Theen Maar

Theenmaar is a fairly faithful remake of the Hindi film Love Aaj Kal, with a few minor changes and thankfully a lot more Southern style action and drama.

We do think that Pawan Kalyan has the most enthusiastic fans we have ever encountered. There was a good turnout at India Talkies, especially considering this was the second night showing, and more ladies and families than we usually see. In many of the Cape Town location scenes, bikini clad extras strutted around to no audience reaction at all. But let PK appear in shot and the roof almost came off! And we must add – it was the guys making the most noise!

Pawan Kalyan is Michael, a chef working in Cape Town while he waits for an opportunity to be a stockbroker in New York. Trisha is Meera, a fine arts graduate who specialises in restoration work (or something). Michael is selfish, impulsive, charming but ultimately high on talk and low on commitment. His dialogues are hilarious and he actually used the vintage line ‘Coffee, tea …or me?’ which had us in fits of laughter. It was followed up by a kiss so clearly the old material hasn’t lost any of its magic…or maybe it’s all in the delivery? And he does speak Italian (not so well, but it was actual dialogue in actual Italian delivered with great gusto).

Trisha plays Meera as vain and princessy, accepting compliments on her beauty with a smile and an ‘I know!’ Their relationship is shown in a series of montages deteriorating from the happy honeymoon phase to him being bored and her being restless and the performances develop more subtlety as the characters situations change.  Meera loves Michael but goes back to India to pursue her career dreams. They both try to move on from this relationship, but really don’t, and the question of will they or won’t they get back together is the story.

Paresh Rawal introduces the flashback story of his friend Arjun (Pawan Kalyan) and his love, played by Kriti Karbandha. The Varanasi locations and slightly faded colour palette are simply stunning. Arjun is a student activist, albeit one who never seems to do any study, a man of few words and deep feelings. Arjun and his nerdy mates follow Kriti around Varanasi and these are some of the funniest scenes.

Pawan Kalyan’s expressions flicker from nervous to smouldering to determined and back again as he wordlessly conveys his feelings and confusion. There is a fabulous vintage style song with Arjun and his mates skipping around and dancing like madmen and it is just brilliantly done. Kriti didn’t have a lot to do except stand around and stare at Arjun and is a bit low energy in many of her scenes. She does come to life in her dances and those scenes are where she looks her most appealing. Her family don’t approve of Arjun and his determination and resilience are a total contrast to Michael’s floundering and apathy. His body language is completely different to Michael – Arjun stands up straight, shoulders back, head up and looks people in the eye where Michael’s gaze is always shifting or angled and he rarely stands still or takes a stand.

One of the side effects of Filmi True Love is that all other partners end up as Romance Roadkill. Australian Misha or maybe Michelle (played by someone maybe called Jahna) and Sonu Sood as Meera’s new man are adequate in their roles, but they aren’t given a lot to do. Sonu makes more of an impression, mostly because he gets more dialogue and also has a confronting scene with Trisha. We did find it interesting that although the relationship between Meera and Michael was clearly physical, it was only the white girlfriend who was overtly shown as having a sexual relationship. It is obvious she is a pale (pun intended) substitute for Meera, although she did spark a truly funny Dirty Harry impression by Michael.

The remaining support cast were their usual selves. Tanikella Bharani was Michael’s Skype savvy dad, Paresh Rawal was avuncular and natty in golf knits, Mukesh Rishi was imposing and mean as the olden days father. The actors who play Arjun’s friends are really expressive and fun, and have a fab collection of Seventies polyester body shirts and flares. The male backing dancers were great and looked the part – if they were random street dancing IT guys, they looked like IT guys. There were too many skinny white girls in the club dances. Considering we were supposed to be in Cape Town, there was little diversity in the ethnic makeup of the extras so it was a bit odd. Another very strange thing – no Brahmi. We really can’t recall the last Brahmi-less film we have seen. Ali however did turn up in a fairly restrained (for him anyway) cameo.

Mani Sharma’s music is well matched to its place in the story.  We particularly liked a gorgeous temple song dedicated to Shiva that used perfect retro Bollywood choreography. The club numbers were fun, and Pawan Kalyan went all out to entertain. The costumes were occasionally puzzling – we have no idea who was styling Meera’s return to India wardrobe but apparently going home means wearing lots of patchwork and garish harem pants. A big hurrah for whoever designed Arjun’s look. We loved Pawan Kalyan in the simple kurta and jeans.

Imtiaz Ali’s story is a great basis, and Trivikram did really well in translating it into the Southern film style.  We missed a lot of the dialogue based jokes, but judging by the audience reaction, they were very funny indeed. The action scenes are way more energetic than in the Hindi original. We aren’t sure about the climax fight that seemed to have been designed solely to allow a motorbike blow up but heroes must be heroes. Jayant Paranji kept the story ticking along for the most. There is a draggy section towards the end, but as usual the final scenes seem to happen at breakneck speed.

Theenmaar is a really entertaining film that has something to say but doesn’t beat you over the head with a message. We can’t wait for the DVD!

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12 thoughts on “Theen Maar

  1. I can sort of understand Pawan Kalyan having fans of his action roles, but as a romantic hero? The mind boggles. Of course, I speak, as one who has never been persuaded to even give him one try. :)

    If this is supposed to be a remake of Love Aaj Kal (which I also haven’t seen), the story sounds quite different. Was there a foreign setting for the “aaj” couple in LAK, too? I didn’t think so, but I could be wrong.

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    • Hi mm :) Yes there was an overseas location for the modern day couple in LAK but they chose London ( I think – it’s ages since I saw it). I don’t like Saif Ali Khan as a romantic hero at all so I was delighted to see a story I thought had potential remade with a different cast and I thought it worked well. There are some differences between the two films, but overall it’s pretty close. In some respects the relationships seemed more realistic in Theen Maar than LAK and I found the characters reasonably sympathetic. The changes are more in the ‘dressing’ than fundamental components, and I think were more to tweak the flavour to suit a new audience. Could this possibly be the film that tempts you to give the Powerstar a chance? Temple

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      • H’mm, I didn’t quite watch the film, but I did watch some scenes from another Pawan movie, Jalsa, which I’d read some good things about. Sorry but he didn’t impress me enough to want to explore his films further. It’s OK. He’s doing quite well without me. :) But the thing for me is, I can’t get his highly sleazy offscreen presence out of my mind when watching him onscreen. So I guess I’ll never be giving him a chance.

        Besides, just before reading your review, I made a somewhat startling discovery about myself — that I don’t like “pure” romances! That is, if the whole point of the movie is the love story and nothing else, then I find it boring. Maybe I’ve just outgrown that genre. But you are still young enough to enjoy them, so go to it! :)

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      • Jalsa was a mess IMO and I struggled through its needlessly convoluted story, although I did like Pawan Kalyan in it. I liked his flair for comedy which is not at all evident in the only other film of his I had seen at that time (Komaram Puli). I don’t generally like pure romances myself – I whinge about them all the time to Heather – as I find often there is no story other than two people acting like complete idiots. I liked Theen Maar in part because it had beautiful locations (Varanasi is one of my favourite cities I’ve ever visited) and it made some nice observations about relationships and priorities. I find that romance writers often neglect character development and fall into the trope that being in love means you can treat every one around you like crap because you’re in love and that’s all that matters. That gets my goat. But in this, Imtiaz Ali did invest some time into showing change and consequences for the leads so I didn’t feel like sticking pins in my eyes at any time. And there were enough fights and explosions to stop my attention wandering too much. I nearly choked on my tea at the idea that I am young – made my day mm, thanks :D Temple

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    • Hi mm
      I haven’t seen LAK either – nor do I have any intention of seeing it since I’m not a fan of either of the two lead actors. So I have no idea at all if Theen Maar is an exact copy but I suspect that the Hindi version didn’t have quite as many fight scenes or such good dancing!
      This is only my second Pawan Kalyan movie and it was much much better than Puli, so I’m likely to watch some more based on his performance in TM.
      I actually think TM worked more because of the interactions between PK and his friends etc rather than the pure romance element – that was the main focus of the story but as Temple has mentioned there was a lot of character development which made the film much more watchable.
      Not that I mind straight romances, but PK wouldn’t be my first choice as a romantic hero :)
      TM was a fun watch though and I defintely want to see it with subtitles – the dialogue was clearly very funny given the audience reaction.

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      • Oh, my, you watched it without subtitles, even? Now that’s dedication! You two have almost persuaded me to put aside my aversion to Pawan Kalyan and give him a chance. But look what just popped into my twitter timeline:

        taran_adarsh taran adarsh

        Telugu film ‘Teen Maar’ takes a flying start at U.S. Boxoffice. Better than Hindi biggies. Wow!

        I first was going to post that here to please you, but I have just now realized its significance. It means that Teen Mar is a brand new release. So, since I live in an area that does not show any south Indian films in the theater, I guess I’ll just have to wait for it to show up on youtube sometime. In the meantime I suppose I can try to finish Godavari, which I started some days ago.

        Temple, I’m glad I made your day. But lately I have been made to feel an old fogey on a more or less regular basis, so I have decided to accept that I am one. Didn’t you and Heather meet at the Chak De shooting? If you’re young enough to be included in the extras for that film, then you’re definitely younger than me. :)

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      • We only get unsubtitled prints of new releases so we just have to make do :) It’s usually a fun experience as the audiences are very enthusiastic and friendly. And I refuse to believe this claim of fogeyism! Age is all mood related I think. Some days I feel like a spring chicken, some days I could be 93. Temple

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    • @mm

      pawan’s recent movies except TM have all been action oriebted mass flicks.that’s the reason people think he does only action roles.but,in the starting of his career he has 5 consecutive superhits at the boxoffice n all of them fall into the genre of romantic films.his film “KUSHI” was the highest grosser in tollywood at that time n that film made the youth of AP go gaga about him.after such a high note he hit a purple patch for 7 seven years till JALSA.though jalsa is only mildly entertaining movie,the presence of PK turned it into a blockbuster.but,people who have known him only recently might mistake him to be an action hero while he’s mostly famous for being the romantic hero.thanks…

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      • Hi Rahul,
        Thanks for the background about Pawan Kalyan. This was only my second PK film and although I wasn’t particularly inspired by Puli, his performance was certainly impressive in that film.
        Theen Maar was much a much better film and I found his performance was better as well. It’s been enough to make me order more of his films on DVD, so I will have to report back once I’ve seen them :)
        Heather

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  2. We do think that Pawan Kalyan has the most enthusiastic fans we have ever encountered.

    yes,it’s actually true.but,i want to slightly modify it.” pawan kalyan hs the most fanatic fans i have ever encountered.” the fact that he’s the highest paid actor in telugu irrespective of his hits r flops is an epitomy of his fan base.in AP n TN,fanism is at it’s extremes.in the case of PK,the fanism gets displayed everytime his movie releases irrespective of his previous releases.i still want to relive the time during the release of jalsa as the hype surrounding that movie was unprecedented.in our college,TM got a screening on the first day n one has to see to believe what we guys have done that day.
    i have not seen LAK deliberately to enjoy TM to fullest n i think it’s been a good entertaining one.regarding the diversity in capetown,i think they have picturised the “chiguru boniya” song somewhere else n so it may have contributed to that(not sure of it).i’m glad that u have like the movie even though u have previously watched LAK.i appreciate that even the lack of subtitles did no deter u from watching the movie.whatz ur opinion abt TM as compared to LAK,is it better or not so good as the original?anyhow,a good review from u as always.

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    • Hi. I liked TM much more than LAK. The performances were more convincing and I liked the song picturisations a lot better. Heather & I agreed TM is one of the better films we have seen in the cinema recently :) Regarding my comment on the diversity in Cape Town, it wasn’t really just in the club number but in all the scenes set there. I spent a few months in Cape Town some years ago so I was paying extra attention to the background. Thanks! Temple

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    • Hi Mohan,
      I would love to be in AP for one of his releases – considering the crowd reaction here I wonder if anyone manages to hear anything of the dialogue!
      I’ve been to a couple of film screenings in Chennai but not first shows and not for any major stars, so they were nowhere near as noisy or enthusiastic as the crowd here for Puli :)
      I have also deliberately not seen LAK but that’s more because I’m not a fan of the lead actors, and the film just didn’t appeal. Strange how it sounded so much better once it was being remade in Telugu and Pawan Kalyan was involved!
      Heather

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