Mankaatha - Movie Review

6:25 PM Shanky 4 Comments

Just before the interval, Ajit plays chess and rehearses his moves to eliminate his partners. He would declare with finesse and arrogance "I am the King... maker!" That is when u sit up, smile and tell yourself "Bring it on baby!". The movie is about four rogue friends trying to complete a heist. Now money is evil, the only thing more evil is the desire that it creates. With 4 rogues, one planner and so much money the film heads into a topsy-turvy roller coaster ride that you shall enjoy. This is the first true multi-starrer for Venkat Prabhu, the director of the movie. With 2 Established heroes, 1 upcoming fellow, few sidekicks, 4 heroines... phew that is a plateful to handle. Venkat Prabhu has done a decent job in helping the male stars to shine as much as they can while the female stars have little to no role to play. The movie line is such. 

Getting "Inspired" is not new to Tamil cinema or even for Venkat Prabhu. So is the case with this movie. Many scenes, especially in the first half remind you about many movies like Italian Job. Even the characterisation in the movie follows the typical Hollywood heist movies. A Tech expert who is scared to death, a black sheep police, a guy who can get vehicles and money etc... Then comes the "god father" who is a veteran at heists and points out the gaping holes in the plan, offers help and voila you have successfully completed the heist. This movie is no different from such movies but don’t you get your hopes high, cause this is not Hollywood and we in Tamil industry seldom give any importance to the finer details or the task at hand. We live by a simple rule of distraction. Distract the unassuming poor Tamil film-goer with songs, lotsa glamour and rich party scenes. There you go... that completes a Hollywood style heist movie by a Kollywood director.

Venkat Prabhu has visibly struggled in the first half to establish the details about gambling and how the industry works. Clearly shows lack of confidence and also lack of research on his part. Might have thought that Ajith will carry the movie and people won’t mind seeing some stupid drunk scenes and Trisha's sexy tattoo. Oh! did I forget to tell you that the movie has four heroines and none of them seem to be lending weight to the story or the script? They are just instruments in the movie and are used and then thrown away. The worst of the lot is Andrea who features for exactly 3 scenes in the movie. Whatay waste of talent! But then, when there are other models and Lakshmi Rai ready to bare for the songs why waste money on the other heroines? Action King has helped in pulling some good dialogues but fails to impress in his role as the special officer. 

Music was good but not the best of Yuvan. But the BGM was well reproduced and very catchy. BGM lends half the weight to the scenes where Ajith's character is the main stay. The songs are not something you will remember for long, except for "velayadidu Mankaatha". One particular song has good graphics with the room interiors and dresses of Ajith and Trisha changing as the song goes on. But I thought it was an advertisement for some interior designing company or paint or may be furniture. Even the choreography was akin to ad film. Cinematography is stylish and complements the mood of the scenes in every frame. A great job I would say, as a cinema viewer. 

Till interval you are left with an uneasy feeling that you have wasted money on this one and that Ajith is never going to return to his previous glory. That is when Ajith decides to turn this movie and your opinion on its head with the Chess scene. That scene is like a teaser for what is awaiting you along with the hot cheese pop corn and diet coke (yeah, the irony of life!). After the interval, the movie does what we Indians are best at doing - reverse engineering. Now on, no one will care about how the money came or how the owner was robbed off it, all we will concentrate is how it is going to travel and end up in the hands of the person who it was supposed to go from the beginning! Venkat has cleverly worked backwards and has done a great job in the second half. 

A good movie like this will keep you guessing about who it is or what is going to happen. You, even for a moment think you are right and give that see-I-told-you-smile at your friend in the next seat. Then the cheeky director gives a twist leaving you open mouthed and thinking - "Anga kondu poya vachanunga twisht eh?" This movie has plenty of such moments in the second half and you are sure to enjoy them with a sheepish grin. This is the time when Ajith takes his previous glory, amalgamates it, shines it with brasso and then showcases for the whole world to see. Ajith has delivered his magic in this film, finally! 

If Mankaatha was a 4 course meal then the soup was pathetic, starters was below average and the main course was just about average or may be a little above. However, it packs a knock-out punch in dessert and an out of the world after-meal mint. What that means is while you come out of the theatre you are talking about the dessert and the mint and only the next day your stomach tells you (in this case brain) that most of the meal was average, to say the least. Mankaatha is worth a watch even two if you are an Ajith fan!

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  1. Nice review dude!
    If I split the review into a four course meal, then the first three were average or just about, but the dessert, outstanding :)

  2. Nice one. Yet to watch... Think, i ll be a little confident after this review that it will be an 'atleast' good Ajith movie after a long long long time...;)

  3. Very true about Trisha's strategically done tattoo! Distracting indeed! But 2nd half being marginally better doesn't mean the movie is watchable or Ajith was back to his former self! No way when u watch him in movies like aasai, vaali,kandukonden, Kreedom even...Some scenes/dialogues were close to jarring my bones- his obsession with money for one! If you mean to say, that was to distract the audience in order to portray Ajith as the "bad ass" here, I guessed Arjun was also 'in' the heist after the poorly orchestrated Andrea kidnap scene! Venkat prabhu cud very well have done away with most of the 1st half( even the skin show) and concentrated less on 'setting up' the audience or the mostly unlaughable humor. The end result - a close to 100 min thriller, which 'surprises' the audience nevertheless and cud have become a hit. But becoz of things like star worship and commercial elements, he spoils it for me( and every right thinking individual), 20 mins into the first half!

  4. Absolutely spot on machi :) If I were to shorten my review and put it crisply... It will be the above comment :)


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