Maranthen Mannithen deals well with many subjects like love, lust, heartbreak, betrayal and jealousy, writes S Saraswathi.
Maranthen Mannithen, a Manchu Entertainment Presentation, is the Tamil version of Telugu film Gundello Godari, a bilingual film directed by debutant director Kumar Nagendra and produced by Lakshmi Manchu. The Telugu version, which was released on March 8 got favourable reviews and raked in almost 14.83 crore in the opening weekend.
Maranthen Mannithen is a tragic tale about the lives and fate of four people, set against the backdrop of the 1986 Godavari floods that disrupted and destroyed many lives.
The movie features Taapsee Pannu, Lakshmi Manchu, Sai Pradeep Pinisetty (Aadhi), and Sundeep Kishan in the lead roles along with Ravi Babu and Suja Varunee in supporting roles.
The movie opens with a wedding scene. Malli (Aadhi), a poor fisherman, is getting married to Chitra (Lakshmi Manchu). Among the guests who attend the wedding are Sarala (Taapsee Pannu), who presents the groom with a gold ring and another stranger who gifts the bride a gold chain.
It is at this time that tragedy strikes their small village by the shores of the Godavari. Due to torrential rains, the Godavari swells, breaks all barriers and enters the village. The stunned newlyweds are caught up in the surging waters, which flood their village.
After a couple of near mishaps, they manage to climb atop a floating hay stack. Both believe that they will not survive this ordeal and want to know the truth about each others' past life before they die.
The story then goes into flashback, where we learn about Sarala (Taapsee), who was a part of Malli’s life and Suri (Sundeep Kishan), who was Chitra’s love. Does the couple survive the flood, are they able to forget and forgive (Maranthen Mannithen) each others' troubled past and find love forms the rest of the story?
Maestro Ilayaraja’s music in Maranthen Mannithen is undoubtedly one of major highlights of the film. It takes us back to the 80s, when beautiful melodies and Ilayaraja reined supreme in the south.
In fact, he has used two of his earlier compositions in the film, Machana Patheengala from his first film Annakilli and Aasaiya Kaathula from Jhonny. Though the lyrics have been changed, the familiar tunes recreate the same magic.
Cinematographer M R Palanikumaar’s camera brings to life the fury unleashed by river Godavari as it breaks its banks, submerging the surrounding land in water. There has been some excellent use of computer graphics and the results are spectacular, the visuals of huge waves sweeping over the land and destroying everything in its path are quite realistic. Also there are some really beautiful visuals of the fishing village set on the shores of the river.
All the lead actors have given a good performance in the film. Lakshmi Manchu, daughter of Telugu actor Mohan Babu made her debut in Tamil films with a small role in Mani Ratnam's Kadal. In Maranthen Mannithen, she plays a poor orphan who is followed by misfortune all her life and has given a credible performance.
After the success of Aravaan, actor Aadhi Pinisetty has once again given a great performance. He plays the role of small-time fisherman who dreams of one day owning his own boat, but gets caught in the clutches of Taapsee, who takes him for a ride.
Taapsee Pannu, who made her debut with critically acclaimed, Aadukalam as a simple Anglo-Indian girl, has donned a completely a new persona in the film. She plays the sexy siren, who pursues the local village hunk Aadhi. She is much slimmer, prettier and adds a lot of glamour to the film.
In spite of having only a few scenes, Kannada film actor, Sundeep Kishan does manage to create an impact.
The movie deals with many subjects like love, lust, heartbreak, betrayal and jealousy. Director Kumar manages to bring out these emotions in a very straightforward manner without adding unnecessary frills.
Unfortunately, the film is let down by the poor dialogues, which are totally inadequate. Also the slow pace affects the overall ambience of the film. Though the movie is average, music by Maestro Ilayaraja, the cinematography by M R Palanikumaar, and the CGI-aided visual effects should definitely not be missed. A must-watch.