Times have changed most wonderfully for Indian cinema. Once, producers and directors unashamedly copied a foreign film, sometimes frame by frame (like Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi/It Happened One Night), and presented it as unique and original. But, today, men like Kamal Haasan have no qualms about remaking a foreign movie in Tamil or any other language -- and admitting to it. Haasan’s recent Thoongavanam was a makeover -- of course, with a desi touch -- of the inspiring French film, Sleepless Night.
A lot of people loved watching Haasan as the policeman, and probably would not have enjoyed as much actor Tomar Sisley in the original French version.
Now, we have Nalan remaking a Korean romantic drama, My Dear Desperado, in Tamil and titling it Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum with Vijay Sethupathi (last seen in Sethupathi). It will be in the cinemas on March 11.
The Korean work was a delightful movie about an odd couple, a young girl and a weather-beaten gangster. Debutant Korean helmer, Kim Kwang Sik, cast one of the country’s top stars, Park Joong Hoon (best known for his tough character in Nowhere to Hide) as the crook -- who is drawn to his new neighbour, Si Jin (Jung Yoo Mi). She is desperate after losing her plum IT job. Too proud to return to her small town and domineering father, she shifts to smaller flat in Seoul. Though the gangster is rude and hardly romantic, Si warms up to him -- and an unlikely relationship develops between them.
My Dear Desperado is character driven, not plot impelled, and the chemistry between Park and Jung is so sizzling, and their performances itself so riveting that the film grips one attention. There is plenty of banter and tension among them -- adding punch to the narrative. Witty and amusing, My Dear Desperado is neither too melodramatic nor filled with too many gags.
Finally, the relationship helps Si regain her confidence she lost after her firm goes bust, and the gangster to find some kind meaning in his life, which was on one long drift.
Nalan will have Vijay Sethupathi playing Park in Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum, and Madonna Sebastian essaying the part played by Jung.
While Sethupathi was last seen in the Tamil work, Sethupathi, with Remya Nambeesan -- a movie where he dons the khaki -- Sebastian won accolades for her breezy characterisation in Premam, a runaway Malayalam rom-com that enthralled audiences for 125 days in Kerala and, believe it or not, 200 days in Tamil Nadu -- grossing Rs 60 crores worldwide in 2015.
For Sebastian, Nalan’s creation will be her first Tamil outing. And, for Nalan, Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum will be a dramatic change from his first, Soodhu Kavvum -- a hammy interpretation of a kidnap messed up by an insane policeman. Described as a black comedy, the movie attracted limited appeal.