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Manithan Movie Review

Review Overview

Screenplay and Direction
Technical Aspects and BGM

A compelling courtroom drama!

Overall, Manithan is a compelling courtroom drama with outstanding performances, earnest screenplay and solid technical values.

Cast: Udhayanidhi Stalin, Hansika, Prakash Raj, Vivek, Radha Ravi, Iyshwarya Rajesh & others

Cinematography: Madhi

Music: Santhosh Narayanan

Editing: Manikanda Balaji

PRO: Nikkil Murugan

Story: Subhash Kapoor

Dialogues: Ajayan Bala

Screenplay & Direction: Ahmed

Produced by: Red Giant Movies

Distribution: Fox Star Studios

Release Date: 29-04-2016

Run Time: 02:30:00

In Manikandan’s utterly charming Kaaka Muttai, he delved deep into economic inequality and media sensationalism with a subtle commentary on the ‘system’. In Vetrimaaran’s Visaaranai, he left no stone unturned to expose shortcomings in the law and made a vociferous commentary on the system. In director Ahmed’s Manithan, an official Tamil remake of acclaimed Hindi film ‘Jolly LLB’ starring Udhayanidhi in the lead role, the judicial loopholes are depicted more comprehensively to show a side of vulnerability (of the poor) or the highhandedness (of the stinking rich). While the first half of Manithan exemplifies the rich-poor divide in subtly constructed sequences complimented by a lighthearted treatment, the second half, which also metamorphoses into a gripping courtroom drama, lays bare the uphill task of a common man to even have an opportunity to win justice.

The film has a straightforward narrative and a simple story-line – the rise of an underdog advocate (Shakthi, played by Udhay), who harbors dreams of making it big in Madras High Court following a falling-out with his girlfriend (Divya, played by Hansika) in his hometown Pollachi, where he has been practicing law and waiting for a breakthrough to earn the trust of his father-in-law.

Upon reaching Chennai, Shakthi gets embroiled in a high-profile hit-and-run case, where he gets to grip with Adhisheshan (Prakash Raj), one of India’s most respected criminal lawyers. Prakash Raj’s exquisitely supercilious attitude blended with an unflattering wry smile makes him an absolute delight to watch on screen, lending more intensity to the character Adhisheshan competently.

The stellar supporting cast – Radharavi as the judge, Prakash Raj as the defense lawyer and Aishwarya Rajesh as the journalist indefinitely longing to avenge the death of her best friend – is the lynchpin of the film, which also stars Hansika as a school teacher in a rather worthy role compared to recent career choices, despite her short screen time here. But, the genuine surprise is the role of Justice Dhanapal, played by veteran Radharavi. With an adorable nonchalance, he enacts the role of a judge with uncommon elan in the initial stages of the film and with supreme verve when the story approaches the climax. Watch out for countless exhibitions of grandstanding from Prakash Raj and how a thespian like Radha Ravi could steal the thunder in a single scene.

Easily, Manithan is Udhayanidhi Stalin’s most excellent lead role choice in his career and it is safe to say he has definitely come off age as far as acting goes. He fits the bill perfectly as a naive lawyer and stands his ground as a star litigator when locked horns with a seasoned actor like Prakash Raj.

Technically, the film is held together by Madhi’s colorful visuals, especially in the superbly shot montages, and Santhosh Narayanan’s rousing background score that strikes a chord with audiences. Brownie points to director Ahmed for handling the source material with respect and not tampering it by adding hackneyed ideas in the name of adaptation. The dialogues, especially in the climax showdown between Prakash Raj and Udhay, have the power to tug at your heartstrings.

Overall, Manithan is a compelling courtroom drama with outstanding performances, earnest screenplay and solid technical values.

Manithan Movie Review Rating: 3.25/5

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