Movie makers are always inspired by other movies and some times recreate these movies into their own region or language. How a director recreates an existing movie speaks a lot about the director. Across the world there have been such movies, inspired by other movies and many a time such inspired ones are not a success. But often, when the director manages to successfully replant the same plot from the original movie to a new cultural back drop, it tends to be a big success. Most lovers of Hollywood yet fail to recognise that The Departed, is an inspired remake of the Chinese movie Internal Affairs. Departed was well remade by a master director himself, but yet, when I saw Internal Affairs, I liked it much more than the Departed. There is one more point here, if you see a movie, and you do not know anything at all about the original, you might not find anything wrong with the new movie, as long as it fits the cultural scenario of your language or region. When I first saw, Thaalavattom, the famous Malayalam flick, I didnt know anything at all about One flew over the Cuckoos nest, and I loved it. Later when I saw this Jack Nickolson classic and I watched the Malayalam adaptation again, I still found Thalavattom as a very good entertainer. A western plot was rightly placed into an Indian context, more in the entertainment side of the scale though. Occassionally, there have been many such adaptations in Indian movies where our directors managed to successfully place a western subject in an Indian context. Deiva Thirumagal for sure is inspired by I am Sam but it looks quite Indian and the director has changed the plot in many ways to suit the Indian possibilities and sensibilities.
Krishna, a single father of a 5 year old girl - Nila, is mentally challenged and is matured enough only to be a 5 year old. He brings up the girl with the help of his friends and colleagues at his work place, a Chocolate factory in Avalanche. Nila's mothers family takes her away and Krishna seeks the assistance of some young lawyers to get her back.
Some of the changes that has been bought into the original plot is quite good making the movie very much Indian. Instead of the Local authorities, it is the family who tries to take the child away from the father for obvious reasons which will easily appeal to Indian crowds. And the way Krishna influences the lawyer and the family is told in minimum scenes too.
The movie is really beautiful in its first half when it tells the story of Krishna and Nila, the wonderful love between a father and daughter who have the same levels of maturity. Many scenes are adorable and we would forget everything and I consider these scenes as the best highlights of the movie. In the second half, when it changes to the legal front, Nila does not have many scenes and we start missing her. Even Krishna here is more like an onlooker and it is the advocates from both sides who have more to do. It is nearly like, the movie has drifted away from the love between the father and the child, even if they are just there and everybody is working for them. Still the final moments in the court scenes were beautiful and I found even some men in the theatre wiping their tears. And there were also some light hearted moments, through out the movie, but more so in the second half.
I think it is the third movie that Vijay is recreating into Tamil and this should be the best for sure. Definitely, this will become his most successful movie. After Madrasipattinam, which was quite a good one but didnt get the acclaim it deserved, he has been successful in touching the hearts of the audience. There were so many moments of big applause, in the theatre, right from the start till the end. That was quite a good sign of how much successful this movie will be.
Vikram has done well and so did that child artist. I felt, Vikram could have been a bit more restrained in some of the scenes, but he really was simply too good in many of the scenes, making it up for the other scenes. Anushka as the lawyer trying to help Krishna, was really good. I think this is her best restrained performance. And the same with Santhanam too. In almost every movie, I felt Santhanam as terrible. But for the first time, for me, he has done it really well. Performance wise, everybody in this movie did really well, augurs well for the director. Yet, he went for a dream song sequence between Vikram and Anushka, was quite perplexing. That song was absolutely unnecessary. Well, it was so nicely shot. No questions about the quality of those shots, but it was quite misplaced. May be he could have shown it during the end credits, giving an impression that the lawyer might go for Krishna.
The cinematography was truly brilliant. Excellent use of soft lighting and the lighting in many scenes really lifted the mood of the scenes too. We do not get to see such support by a cinematographer very often in Indian movies. Hats off to Nirav Shah for his work. I am sure that the production also must have spend good money on the DI to give the beautiful soft feeling for the frames.
With a few more cuts and some more restraint in certain scenes and performances, and of course without that song in the second half, Deiva Thirumagal would have ended as a classic family entertainer. But it is still a wonderful watch and I am sure it will touch the heart of most Tamil movie goers and will be a great success. Tamil movie goers, who have not seen I am Sam, would rather compare it with Moondram Pirai and would claim it as the first great movie in this genre, after Moondram Pirai. Quite a lot of similarities in both these movies actually.
Most people as they left the theatre was humming that cute song - Nila Vandaachu. This movie is going to be a big hit, I think. I am ready to watch it again, just for those wonderful moments between Krishna and Nila.
And after long, I was glad to see some shots of Avalanche and to hear about it. As a child I have been to that place many times as it was very close to Emerald, the village where my father was working. He had good friends in Avalanche and we used to visit them. Avalanche, I was told, was the name of a place in Switzerland or somewhere, dont remember well, the British found this place exactly like the one in Europe, so called Avalanche.