Remakes rarely manage to improve on - or even match the quality of - their sources, however accomplished the
players involved in the remake may be. This fact is once again proved by Vasoolraja M.B.B.S, a faithful
remake of Sunjay's Dutt's surprise hit Munnabhai M.B.B.S (this might also be the first acknowledged
remake Kamalhassan has starred in!). Inspite of having Kamalhassan in front of the camera and a proven hit-maker
Saran behind it, the movie fails to impress as much as the original.
Rajaraman(Kamalhaasan) is his area's Vasoolraja, the man to go to when some dues need to be collected. But
his father(Nagesh) is under the impression that Rajaraman is a doctor and Rajaraman goes to great lengths to keep
the truth hidden. But the dean of a medical college(Prakashraj) reveals the truth to Rajaraman's father, who is naturally
completely heartbroken. So Rajaraman decides to fulfil his dream by becoming a doctor and enrolls in the same medical
college. He also wants to explain things to the dean's daughter Janaki(Sneha), his childhood friend, who he thinks
revealed the truth about him to her father.
The movie has a good concept of humanity being as important as actual treatment in the medical profession but has stumbled
in execution. Comedy seems to have the upper hand, with Kamal wanting this to be his 'light' entry after the heavyweight
Virumaandi. So the emotional segments, which are the crux of the movie, seem to have
been given short shrift. Such sequences, like the 'Kattipudi Vaithiyam' segments or even the sequences with Jayasurya,
do not make a strong impact since the movie slips back into slapstick mode right after. At the same time, the comedy
is never full-fledged since such issues are always in the background.
The movie has enough situations and sequences that tickle our funny bone but the laughs do not flow as fast and furious
as previous Kamal-'Crazy' Mohan combinations like Pammal K.Sambandham or
Panchathanthiram. The jokes seemed forced in many cases and depend more on
the situation and/or Kamal's delivery to generate laughs. The sequences that include Crazy himself as a harried professor
have the best laughs with some clever takes on his character's name Margabandhu.
Machi was a recent example of a movie that needed some editing. Vasoolraja, on the
other hand, gives the feeling of having been over-edited. This is supposed to be the movie that Kamalhassan has completed
in the shortest time in his career and it shows on screen. There are several abrupt jumps from one scene to the next.
As a result, we do not get enough time to savor many of the laughs nor do we develop an emotional attachment with the
characters we are supposed to feel for. This dilutes the impact of many scenes(like the one where 'Kaka' Radhakrishnan
is motivated to get off his hospital bed) that had a strong effect in the original.
Kamal has the Madras lingo down perfectly(ofcourse, he has had a lot of practice) and banks on experience to breeze through
the role. As in his recent light roles, he has a couple of scenes to display his emoting skills. Sneha, inspite of the limited
oppurtunity, proves once again that she is a natural actress. Prabhu is completely wasted with pretty much nothing to do.
Prakashraj is quite funny in the sequences where Kamal gets on his nerves while veterans like Nagesh and 'Kaka' Radhakrishnan
do their job competently. Kalakka Povathu... and Sakalakala Doctor... are a couple of catchy tunes from
Bharadwaj, Saran's favorite music director.