The more you think about it, the more it appears that it can't be real cool
being Lord Hanuman, even if it is in Araku valley. We mean, think about it -
first you have 2 kids 8 and 10 years old concentrating more on each other than
on Cartoon Network, mud castles, Telugu movies, George Bush and all the other
things that the Lord so painstakingly invented for kids. Then, they make His
front yard the global headquarters for their feelings, giving the entire world
and its audiences the impression that He endorses it. And He can't even tell
them to quit playing grownup - it's tough to talk when you're all metal. And
to top it all, they come back 12 years later to Global Headquarters asking Him
to take things to their logical conclusion since it was He who started it all
in the first place. Can you beat that?
Fortunately, Lord Hanuman has Telugu film dialogue-writers to take the focus
off his travails. Manasantha Nuvve is set in the pages of Swathi magazine, and
yet manages to come across as a tale for non-Swathi browsers as well, thanks
primarily to some good comedy and a good lead actress. The film also has a surprise
editor in the form of S V Krishna Reddy. We don't wish to comment on how the
mighty have gone all the wrong places, for the film is perhaps as slick as its
tale will allow it. Oh yes, the tale.
Venu (Uday Kiran) and Anu (Reema Sen) are neighbours in their childhood at picturesque
Araku. Well, neighbours in a manner of speaking that Anu's dad (Tanikella Bharani)
will have you tossed in a riverful of piranhas for - Venu is a slum dweller
next to Anu's house. At 10 and 8 respectively, they fall in love in a manner
that makes you reflect upon how remarkably childish you were not to have attempted
anything like that at that age.
Anu has to suddenly move away as dad gets transferred, but not before she and
Venu exchange vows to meet on her birthday every year at the Hanuman temple
on the hillside. Venu is providentially adopted by Mohan Rao (Chandramohan),
a video shop owner, and grows up. Anu is in the meantime at Malaysia, growing
up with relatives.
The film takes its time developing the characters of the protagonists, and one
of the highlights of the movie that significantly contributes to its watchability
is the comedy - plenty of it by Sunil. You actually discover you're laughing
every once in a while, and that takes some of the bore off a rather drawling
first half where all that happens is that Anu reaches India and starts a search
for Venu through a process that needs her to survive all the quirks of Telugu
film plot-writers. Purely cinematic coincidences haunt you as they keep missing
each other, and you're wondering where the Good Lord is hiding.
It's Anu who first discovers Venu, and also that he's still madly in love with
her and waiting for her. And she starts a process of playfully getting close
to him without revealing her identity. The second half of the film gets quite
engaging with this, and you stay engrossed nearly continuously. There are subtle
scenes that reflect good thinking and good editing, and the song "Prema Prema"
is one of the classier depictions to come out of Tollywood.
Reema Sen is the best part of the film - she displays the maturity demanded
by her role, and makes you wish you were the lad in Araku. Sunil plays no minor
role, and while not in the league of a Brahmanandam yet, will still make his
own place. All the supporting cast is good - especially, of course, Chandramohan.
Together they all manage to cover up the inadequacies of another 'actor', whose
spell of luck has lasted long
now to continue to last really long. So who said talent matters?
We still pray Lord Hanuman gives him some, since we'll be seeing a lot more
The music is above average, and in summary so's the film, despite a plot that
you thought went out of style with monarchy.