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Gaddalakonda Ganesh movie review: We didn’t need this Jigarthanda remake

Gaddalakonda Ganesh movie review: Harish Shankar has turned an unusual meta-gangster movie into a usual 'masala film' with dollops of mother sentiment and romance.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru |
September 20, 2019 7:13:34 pm
Valmiki review Gaddalakonda Ganesh movie review: Varun Tej, who holds our attention with his new makeover, looks confident and comfortable playing a criminal.

Gaddalakonda Ganesh movie cast: Varun Tej, Atharvaa, Pooja Hegde
Gaddalakonda Ganesh movie director: Harish Shankar
Gaddalakonda Ganesh movie rating: 2 stars

Valmiki. Oh, wait. Scratch that. Gaddalakonda Ganesh follows the life of a dreaded gangster called Gaddalakonda Ganesh (Varun Tej). The original Tamil film was about a cold-hearted gangster, Jigarthanda. The remake is about a highly-sentimental gangster. Sethu of Jigarthanda was a criminal by choice and without any regrets. But, Ganesh in this film takes to violence due to poverty. And what’s worse, he may have been a good man living a middle-class life, only if he were allowed to marry the love of his life, Sridevi (Pooja Hegde). It is the cold-hearted society that made him such a dangerous gangster. Dont know why Harish Shankar thought he had to whitewash such an unremorseful and deeply flawed character. For once, why can’t he embrace the flaws of his protagonist, without trying to rationalize them? Or at least he could have cast an actor that was ready to embrace the darkness of the character without being worried about his screen image.

A couple of days ago there was an outrage of sorts when legendary Hollywood producer Norman Lear claimed that “some famous people” want to remake the 1987 classic The Princess Bride. Norman’s revelation opened a floodgate of discussions on social media. Everyone seemed to agree on one thing: reimagining The Princess Bride was a bad idea. There were no divided opinions on this topic and that’s a rarest of a rare case in the history of Twitter. Because leaving certain classic films alone is a huge kindness that the filmmakers could do for the art of filmmaking and the fond memories of fans.

One can only wish that director Harish Shankar had fended off his temptation to remake Karthik Subbaraj’s Jigarthanda (2014). Harish has turned an unusual meta-gangster movie into a usual ‘masala film’ with dollops of mother sentiment and romance. The unsentimental nature of Subbaraj’s approach that made Jigarthanda an exceptional film has been hugely undermined to favour the lead star of the Telugu remake, Varun Tej.

Varun Tej, who holds our attention with his new makeover, looks confident and comfortable playing a criminal. In romantic scenes, however, he looks awkward and unsure. The additional love track muddles the original premise and makes the film feel long. Atharvaa’s character fails to get its due importance as the entire film obsesses over Varun Tej’s height, weight and his makeover. Yes, we get it Varun Tej looks surprisingly stylish and his sinister laughter at places does strike a chord. But, the style without substance is equivalent to a heart without a soul.

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