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Never seen it before

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY

`Manodu' is a refreshing statement on society that we are a part of.



IN THE CROSSHAIRS A still from `Manodu.'

The film Manodu... (One of us) is impeccably cast with newcomers, 65 of them. The director's remarkable talent for matching archaic ideology with contemporary life sustains the mood till the very end. The whole meaning of existence, for which some people search their entire lives, can be glimpsed in every frame loaded with poetry and sentiment. Ram has done a phenomenal job of directing this powerful piece, successfully using action and sentiment to make the brutal honesty of the movie palatable.

Vishwam (Bharat) is a young man who views life like an over-used toothpaste tube. Drained and frustrated financially, the volatile man feels that goodness is no asset to be passed on as inheritance. The film travels at length to show how a man who loathes poetry becomes a poet reeling off life's lessons and, before you think that's the end of the story, there's an interesting turn, thanks to some parable provided by the man's mother. There is everything that you look for: romance, action, and the best part is that the movie does not suffer from "seen-it-all-before" syndrome. The film could have ended with gangster Raghu's death, but for some overstretched climax which heads for a seemingly storybook ending.

It's not everyday you see rowdysheeters in Hyderabad distributing localities amongst themselves for `paisa vasool dandha'; it's not everyday you see a don asking his mistress to be included in an item number in a film; it's not everyday a gangster in a Telugu movie looks cool and handsome. And it's not everyday you feel in an auto-rickshaw, after the film, that the movie is still on. The hallmark of a great movie is that we continue talking about it long after the film is over. No matter what your opinions, this movie will move you to take a stand about ideology, crime, relationships, and how to approach life. You also see that the director makes for an interesting actor.

Ram as one of the dons displays the right combination of strength and vulnerability. For comic relief, a few characters serve as `jokes' as they are indicative of each individual's personality. Manodu inspires us to look honestly at ourselves, our passions, and our actions in society.

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