The tender line that one draws between inspiration and duplication can be a tricky one. Whether the former turns into the latter would depend on how the inspired has been able to infuse their creativity into the source of inspiration. And in some unfortunate cases, this doesn't happen and the result is a blatant copy.
'Ithu Nammude Katha' is a literal adaptation of the Tamil film 'Nadodigal' that had found a sizeable audience in Kerala as well. It's a big question as to why the makers of 'Ithu Nammude Katha' decided to adapt the Tamil runaway hit to the Malayalam screen, since quite a large faction of the viewers must already have seen it either in the theaters or on DVD.
The story that has been attributed to Samudrakkani in all fairness remains absolutely the same. Vinod (Asif Ali), Santosh (Nishaan) and Kochumon (Abhishek) play the characters essayed by Sasikumar, Vijay and Bharani in the original film, and the trio in their earnest attempts to get their friend Mahesh (Vineeth Kumar) married to Aiswarya (Amala Paul) against their families' wishes, find their lives destroyed. Vinod loses his grandmother, Santhosh a leg and Kochumon his hearing.
Ananya who played Sasikumar's love interest in the original film, is there as Kalayani in 'Ithu Nammude Katha', doing the same role. 'Nadodigal' was the film that brought Ananya to the forefront, and there is a by-now-famous breakdown scene in it that had film lovers asking for more. She is quite obviously on comfortable ground here in 'Ithu Nammude Katha' and does the afore mentioned scene with remarkable ease, though her on-screen chemistry with Asif Ali looks half as convincing as the rapport that she shared with Sasikumar.
There are few occasions when the screenplay moves away from 'Nadodigal'. Of course, the shift to Kuttanad from a remote village in Tamil Nadu might seem odd, but the script conveniently makes way for such small accommodations. If the three friends in 'Nadodigal' used to have a peaceful nap on the hot terrace, here they snuggle together on the deck of a small boat. The grandmother in 'Nadodigal' who had a place for herself on the verandah has shifted over to a comfortable space beneath the banyan tree in 'Ithu Nammude Katha'. The premise has gone for a sea change; the story and its characters essentially are the same.
Asif Ali, Nishan, Devan, Kalaranjini, Ananya, Amala Paul and almost all other have done a good job in the film, but it's Abhishek who steals the show. His is relatively an underwritten part, especially during the initial hour of the film, but the actor who is a natural delivers the goods with aplomb.
The solidity of the theme seems to have been lost somewhere along the film's journey from across the state border. Perhaps the film could have done much better had it been a careful revisal instead of a mere remake that it has turned out to be.