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I've just read the AVVAI SHANMUGI-review by Bryan Siegfried from Indianapolis and it's great to hear that he enjoyed the film though he couldn't understand a single word from it. This is a great proof for the universality of the story, which is of course borrowed from the Robin-Williams-Box-office-smash MRS. DOUBTFIRE about a desperate father who after a divorce disguises himself as a British housekeeper and gets himself hired for to look after his kids. It's not a very original story, but it works, even in the Indian version.
I've seen the crowd-pleasing, funny and sometimes very sentimental original with Robin Williams giving us a great One-Man-Comedy-Show and I've seen the Kamala Haasan-starring, enjoyable, funny and even more heart-warming remake which delivers despite a slow pacing a great supporting cast and some fine moments. Being able to understand both films I can hardly say which is better. They're both solid entertainment.
There are only little differences between the two films. In the latter version of the story the leading character is a dance choreographer, which gives the dance-experienced Haasan a chance to show his dancing abilities like Williams his voice-imitations in the original. And Haasan has here only one child, played by a talented young girl. While the American film relied on Williams standout-Performance and left the supporting cast somewhat speechless (of course except Harvey Fierstein as hilariously gay makeup-artist), Haasan has fine supporting players like Mani Vannan as a love interest of Avvai Shanmugi or the legendary comedian Naahees as the old makeup-artist. Though the female players like the beautiful Mina as way too strict and bitchy mother aren't convincing.
What makes the Indian version so special is Haasans portrayal of Avvai Shanmugi, who becomes an independent character with her own style just like Williams did convince us that Mrs. Doubtfire was a real, complex character of her own. So just like Bryan I would recommend this film even if you don't understand the language you will smile. I bet you will!
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