Tuesday, April 14, 2020


Remakes are often predictable and often not as good as the original and even if they are, one still feels a loyalty to their first impression.

"Vicky Donor" (2012) was a favorite movie and very unique.  It launched Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam.  The story contained a lot of comedy, but had a very touching ending.  It dealt with Indian prejudices.  "Dharala Prabhu" (2020) was brought to my attention by Access Bollywood, but is really a Tamil language film based on the "Vicky Donor" film.  As I started to watch it, I felt it was a cheap copy, but at the end I was even more touched.  "Vicky Donor" really cleaned up in the awards and nominations and deserved it for the fresh approach.  I suspect "Dharala Prabhu" will win some awards especially in the Tamil cinema, but in my mind deserves more.

In both films the doctor started out as an exploiter of an opportunity to make money off the sperm donor, but he became a very concerned friend.

There were ethnic differences with one bride being of Bengali background which supposedly liked fish and the other bride having a Kannada background with a fondness for chicken.  In "VickyDonor," the groom's family snuck in liquor for a wedding, but in "Dharala Prahu" it was the bride's family that wanted liquor, but had a restrained approach at the wedding.

Both brides had been divorced and this was treated as an obstacle.  Neither movie was very explicit with sex, but "Dharala Prabhu" showed a pre-marital bed scene.

Both movies initially, but especially "Dharala Prabhu" showed/hinted that the women were upset that their spouse was the natural parent and not them.  "Good Newz" (2019) sort of dealt with these concerns, but the problem there was more that the spouses got mixed up and the fathers were the ones that did not father the child their wife was to give birth to.  A slightly different perspective on parenting/masculine/feminine attitudes:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2020/02/good-newwz.html

The subject of sperm donating was shameful in both films, but in "Dharala Prabhu" there was also a concern from the fathers that they be credited with impregnating their wives, although to please their wives and in one case desire for an heir they co-operated

Shoojit Sircar director after a career in advertising did "Vicky Donor," as his second movie.  His first movie was a rare one; a inter-religious romance set in Kashmir, "Yahaan" (2015).  Also directed "Piku" (2015)  and "October" (2018).  He supplied the story for "Pink" and as the creative producer was very active in promoting the film including with local police departments.  He also produced "Running Shaadi" (2017).  Read more about the outstanding film, "Pink," the best film on consent.

Juhi Chaturvedi who wrote the original script is credited with the story for the remake  The original had more humor whereas "Dharala Prabhu" handled some issues more seriously.  She worked for ad agencies as a creative director with Shoojit Sircar with the two working together on some movies.  She debuted with "Vicky Donor" writing the story, dialogue and even some lyrics.  She has had success with "Piku" (2015),  "October" (2018).  Soon will be releasing "Gulabo Sitabo" with Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan with Soojit Sircar as director.  She also wrote some of the dialogue for my top movie viewed in 2019, "The Sky is Pink."  Read more

Krishna Marimuthu, director and script adapter gave screen credit to Shoojit Sircar for inspiring him.  The adaptation was brilliant--taking many of the events and motivations from the original and twisting them for even more impact.  Smart enough to leave a core plot and even dialogue.  He certainly deserves a best adaptation award.

Ayushmann Khurrana started on tv at age 17 and later won a television Suvivor like program and went on to be a disc jockey and tv host.  He also did street theatre.  "Vicky Donor" was his film debut and he won numerous awards and nominations for it.  He played the title character, Vicky Arora.  He also made a number of other socially conscious films such as "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" (2015), "Shubh Mangal Savdhan" (2017),  "Badhaai Ho" 2018) "Article 15" (2019 in his most dramatic role) and "Bala" (2019).  Read more:

Harish Kalyan  played the title character, Prabhu who in the film also played a soccer player.  He has acted in Tamil cinema since 2010.

Yami Gautam  played Ashima Roy in "Vicky Donor" as a bank employee.  She has been in Telegu, Tamil and Kannada as well as Bollywood.   Disappointed she was killed off early in "Kaabil"(2017)  and "Badlapur" (2015 renamed "City of Revenge") "Uri: The Surgical Strike" (2019).  Reunited with Ayushmann Khurrana in "Bala" (2019) a movie I am looking forward to.

Tanya Hope who played the leading lady has acted in Tamil, Telegu and Kannada movies starting in 2016.  Graduated from university in England.

Anupama Kumar plays Prabhu's mother who operates a beauty salon.  She has been active in the Tamil cinema since 2010.  She is a costume designer for "My Son is Gay" where she also plays the mother who has rejected her gay son and then decides to look for him

Dolly Ahluwalia played Vicky's mother who owned a beauty salon.  She was also a costume designer working on three films with Deepa Methta, "Earth," (1998) "Water," (2005 also acted)  and "Midnight's Children" (2012).  She won costuming awards for "Bhaag Milka Bhaag" (2013) and "Haider" (2014).   She also won supporting actor awards for "Vicky Donor."  She was in Shoojit's first film, "Yahaan." 

Vivek  plays Dr. Kannadaasan, the fertility specialist  starting off with many comic scenes but is required to take a serious tone towards the end and does it well.  He has won a few comic awards including "Sivaji" (2007).  He started in Tamil cinema back in 1987.

Annu Kapoor played Dr.Baldev Chaddha, a fertility specialist desperate to find a reliable donor.  He won several comedy awards for this role.  He won a negative character award for "Jolly LLB 2."  His film career started in 1983.

Musically, Ayushmann won an award for backup singer/lyrcist for Paani da Rang."  One of my favorite singers, Shakthisree Gopalan has a song in "Dharala Prabhu."

Both movies are enjoyable and well worth watching and if you like to study differences in plotting they offer an interesting lesson.  Both movies despite comic roles are definitely very moving.

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