OTTplay Logo
settings icon
profile icon

Abbabba movie review: Comedy centred on a girl in a boys’ hostel is quite middling

Abbabba is a very faithful remake of the 2015 Malayalam film, Adi Kapyare Kootamani

Abbabba movie review: Comedy centred on a girl in a boys’ hostel is quite middling
A still from the film

Last Updated: 10.35 AM, Feb 15, 2024


Abbabba story: College student Karthik (Likith Shetty) is in love with Sharmila (Anusha Rai), but she’s all set to get married to another fellow college mate to get her dad out of a ‘tight spot’. Karthik does not have the means to help Sharmila out of this situation, but is assured of help in exchange for a favour. He has to smuggle Akhila (Amrutha Iyengar) into the boys’ hostel for 5 minutes without getting caught by warden Fr Joseph (Sharath Lohithashwa), his handyman Kempanna (Vijay Chendoor), other hostel mates or even his friends – Rahul (Ajay Raj), Kethan (Dhanraj Achar) and Thandav (Thandav Ram).


Abbabba review: I’ve never quite understood the appeal of remakes of popular films from other languages, especially in Karnataka, where a large section of the audience watches the originals, especially Tamil and Telugu ones. Malayalam cinema was not as widely consumed as it is today due to the OTT boom, so, several remakes made its way to Kannada cinema earlier and found fairly decent success too. But that too has changed, case in point being Ravi Bopanna, the Joseph remake. Drishyam 2 is the only aberration, but I maintain it is because of the pre-pandemic release of the original. I digress!

Likith Shetty and Amrutha Iyengar in a still from the film
Likith Shetty and Amrutha Iyengar in a still from the film

One of this week’s many Kannada releases, is Abbabba, directed by KM Chaitanya, which marks the filmmaker’s fifth consecutive remake venture after Aatagara, Aake, Amma I Love You and Aadya. This time around, Chaitanya turns to Malayalam cinema for inspiration and has adapted the 2015 Malayalam film Adi Kapyare Kootamani. It helps here that the original is not widely known. Abbabba was to have been a 2022 release, but had to be pushed ahead when one of the producers, Vijay Babu, ran into legal issues.

In the run-up to the release of Abbabba, back in 2022 and now, there’s been reluctance on the part of the team to admit its origins. There were also claims that substantial changes had been made to the narrative of the Kannada version. Well, having seen both the original (including a repeat viewing only a day ago to understand the supposed changes) and now its Kannada adaptation too, I reaffirm that what Chaitanya delivers is a ‘very faithful’ remake of Adi Kapyare Kootamani.

The only ‘change’, so to say, is the reason for Karthik to smuggle Akhila into the hostel, and that’s no great shakes. The dialogues are direct translations from Malayalam and the artiste selection also seems as if the team had a pin-up board of the original cast and found actors who matched them, either physically, acting wise, or both.

Likith Shetty in a still from the song, Ayyayyo
Likith Shetty in a still from the song, Ayyayyo

I guess I am nit-picking because I have seen the original, which, back in the day, made decent money, given its relatively newbie cast and that the film was almost entirely set in one location. If you have not seen Adi Kapyare Kootamani, Abbabba could still work as a decent one-time watch. There are laughs, no doubt, but these are jokes from nearly a decade ago, and some of them remain as incredulous as they did back then, like, for instance, a boys’ hostel warden failing to identify a Ganja plant.

Abbabba verdict: Abbabba does not have much by way of story and relies entirely on the comedy. The actors do their best within this very limited space. This week, it is the only film in the genre, so if you are not looking for anything heavy-duty to watch, you could give it a try. Just don’t watch the original before that.

Get the latest updates in your inbox