Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Telegu Remake Opens My Eyes

A confession.  A disease or addiction affects my blogs.  Not content with watching a film, my computer, music collection and household chores vie for my limited attention.  Occasionally some subtle point in a film might get missed.  Sometimes I might never catch on to the missing details, but sometimes with a little luck my awareness is expanded.

 Recently a remake of masterful original film made me conscious that paying attention does pay off.  Multi tasking is a risky, but hard to discard habit and I am aware of that.  The Telegu film industry was impressed by a very profitable Bollywood movie, "Andhadhun" (2018) and decided to make a project of converting the script from Hindi to Telegu. The remake, "Maestro" (2021) convinced me the original was better than I had acknowledged.  Watching a familiar movie a subsequent time usually yields deeper understanding and appreciation and this worked well for me.  Both are available on Netfllix.

The original inspiration was a 14 minute French film, "L'accordeur" (The Piano Tuner 2010) written and directed by Olivier Treiner about a pianist who despairs and becomes a piano tuner.  He pretends to be blind so that he can gain better understanding of his customers.  As a blind man he sees things he shouldn't. 

Why would anyone pretend to be blind?  Even the explanation seems weak.  A musician felt he would focus better.  Under his guise in quick succession he witnesses two murders, but maintains his pretense in a quick response (don't worry it is all subtitled).  In short order there was another twist (one that I missed) that complicated the plot which not only involved staying alive, but also a little romance.  The complications result in more twists and you are constantly wondering when it will unwind.  Very enjoyable journey.

It is comedic, but often in a macabre sense, apparently inspired by "Fargo" (1996).   It begins in mysterious fashion that seems unrelated to what you anticipate.  It becomes a thriller with lots of twists.  It does eventually tie into the main thread and will jog your memory a bit.  

A charitable cause, organ donations, weaves naturally into the plot (more so with "Maestro") and hopefully make you aware of a great need.  My father-in-law had one friend who had frightening heart problems that worried the friend's brother as well as my father in law.  Ironically with a heart transplant he outlived the two worriers and enjoyed another grandchild.   Inspired me to sign the donor line on driver's license. 

The strength of both films are the people behind them.  Obviously an overlap of writers is a key factor, but the Telegu film makers were prepared to take advantage of the Bollywood groundwork.

Sriram Raghavan with a writing crew including Pooja Ladha Surti, Hermanth M. Tao, Yogesh Chandekar and Arijit Biswas all of whom also worked on "Maestro".  Additional experienced writers, Merlapaka Gandhi and Sheik Dawood G. were brought in for the Telegu version.  Sriam wrote and directed " Ek Hasina Thi" (2004), "Agent Vinod" (2012) and "Badlapur" (2015).

Ayushmann  Khurrana was not the first choice for the lead role of Akash in "Andhadhun", but he was exceptionally suited.  He has great comic timing and some musical experience.  He had appeared in some good socially relevant movies such as "Vicky Donor" (2012), "Dum Laga Ke Haish" (2015), "Shubh Mangal Savdhan" 2017) and has gone to do "Badhaai Ho" (2018) and "Article 15" (2019).   Ayushmann praticised piano under the guidance of Akshay Verma for two months.  Check more:

Tabu plays Simi, the adulterous murderer.  Seen as very strong woman in such films as "Maqbool"  (2003),"Fanaa" (2006), "Drishyam"(2015) and "Talvar" (2015).  But she also illustrated a deft comic touch in such films as "Cheeni Kum" (2007).  She with Irrfan Khan was a winner of an award for "Best Seduction" in the American film, "The Namesake" (2006).  There is an easy to miss reference to her Lady MacBeth role.  Check for more at:

Radhika Apte played the romantic interest.  She graduated with a degree in Economics and Mathematics.  She began acting in theatre and moved into film.  She has performed in Hindi, Bengali, Telgu, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam and English (where she spoke some French).  Her films include "Lion" 2015), "Manjhi:  The Mountrain Man" (2015), "Pad Man" (2018), "Sacred Games" (2018),  and "A Call to Spy" (2019)

Merlapaka Gandhi directed the Telegu version for his second effort.  He was better established as a writer for the Telegu market and was also involved with script additions to "Maestro".

Nithin plays the piano player Arun.  His father was Sudhakar Reddy, a noted Telegu film producer.  He has been in films since 2001.

Tamannaah Bhatia has appeared in "It's Entertainment" (2014), the block buster, "Baahubali:  The Beginning" 2015) and Baahubali 2:The Conclusion" (2017).   She has appeared in Telegu, Hindi and Tamil films.

Nabha Natesh plays the love interest Sophie.  She has appeared in Kanada and Telegu films.

Which of these two is better?  They are both very enjoyable to watch.  I admit I am a very big fan of both Ayushman Khurrana and Tabu and have been noticing Radhika Apte as she builds her career including in English.  Also one of my favorite songs from my favorite male singers Arijit Singh appear at the end.  On the other hand  Maestro has the advantage of the same crew of writers plus a few additional Telegu scripters to add in their own twists.  You can't go wrong. 

Remakes are a fairly common way of reducing risks in the expensive film making business.  Some earlier blogs on some good examples.

Ayushmann has experienced one of his movies being remade as in:    

Bollywood gets some of its most profitable ideas from the regional markets as in:

Personally multi-tasking has its limitations.  That is the problem in today's world; there are too many interesting and even important things to pay some attention to.  I apologize for having slighted some things I have blogged about, but will continue to try to cover a wide range of interests.

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