Friday, November 16, 2007

Bhool Bhulaiyaa


Whoever said Bhool Bhulaiyaa rocks must not have seen its original version, ‘Manichithrathazhu’. I normally don’t watch Hindi movies from Priyadarshan. But what raised my curiosity to see Bhool Bhulaiyaa was, it had my all time favourite, Vidya Balan. Knowing that she is handling the core role made me even more inquisitive to see how she matches with Shobana, who acted Vidya’s part (To say, Vidya acted Shobana’s part would be more appropriate) in the original Malayalam version of the movie.

The gifted bharathanatyam dancer and actor, Shobana.

I still remember those days, years before when I was in school. It was a routine that on the evening of the last day of my exams, I and my parents would go out for movie and dinner. I loved those evenings. I used to feel such a relief, because I no longer have to worry about the studies, the exams are over and going out with my parents in our car to the city used to be a big deal for me. I would be so excited that during the drive I would practically talk non-stop while my parents sitting in the front suffer my gibbers. I saw Manichithrathazhu on one such similar occasion.

I didn’t have any clue what the movie was about. It first started out to be a funny one with occasional odd moments that were kinda freaky. And as the movie progressed, the freakiness started to compound. How scared I felt! And the acting? Topnotch! Mohanlal gave one of his best shots and I don't have enough words to comment on Shobana’s performance. I was amazed to see how efficaciously she was able to reach the different levels of the character and only someone who is highly proficient can consummate such a complex role. No wonder she bagged that year’s National Film Award for best actress! (in 1993)

Shobana in 'Manichithrathazhu'.

Today, I got the DivX print of Bhool Bhulaiyaa and I wasn’t going to see the whole movie. Already had enough bad experiences from Priyadarshan’s movies (or should I say re-makes??) I just wanted to see Vidya’s performance. I think she is one of the very few talented actresses in Bollywood. So I skipped to the prominent parts. But sad to say, even she couldn’t do justice to the role. I felt like, she was not really getting into the character. I can’t believe that I am saying this about her, but to me what she portrayed to be vehement actually seemed funny. And it is better not to talk about Akshay Kumar’s toothless attempt. It is so evident that he tried to be Mohanlal, but alas! He too failed miserably. Now I don’t want to comment about the direction because I can’t, since I haven’t fully watched the movie and I am not intending to do it also. But those who were unfortunate to watch this film told me that Priyadarshan has tried to do exactly (in other words, copy!!) what the original director, Fazil did. But by the look of it, I think Priyadarshan (He worked as assistant director for Manichithrathazhu) couldn’t even match to one–tenth of Fazil’s expertise.

Vidya Balan in 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa'.

So you know what my final words would be about Bhool Bhulaiyaa. I would say watching Manichithrathazhu with subtitles is any times better than suffering this Priyadarshan faux. Thank God that I didn’t waste money for seeing this film in a movie hall!

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