There’s a reason why people have come to hate remakes: because, barring a few rare exceptions, they either add nothing to the original, or end up making it worse. “Godse,” which is the unofficial remake of the 2018 Korean film titled “The Negotiation,” falls into the latter category. The source material, starring Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin, who most people know from the runaway hit k-drama “Crash Landing on You,” still managed to bring a conviction to their roles, but that completely disappears from the Indian remake. We believe it’s not because of the acting prowess of the performers but of a script that tried to do too much. Yes, it remains a point of debate whether it is fair to compare two variations of the same story that are designed keeping in mind the sensibilities of different audiences. But when you have recreated it line by line, establishing the essence of the story, but then let it go completely haywire, a scathing comparison is deserved.
Directed by Gopi Ganesh, the film tells the story of a man who holds several high-profile officials hostage, and in the ensuing negotiations with an investigator, his motivations for the same are revealed. Let’s see how this movie lays out its plot.
How Godse Negotiates With Vaishali?
As we previously said, this movie is a scene-by-scene remake of “The Negotiation,” except for the backstory of the protagonist. We will reserve our opinions about it for the end. The movie begins with Vaishali going to a hostage negotiation straight from her home where the prospective groom has come to see her, a practice that is quite common in Asian households. The hostage situation is such that there is a pregnant woman being held by two armed men in a house along with other people. Her boss is about to send in the forces when Vaishali asks him for some time to negotiate with them. As she requests the robbers to let go of the woman, they spot the forces making their way into the house. In the ensuing chaos, one of them dies while the other escapes, but not before slitting the throat of the pregnant woman. This incident affects Vaishali to a great extent, and she decides to resign from her job. Her boss tells her that he is going on a trip for ten days, and if her decision doesn’t change even after that time, he will let her leave the department.
In the meantime, it is an uneasy time for the state as a lot of important officials are getting kidnapped, and the police are at a loss. Vaishali’s colleague comes to take her to work, even though she is reluctant to go. He lets her know that the Home Secretary is asking for her. Once there, she is immediately taken to a room where she is told to speak with the person on the screen. Vaishali is given no further details due to lack of time. As she turns on the screen, she finds a man who introduces himself as Godse. It is understood that Vaishali is negotiating a hostage situation but has no clue otherwise. Godse, right off the bat, asks her for her measurements, which angers her, and she cuts the call. When she demands answers from her superiors, they berate her and tell her to just talk to him. Godse calls back, and Vaishali tells him to call her later as she is busy with something. Such a gutsy move amuses Godse but angers her superiors. As she demands answers from them, they send in another officer for the negotiation. And this is when Godse reveals his first card. He shows them that he has the SP as his hostage and demands to speak to Vaishali. When she resumes the call, to soothe his anger, she tells him her measurements and resets the tone of their conversation. Godse asks her to bring State Industrial Minister Phani Kumar within an hour if she wants to know the reason behind his actions. Vaishali tells him that doing so would be literally impossible, but Godse lets her know that she doesn’t have any other option.
Following his demands, the department tracks down the Minister. He is found fishing on a boat, in his pajamas, and is brought in, in that state. Vaishali lends him a coat for the call. Once Godse sees the Minister, he presents one of the kidnapped officials and asks Phani Kumar if he recognizes him. The Minister tells him that he is Keshava Rao, a prominent industrialist. Godse keeps questioning him about the man, and the Minister gets the right answer for all of them. But this was a trap because Godse asked to see what the Minister was wearing. On finding him in pajamas, he questions him as to how he could be so relaxed when a prominent industrialist was missing. A line of questioning forces the Minister to reveal that Keshava Rao is just a front for many of the shell companies that he owns. Vaishali is shocked at this revelation, but she loses control when Godse shoots the SP. She is replaced by another officer to handle the case.
Vaishali starts digging into Godse’s identity and finds that his real name is Vishwanath Ramanathan, and he is a major industrialist in London. On the other hand, as the negotiations continue, Godse demands that Vaishali be brought back, and she is. But this time, he insists on meeting MP Ajay Sarathi within an hour. As the police scramble to bring him to the station, Ajay Sarathi and a group of ministers have a meeting with the Chief Minister, and he tells them to give Godse whatever he asks for. Back in the negotiation room, when Ajay Sarathi talks to Godse, he asks him why he killed Shalini. The entire room is at a loss as to who Shalini is, which is when Godse reveals that she was the pregnant woman that died and she was his wife. That is the cue for his backstory.
Who Was Godse?
When Godse was still Vishwanath Ramanathan, he was a successful businessman in London. One day, he was approached by a group of officials who asked him to bring his industries to India to develop the country. Godse tells them that he will think about it. A few weeks later, on a trip to the country for a school reunion, he witnesses the suicide of a classmate who, despite being highly qualified, was unable to make ends meet due to a lack of employment opportunities. Deeply moved by this, Godse decides to bring his business to India and create employment opportunities for the youth. But he faces huge opposition from the very officials who once supported him, as they insist that he pay them bribes to keep his operations going. When Godse refuses to give up, they carry out a plan to kill him, his friends, and his wife. Miraculously, Godse survives. Having lost everyone dear to him, he now has just one vision: revenge. Back to the present, Godse has live streamed his entire story, and now the entire public knows the truth. What is left is to provide concrete proof for it.
Ending Explained: Does Godse Succeed In Revealing The Truth About The Officials?
As we see, Godse has successfully evaded the police, and he makes his way to the Chief Minister’s residence and kills him. But before doing so, he gives the complete evidence of the officials’ wrongdoing to Vaishali. As she is still processing what to do with it, Godse blows himself up, along with the Minister’s house, committing suicide. Vaishali and Brahmaji, who have come to believe in Godse’s vision, take the proof to the Governor, who promises that justice will be served. So yes, Vishwanath Ramanathan aka Godse, fulfills his mission and conveys the truth of the industrialists’ nefarious activities to the public.
Final Thoughts: Why Does The Remake Not Work?
To be honest, the original movie was nowhere close to exceptional. It was just in the upper echelons of the average. And if they were remaking it line by line, then the consistency should have been maintained. But the makers let the obsession with the “larger than life heroism” get the better of them and rule their sensibilities instead of coming up with a good script. This created a very disjointed fit into the movie, which was so jarring in tone that it killed any possibility of the movie maintaining a steady, engaging pace. If they had stuck to the original storyline, it would still have been something different from what the audience here is used to seeing. But now, they have just made a generic, run-of-the-mill product that has such lazy writing. An example of that is when Vaishali asks Godse at one point- ‘Do you have psychological problems?’ Is it allowed for a negotiator to talk like that? And in the scene where Vishwanath Ramanathan’s classmates are asking each other what their qualifications are, it turns out that everybody has studied engineering. Seriously, not one of them could name a different field of study? The makers just put the first draft into execution, and it was a waste of time.
When it comes to the performances, Satyadev Kancharana’s film still shines, though he lacks the charming villainy required by the script in parts. He was probably told to let that emotion go since his backstory is different from Hyun Bin’s in the original Korean movie, so we won’t complain too much about this, even though that is what made the character so interesting, to begin with. When it comes to Vaishali, played by Aishwarya Lakshmi, she failed to bring the convincing vulnerability required for this role. And speaking of the supporting cast, they did not have much to do either. We would say watch the original, and only if you are a BinJin couple fan. Otherwise, both the movies lose your interest in the second half, “Godse,” a little more than in “The Negotiation,” but both of them remain seriously skippable.