*** Spoiler-Free Review ***
‘MANITHAN’ directed by ‘ENDRENDRUM PUNNAGAI’ fame Ahamed is the official remake of the 2013 release Bollywood film ‘JOLLY LLB’, which was successful both critically and commercially (the film has won 2 national awards too). The trailer and songs of ‘MANITHAN’ were promising. So, how good is the film? Read on, to know!
First things first. Director Ahamed has been honest to the original in most places, without making any major changes or modifications in the script. There are few minor changes here and there, with some additional commercial stuffs and an extended romance episode. Ahamed has tried to give a fair remake that has some more commercial ingredients and rich colours & making without spoiling the core content, in which he has succeeded in most parts.
In a satire film that speaks about the loop-holes and the feebleness of the Indian Judiciary System & the Law, for a film that happens mostly within a courtroom, the performances & the dialogues need to be very much contributive and the emotions needs to be handled very well. The direction team has taken considerable efforts to make it possible, that’s where MANITHAN wins! There are minor changes in the script on dramatizing the emotions and backing the characters with reasons (say the reason why Sakthi comes to Chennai, the montage sequences in the second song where people and emotions around Court are depicted – An accused in a Police van seeing his child from window, the scene where Sakthi and his fiancée are attacked).
The first half 30 minutes of MANITHAN is literally boring, with an uninteresting romance episode (this portion was handled much well in the original, where it was not a minus) and humour that is not so funny (with Power Star and other characters); thankfully, this frivolity goes off once the film gets into the plot. Once Sakthi files a PIL, the film settles in good pace and things get engrossing towards the interval. The second half is completely enjoyable except for one or two boredom moments, with the impressive climax that hits the bull’s eye.
Coming to performance, Udhayanithi Stalin has done a very good job in the role of an innocent and struggling advocate. His performance is reasonably convincing, which he has played very subtly. MANITHAN could be a very significant film in Udhay’s career, which might fetch him some more good scripts like this and might increase his fan base to an extent. Wish he does such script oriented entertainers in future too! The show-stealers of MANITHAN are none other than the veteran actors Prakash Raj and Radha Ravi. Both of them have done an adorable job, elevating the film’s mood to a different level, setting fire on screen in those crucial scenes with an extraordinary performance (with great competition between themselves). Prakash Raj was seamless in his part, being spectacular in every other scene. It is not really an easy job to repeat the magic of an actor like Boman Irani; Prakash Raj has done it very pleasingly once again, after VASOOL RAJA MBBS. Radha Ravi has an even tougher job to do, since Saurabh Sukhla has won a national award for this role delivering an unmatched performance; Radha Ravi has nailed it in his own style giving no space for comparison. Aishwarya Rajesh and Vivek does their part decently. Background score by Santhosh Narayanan was a very big plus point, with 2 good songs. Cinematography by Madhie and Editing by Manikanda Balaji were commendably good.
On the flip side, the length has been an issue (with the extended scenes – 25 minutes longer than the original version). Hansika Motwani is the biggest show-spoiler of MANITHAN. She has been offered a meaty role which she has not utilized properly. It is one of her worst ever performances with over-acting, very bad lip sync and her style of routine and template reactions. She spoiled the feel and mood of many pivotal scenes, which made her character itself totally unbearable. So, how long are we going to cast Hansika or any such heroines for the role of a Pollachi town girl (who cannot even remember their lines)?
Overall, MANITHAN might not be as perfect as JOLLY LLB, but still a very decent remake! There are some boredom moments and few other minuses. But, this film will change your perspective on the roadside dwellers who do not have an address; once you leave out of the cinema hall and go home, you would have started noticing how many such people are out there. That is the success of this remake.
Verdict: Not as perfect as the original, but still a pretty decent remake! A recommendable entertainer with adequate good moments.
Review by: Rahman
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