The official remake of the blockbuster Three
Idiots is here! We wondered, when lesser blockbusters
were being remade, why this cracker of a story
was not finding its way down south. But, all
good things take some time in the making and
it is somehow fitting that a tale loved by
most part of the nation, first in the form
of Chetan Bhagath’s ‘Five Point
Someone’ and then in the form of Rajkumar
Hirani’s Three Idiots, is brought down
south by Shankar, the man with the Midas touch.
Well, there are very few people who might
not yet know the basic premise of the movie;
thanks mostly to the overwhelming success
of the book and the original movie. Its about
three friends, the four years they spend in
college with one of them trying to be a free
bird in a system that clips wings, their run
ins with a draconian educationist, a cute
romance angle and a secret. Well, that’s
a lot on the plate of a single movie, you
might think. But, the script is one masterpiece,
originally by Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinodh
Chopra, as it brings together all these elements
into a fun filled, hilarious, touching, meaningful
and immensely entertaining three hours. You
get everything that you would want to from
a college movie; the camaraderie that you
cherish forever, the pressure of academics,
marks, the fun and even the geeks and nerds.
Nanban is not a full length comedy, but there
are numerous instances which will make your
belly ache with laughter (the ‘karpazhippu’
scene is an absolute scream); neither is Nanban
a love story, but it does have a very likeable
romance; Nanban is also not a social statement,
but it does point out some gaping holes in
the educational system. Well then, what is
Nanban? Well, it is a complete package for
those who love good, clean, sensible entertainment
(that means all of us!).
Nanban marks the return of Shankar to a youth
oriented film after Boys, that was eight years
back. It also marks the return of Vijay to
a completely youth centric college goer role.
And boy, haven’t they gone all out to
make it a success. We don’t see Vijay
in the movie, it is only Panchavan Parivendhar!
He has given himself completely to the role,
surrendering to the demands of the script.
For an actor who has played the ‘carefree
guy who loathes books’ stereotype almost
all his career, this is one role that offers
a diametric opposite. Vijay takes it on and
proves his versatility. The years have not
dimmed his boyish charm and energy, you don’t
doubt for a second whether he is a college
student; an almost perfect performance. Jiiva
brings in his own charms to the movie, as
the God fearing guy who just wants to get
through college and start earning but is far
too apprehensive and distracted. We have seen
his comic timing before; he uses it beautifully
here too, and scores with the sentiments as
well. You just have to watch him start the
‘induction motor’! Srikanth, the
dark horse! Well, he holds up well with the
more seasoned performers and when he gets
a chance, he proves his mettle in the quite
emotional scene with his father. A very well
What can we say about Ileana? Where was she
for almost 5 years after Kedi? Never mind,
because she is back with a bang. A very impressive
performance which uses glamour only as an
embellishment, not main item itself. She shows
no difficulty with Tamil, displays quite a
crackling chemistry with Vijay, emotes well
and dances with élan. We could see
more of her in Tamil cinema very soon. But,
the big surprise packet of the whole affair
is none other than Sathyaraj. As the hard
nosed principal of an engineering college
who wants to treat everyone as a machine,
he excels and proves that class and experience
is a combination that cannot be bogged down
for long. His dialogue delivery is absolutely
spot on. Sathyan gets a huge opportunity and
doesn’t let it go as he makes the nerdy
‘Silencer’ memorable in Tamil
too; he carries off the utterly important
‘karpazhippu’ scene perfectly.
Hope he gets more fitting opportunities in
the future. S.J.Suryah’s cameo is also
The best thing about Nanban is its casting!
Shankar has put in a lot of thought and roped
in just the right actors for each and every
role. Even the smallest of characters seem
to have been hand picked, the results show.
Dialogues by Shankar and Madhan Karky are
sharp, witty, funny and meaningful as different
occasions demand. They have imported the meaning
of the original Hindi lines without making
the Tamil look artificial, a very deft job.
Harris Jeyaraj brings in his musical touch,
we enjoy ‘Asku Laska’. Manoj Paramahamsa
makes every frame pleasing on the eye, the
work in ‘Asku Laska’ is particularly
You really have to be a hard nosed person
to find faults with this movie, much like
Sathyaraj’s character. But, one could
say that the crash course in child delivery
atop a TT table is a bit difficult to believe!
And, one also cannot understand a student
of an engineering college in Tamil Nadu wearing
a very north Indian sherwani for his college
speech. Also, why is Virumandi Santhanam’s
daughter’s marriage looking so much
like a north Indian affair with turbans and
all? Perhaps Shankar could have changed these
from Three Idiots. But, again, these are minute
flaws in an otherwise top class product.
Nanban has got more than something for everyone.
It is very unlikely that a person finds such
a wholesome package unsatisfying. Yes, Vijay
does not show any heroism; he gives it all
up for the integrity of the script. But, fans,
don’t be disheartened, because what
you get it lieu more than makes up for it.
The only way you can detract from the achievement
of this team is through the fact that the
movie almost looks like a frame by frame remake
of Three Idiots, especially in the first half.
Do we need a creative genius like Shankar
to give us a frame by frame remake? We see
his signature only in the song picturisation.
But, look at it this way. The original was
so good that even a genius like Shankar hardly
felt like making any changes. So, lets applaud
Shankar for trusting the original and resisting
the temptations to give his own touches. Also,
let us not forget to applaud the makers of
the original, Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinodh
Chopra, for building a script that would work
anywhere in India. If you haven’t seen
Three Idiots, Nanban will be an absolutely
joyful experience. And if you have seen
it, still go for Nanban and relive the magic;
it’s worth it.
Verdict: All is absolutely well!