A remake…

…can never be better than the original, some say. Along with accusations of being conveniently ambivalent on Unnaipol Oruvan, I was asked repeatedly, by all and sundry to watch A Wednesday. And I did. Today. I approached the movie, almost determined to like it better than Unnaipol Oruvan, thanks to the raving I heard all around me in the past week.

I liked what I saw. But, not as much as I like Unnaipol Oruvan. Call me a die-hard Kamal fan who will digest anything he chooses to dish out, but I still like UPO way better. That said, I think there were a lot of differences between the original and the remake. A Wednesday has faster camera movements, indicating the urgency of the situation, while UPO stays rather focussed on the matter at hand. Editing is definitely slicker in the Hindi version than in Tamil, where the camera tends to linger on each of the characters longer than strictly necessary. In fact, A Wednesday gives you the feel of a classic Hollywood action thriller, at times. And that, for those who want action, is a good thing!

Anupam Kher as the Commissioner is a lot more active than Mohanlal in UPO. However, with his activity is also a certain melodrama that Mohanlal manages to avoid in UPO. Restraint is the name of the game, and Lalettan is nearly perfect in it. The CM makes no appearance in the Tamil version, but the voice and diction are more than enough to let us know who exactly is talking. Mohanlal’s clash with Lakshmi is a talking point of UPO, although Lakshmi’s acting is a bit over-the-top, especially compared to the restraint shown by Mohanlal.

Naseerudeen Shah was perfection personified. Nothing can be said about his acting. He was absolutely perfect for the role he was playing. But, the dialogues in the climax scene, although power-packed, somehow seemed incongruous coming from the mouth of a purported common man. Because, the common man, when angry, cries silent tears. Because, all of us are human and the last thing we do when overcome with emotion, is to deliver a ten-minute-long dialogue. We tend to clam up and shut down, both emotionally and verbally. To me, that is where UPO scores. While the dialogues are there, they do not take away from the character of the common man. They do not sound too dramatic or exaggerated. That’s why I liked UPO better.

One little thing that drew me closer to the Tamil version was the portrayal of the IIT dropout. He came across as both genuine and geeky. Indeed, I have seen many like him in real life: cousins, friends, classmates…they really exist. The portrayal was absolutely realistic and fabulously etched. The “cool dude-ness” of the Hindi version was a bit of a put off, really!

Finally, to me, the background music in A Wednesday was a trifle too loud for my taste and often came in the way of the comprehension of the dialogues. Not that Shruti Haasan did a great job in Tamil either. The soundtrack really is the only major drawback of the movie in both languages. And yes…these are my opinions. I am not an expert at cinema, nor do I claim to be one. So, if you think I am mistaken, please feel free to tell me! 🙂

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