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'Manam' Review: Befitting Tribute To A Legend

'Manam' Review: Befitting Tribute To A Legend

Movie: Manam
Rating: 4/5
Banner:
Annapurna Studios
Cast: Akkineni Nageswar Rao, Nagarjuna, Naga Chaitanya, Samantha, Shriya, Lavanya, Akhil Akkineni and Others
Dialogues: Harshavardhan
Music: Anoop Rubens
Cinematographer: P S Vinod
Producers: Akkineni Family
Story, Screenplay and Direction: Vikram K Kumar
Release Date: May 23, 2014

A film starring the legend Akkineni Nageswara Rao and the first film that stars three generations of Akkineni heroes. But these are not the only factors that make Manam special. Right from its posters to the trailer to the songs and visuals, the film has everything that makes the film a delightful watch.

The director could have easily played safe by taking up a quintessential plot for a multi-starrrer. But director Vikram K Kumar steers clear of falling into the routine trap. After having directed films like 13 B and Ishq, Vikram Kumar accepts the challenge of making a film that accommodates three generations of Akkineni heroes and comes up a winner. 

In fact, Manam is not just a film, it is a celebration. While we try our best to put together a review, the film is best experienced in theatres. It is an experience that all Telugu people must feel and enjoy.

Story:
Let us warn you at the outset that we don’t want to give away the plot and spoil the fun. But here’s a brief outline.

Radha Mohan (Naga Chaitanya) and Krishnaveni (Samantha) have a son called Bittu. Due to certain reasons differences crop up between them. Later, they die in a car accident. Bittu grows up to a successful businessman Nageswara Rao (Nagarjuna). One day, he sees his parents Nagarjuna (Chaitanya) and Priya (Samantha). As he tries to bring together his parents, he is spotted with Anjali (Shriya) and Chaitanya (Nageswara Rao). What is their story and what links all the main characters forms the crux of the story.

Artistes’ Performance:
Akkineni Nageswara Rao’s is a legend and there is little that one can write about him now. He is simply the best. Despite having the energy to do films, Akkineni stayed from acting in films since the 1990s. He would play a part occasionally only if he was thoroughly convinced with the plot. And when he decided to a film with his son and grandson, he had to do a film that was befitting his age and experience. In fact, getting ANR to give his nod was the biggest success of Vikram Kumar. The film is indeed a befitting tribute to the doyen of Telugu cinema.

In total contrast to his recent films, Nagarjuna looks relaxed and seems to have enjoyed doing the film thoroughly. His ease shows on the screen and one gets to see a new Nagarjuna in the film. However, more than Nagarjuna, it is Naga Chaitanya who scores more marks in Manam. He puts in a beautiful performance and one can see that he has matured as an actor. He appears to have it in him to carry forward ANR’s legacy.

Samantha once again leaves a good impression. Her onscreen chemistry with Naga Chaitanya is good.

Shriya puts in a decent performance.

Akhil appears in a blink-and-miss role, but proves that he has it in him to be the next big Akkineni hero.

Technical Expertise:
Anup Reubens music is the life line for the film. All songs are good to hear and they are well picturised. The background score is perfect and is a good example of Anup’s talent.

Cinematographer PS Vinod succeeds in translating the director’s vision and makes each frame memorable. He captures the time lapse beautifully. Music and cinematography are like the shruti, laya of the film.

It is rather easy to chop a film that has wafer thin story line. But it’s a daunting task to edit a film like Manam. But editor Praveen faces the challenge head on and makes a crisp and enticing film.

Dialogue writer Harshvardhan has shown a hitherto unseen angle of his talent. He is bound to go up the ladder pretty quick with the film.

Coming to producer Nagarjuna, we must appreciate him for touching upon a subject that traditional producers would never deal with. Having worked in films with varied plots, he once again dares to take a risk that totally pays off. He ends up making a memorable film which is not only commercially viable but also keeps ANR’s memories alive.

Last but surely not the least, director Vikram Kumar makes a place for himself among top-ranking directors in the country with the film. It is pretty tough to come up with such a plot and it is equally tough to handle it with precision. But Vikram Kumar makes an entertaining film with an unusual subject. He not ups the benchmark, but also sets high standards for himself. In fact, it would be a huge task for Vikram to repeat the magic once again.

Highlights:

  • Story and narration
  • Music and cinematography
  • Scenes between ‘Nagarjuna’ and Samantha
  • Dialogues between ‘Nageswara Rao’ and Chaitanya.

Drawbacks:

  • The scenes where Chaitanya finds out the background of Samantha

Analysis:
For all those cynics who were not sure about Manam, the film springs surprises in each scene. Right from the names of the characters to the way he links them, Vikram proves he is a genious. By making a beautiful movie with a unique plot, he proves that he is far ahead of his contemporaries.

We must appreciate the director and the producer Nagarjuna for making such a bold attempt. And credit must be given to Nagarjuna for trusting his director totally with such an unusual plot.

The film is a befitting answer to all those people who complain that the Telugu directors do not touch different subjects. In fact, Manam is one-of-its-kind film in the history of Indian cinema. The director narrates a complex plot with simplicity. His film has emerged from a simple thought – How would it be if human love is passed on from one life to another? But the way Vikram handled the plot shows his sheer genius. Hats off to the director for the way he uses the clock tower and 10.20 time to link the story.

Though the plot is emotionally-charged, it does not overload you with an overdose of sentiments. On the other hand, it is an entertainer that keeps you smiling all along.

A special mention has to be made of the romantic scenes, especially the cute scenes between Nagarjuna and Shriya. Similarly, the conversations between Nagarjuna and Samantha and Naga Chaitanya and Samantha are highly entertaining. 

The director’s genius coupled with the real life chemistry between lead actors makes the film gripping.

As mentioned before, Manam is not your regular film for a review to do justice. Go to the theatres and enjoy the experience!

Bottomline: A Feel Good Film

(Venkat can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)

Click here for Telugu review

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Tags: ANR Manam Review Naga Chaitanya Nagarjuna Samantha