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Manamantha Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, August 5, 2016 • Telugu ]
Manamantha Review
Varahi Chalana Chitram
Mohanlal, Gautami, Viswant, Raina Rao
Chandra Sekhar Yeleti
Sai Korrapati

Manamantha Movie Review

'Manamantha' largely fits into a particular genre of human drama.  And the telling is riddled with several cliches.  Ranging from a brilliant college student who loves his lap top because his parents earned it for him after toiling so much, a school girl who puts a poor kid in school and the same has the headmaster's blessing, a housewife whose salvation lies in the kitchen (patriarchal, but which unfortunately sells because it easily wets so many eyes), to the lover boy finding his (supposed) soulmate's contact details in a plethora of chits at the first instance, you have several usual suspects.

For good or bad, non-formulaic films filled with sweet-n-cute dudes have the advantage of critical bias in their favour even if they manage to touch the heart only for a brief time.  Cliches are indulgently praised as feel good emotions.  All of a sudden, simplistic moments are virtuous. Dialogues, however much been-there-done-that they may be, are glorified for their non-vulgarity (as if decent writing substitutes for imaginative writing).  Characterizations may be nothing outstanding, but they are inexplicably fawned over because the characters have a heart-next-door emotions.

The four stories of Sairam, Mahitha, Gayatri, and Abhiram are narrated in parallel.  Sairam (Mohanlal) is a middle-aged, middle-class man working as an assistant manager in a supermarket.  He runs the family by borrowing too much and too often from this or that.  Vishwanath (Harshavardhan) is his fellow colleague and a potential claimant to the post of the vacant manager's post.  Sairam's academic qualification and English are not as well as Vishwanath's and so, he fears if the latter will be promoted.  This presents a moral dilemma for him.  What will he emerge as, finally?  That forms the crux of his story.

Mahitha (Baby Raina Rao) is a junior Good Samaritan, always wears a smile on her face, helps the needy and for a girl of her age, her thinking is way too matured.  There comes a point when she has to go out of her way to redeem a kid.  In the process, she crosses paths with someone inadvertently, but it turns out to be a divine co-incidence.

Gayathri (Gautami) is a middle-class lady who leads an ordinary life with her husband and kids.  Her equations with a quirky neighbour (played by Urvashi) is a source of fun.  Having have to live within means, her cravings for gold, saree and the like are unfulfilled.  She likes to be respected, but none would give him.  She bumps into someone whose offer brings her on the path of self-discovery.

As for Abhiram (Viswanth), he is a brilliant computer science student who knows no enjoyment and studies are his world.  When he falls in love with Aira (Anisha Ambrose), his world is filled with colours.  Eventually, his story takes a turn for the worse.  What has destiny in store for him?  It's revealed in the climax.

It's the screenplay, acting and the dialogues (in that order) that together can salvage a film of this genre.  Yeleti dishes out a screenplay that pans out in a leisured way.  If you want more of Mohanlal, he goes missing more than he should have.  There is more of Raina Rao's story for some time and less of others.

Good that Yeleti hasn't play to the gallery.  There is no artificial comedy by snobbish characters.  Vennela Kishore as a Telugu teacher breaking into English one too often is a commentary on the mindset of Indian languages teachers.  Brahmaji as a cop who doubts the intentions of the poor, rubbing salt into their wound, is a testament to the crass institutional apathy.

Mohanlal delivers one of the most studied portrayals.  Watch him get tensed and becoming lowly.  His body language is apt for a middle-class man who has lost his moorings.  His dialogue delivery could have been better, though.  The way he acts like a 'gumastha' despite being such a superstar is commendable.  The scene where he talks with Chandra Mohan about the difference between an ordinary person and a Mahatma Gandhi stands out.  Through the scene, the writer conveys that the strength of a person's character comes out in times of adversity.

Gautami's performance is fabulous.  Watch out for her scenes with Gollapudi.  The scene where she talks about her husband's qualification and talent, only to be reminded of her academic accomplishment, is a testament to the little lives talented women end up with because of regressive societal values.  Her act in the climax where she sobs because her family behaved in an unexpected way, is superb.

Raina Rao is yet another natural performer.  It's a season of kids entertaining; it was Baby Nainika ('Theri') first, Mikhail Gandhi ('Supreme) next, and now Raina Rao.  Her acting in the scenes with the four-year-old poor kid is enjoyable, although the scenes are sans novelty.

Viswant and Anisha Ambrose pass muster.  Better ideas would have helped.

The dialogues have brevity yes, but they are bland.  Mahesh Shankar's music is unclear.  The BGM is unimaginative.  Overall, the film could have been at least 15 minutes less.

Verdict:  Splendid performances, co-incidences, a heart-touching climax win the day for 'Manamantha'.  Don't expect formulaic stuff.  Put up with many cliches.

మనమంతా తెలుగు వెర్షన్ మూవీ రివ్యూ

Rating: 3.00 / 5.0


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