer, despite the whole meticulously operated operation, sounds exasperated, frustrated at times in his negotiations with the commissioner. His 'daily chore' conversation with his wife on phone was wonderful. Towards the end, he goes on to call himself stupid and clearly says "We are resilient by force, not by choice". He explains how he has his own small daily battles to feed himself and his family and how he was forced to embark on this mission due to governments' apathy and indifference. He was a regular common man who became a reluctant soldier. On the other hand, here, Kamal looks very much cool, in ease and is almost like a professional killer. He is almost like a regular hero character, that is of course until he picks up the groceries in the end. And Of course this is Kamal the legend and maybe its difficult to believe he is just playing an ordinary guy! There is a lack of much needed vulnerability. The result is that this robs us the thrill 'A Wednesday' gave. While that was shaped as thriller, the whole premise of common man's combat forms the core. Eenadu not just loses on the thrill but also on the common man core by changing Kamal's characterization. The fact that the character does not have scope for any real 'acting' apart from these subtlety makes this dilution in characterization all the more disappointing for Kamal's fans.

Among other things, Venkatesh's character too pales in comparison to Anupam Kher's in the original. Here, he is much younger and so that thoughtfulness is missing in his character. The result is that the famous dialogues between Kher and Shah in the second half didn't quite take off here as there is no intensity.The casting of 'A Wednesday' was perfect and the low profile actors helped create the realistic picture. Here, even the new folks like the guy who played Gautam Reddy couldn't deliver.

There has been lots of changes in the script to change the context and add Hyderabad flavour. That worked well though. Eenadu comes in context of Hyderabad blasts. However, the dialogues are not as good as they should have been. This dented the local flavour in a way despite the efforts in the script and did not allow the movie to get hard-hitting. Kamal brings one moment towards the climax that stays with us long after we leave the movie hall. That's the high point, and maybe the only one.

While I never watch a remake, I went ahead with this because I liked what Kamal did to Govind Nihalani's 'Droh Kaal' with his own 'Drohi'. I even liked 'Hey Ram'. So I had a feeling Kamal gets brainy with good content and I wanted to see if he elevates the content of 'A Wednesday'. But sadly that didn't happen. Kamal, for now, is humbled by Neeraj Pandey. For those who missed out Neeraj's offering though, this could be a decent watch.

1 comment:

Raghavendra Keesari said...

I felt Kamal has lost his talent, he has been overpowered by his daughter and wife (gautami), as u said, i too like the movie Drohi,not only that there r some excellent master pieces like sagarasangamam, etc which i like the most, same was happened to dasavatharam first few reels of the movie was good, then it started loosing the grip, he just wanted showoff his talent, which is fast diappearing, may be its time to retired, or he shud take a break for a while.