Can Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam break Tamil cinema's Hindi-remake jinx?

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By RS Krishnan

The basic plot of Tamil actor Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam is loosely based on Akshay Kumar- Neeraj Pandey’s hit Hindi film Special 26. The teaser of the film has already more than five million views on YouTube in the last two days.

Thaanaa Serndha Koottam’s producer Gnanavel Raja and director Vignesh Shivan neither confirmed nor denied the Special 26 remake reports but from the teaser, the similarity is evident. Suriya will be stepping into Akshay Kumar’s shoes with Ramya Krishnan (of Baahubali fame), veteran actor Karthik and and Keerthi playing the roles of Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee and Keerthi respectively.

Surya in Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. Twitter/@BeingKollywood

According to industry sources, Gnanavel Raja bought the remake rights from actor Prashanth’s dad Thyagarajan, who first procured Special 26 from the original producers.

If you look back at the recent Hindi remakes in Tamil, many films failed to fetch positive results. Tamil cinema’s most celebrated director Shankar remade the blockbuster 3 Idiots as Nanban with Vijay but due to the extortionate production cost, the film hardly reached break-even for the producers. In 2009, Prabhu Deva remade the hit 1998 Hindi action entertainer Soldier starring Bobby Deol as Villu with Vijay but it was a dead duck.

Aegan, featuring ‘Thala’ Ajith, was a remake of Shahrukh Khan’s Main Hoon Na but even that turned out to be a damp squib at the box office. Prabhu Deva’s elder brother Raju tried his hands at filmmaking with Aegan. Alas, it turned out to be his last film.

Nani’s Aaha Kalyanam and Bharath’s Kandein Kadhalai, remakes of critically acclaimed films like Band Baaja Baraat and Jab We Met, couldn’t recreate the magic of the original. UTV remade their new age black comedy film Delhi Belly as Settai in Tamil with Arya but critics ripped apart the film.

The problem with the remakes of Hindi films is there is a vast difference when it comes to the sensibilities of Tamil and Hindi audience. For example, Settai was marketed as a family-friendly film but the original Delhi Belly largely worked because of the adult-only dialogue and swear words — a bold and daring attempt for any Indian movie. The problem with these failed remakes are that they either tried to replicate the original frame by frame or attenuate the Bollywood flavour to complement the local sensibilities.

Kamal Haasan is a master when it comes to handling remakes. Some of the remakes starring Kamal Haasan actually outperformed the original. Kuruthi Punal, remake of Drohkaal was India’s official entry for the 68th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category and Sathya, the remake of Arjun has a cult following in Tamil cinema. Kamal’s Vasool Raja (Munna Bhai MBBS), Unnaipol Oruvan (A Wednesday) have also become hits at the box office.

But the success rate of Hindi remakes was relatively better in the 80’s and 90’s. Rajinikanth’s outstanding hits in 1980’s were remakes of Hindi films. The actor remade Deewara (Thee), Don (Billa), Golmaal (Thillu Mullu), Trishul (Mr. Bharath), Kasme Vaade (Dharmathin Thalaivan), Namak Halaal (Velaikaaran), Khud-Daar ( Padikkadavan), Mard (Maaveeran) to evince his stardom.

Before Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, MG Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, and many other legendary Tamil actors were quite successful in Hindi remakes. The jinx started only in the late 2000’s due to the film's treatment by modern-day filmmakers in Tamil.

In Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, Vignesh Shivan seems to have only borrowed the core plot of Special 26. Unlike the original, the Tamil version has a peppy track and there is a detailed backstory for the protagonist. The buzz is quite positive for Thaanaa Serndha Koottam because of the energetic teaser. So, let’s hope Suriya and director Vignesh Shivan break the recently formed Hindi remake jinx in Tamil cinema.

Tags: #Akshay Kumar #Kamal Haasan #Rajinikanth #Southside #Special 26 #Suriya #Thaanaa Serndha Koottam

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