How often do remakes receive the same appreciation as the original film? Seldom.

When a good film is turned into another film in a different language, the story often gets distorted so as to, “suit the local sensibilities,’ and in the process the essence of it is lost.

But with Papanasam, the Tamil remake of Drishyam, (Malayalam), director Jeethu Joseph scores once again. Joseph has made little changes leaving the soul of the story intact. And that’s why Papanasam, clicked with viewers.

Joseph’s story is about an ordinary cable television operator who has not studied beyond class four. A loving husband and doting father to his two daughters, Suyambulingam (Kamal Haasan) who is not overly ambitious. All he cares about is the happiness of his family.

But when an outsider enters and disturbs their peace, he will go to any lengths, solely to protect his daughter. And, when faced with the law, he believes his family can be saved only by staying together. This man who has always taught his children to speak the truth finds himself teaching them to speak lies, manufacturing alibis and ultimately tampering with evidence.

Drishyam was the story of a Christian family, Papanasam, is the story of a Nadar family based in Papanasam. Mohan Lal played George Kutty, the father in Drishyam. Haasan is Suyambulingam, in Papanasam. If Drishyam, brought back the Mohan Lal we loved and remembered for his films of the eighties, Papanasam, brings back the Haasan we have always admired.

Comparisons with Drishyam are inevitable, but viewers will agree about one thing: Lal and Haasan have both played to perfection the doting father in their own style.

Haasan’s terrific performance in the climax scene is the cherry on the cake in Papanasam.

Movies are a running theme in Papanasam as Suyambulingam is a hard-core film buff. And when confronted with an issue in life, Suyambulingam resorts to film shots to sort it out. Joseph has woven this aspect beautifully into the major story.

Joseph also draws out the magnanimity of his characters, who realise their mistakes and regret it, but are driven by their own selfish interests.

Asha Sharath and Esther Anil who have reprised their roles from the original deliver performances that are one notch higher than in Drishyam. Sharath as the mother agonising over her missing son is a tough cop who uses power to intimidate Suyambulingam and family. Winning hearts again is Esther, as Suyambulingam’s little daughter who gives in to police power and spills the truth. Gauthami makes a good comeback opposite Haasan as his onscreen wife. Nivetha Thomas, reprises Ansiba Hassan’s character and is remarkable. Surprising viewers is Bollywood’s Ananth Mahadevan, he plays the role Siddique did in Drishyam, and the veteran director-actor is perfect.

Papanasam is a gripping tale that is unpredictable and ultimately leaves you stumped.

Don’t miss it

Papanasam is currently showing in the UAE.