“Forget yester ‘Wednesday’ and watch ‘Eenadu’ “

It is tough to watch the remake of a well acclaimed film and not to compare with the original.

But if you manage to do so, or if you haven’t seen “A Wednesday” in Hindi, Chakri Toleti’s ‘’Eenadu” is a decent fare.

“Eenadu” is all about the events that happen on a single day triggered by a phone call.
How a police commissioner, two cops, a TV reporter and a bunch of government officials react
to this phone call forms the crux of the story. Who is this guy? What does he want?
How he rides roughshod over to get what he wants drives the story forward and results
eventually in an unexpected denouement.

The film boasts of a stellar cast with two super stars playing the lead roles and path breaking digital platform.
The two stars—Kamal Haasan and Venkatesh—who on their own drive multi-crore box-office receipts, coming together for a simple movie like ‘Eenadu’ is laudable and shows way to many other successful stars and well known actors. It is so refreshing to see their names in the start credits of the movie without any honorary titles appended before. When was it that you last saw the credits for a Tamil or Telugu film with stars in it and no ‘SuperStar’ or ‘little or medium xyz’ tags attached.
They have come onboard as actors and this in itself a great success for the debutant director.

Chakri Toleti retains most of the elements from the original—the story, the milieu et al—and tinkers
very little with the characterization and the story flow. Interestingly this very little turns out to be a
quite a bit if you had seen the original. :)

Here are some of those tinkering and the ensuing impact on the film.

  1.  Naseeruddin Shah in the Hindi film plays a ‘face in the crowd’ that can disappear amongst  the millions of Mumbai, literally walk into thin air even after committing a heinous act. His character is designed to display that ordinary and helplessness look and is complete with his lumbering gait. It’s only when he towers over Anupam Kher with his voice in the later part of the film that you get to see the other shade. But by then, he is not so helpless anyway. In contrast Kamal Haasan portrayal of the lead character oozes confidence and appears so self-assured that it takes away the charm a little bit when the audience starts warming up to his duel with the police commissioner.
  2. The original film employs a few decoys to mislead the audience. If you leave the logic out of the equation, these sure helped in creating some suspense and build an aura around the common man. Chakri Toleti chose to do away with such decoys and in the process also took away some of the sting from the police characters.
  3. Speaking of the police characters, the one played by Jimmy Shergil is almost a Mel Gibsonesque potrayal in Lethal weapon series. However the counterpart in “Eenadu” comes across as a baseball player itching for his next hit minus the seething inside. Coming to the most important of all–the commissioner played by Venkatesh–one gets a feeling that his characterization could have been etched better. It is difficult to understand why the director chose not to include that scene where the ageing Anupam Kher storms into the interrogation room and bashes the accused mouthing “Maine pucha kya…” This sure would have given something for the front benchers to whistle about. So is the lead scene before the bomb search in a nearby the police headquarters.
  4. The Idea of making the principal secretary a female one, who overlaps the CM character in the original, might have looked interesting on paper, as it brings on the gender conflict into the scheme of things, but on screen this was reduced to mere bickering and does not add much to elevate the character of Venkatesh.
  5. Overall it appears as if Venkatesh’s character has been presented like that of a Mohanlal (not in any way to suggest that this great Malyalam actor is not fit and fast enough to thrash someone:)) Somehow, Anupam Kher in the original seemed more agile and aggressive than “Eenadu” Venkatesh. This was further accentuated by the static ‘taking’ employed during his scenes and created an unintended dominance by the character played by Kamal Haasan. (I am sure enough curiosity now has been generated to see Tamil and Malayalam versions as well, to see how Mohanlal fared, which is another success metric for the director)

In summary, the changes in the remake appear to have brought in to add more believability and some logic, taking cues from a typical bureaucratic set up, current topics etc. But in a ‘what-if-this-ever-happened-thriller’ kind of movie, liberties can be taken and retaining the above from the original would have been a better choice.

Well…once again, these will not matter much for someone who has not seen the original or who has seen it and does not wear an analytical eye-lens. For them the sheer sight of Kamal and Venkatesh sharing the screen space is worth their money.

Let’s hope Chakri Toleti comes up with another film backed by UTV that will sport great cast and high technical standards.
Not to forget. A taut and an original script as well :)