Chandramukhi in Hindi
Mohanlal, Vishnuvardhan, Rajnikanth… Akshay Kumar?
Shobana, Soundarya, Jyothika… Vidya Balan?
Suresh Gopi, Ramesh Arvind, Prabhu… Shiny Ahuja?
Talks about the Hindi remake of Chandramukhi (which itself was a remake of Manichithrathaazhu / Aaptamitra) have been doing the rounds for a while now. As with all rumors, a bunch of names have been thrown around for the main roles. Initially, Shah Rukh Khan and then Amitabh were mentioned for the hero’s role. The one constant in all the reports was that Aishwarya Rai was approached for the heroine’s role but couldn’t accept due to lack of dates. With her out of the race, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee were supposed to be frontrunners for the key role of the heroine. And Ajay Devgan was tipped to play Kajol's husband.
The latest news has Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan and Shiny Ahuja in the three main roles in Chandramukhi’s Hindi remake. The director is supposedly Priyadarshan, who has made a habit of remaking Malayalam hits (usually directed by himself) in Hindi.
The number of remakes (all huge successes so far) of Manichithrathaazhu simply points to the universality of Fazil’s original story. Expertly paced and tightly narrated, the film is truly a lesson on how a film that deals with the supernatural should be made. Ofcourse, credit also goes to Shobana and Mohanlal for bringing to life the unforgettable lead characters.
If the Hindi remake does happen, Manichithrathaazhu might be the only film to have been remade or dubbed in all the major languages (Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi). I'm not sure if there has been any other story that got made into a film in all these 5 languages? Another universally popular film I can think of is Munnabhai MBBS, which was remade in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. But no Malayalam remake so far (which, personally, is a huge surprise because I think Mohanlal is the actor perfectly suited to play that role with its mix of seriousness and comedy).
While Akshay Kumar’s name as the hero would’ve made me cringe a few years back, the actor has shown enough comic potential in recent movies to make me think he could carry it off. But then again, the charisma of actors like Mohanlal and Rajnikanth was what lifted their films above the ordinary and Akshay lacks that inspite of being a bankable actor. Vidya Balan definitely has the looks for the meaty role. I don’t know if she is a dancer but Jo did carry her role off with hard work rather than Bharatanatyam talent. So Vidya could do the same even if she isn't a classical dancer. Prabhu’s role is minor enough for any actor to portray and Shiny Ahuja should do fine (though with Akshay as the hero, I’m surprised this role didn’t go to Sunil Shetty). The only question is how Shiny is going to say “Kya Kodumai hai ye, Saravanan!”
The news item talks about the remake as news rather than rumor, with shooting set in Rajasthan and starting in Jan 2007. Will be interesting to see if the Hindi version recreates the success of the movies in the other languages.