I recently realized that the Malayalam movie Santhwanam (Consolation) is a remake of the Telugu film Seetharamaiah gaari manavaralu (Seetharamaiah's granddaughter). The basic story is as follows. After a love marriage, the relationship between a father and son goes bad and they never communicate afterward. Years later the granddaughter returns to meet her grandparents. The movie is about the relationship between the granddaughter and her grandparents.
I confess I generally feel the Malayalam version is superior even when the original is not Malayalam. This is especially the case with Priyadarshan films. I feel he is a master at adapting films to Malayalam. The comparison between these two films is however tricky. I think they both have their merits, but the Telugu version is a bit better in my eyes.
To begin with, Seetharamaiah gaaru (the protagonist in Telugu) is a much deeper and laudable character than Rajashekharan Thambi (his counterpart in Malayalam). For example, the father-son quarrel is more justifiable in Telugu. Unlike Malayalam, the fight in Telugu is not for falling in love, but for not telling it. And he doesn't kick him out, he accepts his daughter in law, treats her with love. Just one punishment. He will never talk to his son. "If you don't think it is important to talk about such important matters, why should we talk?" is his argument. It made a lot of sense to me. This to me was one of the most interesting things in Seetaramaiah gaari manavaralu. This, however, becomes intolerable for the son after a point. He leaves the home with his wife and never returns.
Moreover, the husband-wife relationship is much better in Telugu. In Malayalam, the wife is too subservient for my liking. In Telugu, the wife is not afraid of her husband. This actually has a considerable impact on the story. I recommend you to make the comparison yourself.
Separate irrelevant comedy tracks are something which I dislike in many non-Malayalam movies. And the same holds true for Seetaramaiahgaari manavaralu. Tanikela Bharani's character is mainly introduced for the sake of comedy. And, I hated this character. He is too evil to fit into that family. It spoiled the overall feel-good feel. One of the prospective grooms, though not evil, is quite irritating too. The Malayalam version did not have these irritating characters. That was the greatest plus point. The story, in general, is crisper.
Another major difference is that, in the Malayalam version, it is their only child. They were visibly broken without their son. In the Telugu version, they had other children and are living in a joint family. Perhaps because of this, though sad, they are not as broken. Personally, I liked the joint family setting better. Perhaps I felt nostalgic.
Something which is equally beautiful in both the movies is Meena's role. Songs are also wonderful in both the films. But, still, I think the Telugu songs are a bit better. Especially, the lyrics. My favourite is the song "kaliki chilakala"