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By Arun

With Nanban in theatres, it is difficult to resist the temptation to compare it with Three Idiots; one of the biggest hits in Indian cinema. Here, we see how every actor of Nanban measures up to the corresponding one in Three Idiots.


Three Idiots



Aamir Khan

The perfectionist played the all important role of Ranchordas Shamaldas Chanchad to near perfection. He got all the nuances right in a memorable performance. The best thing being that even being a 40 something man does not stop him from playing a college goer with ease.


He very nearly equalled Aamir Khan as Panchavan Paarivendhan. But, did Vijay need to adapt even the body language and minor mannerisms in a copybook style? Some shots made the Aamir Khan influence all too evident. Or was it Shankar’s idea? Either way, Vijay is experienced enough and a big star; he could have added his own touch. Of course, he dances better than Aamir Khan.




Aamir Khan

Sharman Joshi

As the beleaguered Raju Rastogi, he gave a gem of a performance. There were instances where the script allowed the character to have more scope than anyone else and he took full toll on all such occasions.


As Sevarkodi Senthil, Jiiva was almost perfect. His job was tougher than that of Sharman Joshi, because unlike him, Jiiva is an established hero with a fan following and an image. The fact that he accepted this role shows that he doesn’t believe in an image and is willing to bow to the script. His biggest asset is his comic timing and he makes full use of it. And, he shows his experience in the ‘alcoholic’ scenes, he is much better than ----------- in them.






He opted out of Nanban because he felt apprehensive about recreating such a hugely successful work. But, he was absolutely top class in Three Idiots as Farhan Qureshi. For most parts, his character is only the narrator; there are only a couple of scenes where he is allowed to spread his wings and he senses the occasions and grabs them.


Perhaps the one casting decision that evoked quite a few doubts in many minds. But, those doubts have been dispelled after the release of the movie. He matches up to Madhavan in most parts, especially in the emotional scene with his dad. But, it is in the small and minute reactions where he falls behind, like the one in the examination hall.





Boman Irani

The all important Virus of Three Idiots. He stamped his authority as one of India’s top character actors with this performance. Really, creating such a body language and diction from scratch requires huge amounts of skill and confidence.


Perhaps the smartest casting decision of Nanban. The role seemed tailor made for someone like Prakash Raj, but Shankar thought deeper. Sathyaraj did a commendable job of playing Virus, looking spontaneous almost throughout. But, there were some points, especially with certain English dialogues, where his dialogue delivery looked forced.




Boman Irani

Omi Vaidya

The Silencer of Three Idiots. One of the most important characters of the movie. It was a huge load on the shoulders of the inexperienced Omi Vaidya which he carried off with ease. He was hilarious all the way as the geeky bookworm.


Again, a huge load on the shoulders of an actor who had not handled such a major part for many years. But, he too came through with flying colors, making us laugh on many occasions. One of the defining performances of the movie.




Kareena Kapoor

The seasoned performer that she is, Kareena walked through the role with ease, getting the humor and emotions just right.


Not as experienced as Kareena and that showed in certain scenes, like the outburst against Virus close to the climax. Otherwise, it was a neat performance.


Kareena Kapoor

Javed Jafferey


Not much sets them apart.


The others:

The small characters that appear just for a scene or more are also very important in Three Idiots and Nanban. Many of those in Nanban lack the absolute spontaneity of those in Three Idiots. For instance, the senior who gets zapped by urine’s electrical conductivity (played in Three Idiots by the American Mappillai from Vettai) or the tragic character played by Vijay Vasanth or the boy playing millimetre. They have all done well in Tamil, but look a bit plastic when compared to the original. But, on the contrary the experienced Manobala matches up very well and the parents of Senthil and Venkat too hit the right pitch.

There are no grounds to compare Rajkumar Hirani and Shankar in terms of direction because for most parts Shankar has plainly transplanted the shots from the Hindi version without changing anything. So, while we are watching Shankar’s film, what we are seeing is actually Rajkumar Hirani’s shots; barring the songs of course. While in the dialogues department, the remake has done full justice to the original; one daresay that the remake even gets better at a few points. It keeps each scene crackling with humor.

A comparison of an original and a remake is futile; many might think, because nothing ever matches the original; no matter however hard anyone tries. But, Nanban almost pulls it off. For all those who wonder how to go for a remake without spoiling the sanctity of the original while still entertaining the local audience; Nanban is the perfect example.

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