Tuesday, September 29

Ninaithale Inikkum - A disastrous remake of Classmates

Movie - Ninaithale Inikkum (Tamil)
Director - GNR Kumaravel
Producer - Gemini Films
Cast - Prithviraj, Priya Mani, Shakthi, Karthik, Anuja Iyer, Bhagyaraj
Music - Vijay Antony
Story - James Albert
Screenplay - ?
Editing - Sreekar Prasad
Cinematography - Balasubramaniam
Release Date - 4th September 2009

If you thought Chandramukhi was the worst that could happen to a Malayalam classic, then you're wrong. Kumaravel's Ninaithale Inikkum is a disastrous remake of Lal Jose's contemporary classic, Classmates. But Chandramukhi can be excused as the story of Manichithrathaazhu was modified to suit the image of Rajnikanth and the movie was made simpler for the common Tamil audience to understand. It worked well with the audience and went on to become one of the biggest hits in Tamil Cinema, even though Malayalis hated it. But this movie, in the name of adapting the script to suit Tamil Cinema, the director has made an atrocious version. 

The story is about a group of friends from the batch of 2000 coming back for a reunion. 
Siva played by Prithviraj remembers his college days and the movie goes into flashback mode. Siva is a very popular student in the college. Whereas Vasu (Karthik) doesnt like him and is always doing something or the other against him. Shakthi (Shakthi) is a goody-goody guy who is a friend to almost everyone in the batch. A lot of scenes later, Siva falls in love with Meera (Priya Mani), a girl whom he always used to fight with in spite of having a secret crush. 
But during the college elections, Meera is forced to stand against Siva as a result of Vasu's scheming. And this leads to a friction between them. Then, the movie goes back to the present, to the reunion party. And in the night after the reunion party, somebody attempts to murder Siva in his hostel room and he is found by Meera just in time. Who did this, and what led to this, forms the rest of the story. (which is a very diluted version of James Albert's story of Classmates).

First of all, Classmates worked majorly because of the nostalgia factor. That movie took us back to a campus in Kerala in the early 90s, where campus politics was at its peak. The atmosphere, the dressing, the language, the tea shop/college canteen, etc. were what made that movie special. And of course, brilliant casting. The ensemble cast of that movie performed wonderfully and the movie went on to become a classic in all the senses. 

This movie's campus story is set in the year 2000, which doesnt evoke any nostalgia factor, as it is more or less the same now, except some technological advancements (like mobile phones, etc). And since Tamil Nadu, doesnt have that much active campus politics, that angle cannot be utilized well in this movie. So the fights between Siva and Vasu here are for different reasons. The whole script is diluted and made to look like silly. 

The performances dont help either. Prithviraj gave a career-best performance as Sukumaran in the original Classmates. Here, he plays Siva as if he is not interested at all. Somebody should tell him that shouting when being furious, is not what acting is all about. And his performance during the emotional scenes towards the end, is a disaster. You cannot even believe that it is the same Prithviraj who gave a rock-solid performance in the same role in the original. Very bad!! Priya Mani, the national award winning actress, should stop doing such silly roles and has to concentrate on meatier roles. She has nothing to do in this film. Kavya Madhavan had done a fabulous job in the original, and the role was much better too. The problem with this movie is that none of the characters are properly fleshed out. They do not have any depth. Karthik was decent in a negative role as Vasu. A change from his usual American Mappillai roles. The guy who played Bala, Siva's friend was also good. He acted in the recent Malayalam film, Puthiya Mukham also. But the intelligent comedy from Indrajith, who did the same role (more or less) in the original was clearly missing in this one. Shakthi didnt have much to perform. But in the one scene where he is required to act, he shows how much of a terrible actor he is. His acting was hilarious in that serious scene. Anuja Iyer, who was impressive in Unnaipol Oruvan, is really bad in this. Bhagyaraj was quite okay. The Lollu Sabha guy (didnt get his name) was also decent. There is nothing to talk about the other members of the cast. 

Certain scenes were so bad that I felt like screaming inside the theatre. The scene where Shakthi gets an asthma attack is exaggerated so much in this movie. As if an asthma attack is more serious than a heart attack. It was plain horrible. Then the scene where Shakthi advises Prithviraj and Karthik, was unintentionally hilarious because of his bad acting. And several other similar scenes. 

Music was pretty bad except for one good song, 'Nanbanai Paartha'. Songs keep popping in with no particular reason. I still dont understand why the song 'Sexy Lady' came in this movie. The Malayalis here were laughing seeing all the members of the cast dance to the song 'Allah' during the eve of the elections. The original had a wonderful song about politics called 'Vote' in that place. And another dance song 'Piya' with Prithviraj and Priya Mani also comes and goes. The last song, was really tedious to watch as I was getting really restless inside the theatre. I dont even remember the name of that song. Prithviraj's dancing has improved, but his expressions while dancing are extremely annoying. His usual good looks are also missing in this movie. Priya Mani should lose some weight and do more meaningful roles rather than insignificant stuff like this and Puthiya Mukham

The cinematography by Balasubramaniam was okay. Some frames were really nice. But I didnt like the way a certain night scene was lit up. It was looking as if the entire place had lots of light. That scene was shot in the dark brilliantly by Rajeev Ravi in the original. I didnt pay much attention to the other technical aspects of the film. Only when I left, I came to know that the veteran Sreekar Prasad had done the editing. There was nothing special in it. The background music was loud and jarring. And the direction was a complete disaster. The director is neither able to extract good performances, nor narrate the story in an interesting way. The suspense is revealed in such a juvenile manner, that you feel like laughing at it. This is when you understand the talent of one of the best directors in Malayalam Cinema now, Lal Jose. Classmates was in all ways, Lal Jose's movie. His signature was there all over that movie. 

I dont know if I'm being over-critical because I have watched the original. Even if I was watching this for the first time (without watching the original), I wouldnt have liked it I guess. 
And the thing that made me angry the most was that they have ruined such a great movie, when they had all the scope and potential to make a brilliant movie. Somebody else could have remade Classmates in a better way later on. I felt the same way, when I saw the remake of Udhayanaanu Thaaram in Tamil, Velli Thirai. In short, this one of the worst remakes I have ever seen. Now I have to watch Classmates once again to get out of the bad effect of this movie. 

Rating - 1/5


  1. but the mvie is an above average grosser bak there in tn...may be tamilians need only this much

  2. the major factor would be the marketing of sun pictures.. none of the pictures distributed by them have become failures.. most of them have been terrible films also.. like kadhalil vizhunthen, masilamani, padikkathavan, etc.. so i'm not surprised that its collecting well.. if ppl see an ad of this movie in a gap of every 5 mins on all sun tv channels, naturally they would feel interested to watch it.. its aggressive marketing from sun tv.. thats all..

  3. Thanks Vivek...now I can avoid it on home videos also. As Nikhi Menon said it is a average grosser in TN and I think I read some positive reviews on it at some websites.

  4. maybe ppl who havnt seen classmates can digest it to some extent.. it was horrifying for me..