Can a Rajnikanth movie be remade with same aura and feel? Will it reverberate with same energy and gusto? Will it charm the audience? Partially yes seems to be the answer. 'Mappillai', a remake of yesteryear Rajinikanth flick carrying the same title, is a perfect treat for the front-benchers, oozing with gusto and energy.
Remake is always a risky affair. No one tries to remake a failure attempt and hence the success of the original naturally becomes the burden on the remake. Director Suraj has taken it in his stride and ensures all charm is not lost.
More of Rajinikanth meeting Dhanush, the movie's success rides on the latter not trying to imitate the former anywhere in the movie. He is himself and ensures that he gives what his fans exactly expect out of him.
There is tremendous pressure on Suraj's shoulder for at least half the movie-goers would have watched the original and a comparison is bound to be there. A shrewd Suraj has made some changes to make it more contemporary and lively.
With Vivek giving Dhanush company, there is no dearth for humour all through. If Sri Vidya was an arrogant mother-in-law in the original throwing all challenges at Rajini, Suraj has brought Manisha Koirala for the role, bringing some freshness.
Come to the story, Saravanan (Dhanush) is a do-gooder, who is soft-spoken and admired by one and all. He comes across Gayathri (Hanshika Motwani), daughter of arrogant business woman Rajeshwari (Manisha Koirala) and falls for her.
Coming to know of their affair, Rajeshwari decides to get them both married. The reason is- she is keen on getting a son-in-law, who will always do what she wants and be under her control.
But she in for a shock when she comes to know that Saravanan has a past. He is a ruffian and is feared by one and all. Now she plans to halt all plans, while Saravanan takes up the challenge and ensures that he end up marrying his ladylove.
It's now a cat and mouse game between Saravanan and Rajeshwari. Then there is one Style Chinna (Vivek), with his own set of friends (including 'Cell' Murugan), who is desperately behind Gayathri and tries to win over her love.
Dhanush is the man of the match. He takes the whole burden on his shoulders and passes the difficult test of enacting a famous role played by Rajinikanth with consummate ease. He is good at humour and those scenes where he challenges his mother-in-law. A wholesome role which the actor does exceedingly well.
Cheers to young Hanshika Motwani. Cute and bubbly, she has a meaty role to play in her maiden venture itself. A look-alike of Kushboo, she does gel with the character. Watch out for Manisha Koirala. She performs with a steam and vigour. As a young aristocratic mother-in-law, she is impressive. She brings out her agony, arrogance and anger well.
Vivek as Style Chinna brings the roof down with laughter. His funy-looks coupled with crazy dialogue delivery are a pleasure to watch. With Dhanush, he recreates the magic of 'Uthamaputhiran'.
Music by Mani Sharma is an added strength. There are a couple of racy numbers and it peps up the proceedings, with the highlight being 'Ennoda rasi...' Sathish Kumar's cinematography is rich and glossy and lives up to the theme, while editing by Kishore is crisp.
Produced by Nemichand Jhabak and Nemichand Jhabak, 'Mappillai', presented by Sun Pictures, is warm, bright and bubbly. If you are ready to forget that deja vu feel which prevails in many a place, the film is no doubt a big summer treat.