Watching Manodu requires the maturity that makes people appreciate the work of first-timers though it doesn’t make the cut, and or the work of those who you think cannot get better than this. You know there are other big boys in the race, and they are the ones who the world wants to talk about and analyze, and in the few fleeting moments that your attention chances upon these minnows who turned in no surprises, you quickly say a few encouraging words (with most of your mind still pre-occupied), before focusing your attention back on the ones that matter.
The minnows however are desperately looking for those few encouraging words, and will take them very seriously even if you feel so hollow saying them. It’s hard facing failure. Hopefully, they have potential. And even if you think otherwise, what purpose are you serving by telling them?
Also, the same guy who made Aks made Rang De Basanti. Is Manodu in the same league of Aks, though? Well, let’s display some maturity, as defined in the first para. And let’s move on to the fourth para.
Manodu is the story of a youngster whose life looks borrowed from The Misery Manual. Vishwa (Bharat) has to discontinue education since his poet/teacher dad can’t earn enough to put him in college, his sister’s marriage is in jeopardy for dowry reasons, his mother lectures him on good living, and added to all this, he has a foul mouth that he uses to berate everyone.
One day he decides to get out of it all, and joins the gang of Ravi (Priyadarshini Ram), a recovery goon. They make a lot of money, and Ravi treates Vishwa with warmth since he himself is a student of Vishwa’s dad. Vishwa though falls in love with Naina (Radhika Joshi), to the disapproval of Ravi who thinks love is at cross-purposes with his business.
When Naina gets kidnapped by Ravi’s rival, Vishwa misunderstands it to be the handiwork of Ravi, and they part ways. And then, of course, there is the climax. Instead of commenting on the climax, we’ll, ahem, be mature.
Manodu is a wannabe Satya or Company – showing that being in the underworld doesn’t pay, and trying to do it with some slick presentation a la Varma. However, the film appears like the work of someone who thinks from the previous point onwards, irrespective of where the previous point came from. There are issues of continuity, and creativity is defined as being different rather than being entertaining.
What you have, therefore, is a sound platform for a good film, but irregular landscaping. The film is good in patches – some dialogues, some songs, some choreography… – but it progresses like a narrow rivulet of water starting down an old cement wall: different speeds and patterns at different times, and not elegant always.
The music is rather hip, and some of the songs have innovative picturization, though it looks like if you try so hard to be different, some parts will end up looking creative. Some dialogues and poems are well-written too. The climax looks more like an epilogue, an annexure. In fairness, though, the last 15 minutes or so do movue you at times.
Manodu is not likely to be a commercial success, or entertain you. You have to be “mature” to indulge this.