Kamal Haasan cult classic Sathyaa remake divides social media: 'Please don't spoil…' - Hindustan Times
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Kamal Haasan cult classic Sathyaa remake divides social media: 'Please don't spoil…'

Mar 27, 2024 02:39 PM IST

Kamal Haasan's portrayal of an angry young man – against unemployment in the country and social injustice – in Sathyaa left a big impact.

In January this year, Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan’s cult class Sathyaa completed 36 years and there was much celebration on social media. Sathyaa was the directorial debut of well-known director Suresh Krissna and starred Kamal and Amala Akkineni. It was released in theatres in 1988 and became one of the biggest blockbusters of Tamil cinema that year. On Wednesday, news emerged that this classic was being remade or adapted now with Ashok Selvan in the lead and Por Thozhil director Vignesh Raja at the helm. Social media has been divided over this news ever since it broke out. Also read: Kamal Haasan’s best work spanning five decades

Amala Akkineni and Kamal Haasan in Sathyaa (1988).
Amala Akkineni and Kamal Haasan in Sathyaa (1988).

About Kamal Haasan's Sathyaa

To recap the 1988 film, Kamal Haasan played a jobless rough-and-tough youngster named Sathyaa (Sathyamurthy), who can’t tolerate any sort of injustice and ends up getting involved in brawls constantly. He also sees salesgirl Geetha (Amala Akkineni) one day and falls for her.

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Meanwhile, a corrupt politician manipulates Sathyaa for his needs and then the story changes once Sathyaa sees the truth. Interestingly, Sathyaa itself was a remake of the Sunny Deol Hindi film, Arjun, but Suresh Krissna, Kamal and Ilaiyaraaja put their indelible stamp on the film to make it a Tamil cult classic.

‘No one can replace Kamal Haasan’

Many users on X (formerly Twitter) didn’t seem too happy with the news of Sathyaa and Ashok Selvan taking on the Kamal Haasan role. One social media user wrote, “Sathyaa is my all time favourite movie. No one can replace Kamal and Ilayaraja in that. Please don't spoil.”

Another user penned, “Adhu innum paakala (haven’t seen that film), but his other movies paathadhu varaikum solren (seen others), ik we all know the actor are acting and it's fake nu, but romba rare aana scenes la dhaan he's convincing (personal opinion), don't want sathya remake with him (sad emoji).”

Kamal Haasan's rugged avatar

Kamal Haasan plays an underdog in this action-packed film but his performance was raw and brutal and he packed a punch even in the romantic scenes with Amala. His bearded look, swagger and rugged attitude became iconic when the movie released and was a rage among the youth at the time.

Emulating Kamal Haasan in this film is going to be extremely challenging and many Kamal fans feel that no one can come close to him. One user stated it succinctly by writing, “Don't remake kamal movies reaching his acting level is not possible.”

In fact, Kamal’s contribution to the film was more than just playing the lead role. Aptly one user penned, “I know that Satya itself is a remake of Arjun. But Kamal knew exactly how to give it a local flavor. He got Ananthu to write the dialogues, lines that dripped with power, not a direct translation of the Hindi lines. The casting too was spot on. Tall order this (smile emoji).”

Music sans pareil

Who can ever forget the song Valaiosai kala kala sung by SP Balasubrahmanyam and Lata Mangeshkar? Even today, the song touches hearts, young and old alike. Music legend Ilaiyaraaja composed five tracks for the movie, including Eley Thamizha, Nagaru Nagaru, Potta Padiyudhu and Ingeyum. But it was Valaiosai that became the earworm and continues to rule radio airwaves during retro music time now as well.

Ilaiyaraaja was at the top of the music world at the time and for someone who was working simultaneously on nearly 30 movies a year, sometimes in various languages, he delivered musical hits in nearly every film. Even lyrics were written specially for him for his songs and lyricists wrote references to him in these songs. In Valaiosai, for instance, there’s a line that reads ‘Ragangal Thaalangal Nooru Raja un Perum Sollum Paaru’ (Hundreds of Ragas and Talas will spell thy name Raaja).

Thus, the fans of the film feel that the classic compositions of Ilaiyaraaja can never be recreated. A user said, “Nothing against Ashok Selvan! But Sathya CANNOT be remade by anyone. Not even by Suresh Krishna! Illayaraja can never compose such songs again! Sometimes classics should be left untouched!” Given that Sathyaa eventually became a cult classic, many people believe that classics like these should remain untouched. One user summed it up by saying, “There are a few things that need not be remade or adapted to. Let’s leave these classics please. NO.”

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