TAMIL NADU

An entertaining remake of a classic

THEN AND NOW: Gemini Ganesan and Jayabharathi in the older version of "Nan Avanillai".

THEN AND NOW: Gemini Ganesan and Jayabharathi in the older version of "Nan Avanillai".  

S.R. Ashok Kumar

Director K. Balachander' s "Naan Avanillai" is The film scores a first of sorts as far as remakes go by retaining the same title as that of the original

CHENNAI: Director K. Balachander came up with one of his most memorable movies "Naan Avanillai", produced by Gemini Ganesan, in 1974.

The story was about a young man who dupes five girls by marrying each one of them and swindling them. When he is nabbed and produced in court, he coolly declares "Naan Avanillai" (I am not him).

Director Selva, who was an associate of director K. Balachander, has now remade the film with the same title. The director has deviated a little from the script of the original movie.

In the original version, Lakshmi played a young girl who loses her wealth. In the remake, Lakshmi is the judge who gives the benefit of doubt to the accused and releases him.

The original cast had M.N. Rajam, Jayasudha, Jayabharathi and Kamal Haasan in a small role. The new version has five heroines in Sneha (for Lakshmi), Jothirmayi, Namitha, Malavika and Keerthi Chawla.

Director Selva has edited out certain scenes in the beginning and also the build up to the climax in a bid to make the movie crisper. He has also used one song from the original, remixed by Vijay Antony. But he has resisted the temptation to use the other songs that count among the sweetest melodies of M.S. Viswanathan.

In the original, the hero, Gemini Ganesan, did an extraordinary job presenting his case before the judge that he was not the accused. In the modern version, Jeevan too does his best. The thin line between both performances is that while Gemini Ganesan had to overcome his hero status to deliver an anti-hero role, Jeevan has it relatively easy having featured as a villain in "Kakka Kakka".

Director Selva puts together an entertaining package. The film also scores a first of sorts as far as remakes go by retaining the same title as that of the original.

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