For those who’ve seen the original — Karthik Subbaraj’s ‘Pizza’, ‘Pizza 3D’ feels like a pointless remake. Director Akshay Akkineni (son of legendary editor Sreekar Prasad) follows the original film frame by frame. The characters are the same, as are the sets, the camerawork, the sound and even the jump scares. Those who have never heard of or seen Subbaraj’s film, however, might have a good time watching this movie… Akshay Akkineni’s ‘Pizza 3D’, stars Akshay Oberoi, Parvathy Omanakuttan, Dipannita Sharma and Arunoday Singh…
When Karthik Subbaraj’s ‘Pizza’ hit theaters in 2012 a ton of people on Twitter urged me to watch it. I had my doubts about its quality seeing as a lot of people had also recommended ‘Singham 2’ earlier. The horror geek in me eventually dragged myself to the nearest theater, and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed. ‘Pizza’ was a lean, entertaining, fun horror movie stripped off the commercial trappings of Tamil cinema and free of the froth that surrounds star vehicles. Most importantly, unlike attempts like ‘Ragini MMS 2’, this was a movie made by a bunch of people who truly love and understand horror films.
With its tiny budget, an original take on the haunted house genre and box office success, it was only a matter of time until Bollywood sniffed an opportunity to cash in on Pizza. And with ‘Pizza 3D’, they go the whole hog by throwing in 3D. The bad news is, for those who’ve seen the original, ‘Pizza 3D’ feels like a pointless remake. Those who have never heard of or seen Subbaraj’s film, however, might have a good time watching this movie.
The story remains exactly the same: a pizza delivery boy’s unremarkable work becomes a nightmare when the house to which he has to deliver turns out to be haunted. Director Akshay Akkineni (son of legendary editor Sreekar Prasad) follows the original film frame by frame. The characters are the same, as are the sets, the camerawork, the sound and even the jump scares. Sure, a faithful remake also needs hard work and the idea of not fixing what isn’t broken is a fair excuse to rehash the original scene by scene, but there’s no escaping the pointlessness of it all. For ‘Pizza 3D’s’ core audience of horror film junkies, it adds up to a fatal problem – when you know when the jump scares are going to pop up and what they are, it’s difficult to be scared or thrilled.
While ‘Pizza’ was a good film, the scares in it weren’t exactly pathbreaking. In fact, they were the opposite: they were clichéd. But the film was aware of this and there was a fun meta layer of storytelling that justified the uninventive scares. Moreover, the indie style of the film helped add an edge. The remake has a bigger budget and whether you have seen the original or not, the scares don’t have that same edgy, creepy quality. They just come across as cheap thrills. The tacky 3D doesn’t help and the scares get repetitive after a point. This is no classic like REC where you could relish its bump-in-the-night moments in your soiled trousers over and over again.
A small plot hole in the second half has been fixed in the remake, but the story itself has been watered down for some reason. In the original, the lead couple are in a live-in relationship and the dilemma they face is much more pronounced. In ‘Pizza 3D’, the couple is conveniently married. Parvathy Omnakuttan, who plays the pizza boy’s wife is an improvement over the girl in the first movie, but Akshay Oberoi is a massive comedown from Vijay Sethupathi. Oberoi is neither handsome nor convincing nor charming nor heroic, but he tries to be all of that. Sethupathi was great in the original because he was deliberately none of those things; he was just an average pizza delivery boy.
That said, you can’t take away the fact that the story is a novel spin on a familiar setting and you won’t see the end coming. It’s certainly better than the likes of Vikram Bhatt’s hilarious garbage, but it’s a lesser film than its original counterpart. Pop in the DVD of the 2012 movie before you head to see this version.