Narappa Movie Review Rating: 2/5 Stars (Two Stars)
Star Cast: Venkatesh Daggubati, Priyamani, Karthik Rathnam and ensemble.
Director: Srikanth Addala
What’s Good: The story that we have already seen and the acting performances that don’t let you lose interest.
What’s Bad: That makers are not ready to understand that we no longer live in our bubbles. We do watch content outside our boundaries, and remakes in these times make little to no sense.
Loo Break: If you have seen Asuran, you can take one at any minute as long as you want. If you haven’t, stick to your seat.
Watch or Not?: I would still suggest going for the original. Vetrimaaran put his heart and soul into the film he wrote and directed. The remake is good but not equal to the brilliance the Dhanush starrer stood on.
Language: Telugu (with subtitles)
Available on: Amazon Prime Video
Narappa, a man walking with the baggage of the past, lives with his family in a rural town deeply stung by the evils of atrocities, class and caste discrimination. When his son raises his voice, he is silenced by the powerful in a gruesome manner, and Narappa has to now save the family that remains. How will he do it? What is that ghost from the past? Why do we need remakes? Everything is answered, except the last question.
Narappa Movie Review: Script Analysis
Vetrimaaran, who is credited as the writer of Narappa, directed and co-wrote Asuran, which the Telugu film is based on. The original story comes from a novel named Vekkai written by Poomani. Technically this is the 3rd time this story is being told. As a story, the source material in itself is so strong that it is bound to garner appreciation no matter what number of times and languages it is retold in.
But that does not take away the fact that making scene to scene remakes make no sense to many of us. With time the audience is evolving, and their horizon of consuming content is broadening too. In this case, Filmmakers with the best conscience, producers with all the money and actors with top-notch calibre coming together and making a scene to scene copy of an already successful and acclaimed film is not just bizarre but weirdly no-brainer.
No harm in making remakes; I am all in for them. But what you as a filmmaker with a distinctive voice add in your version of the story is essential. Joji (Malayalam), starring Fahadh Faasil, was a retelling of Macbeth, a tale already told 100 times. But the film gives the already told story a new life with the same essence the original holds and stands for. The example might be a bit far away from Narappa, but definitely not wrong. I was sitting throughout in the hope that there will be some twist that tells me how director Srikanth Addala resonates with the story of Vekkai. Which is also inspired by a real-life incident if you aren’t aware.
What can I talk more about the writing that many of us have already witnessed. You can read my take on this brilliant story here! Narappa copies every single detail from Asuran and defines every single alphabet in the word REMAKE. But whether that is a good idea or not is up to the viewer. Not a good one for me, at least.
I suppose rather than a ditto copy, giving Vetrimaaran a financial and creative push to make a different story that address another evil, in Telugu language maybe, would have made total sense. Make subtitles available in all possible languages across the globe, that is the best solution. A nod to Oscar-winning Parasite’s director Bong Joon Ho.
Narappa Movie Review: Star Performance
Be it Dhanush, Manju Warrier or even the smallest of the actors in Asuran, everyone left a mark with their performances. Every single actor in Narappa had a bar too high to reach and many of them even successfully win the half battle. Venkatesh Daggubati while bringing his A-game manages to bring the emotions. But his breakdowns feel less impactful and you can see the effort he has put in on his face contradictory to Dhanush who has completely marinated himself.
Priyamani’s character originally played by Manju Warrier, is one of my most favourite female characters in cinema. While Priyamani manages to bring the depth and the pain of the mother who sees her world collapsing, Warrier is still ahead in the race. If Manju’s version didn’t exist, Priyamani would have been a brilliant treat.
And same is with everyone else who are stepping into the shoes of the actors from Asuran. They do the job, but we have already seen a classic version.
Narappa Movie Review: Direction, Music
Director Srikanth Addala’s approach sadly is not adding his bits to the conversation, but remaking what is already made. He copies every frame, translates all dialogues word to word and even doesn’t spare the background music theme of the original.
Not going to lie, the theme music that has the lyrics that translate in English to “Come on! Hack them in all retaliation and with all your fury,” manages to give me chills even in Telugu.
Narappa Movie Review: The Last Word
An attempt at retelling failed by not adding anything to it. Narappa should exist under the same sky Asuran does. But what is its existence if the original has had the conversation 3 years ago already and that too with a very loud voice heard by people across the globe?
Narappa releases on 19th July, 2021.
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