Movie - Kanden Kadhalai (Tamil)
Director - R Kannan
Producer - Blue Ocean Entertainment, Moser Baer, Sun Pictures
Cast - Tamanna, Bharath, Munna, Santhanam, Nizhalgal Ravi, Ratna, Azhagam Perumal, Ravichandran.
Music - Vidyasagar
Cinematography - PG Muthiah
Story - Imtiaz Ali
Screenplay - R Kannan (Imtiaz Ali)
Dialogues - Pattukkottai Prabhakaran
Release Date - 30th October 2009
Jab We Met (2007) was an immensely popular film and was a great hit all over India. Remaking it into Tamil and adapting the story set in Punjab to Theni in the remake is not a very easy job. Kareena Kapoor walked away with the Best Actress trophy at almost all award functions that year (including Filmfare) for her performance as Geet in Jab We Met. Shahid got a fresh lease of life in his career through that movie. Imtiaz Ali gained a position in the top league of directors. So all this is a burden upon director R Kannan when he has been entrusted the job to remake Jab We Met into Tamil. Many of us were skeptical how Tamanna (who is still considered as a good looking bad actress) would perform as the lovely Geet, who is full of life and energy and how the movie would find a place among the Tamil audience. Thankfully, it is a decent enough remake, which is obviously not as good as the remake, but definitely enjoyable, even for people who have loved Jab We Met, like myself. :)
Everybody knows the story of Jab We Met. But for the very few people who dont, here it is, in a very short form -Shakti Rajashekhar (Bharat), who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown after a love failure, and Anjali (Tamanna) who is a full of life, bubbly girl, all set to run away with her lover, meet during a train journey. During the course of the journey, both of them end up missing the train. So they embark on a journey to Anjali's hometown, Theni via road, and the both of them become really good friends over that time period. They learn soon that Anjali is going to be married off to Mokkarasu (Santhanam), her uncle who is also supposed to be fiancee from when she was born. So Anjali decides to run away, taking Shakti with her for company to go to her lover Gautham (Munna). Shakti leaves her at Ootty where Munna supposedly stays and leaves for Chennai. He gets inspired by Anjali's fun-loving carefree attitude and undergoes a drastic change. He gets his company rolling once again and does very well professionally. He also realizes how much he loves Anjali but cannot tell her because she loves someone else. But one fine morning, he finds Anjali's family members in his office enquiring about her. So where is Anjali? What happened between Anjali and Gautham? Will Anjali realize Shakti's love? All these questions are answered in the rest of the movie.
The movie almost moves along the same scene order of Jab We Met, faithfully (even the costumes are the same in many scenes). Only when they reach Anjali's house, a new track, that of Mokkarasu (Santhanam), is added newly. In Tamil films, it is almost mandatory to have a separate comedy track. But the one in this film, is quite good and does not hinder the narration of the movie at any point. There is one stunt extra, again because, a usual Tamil film cannot be without stunts. Jab We Met did not have any of these. But these factors do not stop you from liking the film. The dialogues are okay, but in no way close to the wonderful dialogues written by Imtiaz Ali in the original. Here, they have tried to literally translate all those lines, which work at some points and does not work at many points. Yet, the scenes work well and you can forgive the mediocre dialogues. Imtiaz Ali's magic cannot be there when someone else writes dialogues. R Kannan proved that he is a competent director through his first film Jeyam Kondaan. He handles this film very well and is able to hold the attention of the audience throughout, even the people who have seen Jab We Met plenty of times (like me). But I have one complaint about the movie. One of Jab We Met's most romantic scenes is not there in this one. There's a scene where Shahid and Kareena hug each other after Kareena vents out her frustration in the second half of the film. That passionate and romantic hug wasnt there in this film. I dont know why the director decided to drop that scene in this version. For me, it was certainly the best scene of Jab We Met. And of course, the passionate, but cute smooch between the lead couple is also missing, because smooches havent yet started out in full swing in Tamil Cinema (except in Kamal Haasan movies).
Tamanna is wonderful. I never expected her to perform so well. I have never seen her act so well before this. Though she is nowhere near Kareena's spontaneity, she still delivers a competent performance. It is not an easy role and Tamanna proves to be a good actress by performing that difficult very well. The extremely popular singer Chinmayi has given her voice to Tamanna in this film and it suits her almost perfectly. After a point, you dont realize that it is not Tamanna's voice. And Tamanna really deserves special mention for moving her lips in almost perfect sync. She has learned to do that in such a short time. People like Shriya Saran have been around for a long time, and even know, when they talk in their movies, their lips move in one direction and the voice comes from another direction. So both Tamanna and Chinmayi have complemented each other very well. The Sikhni from Bhatinda is changed to a Thenikkaran Ponnu here. Though it is hard to believe that Tamanna is from a family from Theni, she makes up for it with her acting. Even in the emotional parts in the second half, she has done a good job. She looks amazingly cute and wears some wonderful clothes as well. You can notice that I have talked about her before I talked about the performance of the 'hero' of the film. It is because she is the soul of this movie and she is the best part of the movie as well.
Bharat is pretty decent as Shakti. He has put on some weight but still looks very nice. (But definitely cannot be compared to Shahid Kapoor when it comes to looks). His character is required to stay quiet during the entire first half and just enjoy Tamanna's character and her antics. It is in the second half that Bharat actually gets something to perform. He delivers a decent performance. And it is such a relief to see a Tamil hero in T-shirts and other casuals in subdued colours, rather than bright fluorescent colours. Like Shahid, Bharat is also an amazing dancer and he shows off that skill of his very well in this movie too. Even though he was good, I wouldnt count this one among his best performances. Bharat is a really good actor and he certainly could have a done something more in this film. But still, he is quite good.
Santhanam's comic track is awesome. Unlike other comedians, this fellow is quite young and his comic tracks are not really very separate from the movie's main story. So most of the time, the gags work out very well and we end up laughing a lot. Munna as Gautham is just okay. But the fun when the guy from Jab We Met asks, 'Main kyun jaaoon khet dekhne?' is sorely missed. ;) The girl who acts as Tamanna's sister in the movie, is quite cute. Didnt get her name though. Nizhalgal Ravi, Ravichandran and others do their respective parts well.
The music is not upto usual Vidyasagar standards. Only 'Ododiporen' and 'Naan Unnai Arindhen' are worth remembering. While most of the song sequences have followed the same visuals from Jab We Met, the song 'Venpanju' is a direct rip off of 'Behka' from Ghajini. Ghajini itself was remade from a Tamil film and the only things original in it were the song picturisations and the climax. One song in Ayan was already copied from 'Guzarish' in Ghajini.
The final song 'Oru Naal Iravil' shot like the promotional number 'Mauja Hi Mauja' was not there in the end when I watched the movie, but I saw the song being played on Television channels. Background music is also not upto the mark.
Cinematography by PG Muthiah is really good, especially in the song sequences and scenes in Ootty. He has brought a lot of colourfulness and energy into the frames through his camerawork, without going in for many fancy colours and angles. Editing was competent too.
On the whole, Kanden Kadhalai is a decent enough remake of the wonderful Jab We Met. Thanks to the aggressive promotion by Sun Pictures, this movie is getting a lot of attention too. It has good performances, great camerawork, some very nice scenes, a good comedy track and strictly okay songs - almost everything that a Tamil movie can offer. It definitely wouldnt bore people who have already seen Jab We Met and it would be a great watch for people who havent seen Jab We Met. Tamanna would most probably be winning the best actress award this year for her performance in this remake. I'm pretty sure you wouldnt be disappointed if you give it a try.
Rating - 3.5/5