"Manmadhan" ... showcasing Silambarasan's talent.
SILAMBARASAN'S IMPRESSIVE story telling skills find the right platform in Indian Theatre Production's much-awaited venture, "Manmadhan" (A). The hero takes on the onus of story, screenplay and direction supervision for the first time and displays a reasonable level of maturity. Set in an ambience of partying and pub culture where values hardly matter, "Manmadhan" unfolds the lifestyle of Madhan Kumar (Simbhu), a budding auditor and music college student. Young girls for whom morals mean little are singled out and tracked down. Soon they go missing. The number of such cases increases and assigned the task of catching the culprit is police officer Deva (Atul Kulkarni). When he finally zeroes in on the killer, Simbhu introduces a new twist to the bloody tale.
If confession is a virtue Silambarasan ought to be commended for the candour. For, in the course of the film he himself mentions the similarity the character has with "Guna" and "Sigappu Rojakkal." Also like in "Indian" wrong doers (here it's women) meet a gory end. But "Manmadhan" has a further suspense, which is maintained well till the very end. In a story of a serial killer, plausibility cannot be used as a yardstick. Yet what has been narrated has been coherently done. Snags there are the college girl Vaishnavi's (Sindhu Dhulani) lame reason for getting married to a country bumpkin is one.
The lengthy dialogue when Madhan expands on his views on women is rather tiring.
You feel like patting him on the back and saying, "Relax, we understand." And is the rubberstamp "Corrected Machi" shown after every murder necessary? Rather immature.
"Manmadhan" proves that Silambarasan is also evolving as an actor. Without resorting to finger gimmicks and word power, he acquits himself creditably, especially in the high-strung, emotional scenes. A slim Jyotika is an apt foil. Chirpiness, sadness or fear, her eyes convey emotions with ease. And even when she over-reacts in "Kushi" style, you can't miss the cuteness. You can understand why Mandira Bedi and Yana Gupta are in "Manmadhan." But what Atul Kulkarni is doing there in that five-minute role beats you.
If the final twist enhances the film from the usual, Yuvan Shankar's outstanding background score elevates the sequences to a mesmerising plane.
"Manmadhan" showcases the best of Yuvan's composing prowess till date. The musical arrangement at some points is out of the world! Among the songs, "Thathai... " is a foot tapping number and Vaali's mischief with the lyrics should go down well with youngsters.
N. Muthukumar's expressive lines and scintillating tune of "Kadhal Valarthaen ... " sung very well by K. K. is another feather in the composer's cap. Sadly the song appears in a flashback that is already saddled with too many songs, and hence tries your patience.
In fact, the narration could have been tauter towards the second half. Why does the hero have to fly in air in Superman style even in solemn song sequences? "En Aasai Mythiliyae ... " is a remix and a letdown.
R. D. Rajashekar's camera and lighting add the right amount of pep and suspense to the narration. Also, Antony's editing and Venky's unobtrusive graphics warrant mention. Rajeevan takes care of the art.
Thankfully, duets and dances are not in distant lands but on well-structured sets, with offbeat props and psychedelic lights to boot. Yet when you witness the same once too often, they become too much of a good thing.
That Silambarasan has been groomed in a milieu steeped in cinema is evident in the fact that even at such a young age he has been able to come out with a cohesive tale of revenge, remorse and retribution.
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