Falaknuma Das review: This remake misses the soul of the original
Though a faithful remake, the premise of of Angalamaly Diaries hasn't been captured in Falaknuma Das.
By: J Gudelli/ Telugucinema.com
Critic's Rating: 2.5/5
Friday 31 May 2019
Vishwak Sen, Saloni Misra, Harshita Gaur, Prashanthi Charuolingah, Uttej, Tharun Bhascker
Das (Vishwak Sen) is from Falaknuma and he lives with his mother and sister. For some strange reason, he gets attracted to gangs and rowdies and forms a gang of his own when he was a school kid. His first major fight happens in a college. Though it turns into a disaster, Das finds first love (Prasanthi). This love doesn't last long and he later falls for Sakhi (Harshita), a German girl in the hope of leaving to Germany and settling there. At the same time, a friend suggests the idea of starting a mutton business with the gang. This business lands him in his first major gang war. In a chase, he throws a locally made bomb and that leads to police cases. How he comes out from this mess with the rival gang who is vowing to kill him and how his childhood friend Joya (Saloni Mishra) gives him support and love is told in rest of the drama.
First things first, this is a remake of Angamaly Diaries, a 2017 Malayalam gangster thriller directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery. Before understanding Falaknuma Das, let us know about this Malayalam movie. Angamaly, a suburban place in Kochi, has a distinct culture where people eat a lot of pork.
Pork business and gang wars, food and communal (Christian) setting made the film interesting. Moreover, the film won critical acclaim for its terrific realistic portrayal of that town and it featured single cut 11-minute long take in the climax with hundreds of artists participating in it. The climax sequence shot in midst of a religious procession also lent beauty to the screen.
Now, let's come to the Telugu remake of this movie. First and foremost, the gang wars and the cultural setting has little relevance to Hyderabad. The old city of Hyderabad (here Falaknuma) definitely has its distinct charm, culture and lifestyle. It is underdeveloped compared to the rest of Hyderabad and Muslims dominate the area. Fights and clashes are also quite common in this area. So, director Vishwak Sen might have thought that this setting would be ideal for localizing the Angamaly setting. So far so good.
But the tricky point with remakes is that recreating the soul of the original. Vishwak Sen has transported Angamaly to the old city of Hyderabad that is Falaknuma. But can Angamaly be Falaknuma or vice versa? Each city and locality has its own ethos and culture-specific issues. The gang fights happen in Angamaly for the reason might not happen for the same reason here. Vishwak Sen just thought that changing the pork business to mutton business (incidentally Hyderabadi mutton is world famous and as per a dialogue in the movie, daily Rs 5 Cr mutton business happens in the old city) is enough. But it is hard to digest that Hyderabad mutton business spews gang wars. I have never heard or read or even seen such news.
Besides this, he has not changed much of the original movie. It begins and ends similar to the original but doesn't bring the same fervour.
Angamaly Dairies begins with a song with montage visuals of local food varieties and the atmosphere of the town. Similarly, Vishwak Sen has used a montage of Charminar, Chudi Bazaar, High Court building, and surrounding locality. He uses the right visual palette and also there is a scene that describes food varieties available in this area - Boti, Mutton Biryani, Faluda, Kheema curry, etc.
Scene by scene, Vishwak Sen used the original movie. Along the way, he gets some scenes right but misses by a mile in other parts. The lingo, the milieu, the visuals, the rawness is all there. What is missing is the soul, the grip. It is nothing but just following the original template. Despite all this, Vishwak Sen has completely gone wrong in the final portions. The 11-minute lengthy climax sequence in the original is a beauty. Here it is shot with a low budget that has failed technically and emotionally.
However, some sequences are really funny. Vishwak Sen as the director has shown his flair in getting the local Telangana slang right and the actors in unimportant roles have given authentic performances.
Coming to the performances, Vishwak Sen as the lead actor is good. Uttej steals the show in an all-important role. The actor who has played mother's role speaks Telangana slang in some scenes and in other scenes Andhra-slang. Tarun Bhascker as the police officer is entertaining.
The film is made with a shoestring budget but the cinematography and artwork are good. Music is not that effective on screen.
Based on Malayalam movie Angamaly Dairies, Falaknuma Das is a completely faithful remake but despite getting lingo and milieu right, it misses the soul of the original and many sequences in the second half go wrong. The premise of Malayalam movie has not transported rightly here.