Gained in Translation: 11 Tamil Films Other Than Maara That Have Their Origins In Malayalam

Maara streams from January 8 on Amazon Prime Video. As you get ready to watch Madhavan and Shraddha Srinath recreate the charm of Dulquer Salmaan and Parvathy in Charlie, Satvik Sampath Kumar lists 11 Tamil films that have Malayalam roots.
Gained in Translation: 11 Tamil Films Other Than Maara That Have Their Origins In Malayalam

Remaking a film is an art by itself, As we gear up to watch Dhilip Kumar's Madhavan and Shraddha Srinath-starrer Maara, an adaptation of the Malayalam original Charlie, premiering on Amazon Prime Video tomorrow (January 8), here are 11 Tamil films that were inspired by the Malayalam originals. 

Chandramukhi from Manichitrathazhu

Director: P Vasu

The year 2005 was a predominant year for fans of Superstar Rajinikanth. There were two reasons — it was his return to films after a gap of two years and there were hopes of a proper 'Rajini padam' after the disaster called Baba. Technically, Chandramukhi, also starring Jyotika, Prabhu and Nayanthara, is a re-remake of the Kannada hit Apthamitra, but it can be considered an amalgamated remake of two Malayalam classics — Shaji Kailas' Aaram Thamburan and Fazil's Manichitrathazhu. The film, with music by Vidyasagar, released during Tamil New Year and set the box office on fire, and also made people take notice of the Malayalam classic, starring Shobana, Suresh Gopi and Mohanlal.

36 Vayadhinile from How Old Are You

Director: Rosshan Andrrews

Rosshan Andrrews directed both the remake and the original Malayalam hit How Old Are You, which marked Manju Warrier's return to the big screen after 14 years as Nirupama Krishnan. Jyotika reprised her role in the Tamil version, playing Vasanthi Tamizhselvan. This was Jyotika's comeback vehicle too. 

The rest of the cast included Rahman, Abhirami, Nassar, Delhi Ganesh and Siddhartha Basu. Bankrolled by actor Suriya's production house 2D Entertainment, music was composed by Santhosh Narayanan, while R Diwakaran was the cinematographer.

Chennaiyil Oru Naal from Traffic

Director: Shaheed Kader

An adaptation of late director Rajesh Pillai's cult Malayalam hit Traffic, this film was based on a true incident that occurred in Chennai. The story revolves around the challenging effort to transport a donor organ from Chennai to Vellore, and it unfolds through a multi-linear-narrative. The cast includes Sarathkumar, Prakash Raj, Cheran, Prasanna, Raadhika Sarathkumar and Parvathy.

Papanasam from Drishyam

Director: Jeethu Joseph

A scene-by-scene remake of the Malayalam blockbuster Drishyam by the same director, this one starred Kamal Hassan, Gouthami and Asha Sarath in the lead. There were minor differences in the characterisation, though. While Mohanlal's George Kutty was assertive and not very prone to emotions, Kamal Hassan's Suyambulingam had a little more emotional quotient. The cast includes Niveda Thomas, Esther Anil, Kalabhavan Mani and Anant Mahadevan. Music is by Ghibran, while cinematography is by Sujith Vaassudev.  

Bangalore Naatkal from Bangalore Days

Director: Bhaskar 

An attempt to recreate the audience frenzy that followed Anjali Menon's Malayalam original Bangalore Days was a tad tepid. Director Bhaskar of Bommarillu fame tried to re-capture the tale of three cousins and their lives in Bangalore, but the essence and nativity of the original missed the mark. Comparisons were inevitable and the original won. Even a strong cast, led by Arya, Bobby Simha, Sri Divya, Rana Daggubati, Parvathy, Raai Laxmi and Samantha Ruth Prabhu couldn't bring alive the charm of the original.

Bhaskar Oru Rascal from Bhaskar the Rascal

Director: Siddique

Director Siddique's attempt to recreate his Malayalam hit Bhaskar The Rascal resulted in this not-so-rascal-enough Tamil version starring Arvind Swami and Amala Paul. Apart from introducing the 'oru' in the title, nothing much changed. The story of Bhaskar (Arvind Swami) a temperamental single parent who crosses paths with another single parent Anu (Amala Paul)  managed to tickle our funny bones in parts, but weighed down by its flat narrative. While it was not a commercial success, it managed to showcase Arvind Swami in a different role. The film also marked Hindi actor Aftab Shivdasani's Tamil debut. The cast also includes Master Raghavan, Baby Nainika, Soori and Nassar. Siddique co-wrote the dialogues for the Tamil version along with actor Ramesh Khanna.

Kaavalan from Bodyguard

Director: Siddique

The second Siddique movie to make it to this list saw the director and Vijay reunite after their hugely successful Friends. The film went through a couple of title changes from Kaavalkaran to Kaaval Kaadhal before finally settling for Kaavalan'. This remake of the Malayalam hit Bodyguard, starring Dileep and Nayanthara, gave actor Vijay his much-needed hit after a streak of flops. The comical banter between Vadivel and Vijay still manages to bring on the laughs. Also starring Asin Thottumkal, Mithra Kurian and Rajkiran, the film had music by Vidyasagar.

Aarathu Sinam from Memories

Director: Arivazhagan

Director Arivazhagan, known for directing films such as Eeram and the more-recent Arun Vijay starrer Kuttram 23, chose to remake the Prithviraj hit Memories, directed by Jeetu Joseph, into Tamil with Arulnithi, Aishwarya Rajesh, Aishwarya Dutta and Radha Ravi. Though it garnered favorable critical acclaim, the film had a limited theatrical run. However, Aarathu Sinam remains faithful to its source material and makes for a decent watch. Aravinnd Singh of Demonte Colony-fame handled the cinematography while S Thaman composed music.

Meendum Oru Kadhal Kadhai from Thattathin Marayathu

Director: Mithran Jawahar

Director Mithran Jawahar's adaptation of  Vineeth Sreenivasan's Malayalam hit Thattathin Marayathu saw Isha Talwar reprise her iconic role of Aisha from the original. However, the love story that crossed religious barriers did not see the success of the original. Adapting a rooted story is always a challenge. The  original was set in Thalassery. This film starred Walter Phillips, Nassar, Thalaivasal Vijay and Manoj K Jayan, and had music by GV Prakash.

Nimir from Maheshinte Prathikaaram

Director: Priyadarshan

Director Priyadarshan's adaptation of Dileesh Pothan's critical and commercial Malayalam hit film Maheshinte Prathikaaram saw actor Udhayanidhi Stalin don the role made memorable by Fahadh Faasil in the original. The Tamil version of this unique revenge drama was not very successful in garnering appreciation from an audience familiar with the original, but made for a one-time watch for those who had not seen that. Starring Namitha Pramod, Parvati Nair, Samuthirakani (who also wrote the dialogues for the Tamil version) and legendary director, the late J Mahendran.

Jannal Oram from Ordinary

Director: Karu Pazhaniappan

Director Sugeeth's Malayalam hit Ordinary, starring Kunchacko Boban and Biju Menon, was remade in Tamil by director Karu Pazhaniappan and starred Parthiban, Vemal, Vidharth and Poorna.  The remake wasn't successful, since it missed capturing the quirky comic timing from the original and the pleasant musical score by Vidyasagar. Even actor Parthiban's histrionics were not enough to save this remake, which derailed drastically from its original.

Other mentions

Other honorary mentions from the recent past  include Friends (Friends), Malini 22 Palayamkottai (22 Female Kottayam), Muthina Kathirika (Vellimoonga), Ninaithale Inikkum (Classmates), Oru Naal Iravil (Shutter), Pulivaal (Chappa Kurishu), Seedan  (Nandanam) and Velli Thirai (Udayananu Tharam).

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