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Veetla Vishesham review: Badhaai Ho’s Tamil remake hits all the right notes, surpasses original in parts

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When the Tamil remake of Badhaai Ho was announced, there was very little excitement in the air as most felt it wouldn’t work. The most common reaction was who can recreate the magic of Neena Gupta and Gajaraj Rao in Tamil. Many wondered if the remake would even be half as funny as the original. Veetla Vishesham, which is probably one of the best remakes in recent times, puts all those doubts to rest. The film manages to not only stand alone as a well-made film but in a few instances, it even surpasses the original. The film manages to hit all the right notes and ends up being thoroughly entertaining. Also read: Sathyaraj: For me, life can be divided into before and after Baahubali

RJ Balaji plays Ilango, who is shocked to learn that his parents (Urvashi and Sathyaraj, who are terrific together on screen) who are in their 50s are expecting their third child. He struggles to come to terms with the news of his mother being pregnant and it affects his relationship with his girlfriend Sowmya (played by Aparna). The rest of the story is about how Ilango along with his younger brother and their grandmother prepare themselves to welcome a new family member.

One of the best things about Veetla Vishesham is that the film never tries to recreate the original scene by scene. As much as it’s a remake, you can sense that a lot of effort has gone into the writing, especially the humour and drama part to suit the local sensibilities. If it was a game of tambola in the original, it’s chit fund scheme involving some women in the remake.

Veetla Vishesham works as it adapts the story to local sensibilities and culture.

Another reason why Veetla Vishesham works as effectively as the original is because the casting is on point. Both Urvashi and Sathyaraj fill the shoes of Neena Gupta and Gajaraj Rao effectively. Their performances really stand out because they own the characters and play it in their own way instead of copying every reaction and expression. It’s nearly impossible if anyone else could’ve played these characters as beautifully and convincingly as these veterans. RJ Balaji, who has always been aware of acting limitations, takes a backseat and allows these senior actors to shine and hog all the limelight.

It was so refreshing to see Sathyaraj in a role that extracts a very natural performance from him. The ever-dependable Urvashi is effortless as the mother and her scenes with Sathyaraj are some of highlights of the film. KPAC Lalitha as the grandmother is another interesting casting choice and she’s brilliant in the few scenes where the spotlight is on her. The story is set in the railway quarters and the writing reflects in the way the scenes play out involving the neighbors.

Veetla Vishesham is one of the better films to come out of Tamil cinema this year. At a time when audiences are rooting for big-budget action flicks such as RRR and KGF 2, it feels nice to sit through a breezy story of a family coming together to deal with a very unexpected situation.

Film: Veetla Vishesham

Director: RJ Balaji and NJ Saravanan

Cast: RJ Balaji, Sathyaraj, Urvashi, KPAC Lalitha and Aparna Balamurali

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