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Manoharam Movie Review: A compelling film powered by earnest performances- Cinema express

Manoharam Movie Review: A compelling film powered by earnest performances

This week's Malayalam release is simple and uplifting--something that doesn't bore you with preachiness

Published: 28th September 2019

It's not every day that you see a film living up to its title. How confident must the makers have been to use a title like this? The film is 'manoharam' in every way, right from the cast to the storytelling.

Some individuals need to constantly push themselves and step out of their comfort zone in order to excel in life. As someone who had to do just that to get where he is now, I found this film so relatable. Vineeth plays Manoharan a.k.a Manu, a gifted artist who is too accustomed to his old tools that he finds it difficult to survive amidst the advanced photoshop generation. Handpainted posters and hoardings, though visually pleasing, are no longer in demand. And he is unable to find a bride because girls prefer someone who will be able to afford their monthly recharge bills. When news of a digital printing facility coming up in his neighbourhood reaches his ears, Manu feels threatened. He is told that he has no other option for him but to learn photoshop.

But there are other complications and setbacks awaiting him. He has to turn to a childhood rival Rahul (Deepak Parambol) to learn it and there is an unsupportive uncle Ottathara Prabhakaran (Hareesh Peradi) who always takes pleasure in his failures. The former is also a threat to Manu's ongoing romance with Sreeja (newcomer Aparna Das). Apart from his mother and two loyal friends (played by Basil Joseph and Indrans), Manu has no one else backing his efforts.

Director: Anvar Sadik

Cast: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aparna Das, Deepak Parambol, Indrans, Basil Joseph

When he finally figures out a way to make a name for himself and prove to everyone that he is better than what he has been made out to be, he is greeted by a new problem followed by another. It might seem a tad implausible to bombard the hero with one challenge after another--like the different levels of a video game--but as everything is done quite well, I don't see any reason to complain. And Vineeth is very convincing in the role. Every time Manu gets an anxiety attack, we feel as though we are experiencing the same.  It's good filmmaking.

Director Anvar Sadik stages all the tense moments in his life in a way that makes us care for him and root for him. And he is aided by some of the most exceptional character actors in the industry. Manoharam has the best casting in recent memory, after Thaneer Mathan Dinangal, of course. Deepak, Basil, Indrans, Aparna, and Hareesh are all aptly cast in their respective roles. Deepak once again proves his versatility by playing an unlikable character who has his reasons for doing what he does. But there is enough space for his character to redeem himself later. As usual, Basil is completely at ease and Indrans gets a respectable amount of screentime. And it's been a while since we got to see Hareesh Perady doing something different from the ordinary. His character is both hilarious and annoying at the same time. We all know a relative who is always looking for an opportunity to demotivate others. It's always a delight to see actors enjoying themselves in tailor-made roles.

It's easy to see why Vineeth agreed to do this film, his second collaboration with Anvar after Ormayundo Ee Mukham. It has some of his pet themes and the feel-good factor which Vineeth himself explored as a director in Jacobinte Swargarajyam. Though the story of an underdog overcoming all odds is simple and slightly predictable, Anvar and team bring an interesting approach to the story. Go for it if you want to see something simple and uplifting--something that doesn't bore you with preachiness.

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