Last week, happened to watch, "Manithan" movie by Udhayanidhi Stalin, a supposedly frame to frame remake of Jolly LLB, a super hit Bollywood movie. I wanted to watch the hindi version first as it had garnered pretty good reviews and even won national award. Arshad Warsi, who played the lead, is one of my favourite actors. His role of "Circuit" in Munnabhai series is one of the key reasons for the success of the franchise. Would Udhaynidhi manage to do justice to such a comic talent as Warsi was the lingering doubt with which i watched the movie. Needless to say, its a no contest. Though he is only a handful of movies old, Udhay bit more than what he can chew in taking up this role. But the fault is not entirely his. While the Hindi version is a supposedly satire on the Salman khan hit and run case, the tamil version suffers from "neither comic nor serious" doubt all throughout. Hansika has done worse before. But guess this would be her at her worst performance wise. Again, the lead pair are not entirely at fault. Major blame is to fall on the director who has also helmed the screenplay. Unable to decide on the tone of the movie, he has faltered majorly in messing up the entire plot. But he is also not to be blamed totally. Ennada, appo yaara thaan blame panrathunu kekareengala. Well, its us. As a society, some supported Salman, lot cursed him, some cried for the poor souls who died for no fault of their own other than sleeping on pavement on that fateful night not being able to afford a roof over their head, some prayed for the poor driver who was made the fall guy and eventually died a horrible death. Yet, none bated an eyelid at the judge who delivered the verdict that neither Salman, whom everyone knew was the culprit, having rash driven the car in his drunken stupor, nor the driver who was the only other person on the car responsible for the death of those innocents. People made memes out of this incident, mocking the justice delivered that implicitly referred the car was driving on its own and killed the footpath dwellers as the forerunner to the auto-car developed by Google. There were jokes made on Salman and after a while, the laughter died along with the incident. When he was arrested and sent to prison, the media people projected it as if his arrest would cripple the Indian economy as he had around 300 crores of movies budgeted around him!! Now the lives of innocent folks doesnt merit any money right and Sallu miah in all his glory is worth headlines even on his best days. Bad news is best news when it comes to main stream media and it was milked to its glory.
Coming back to the movie, its after a really long time a tamil movie with lot of court scenes was getting released. But Udhay being the novice he is, messes up big time. He is not short on his effort, but lacks the screen presence or dialogue delivery to carry such story. Prakash raj as the defence does a sleep walk of the role. Change his vakeel costume to police or politician or village sarpanch or beggar. He would still churn out same level of authentication in his performance. Radha ravi as the judge is borderline insane. He steals the march on everyone in his under played performance of the judge who knows all yet is driven to result only based on evidences and process. But trying to throw things at lawyers to keep them silent is ridiculous. Maybe it was supposed to be a funny take, but didnt match his profile per the story. Santosh narayan, the music director, is fast becoming the favorite. He has this knack of picking niche lyrics for his songs and they sound fresh and old at the same time. There is a sense of deja vu fast catching up with his compositions. Sooner he tries fresh voices the better.
Gils verdict: More than the movie, the concept that the downtrodden in Indian society, doesn't have any support, be it on screen or off it, is something that was hugely disturbing and no amount of repentance could bring back those lives lost. Shame on those who even turn up to argue for the wrong doers. As for the movie, wait for Vijay tv to purchase the rights. They would telecast it till the CD's burn dry.