Generally, if I have watched the original film, I refrain from watching the remake. However, I was intrigued by this suspense thriller and wanted to watch the original too. These are the reasons:
I figured it would be an interesting exercise as I would write about it here
I also wanted to give a shot at watching the original after watching the remake
This was directed by Jeethu Joseph of the Drishyam and Thambi fame
I have one phrase for this film mainly because of the director. Let down. I was surprised that the director (Jeethu Joseph of the Drishyam fame) known for his finesse in handling the suspense-thriller genre has done such a shoddy job here. The plot and the backdrop are promising, but the weak writing of the screenplay that doesn't deliver the surprises make this film a drab to watch, so much so that the apparently short duration of 1 hour 50 minutes becomes back-numbing.
Here is the plot. A wealthy man's (Emraan Hashmi) deceased wife's body is missing. The search is spearheaded by a cop with a disturbing past (Rishi Kapoor, at ease and convincing). The husband seems to know more than what he says to the police. The location of the body and the husband's real side form the rest of the narrative. Interesting, isn't it?
The film has its 'Aha!' moment(s) but the weak writing doesn't take off beyond that. Clinton Cerejo's music gives us the jump-scare moments but a suspense-thriller is not all about jump-scares. None of the characters except for SP Jairaj Rawal (Rishi Kapoor) stand out with their performances. Emraan Hashmi goes back to his deliberate indifference and rebel attitude as Ajay Puri to ward off suspicions. Shobhita Dhulipala (Maya Verma) is alarmingly obvious as an actor and Vedhika (Isha) surprised me only with her liplock with Emraan Hashmi (probably a desperate attempt at becoming more recognized?). These characters don't have an arc and their performance is too staged.
There are some good moments too, but they fail to add up. For instance, the almost horror angle to this film is very good which is complemented by the constant rains (inside and outside the morgue) and Clinton Cerejo's music. Except for parts like these, the film doesn't take off. The ending only becomes predictable (thanks to the dialogues).
Now let us take a look at the original. The Body (2019) is an official remake of the Spanish film of the same name that released in 2012. When I watched the original, I couldn't but wonder why Jeethu Joseph didn't make any changes at all in his version? Should I have seen it coming after the two different versions of Drishyam? Why does it have to be in a foreign country? Why is the wealth showed only by gifting a car or by drinking wine at an apparently pricey restaurant? Why do affairs have to be bordering on incest? More importantly, what gets lost in the translation if it is more of a "translation" than a remake per se? Logically, if anything does get lost in the translation it should be the dialogues and not the screenplay, right?
The original had a more taut screenplay, better performances, more deceit moments and the reveal was more "Aha". Especially, the way "Dawn of Justice" is picturised just as the final reveal happens in the climax is very pleasing to the eye. Though this part was translated well in the Hindi version too, more attention to the screenplay and the cast would have made the remake an as pleasing watch if not a better one.