Whenever there is a remake of a successful films there is bound to be comparisons with the original and from today a longrunning debate wil begin and go on, of whether Mohanlal’s portrayal of George Kutty is the masterpiece or Kamal Haasan’s Suyambulingam. Kamal Haasan in the past has embossed his own stamp onto remakes like ‘Kuruthipunal’, ‘Vasoolraja MBBS’ and ‘Unnaipol Oruvan’ and this time too he has given another exemplary performance which gives the impression that the film is his own and an original never existed.
A self made middle class man Suyambulingam (Kamal Haasan) who owns a cable network in Papanasam, leads a happy contented life with his wife Rani (Gautami) and daughters Selvi (Nivetha Thomas) and Meena (Esther Anil). Suyambu who is an illiterate shows a lot of intelligence and this attracts many friends in the village like tea shop owner Sulaiman Bhai (M. S. Bhasjar) and also an enemy , corrupt constable Perumal (Kalabhavan Mani). The blissful life of the family is shattered by an youth Varun (Roshan) who blackmails Selvi with a video of her, captured without her knowledge and demanding her modesty in return which results in a murder. Varun happens to be the son of an IG Geetha Prabhakar (Asha Sarath) and a brutal off the record investigation begins and whether Suyambu can save his family or not leads to a riveting climax.
The recent ‘Uttama Villain’ had a divided audience with one section praising Kamal to the skies and others running him down. There is going to be no division this time as Kamal has simply given an awesome performance as the illiterate but cinema educated Suyambulingam and ‘Papanasam’ washes away any bad memories of his last film. He is natural as a loving father and husband and provides a lot of laughs with his interactions with his friend Sulaiman and his office staff Sermadurai (‘Pasanga’ Sreeram). Post interval the Ulaganayagan takes hold of the audiences and keeps them engrossed till the very last frame. The climax scene where he conveys his victory over the police with just a glance and a little later when he breaks down to the parents of the boy will linger in the memory of viewers for a long time. Moving on to the other players Asha Sarath as Geetha IPS is rock solid and the actress is sure to go places with her towering performance. The ease with which she transforms from Cop to Mother and back to Cop and in the interrogation scene when the police beat up the family she is simply splendid as at one moment her eyes show some pity and the very next they turn ruthless. Gautami fits into the role of Rani quite comfortably and this is a good comeback for her and her best scene is when she pleads with Roshan to spare her daughter. Nivetha Thomas as the wronged teenager is perfectly cast and so is the little girl Esther. Kalabavan Mani as the villainous police man has got a meaty role after a very long time and he has sunk his teeth into it to give a laudable performance. M.S.Bhaskar, ArulDoss, Anant Mahadevan, Illavarasu, Delhi Ganesh, Roshan, ‘Pasanga’ Sreeram have all lived their roles.
Directed Jeethu Joseph has brought his own masterpiece ‘Drishyam’ to Tamil and kudos to him for making it perfectly acceptable to Tamil sensibilities. The script by Jeethu is unique as it pits a father (protagonist) against a mother (antagonist), which makes for a fresh viewing experience because here we don’t take sides as the actions of both the parties are justified and this is what probably makes his work stand apart from other such thrillers. The three hours plus running time is hardly noticeable and that in itself is evidence of the great effort Jeethu has put up both in writing and execution.
The cinematographer Sujith Vasassudev, editor Ayoob Khan are from the original team and they have worked seamlessly with Jeethu to give a flawless viewing experience on screen. Ghibran’s background is adequate. Jeyamohan’s dialogues bring the rural Thirunelveli flavour to ‘Papansam’ which is a major plus for the film and the conversations are natural, witty and hard hitting wherever necessary. Suka is credited with training every cast member with the slang and his efforts have paid off in a big way. Stunt Director T. Ramesh deserves a pat on the back for the realistic action scenes especially in the police torture scene. Producers Suresh Balaje, George Pius,Rajkumar Sethupathi and Sripriya can be proud for backing this lovely film.
On the downside the opening scenes drag a little and the love scenes between Kamal and Gautami could have been avoided. One wishes that the film would have benefitted more if the songs by Ghibran had some recall value.
Verdict : Go for it to be swayed by the genius actor Kamal Haasan and for an extraordinary screenplay and direction by Jeethu Joseph.
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0