Mr. Yeleti had set the bar higher and higher with his three films Aithe, Anukokunda Oka Roju and Okadunnadu. But, his mojo had gradually disappeared in Prayanam and Sahasam. Manamantha is his 6th film. Has he regained his mojo back? Sadly, the answer is ‘No. Still In Progress’.
No- Because it definitely lacks the engaging factor that he is capable of.
Still in Progress – Because this is definitely not his worst. It is better than his Prayanam and Sahasam.
Manamantha is an anthology film. Each thread composes a character of a different age and gender and the challenge they are upto. But, one thing common between them is they belong to middle-class.
Sairam played by Mohanlal, works as a Stock head in a supermarket. He can barely save anything from his salary wing to the expenses to run the family. To get promoted to the manager’s, he ends up doing a crime. That puts him in a soup.
Gayatri played by Gautami, is a simple home-maker. She has some wishes but she keeps discarding them very soon as she quickly realizes, she cannot afford them. At the same time, she is not greedy too. She is that kind of woman who dedicates all her energy and time to the family, and whatever is remaining, she spends in going to the grocery stores with cheaper prices.
Gayatri’s son is a studious and responsible son any parent would love to have. He is the lecturers’ favorite and friends’ favorite for helping them through exams. He ends up in a boy-meets-girl college love story and slowly transforms into a love-struck romeo.
Mahita is just a 7th grader but has a heart of gold. She befriends a 4-year old slum kid and tries to fulfil his dream to go to school. All is well until the boy goes missing suddenly.
The movie begins on a very relatable moments of the middle-class. You smile at the adventures of Gayatri and her neighbor in their tryst with buying huge discounted groceries. You admire how the youngster values education and parents hard work. You laugh at the way Sairam talks like a typical middle-class middle-aged man who is always in short of money. Last but not the least, you will love the way Mahita is genuinely being a mini Mother Teresa. None of the characters go overboard.
The problem of the movie begins after the characterizations are established. It goes on and on and it becomes too late by the time Yeleti packs a punch in his own way, i.e connecting the dots. Yes, he is a master in that. The conflict comes too late in the film and that too predictable.
The most touching thread was Mahita’s as it seemed honest to the core. The girl’s acting stood out in the film. She enacted the determination and humanity so beautifully. Mohanlal’s thread was far too stretched. The subtext was very good though. Mohanlal, no doubt is a great actor. He seemed apt physically but may be due to the language, he just could not give the full impact a character like Sairam is capable of. Jagapathi Babu came into my mind for this role. Gautami was very elegant and dignified. The impact of hers also seemed to have been affected by the language problem. The youngster was good performance-wise but the thread was mundane and a major drawback for the film. The song in the film made it even worse. The supporting cast were very good, especially Gollapudi.
The movie definitely had a handful of sparkling scenes, but the overall impact gets diluted due to the length.
All in all, a film that could have been much better.