Monday, March 28, 2005

The Original London... and the Original's Original

Saw the Malayalam flick Kaakkakuyil yesterday. With Mohanlal, Mukesh, Nedumudi Venu and Jagathi, it is a laugh riot by Priyadarshan. It is definitely not in the same league as previous Mohanlal-Priyadarshan works like Chitram or Kilukkam and is full of slapstick humor of the lowest common denominator, throws logic to the wind and not all the comedy sequences work. But it is never vulgar, has a complicated screenplay and the laughs are fast and furious so that an effective comedy routine is just round the corner even if one scene falls flat. And the complete lack of the image factor in Malayalam films is evident since Mohanlal, one of the two superstars in Kerala, has no heroine, no hype-inducing introduction scene, no fights and gives equal screen time to Mukesh.

The aforementioned ingredients in Kaakkakkuyil seem tailor-made for Sundar.C. and unsurprisingly, the few clips I have seen of his latest film, the Prashanth starrer London, point to it being a remake of the film with the setting moving to London from Bombay. Prashanth gets a heroine in the Tamil version and I can safely assume that he gets atleast one fight and the one slightly tragic occurrence in the original has been replaced.

But Kaakkaakuyil itself is not completely original. A major portion of it is a copy of the English comedy classic A Fish called Wanda with John Cleese, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis. But the main track of the two protagonists having to switch their voices has been merged cleverly with the track from the English version. And maybe because I've seen and enjoyed A Fish called Wanda several times, the scenes that were copied from it were the least funniest in Kaakkakkuyil.


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