One reason why Malayalam cinema for all its resonant excellence, fails to have a pan-India impact is the rigid cultural specificity. For example, while beef is banned in the rest of India, the characters in Malayalam cinema speak freely of beef as a regular meal habit. One man’s meat… etc.
Drishyam’s Hindi version uproots the Malayali milieu and re-plants it successfully in a Hindi-speaking milieu. After the execrable Thank God, Ajay Devgn needs a hit. We can only hope for the best. One glaring absence in Drishyam is an A-list heroine. For all her talent Shriya Sharan never made it in the Hindi belt. As for Tabu, she has voluntarily shifted to playing ‘character’ roles in her recent films especially for ‘friend’ Devgn.
Last week’s Unchaai did comparatively well, as it deserved to. A better title would have been Lambaai, what with Mr Bachchan’s height and then the film’s inordinate length. At the least it was an original film and readings such as an “octogenerian’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara” did disservice to both films.
However Unchaai has by no means performed well enough to be called a hit, a hit as compared with what?
As Jeetendra spoke in a previous interaction on his blockbuster Telugu remakes in the 1970s and 80s, “Hamare zamane mein, we celebrated when a film ran for a minimum of 100 days. Aaj kal agar koi film weekend cross karti hai toh jashn manaane ki baat hai.”
But yes, the moderate success of Unchaai does indicate that the audience wants original films not remakes. There again, Vikas Bahl’s Goodbye which came some weeks ago, underperformed in spite of being a better film than Unchaai. Probably the audience don’t want to see the humorous side of God and death. Thank God!
The other release this week is Mister Mummy, a complete non-starter from the word go. First of all angrezi titles don’t work, they never have, they never will. Secondly, a comedy on male pregnancy was done 28 years ago when Arnold Schwarzenegger got pregnant in Junior. Thirdly, watching real-life husband and wife Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia d’Souza who did their first film together in 2003 (Tujhe Meri Kasam) is as exciting as undergoing molar surgery.
No wonder even the producers are far from fired up by this Mummy, best left embalmed.