The danger with remakes is that they will always be compared to the original and be found wanting. This is the case with Manmatha, a remake of the Malayalam hit Kanjikoonan.
In fact, this Kannada version fails to match even the Tamil remake of the original.
In Manmatha, Jaggesh takes on Dileep's role (in Kanjikoonan) but cannot match the latter's fantastic performance. This Kannada version, though clean of violence and double meaning dialogues, has a lot of loose ends. So for Jaggesh's fans waiting to hear him utter his punch dialogues and display of distinctive mannerisms, this film has nothing to offer.
Also Read: The hunchback of Manmatha
Though director Rajesh Fernandez has tried to be faithful to the Tamil remake more than the Malayalam original, many sequences in the film remind us of an old Kannada silver jubilee hit, Olavina Udugore.
The message that physically challenged people are special and don't need sympathy, does not come across well in the film. Better narration by the director would have done the trick.
The story goes like this: Puttaswamy is an unattractive hunchback with a good heart, who fails to find a girl willing to marry him. He then accidentally meets a blind girl, Lakshmi and falls in love with her while keeping the fact of his deformity a secret. At the same time, he tries to get her eyesight restored.
In a parallel track, Surya, Puttaswamy's lookalike also has a girlfriend, who looks like Lakshmi as well.
Jaggesh is convincing as Puttaswamy but his double role as Surya is nothing to write home about. Gurlin Chopra, on the other hand, has done a neat job in both her roles. But it is Komal, as the marriage broker, who steals the show with his impeccable comedy timing.
If Manmatha is slightly above average, it is only because of Jaggesh and Komal.