Nanban (Tamil) - Review

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?) - or for a dubbed version to play on Star Gold
quick review:

Shankar’s 3 Idiots remake, Nanban, is an easy, enjoyable one-time watch for someone who has not seen Rajkumar Hirani’s blockbuster – a largely endearing cast ensures this. However, for those who have seen 3 Idiots, it can prove to be quite cumbersome because it differs in absolutely no way from the original. There is only so much one can take of silly cinema pretending to be seriously funny.

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Senthil, Venkat and Pari are three engineering students of the prestigious Ideal Engineering College run by the terrifying Virumandi Santhanam better known by his students as ‘Virus’. Sound familiar?

That Shankar’s latest flick, Nanban, is a remake of the highest grossing Indian film of all time – Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots - is no secret. Shankar isn’t exactly the greatest exponent of the art and craft of cinema. But he has always been someone I have admired, simply because he has the ability to close his eyes and visualize bigger than most other Indian filmmakers. What is truly disappointing though is that this time round, when Shankar closed his eyes, he saw exactly what Rajkumar Hirani did. The characters, their idiosyncrasies, their nicknames (and shockingly, even a continuity goof!) remain the same. Any attempt by me at not giving the movie away would be futile, considering that about a billion people have already watched 3 Idiots.

There is no doubt about the fact that, as a standalone film, Nanban is fairly enjoyable. In fact, in my opinion, the script of 3 Idiots actually lends itself more towards being cinematically adapted in Tamil than in Hindi because character quirk-driven comedies are often funnier in South Indian languages.

Nanbanmotors along largely because it has a competent cast who look their parts. Though not too far away, Vijay is still on the right side of 40, which is to Shankar’s credit, unlike Mr. Hirani who hoped that the audience would look the other way. More importantly, Vijay looks closer to his supposed age than our own self-anointed champion of ‘sensible cinema’ did in 3 Idiots.

Jeeva and Srikanth are extremely likeable in the roles played by Sharman Joshi and Madhavan respectively. Even Sathyan is a darn sight better than Omi Vaidya. Sathyaraj as Virus is convincing and succeeds in not turning his character into an overt caricature. Ileana (playing Kareena Kapoor’s character) looks gorgeous and has an arresting screen presence. The music by Harris Jayaraj is pleasant and easy on the ears. Most tracks are hum-worthy, though a few tracks are unwanted in the flow of the film.

While this phenomenon of remakes and ‘sequels’ is anyway the worst thing to happen to cinema since Tusshar Kapoor, a remake can be accepted if it brings at least something new to the table. ‘Nanban’ was never going to shake off the ‘been-there-seen-that’ feeling. However, it is absolutely unforgivable that an official remake so shamelessly copies the original, the change in the very nature of the core target audience notwithstanding. I always enjoy listening to my co-audience react to what they see on screen, and this time was no different. However, I must confess, I had to get the PVR guys to remake a couple of cups of coffee for me to go the distance.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

Guidance not needed, but it is a family film

  • Violence: One death, but it isn’t graphic
  • Language: Clean, silly humour
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Ileana’s belly dance moves, nothing more
  • Concept: Three engineering students and their escapades
  • General Look and Feel: Exactly like ‘3 Idiots’

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 1.5
  • Story: 2
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 2.5
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 2.5
  • Lyrics: 2

Nanban - Movie Details

Nanban - Trailer

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Comments (2)

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Vishal:

not necessarily everyehere - x - is +
as after a stupid movie experience a stupid review cant make a good experience ....

Muzammil:

so what's ur verdict man ??good average??

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