Bhramam Rating: 3/5
Remakes are often seen in a bad light because the audience feels that it takes away the credit from the original version. Out of the several remakes made, few of them turn out to be as good as the original, some turn out to be better than the original and some, an outright insult to the original.
The Malayalam film industry is known for its innovative content and remakes isn’t very common. The 2021 Malayalam language film Bhramam is one of the few remakes to come out from Mollywood in recent times. Bhramam is the official remake of the 2018 Hindi language thriller film Andhadhun. The film is directed by ace cinematographer Ravi K Chandran, who has also handled the cinematography for the film. Bhramam has the adapted screenplay and dialogues written by Sarath Balan and stars Prithviraj Sukumaran, Mamta Mohandas, Unni Mukundan, Shankar, Sudheer Karamana, Raashi Khanna, Jagadeesh, Ananya, Shine Tom Chacko and others.
Ray Mathews (Prithviraj) is a blind piano player who sings choir in a church and also takes private music classes. One day, he meets Anna (Raashi Khanna), who runs an eatery in Kochi.
During one of his shows in the eatery, yesteryear actor Udayakumar (Shankar) notices Ray’s brilliance with the piano and asks him to come over to his house for a private concert, as a wedding gift for his wife Simi (Mamta Mohandas).
Upon reaching, Ray notices the presence of a cop named Dinesh (Unni Mukundan), Simi and a dead Udayakumar. How did Udayakumar die? Who is behind the death? What happens to Ray after entering the crime scene? The remaining part of Bhramam explores it all.
The Malayali Touch In The Making
Bhramam is a visually pleasing one to watch. Ravi K Chandran, the ace cinematographer has made a good debut with this film. Instead of copying each and every aspect of Andhadhun, there was the addition of several Malayali references to cater the film for the public as well as make them relate to several things. Ravi K Chandran’s vision for Bhramam is great and it is evident from the manner in which he has crafted the film.
Humour In The Writing Falls Flat
The adapted screenplay and dialogues by Sarath Balan is good. The first half is almost frame by frame as well as a dialogue by dialogue remake of Andhadhun. However, there are a few scenes and dialogues that the writer has expanded by giving a different take.
For instance, the character of the policeman played by Unni Mukundan has a different ending as compared to the character of Manav Vij in Andhadhun. Similarly, you’ll find several changes to suit the Malayali viewers.
Prithviraj in an interview stated that Bhramam is much funnier and wackier than Andhadhun. However, personally speaking, I found the humour element underwhelming. There are only a minimal number of dialogues or scenes that make you laugh. The remaining humorous scenes either have jokes that don’t land well or aren’t well performed by the cast.
Bhramam stars several talented artists who were given the responsibility to fill in the shoes of several other highly skilled actors who made Andhadhun a blockbuster. The artists do not try to mimic what the artists from Andhadhun have done, which makes the film refreshing to watch. However, the comparison is inevitable.
Prithviraj as Ray Mathews is good. His performance cannot be compared to Ayushmann Khurana because Ayushmann gives a far more subtle and organic performance. Prithviraj makes it a bit more dramatic by adding his own element into it. He is great in the scene where a dramatic outburst takes place at the police station. He is equally unbearable to watch in the scene where he chokes on the poisoned sweet offered by Simi.
Mamta Mohandas as Simi is good. She has great conviction while performing her role. However, she fails to bring in a charm or magic in her performance as compared to Tabu, which doesn’t really make us intrigued to know what step her character would take next in the narrative.
Unni Mukundan as Dinesh was brilliant. This role of his is probably one of his finest acting performances. He is superb throughout his screen time in Bhramam, especially in the scene where he hides in the bathroom while his wife fires bullets at him. It was rather refreshing to see Shankar back in a Malayalam film after a long time and does his role neatly. The remainder of the cast too does a good job with their roles.
Bhramam is a visually aesthetic film. The beautiful frames of Ravi K Chandran capture each and every scene perfectly and make Bhramam a pleasant watch. Editing by A Sreekar Prasad isn’t the best. There are several abrupt transitions in Bhramam that takes away the essence of certain scenes. Music and background score by Jakes Bejoy plays a major role in elevating the film’s quality. Since Bhramam is about a pianist, the tunes have to be perfect and Jakes does a good job with it. Even the background scores helped elevate the intensity of a scene.
Similarities to Andhadhun
Bhramam was announced as a remake of Andhadhun. Personally, after having seen several originals and remakes, I have noticed that the remakes have a lot of differences from the original. In the case of Bhramam, almost 85% of the film is frame by frame as well as a dialogue by dialogue remake of Andhadhun.
The makers have made some conscious decisions to adapt the screenplay in such a way that the Malayali audience can relate to the film, however, these changes are very minimal. The only difference present in Bhramam, when compared to Andhadhun, is the change of the names of few characters, change in the city and the slight tweaking of the screenplay wherein few scenes have more detailing as compared to the original. Except for these few changes, Bhramam is a picture-perfect replica of Andhadhun.
Should You Watch Brahmam?
As a whole, Bhramam is a good film to watch and is only a decent remake of Andhadhun. The small changes in the screenplay, beautiful visuals, good performances by the cast and most importantly, the mentality to spot the difference between Andhadhun and Bhramam is what drives viewers to watch this film.
I personally found the film to be an average watch, considering the fact that Andhadhun was a much more slick and edge-of-the-seat thriller as compared to Bhramam, which tried to wander more into the humorous aspect. But it didn’t really pay off for me as a viewer. If you are a person who hasn’t seen Andhadhun, you might just like Bhramam. But once you watch Andhadhun after having seen Bhramam, you would understand how superior a product Andhadhun is as compared to Bhramam.