Cast : Vimal , Lakshmi Menon , Rajkiran
Music : NR Raghunanthan
Direction : Naveen Raghavan
Producer : Thirupathi Brothers
‘Manja Pai’ is a colloquial term used in Tamil to refer people who are pretty old fashioned and cliched. Similarly, this movie revolves around one such person who is good at heart, but too old fashioned to be liked by all. Relying heavily on one man’s performance, has this movie managed to impress the audience? Read on.
The movie has a very simple plot – Venkatasamy (Rajkiran) comes to Chennai to stay with his grandson Tamil (Vemal) for a few months, before the latter leaves to US to work there. Although Tamil adores Venkatasamy, the acts of Venkatasamy end up troubling everyone, and one such act even puts Tamil’s job and his dream of going to US at stake. People start hating the old man, only to realize his value later.
First things first. The protagonist of the movie is Rajkiran, as the entire life of the movie revolves around his character. He gives a stellar performance as a person who finds it hard to adapt to the city lifestyle. Watch out for the scenes where he innocently takes bath in a fountain and he righteously slaps a police officer, without giving a damn about others. For a role like this, Rajkiran is the best bet and he doesn’t disappoint.
Vemal has a long way to go when it comes to enacting romantic sequences. Lakshmi Menon rightly tells him in the movie ‘Mandaya mandaya aatradha niruthu’. He is also not convincing in the role of a software engineer, who earns Rs 1 lakh a month. He is a tad better in the second half, when he has some intense sequences with Rajkiran. Lakshmi Menon gets a poorly sketched character in the film, all she has to do is dance for the tunes and blame the grandfather all the time.
NR Raghunanthan’s songs do not impress much, while the background score passes the muster. Masani’s camera work is nothing to rave about too, as some of the shots lack finesse. A few shots involving Vemal look bizarre, which could also be due to error in colour correction during post production process. In spite of the fact that the movie’s runtime is only around 2 hours and 10 minutes, it drags a lot, especially in the second half. Editor Deva could have trimmed few melodramatic portions in the second half.
Direction – Naveen Raghavan
Naveen Raghavan’s intent to make a film on the bonding between a grandfather and a grandson is appreciable, but he has let himself down with a flawed screenplay. Few minutes into the movie, your patience gets tested, due to the amateurish love sequences between the lead pair. Love at first sight for the hero, heroine warns the hero, hero turns do-gooder, heroine gets impressed and falls for him – the old age process of falling in love takes over the movie’s first half an hour.
The movie gains some momentum only after Rajkiran’s entry. His portions are well-written and the way his innocence has been brought out through various scenes are commendable. But, after a while, the story gets too predictable and it is just a matter of time before the grandfather gains everyone’s respect. The director has expected the movie to click with the audience just with Rajkiran’s performance, and stacking him against so many odds to work against the movie.
Verdict : ‘Manja Pai’ is a bag full of outdated elements, few feel good moments and a stellar performance by Rajkiran.
Review : Sai Shyam G