Action, comedy, romance , family drama, musical/dance – Take any movie genre under the sun , there are few actors in the world who could shine in whatever they do like Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan has done repeatedly over their glorious careers. These stalwarts have shared the screen only once – in Unnai Pol Oruvan which received lukewarm response and that too lasted only less than one minute where they part with a handshake.
Papanasam had all the reasons to make it an exciting wait because this time for a change ,one legend was getting into the shoes of a character the other made so iconic ! Papanasam released this Friday and the great news is that the remake is as good as original – a feat seldom acheived.
Through portrayals of George Kutty and Suyambu Lingam – men who would go to any extents to protect their families, finally Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan give each other a firmer handshake than in Unnaipole Oruvan and now have a better chapter that links them in the history. I have seen a lot of comparisons over the last 2 days on how one actor did it better than the other but I would say both did equally great jobs. Kamal Haasan handled a lot of scenes quite differently. But I feel that is totally fine because at the end of the day, George Kutty and Suyambu Lingam are two different humans . Writer -Director Jeethu Joseph (what a genius he is !) has done ample homework and made changes to make sure that the person you are watching in Papanasam is no longer the one you saw in Malayalam version. Here is a deeper look into these two characters and performances. ( P.S – Ample spoilers ahead)
Mohanlal’s Georgekutty – Drishyam was a materpiece ,broke several record in Malayalam Cinema History and quite importantly gave us a movie character that would easily rank among Malayalam’s top five heroes ever – George Kutty. How often you see such wonderfully written and acted character? One who uses his brain over brawn in the pursuit of protecting his family against all odds and remains stout-hearted all throughout the adverse times.
When he finds what his wife and daughter did , the first thing he promises them is even in the worst case anything happens, it would be him who go to jail and not them. When he is beaten badly in the police station, he makes sure he looks at his family and smile because he want to lift their spirits. Even after the boy’s father begs him to tell what happened to their son, he only opens up for a very limited window and limits his words to minimum.
George Kutty was extra ordinary and any one else in Mohanlal’s place would have made that character look lot less believable. Mohanlal lent his trademark subtelty to the character and the rest as they say is history.
Kamal Haasan’s Suyambu Lingam – It is evident.Kamal Haasan wanted Suyambu Lingam to be lot different than GeorgeKutty. This man believes he is second to none when it comes to this profession of acting but at the same time he is clearly aware to whose shoes he is getting into. Mohanlal is known for a consistent beautiful flow in his acting and being more natural in front of screen whereas Kamal’s strength is to come out so powerful catching us completely unaware ,holding us entirely spellbound even in lengthier sequences and make us forget anything else that is around him .
The expressions on Mohanlal’s face when Meena walks away after the dining table scene and later when he walks trying to restrain him from looking back at Shajon – those were priceless and Kamal does not even attempt to imitate them clearly showcasing the respect he has for former. He instead first adds a flavor in the form of the impeccable Nellai accent which is so easy on the ears. Then he waits patiently and reserves his best for the last half an hour.
When the police and Varun’s family found the skeleton of an animal instead and turn at Kamal, he gives them back a stern look where the emotions of a guy who has finally come out victorious after all the sufferings are all flashed in a matter of seconds. A big part of the crowd could not help but applaud. They did it again next when finally he revealed the truth to Varun’s father in what is a complete emotional outburst compared to Mohanlal’s subdued act .
Its a beautiful piece of acting that you are definitely going to revisit a lot when Papanasam’s dvd comes out. It would be only surprising if critics don’t list it among Kamal’s finest acting moments in coming years and Ghibran’s heavenly background score complements it so well just like we saw in Uthama Villain few months back.
Now we could go back and see we had enough hints that Suyambu Lingam would behave differently in the climax. Georgekutty was perplexed when he heard the story from his family but he did not shed a tear. Suyambu Lingam had tears in his face and wiped it when his daughter came near him in the same scene. Suyambu Lingam was not that stone hearted , he broke down completely in the police station when he and his family was beaten. He spoke with more affection and emotions to his children than Georgekutty after the incident and his pain was more visible when he asked his younger daughter if the police hit her.
Georgekutty’s first priority after the police found the skeleton of the animal was to go and speak to the press while Suyambu Lingam waits there and wants to give back his victorious stare at them. After everything is over, Suyambu Lingam feels guilty of teaching his children to tell lies . Finally when he reveals up everything in front of Varun’s family , he has forgotten about the consequences. He lets us see that he is more human. All this while Georgekutty does not let anything deter his only goal of protecting his family.
I love Mohanlal. He is one of our own and that feeling only strengthens each time we see him on-screen. I absolutely adore Kamal Haasan. He has that ability to make you feel this medium named Cinema is magical. In Drishyam-Papanasam , we have a rare win-win situation ! Mohanlal’s smile at his family after he is beaten is pure gold so is Kamal’s sharp look when he finally comes out victorious .Mohanlal’s subtle emoting in the climax works well for his character so does Kamal’s emotional outburst fits perfectly for Suyambu Lingam.
We all found our old vintage Mohanlal back after a long gap in Drishyam and so did we see it happen in the case of Kamal too in Papanasam. Both the actors did great tremendous jobs to bring us back those good old memories of them. But we have one more person to thank a lot while we are busy comparing how the legends did. It is Jeethu Joseph. Let us just stop whatever we are doing and admit that this guy is an absolute freaking genius. Not many can take their own script which is already so great , improvise on it and deliver it again in a way that gels so well to the demands of another audience.
Finally can we just go ahead and declare August 2 “the Drishyam day” in South India !