I decided to make this post because someone said on a forum that Bhool Bhulaiyaa is a scene-by-scene copy of Manichitrathazhu. That’s not the case, it’s close, but there are many added scenes and scenes that were played out slightly differently.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa is still the closest remake of Manichitrathazhu. Chandramukhi was vastly different. I know the film was remade in several other industries too, but I haven’t seen those remakes so I cannot comment. Bhool Bhulaiyaa was definitely a superb try at a remake. This is not surprising since BB was directed by Priyadarshan, an assistant director in Manichitrathazhu.
The biggest point I give to BB is that the psychiatrist friend was introduced in the second half of the movie, just as it was in Manichitrathazhu. To give more screen space to Rajnikanth, they had introduced the psychiatrist from the very beginning of the movie in Chandramukhi. I’m glad that the same wasn’t done in Bhool Bulaiyaa.
The psychiatrist friend was introduced in the second half of Bhool Bhulaiyya, just as it was done in Manichitrathazhu.
So here are the scenes that I’ve found to be different in Bhool Bhulaiyaa. To avoid confusion I am referring to the characters with the names used in BB. I refer to Manichitrathazhu as M and Bhool Bhulaiyaa as BB.
- In M, when uncle visits the mahal, he was talking to himself the whole time. In BB, uncle is again scared in the mahal, but he actually talks to the workers and the heaviness of the cot/bed is also mentioned.
- In the second scene, the son-in-law was introduced. He was introduced later (during the book giving scene) in M.
- When choti uncle’s wife is putting a tali on him in MM, it was Radha who had seen them, not Nandini
- The whole Raja ceremony was added to BB
- When Nandini tells Avni about her fiancé and where he lives in M, Avni had a very weird way of looking at the son-in-law, as if she was mesmerized with him. There is absolutely no expression on Avni in this scene in BB
- There was no mass pooja with the whole family in M, it was only the uncles and the pandit.
- Story of the court dancer was again told by aunt to Avni, but they were all alone at the house in M.
- Avni didn’t look affected much from the portrait of the dancer when she first walks into Manjulika’s room.
- Nandini’s younger sister, who lost her ability to speak after being frightened in the mahal as a child was an addition to BB. It did not exist in M.
- Saree scene where Avni sees the poison did not exist in M.
- When the uncles went to tie the upper room’s door with the pandit, Manjulika did talk to them, but she had a normal voice, not the monstrous voice that was electronically created in BB. The voice in BB is over-the-top.
- When choti uncle started suspecting that Radha had gone mad in M, Radha had been yelling at the maids about the saree burning incident. She was speaking sarcastically and making fun of them. In BB, choti uncle saw her yelling at the dressmaker with a knife in her hand.
- There was no money giving to rickshaw driver in M when Dr. Aditya arrives.
- When Nandini was searching for Avni upstairs, she was not strangled with a rope, hit in the head with a swing and dragged into a room in M. She was only chased into a room where she fainted.
- In M, Dr. had asked Siddhart to take Radha to the temple. There is no such scene in BB, they just happen to be at the temple and Dr. Aditya points out Siddhart and Radha praying together to Avni.
- When Dr. Aditya and Radha’s brother are traveling, they use many modes of transportation and they don’t just bike for kilometers, thankfully!
- There was no marriage in M, there was just a Karnataka performance that the family went to see. The marriage celebration in BB was clearly borrowed from Chandramukhi.
- When Dr. Aditya was explaining the truth about Avni to Siddharth, the odd occurrences that had occurred in the beginning of the movie were shown to be done by Avni. She was throwing stones, breaking things, pushing clocks and acting like she was scared. There is no such scene in M. Who or what was responsible for those occurrences remain a mystery.
- Radha in M, is uncle’s daughter, not an adopted girl. Also, she is not a single girl waiting to marry Siddharth, but rather a divorcee whom Siddharth’s mother refused as a bride because of an issue in her astrology.
- Elder uncle in M had a temper, but he was also an affectionate man. Elder uncle in BB is too stern, and always angry. He doesn’t show any affection in his expressions
- Avni’s husband Siddharth was a more serious guy in M, he was very immersed in his work and had little to no time to spare for his wife. In BB, he is much closer to his wife. In M, it was suggested that the distance between Ganga and her husband was a cause of her boredom and one of the reasons that she took fancy towards the court dancer story. In BB, their relationship is portrayed as a perfect and happy one.
- Dr. Aditya was a Christian in M. This was an important point, especially since Aditya and Siddhart are portrayed as very close friends and Aditya also wants to marry Radha, a Hindu as the movie ends.
The scene where Ganga, played by Shobana, transforms into Nagavalli in front of her husband and starts speaking Tamil is the most impactful scene of Manichitrathazhu. The same scene played by Vidya in Bhool Bhulaiyyaa was not as effective.
Language: I think the fact that Ganga was singing in Tamil in the Malayalam version made a greater impact than Avni singing in Bengali in the Hindi version. It seemed more unlikely for Ganga to know Tamil than for Avni to know Bengali. I don’t know Bengali, Malayalam or Tamil but Tamil sounds much more different than Malayalam. As for Bengali, I could understand most of what she was saying when singing/speaking in Bengali. So it was not shocking for the audience as it should have been.
Songs: The songs in Manichitrathazhu added meaning to the story. The songs portrayed Avni’s troubled mind, her sadness and her memories which were coming back to her in this mahal. The song sung by Dr. Sunny in Manichitrathazhu after the poison incident was meant to pacify Ganga who had started taking on the personality of Nagavalli. So the songs were required for the story and for the portrayal of Avni. The songs in Bhool Bhulaiyyaa are more commercial and tell us nothing about Avni’s troubles or her past. So her character remains underdeveloped. We can’t understand Avni like we understood Ganga.
Manichitrathazhu Bhool Bhulaiyaa
Dr. Sunny Joseph (Mohanlal) Dr. Aditya Shrivastav (Akshay)
Ganga (Shobana) Avni Chaturvedi (Vidya)
Nakulan (Suresh) Siddharth Chaturvedi (Shiney)
Sridevi (Vinaya) Radha (Ameesha)
Thampi (Nedumudi) Badrinarayan (Manoj)
Unnithan (Innocent) Batushankar (Paresh)
- The actor who played son-in-law in BB—Prof. Shashidhar—is Vineeth. He played son-in-law and lover of Manjulika in the Tamil version, Chandramukhi, as well.
In conclusion, I urge you to watch Manichitrathazhu if you haven’t. I had seen Bhool Bhulaiyaa before Manichitrathazhu and I still enjoyed Manichitrathazhu so much. BB is mostly a one-time watch, but Manichitrathazhu can be watched many times. At every watch, you will discover something new that you missed before. Manichitrathazhu will leave you wondering about things…there is curiosity… something which is lacking Bhool Bhulaiyyaa. The more I watch the remakes, the more I appreciate Manichitrathazhu. I think it’s the best film I have seen and I have seen many films.
I would like to give credit to the authors of varnachitram.com and Ranjit Nair for their in-depth analyses of Manichitrathazhu. For example, I learned about the meaning and purpose of the song “Pazhamthamizh Paattizhayum” from Ranjit Nair’s review. Their analyses encouraged me to view the film again, paying more attention to the details and subtle nuances. Do check out their pieces on Manichitrathazhu, you can access varnachitram’s pieces on Manichitrathazhu here and Ranjit Nair’s review here. I also recommend Nishith’s review which is a great read.
Also read my post Clearing Doubts About Manichitrathazhu.