- The review contains spoilers. Apologies that I couldn’t a spoiler free review.
- I have watched the original and the comparisons were inevitable because the movie was exact photocopy of the original.
I watch a lot of Korean movies and whenever I find an interesting movie. I make sure I store a copy of the movie. But some movies will be transferred to the trash folder. For example, Memories of Murder will never get deleted. I watched My Dear Desparado (2010) a couple of years back and it went to the trash. So, I was really baffled when a director like Nalan Kumaraswamy chose to remake Kim-Kwang Sik’s romantic comedy (his Tabloid Truth was better – and, it will make for a better Tamil/Hindi movie).
Kaadhalum Kadanthu Pogum is one of those most faithful remakes that you will see except for songs, the love-making scene (that part in Ka Ka Po was one of the weirdest sequences I have ever seen) and a kiss. Yazhini (played by Madonna Sebastian) loses her job after her company goes bankrupt and moves to a house with low rent. The house opposite to hers is occupied by Kathiravan (Vijay Sethupathy), an ex-convict and a henchman who went to jail for a murder committed by his boss/friend. Yazhini and Kathiravan slowly develop a friendship while Yazhini is trying to find a job and Kathiravan is waiting for a bar license. They end up drinking together one day and Yazhini ‘sleeps’ (am still confused what Nalan tried to imply) with him. In order to convince her overprotective family, Yazhini tries to make Kathiravan pose like her educated boy friend. The rest of the movie is about how Yazhini lands up in her dream job and what happens to their relationship?
If you actually play both movies side by side, it would be impossible for you to find six differences. May be the performances of lead actors might be different because I don’t think Vijay Sethupathy and Madonna watched the original. The way they have treated their characters are diagonally opposite to how Park Joong – Hoon and Jung Yu-Mi handled theirs. Nonetheless, both are brilliant in their own unique way and that’s refreshing in Ka Ka Po.
There are two key scenes in the movie. The relationship moves from friendship to platonic when she sleeps with him (unlike Nalan, I will be overt. They both have sex in the original). Nalan doesn’t tell you what has happened in Ka Ka Po. But Kathiravan goes into a euphoric song that doesn’t give you any clue to what has happened between them. If she had just hugged and slept along with him, does it need such reaction from Yazhini? She hides, tries to escape and even calls it “sleeping with a dog”. In the original, the reaction is justified because they have sex but the entire sequence was weird in Ka Ka Po. Is it because of so called “culture” or censorship issues?
The other key scene in the movie is where she thanks him for helping her in tackling her father. At that moment, the relationship progresses to a romantic one from platonic. In the original, she kisses him while it’s just a hug in Ka Ka Po. A kiss in the lips has a larger meaning in this context than a hug.
When the whole movie is a photocopied version of the original, Nalan missed the cut in these two important scenes that defines the relationship between the lead characters. When you have decided to make a faithful remake in which you don’t even want to change the attire of the hero, why miss pivotal scenes? I agree that you need to remake a movie based on the local cultural sensibilities but is it a big crime to show pre-marital sex and kisses on screen?
Remakes are dangerous territory for any director. If you faithfully remake the original, you will be referred to as a photocopier. Directors like ‘Jayam’ Raja had to come up with Thani Oruvan to change the perception. Movies like Panchathanthiram are perfect examples of how to adapt an interesting premise in to a Tamil movie taking cultural sensibilities in to consideration. The only reason why some Tamil movie buffs know “Very Bad Things” (1998) is because Panchathanthiram takes the basic plot from that movie. Nalan could have taken the premise of My Dear Desperado and made an interesting movie out of it. He is not a bad screen writer. Is it the dearth of creativity or financial compulsions? Only Nalan will be able to answer it.
My dear desperado was yet another Korean rom-com for me and Ka Ka Po will be the same, in fact a little less romantic.
A 1.5/5 for Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum and watch it if you are a sucker for rom-coms. No! Only if you are a sucker for comedies. If you for looking some Nalan magic, skip Ka Ka Po.
Trailer of My Dear Desperado