'Bheemla Nayak' feels different from 'Ayyappanum Koshiyum' but has similarities
Telugu film Bheemla Nayak finally hit the theaters on February 25 (Friday). A remake of the highly acclaimed Malayalam film Ayyappanum Koshiyum (AK), Bheemla Nayak has Pawan Kalyan and Rana Daggubati reprising the roles of Biju Menon and Prithviraj Sukumaran respectively. But does Bheemla Nayak, a Saagar K Chandra-directorial, have its own touch or is it a frame-to-frame remake of the original? Let's discuss.
When Bheemla Nayak was announced, I wondered why make a remake by investing so much when dubbing would have done the job? And after watching the film, the question remained because its dialogues, locations, and music are identical to AK. Even the pillow Daniel (Daggubati) uses in his car is similar to what Koshi (Sukumaran) did in AK! But, everything changes with Kalyan's entry.
As I had pointed out in the trailer, Kalyan's characterization as Nayak is pretty dissimilar to Menon's Ayyappan Nayar. And it has to be. Makers have to abide by Kalyan's mass appeal and so they make Nayak a messiah of the oppressed, as compared to Nayar's subdued presence. But nevertheless, witnessing Kalyan unleash his full-steam mode of ruthlessness is a sight to savor.
Another big difference from AK is Bheemla Nayak's avoidance in dealing with caste discrimination. AK, though is not a film against casteism, still has a strong message on the social evil, but its Telugu counterpart mentions it just to show the mightiness of Nayak. In that light, even the wives of both Nayak and Nayar are portrayed differently in the two films. Disappointing indeed!
Not just in Nayak's characterization and shying away from talking against casteism, Bheemla Nayak also fails in the fight sequences department. In the Malayalam movie, the pre-interval and climatic stunt sequences are pretty iconic and symbolic, but in Bheemla Nayak, I felt the scenes were just placed to show off Nayak's strength and do not add any value to the story.
As mentioned before, the portrayal of wives of Nayak and Nayar in Bheemla Nayak and AK, respectively, is also different. Nayar's wife Kannamma (Gowri Nandha) is shown to be from a tribal community, but Nayak's wife Suguna (Nithya Menen) is an upper-class woman who helps tribals live a better life. This divide is unforgiving, as is Suguna's weak presence in the film.
We explain the difference between Suguna and Kannamma. Throughout Bheemla Nayak, we hear how resilient Suguna is, but when faced with tough situations, she always dials up Nayak. However, Kannamma single-handedly tackles everything and her dialogues are even fiercer as compared to Suguna's unfashionable ones.
Flaws aside, overall, Bheemla Nayak is as faithful a remake can get, and has reasons for fans of both the films to feel gratified. Moreover, when the base material is something brilliant like Ayyappanum Koshiyum, there is little to no chance for a remake to go wrong and Bheemla Nayak lives up to that expectation. End note: Definitely watch Bheemla Nayak in theaters.