Express news service
HYDERABAD: Remaking a national award-winning film that is still lapped by cinephiles on digital platforms is a delicate proposition. So far we’ve seen some great remakes of poorer movies and others that haven’t lived up to the original’s merit. Remakes don’t guarantee success and it’s always a challenge to replicate the success of the original especially if the ideas of the filmmakers don’t translate well on screen. This is precisely the problem with the latest digital release of Nithiin Maestro, a remake of the Hindi black comedy, Andhadhun (2018) starring the ever reliable Ayushmann Khurrana.
For anyone who has watched Andhadhun, the remake will prove to be unsatisfying, while for the rest it’s a one-off watch with a few angsty moments that rumble at regular intervals. Despite some decent performance, Maestro mutilates the soul of the original with minor tweaks and it has to be endured.
The film takes off at a cabbage farm in Goa with a one-sided blind rabbit trying to run away from a fierce farmer with a gun in his hand. In the following image, we are introduced to Arun (Nithiin), a blind pianist, who makes a living from his musical performances at a local resto-bar owned by Pedro (Balakrishna) and Sophie (Nabha Natesh). Then there’s Simran (Tamannaah Bhatia), an aspiring actress, who is married to a veteran hero, Mohan (Naresh VK), who is still obsessed with her past glory.
Things get interesting when a mystery murder brings these three stories together, and how these characters find a way to save themselves form Maestro’s knot. The very basic problem with Maestro is that he strives to live up to the brilliance of the original without doing justice to his clever intentions. In his attempt to recreate the original for Telugu audiences, Maestro barely replicates scenes from the premiere which boasts of a stellar cast and performance. Even with the familiar cast, there are scenes in the movie that make you feel like you’re watching a half-hearted attempt to pay homage to a classic like Andhadhun.
It wasn’t Andhadhun’s story arcs that were exceptional, but the extraordinary circumstances the characters find themselves trapped in and the way its director Sriram Raghavan evokes the thrill and humor of their helplessness. And they’re very entertaining, often swinging between dark comedy and crime thriller. In Maestro, director Merlapaka Gandhi breaks through moments of tension with distracting background music that will make you feel unhappy and unhappy. Maybe he’s interested in creating his own style of dark comedy!
The film did me good for a few moments, even if it did not give me as much feeling as the original. The scenes between Arun and Simran are authentic and let you explode. Some of the dialogues and exchanges have a tinge of artificiality and a sense of staging about them. This is especially the case in scenes involving Simran and Mohan. In a film that has a solid history, none of its actors really manage to wow audiences.
The biggest disappointment is the climax of the film. Andhadhun has plenty of surprises in store for viewers and the highlight was also an open room letting the audience perform as they wish. But here, Merlapaka Gandhi did not trust the intelligence of the public!
Nithiin seems to be making his way with a distinct set of roles lately, trying to shake off his image of a boy in love, which he has been cataloged in for nearly two decades now. He brings a sense of conviction to the film. I liked Tamannaah Bhatia’s performance as Simran, aside from her voice difficulties and awkward pronunciation.
Nabha Natesh is relegated to the rank of a supporting character and she doesn’t have much to do in the film. Naresh VK sports an unnatural looking wig and it performs poorly. Sreemukhi and Mangli bring versatility, while Harshavardhan, who plays Dr. Swamy, makes his presence felt. Jisshu Sengupta and Ananya Nagalla leave an impact.
Swara Sagar Mahathi’s background music is not that effective, while J Yuvaraj’s cinematography is top notch. Overall, Maestro draws audiences in with a few surprises, but in the end it falls short of expectations.
Actors: Nithiin, Tamannaah Bhatia, Nabha Natesh, Naresh VK
Director: Merlapaka Gandhi
Disney + Hotstar