Kaushik L M



A review of Kamal Haasan's Papanasam by Kaushik LM


The Tamil remake of the celebrated Malayalam blockbuster Drishyam, Papanasam with Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan and Gautami in the lead roles, has been released to positive acclaim from all corners. It is also a rare Kamal film which hasn't faced any release hurdles, thankfully. After the mighty impressive Uttama Villain (a big box-office disappointment but), Kamal is back to treat his fans in double-quick time. Papanasam is a faithful remake of Drishyam which has the soul of the original and is strong in local connect and nativity. And the title is justified beautifully in the end, by Kamal in one memorable emotional sequence where he would shake your soul !
The film is centered on a self-made, self-informed family man (aptly named Suyambu Lingam) whose life revolves around his little family, comprising his wife and two daughters. When they are faced with grave danger and a series of police investigations and inquiries, Suyambu springs to action and uses all his inherent mental resources, intellect, street-smartness, love for cinema and people skills to save his family. He is a rock who refuses to crack under all the pressure! Whether his family comes out unscathed from all this tension, is the crux of Papanasam.
After a slow start, the action picks up post the incident in question. Both the songs go along with the narrative and don't stick out. Ghibran's BGM score adds so much to the tension and grip, and this is another milestone in his burgeoning journey. The lush, pleasing locations are a big plus and DoP Sujith Vaassudev keeps it understandably natural and subtle, with most of the action happening outdoors.

The 3 hrs length is not felt at all due to the tight and taut nature of the script. Editor Ayoob Khan's goosebumps inducing cuts for the epic climax reveal would stay in memory. Even otherwise, the sync between the director - editor is a standout factor as the film never drags.
All the support actors are well-chosen, with the pretty Nivetha Thomas as the elder daughter being a huge plus. She shows the vulnerability, tension and restlessness well. Gautami acquits herself fine and her easy chemistry with Kamal is a value add-on. Esther Anil as the little daughter plays her age and doesn't go overboard even for a moment. The scenes at the police station with the entire family late in the 2nd half are among the best segments in the film, and would hit you hard. If you haven't seen the Malayalam original, then Papanasam would give you a new cinematic high in terms of experience.
Kalabhavan Mani is menacing and Arul Dass is authoritative while the likes of M.S.Bhaskar, Ilavarasu and Delhi Ganesh show their experience and come out convincingly. Asha Sharath gets the body language and the stern look right, but her Malayalam influenced Tamil sticks out. Anant Mahadevan is mostly the second fiddle to his dominating police wife but he shines in the aforementioned unforgettable climax conversation near the river.
Enough has been said about Kamal's acting skills over the decades and Papanasam is another ace for the Ulaganayagan. His mastery over the Tamil language and its various dialects (Nellai here) is on view again.
Jeethu Joseph's story, screenplay and direction can't be appreciated enough and he has smashed another sixer with this remake of his own baby. The way he holds us in his grip, with all the investigation scenes and with Suyambu's mind-bendingly intelligent modus operandi, is never-seen-before. No wonder, the film is being remade in all the industries. If there's a small minus in Papanasam, then it has to be Kamal's artificial mustache which is a big eyesore. For a man of his caliber and for all his expertise in make-up, such a miss can't be excused.
My final dictate is loud and clear ... Papanasam is Attagasam !!

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