The trend of remaking old classics has finally started in Tamil cinema too. It now seems official that Ajith will be starring in the remake of Rajni’s Billa (which, btw, was a remake of Amitabh Bachan’s Don, which, incidentally, was recently remade into a new Don starring Shah Rukh Khan. Whew! So, in Visu style, the new Billa is going to be a remake of a remake, which was a remake of a film that was recently remade!). The producer has bought the rights of the original and Rajni too has given the go-ahead to Ajith (and shared his thoughts on the remake).
I just watched Shah Rukh Khan’s Don and though I haven’t seen the original Don with Amitabh Bachan, I have seen Billa and so could make some comparisons. Like most Hindi films these days, Don is slick and stylish. It maintains a fast pace though it feels choppy at times as it shifts between different tracks. The action sequences are well-executed(though I did notice lifts from several Hollywood flicks) and green being the predominant color gives the film a cool, sophisticated look. On the story side, the updates are done well considering the times and the technology advances. So the red diary becomes a CD, the circus performer is now a computer expert, etc. Some new characters and twists are introduced and though they make the screenplay complicated and a tad confusing, they do make the movie unpredictable – and so interesting – even for those who have seen the original.
Apart from Ajith, the other key persons currently attached to the ‘Billa 2007’ project are director Vishnuvardhan, the director of Pattiyal and Arindhum Ariyaamalum, and music director Yuvan Shankar Raja. These choices do make me have high hopes about the project. Ajith can definitely play the cool, suave and ruthless Billa well. And the effeminate behavior he exhibited so well in Varalaaru, if toned down, can help him in the role of the paan-chewing, roadside dancer. Pattiyal has convinced me that Vishnuvardhan is one of the more stylistic directors around and he is capable of providing the stylish look that a remake will require, to differentiate it sufficiently from the original. And Yuvan’s thumping, high-energy score for Pattiyal proved that he can provide the perfect score for Vishnuvardhan’s stylish filmmaking.
Now, I’m curious about the rest of the cast. I think the heroine role will be the toughest to cast. The heroine here is the strong and silent type and needs to kick(or atleast, seem as though she is capable of kicking) some butt. I’m not sure any of our 3 leading heroines (Trisha, Asin and Nayan) can carry it off. I can’t imagine any of them being convincing executing martial arts moves or riding a bike. So maybe Ileana? But Nayan would be perfect for the Helen/Kareena role – a special appearance where she gets a nice seductive dance number. Just depends on whether she’d agree to do another item number. If egos don’t get in the way, Maddy might be a good choice for the ‘Thengai’ Srinivasan/Arjun Rampal role. But considering Prabhu’s recent choice of roles, he might be in the running too. I’m just hope that none of our usual, overacting supporting actors like Karan or Sriman get cast in the key role! Prakashraj is an automatic choice for the K.Balaji/Boman Irani cop role. He is one of the few supporting characters who can pull off a policeman role convincingly. And Pooja might be a good choice for the Isha Koppikar role.
Since the movie’s gonna start rolling in March 2007, thala will probably be singing My Name is Billa… for Diwali ’07. Should be interesting…
This was a view expressed by blogger Balaji Balasubramaniam in his blog