wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?) - or for a dubbed version to play on Star Gold
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.Read more
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?
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 article is by guest author 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.
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Guidance not needed, but it is a family film