Manmadhudu 2 Movie Review: A bumpy ride that fails to take off
Despite some powerful moments, the narrative of Manmadhudu 2 is thin, sluggish and fails to impress
Nagarjuna and Rakul Preet have teamed up with actor-turned-director Rahul Ravindran for today's release, the romcom Manmadhudu 2. A remake of 2006 French film Prête-moi ta main (I Do), the film, set in Portugal, charts the story of a middle-aged perfumer Sam alias Samba Shiva Rao (Nagarjuna), who is surrounded by his mother and three sisters, and doesn’t want any kind of serious relationship in his life.
Cast: Nagarjuna Akkineni, Rakul Preet Singh, Lakshmi, Vennela Kishore
Direction: Rahul Ravindran
While his family wants him to get married, Sam refuses and has a falling out with them. Though he has a preference for one-night stands, he is forced to relent when his mother insists that he get married within three months. She is worried that he might end up being a loner after she passes away. And so, Sam gets Avanthika (Rakul Preet) to act as his girlfriend and tells her to ditch him on the wedding day (Alludugaru, Greeku Veerudu, anyone?).
Ever since the film was named Manmadhudu 2, the team has been constantly reminding us of two things — one, it's not a sequel or an extension to the 2002 runaway hit Manmadhudu, also starring Nagarjuna and written by Trivikram Srinivas, and two, it is a legitimate remake of the French film.
We wonder then, why this Rahul Ravindran-directorial was named Manmadhudu 2, especially since it is no match for Manmadhudu in any aspect. Is it just because the protagonist is a playboy who likes one-night stands? Is it to show us that the 59-year-old actor is still young at heart and can pull off his favourite romantic avatar with ease? The attempt to satisfy these aspects only makes things go haywire and the interesting storyline takes a backseat.
Rahul has taken the core idea of the French film and given it a desi touch. But he is unable to explore the scenarios in-depth and only makes a repetitive and predictable mess that lacks emotional complexity. The screenplay exposes many of the script's glaring plotholes. Despite some powerful moments, the narrative is thin and sluggish.
Add to this the fact that the director has squeezed in an unnecessary subplot of Sam parting ways with his ex-flame Suma (Keerthy Suresh) because his family doesn't approve of their love story.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film as long as it stuck to the comedy genre. Especially the conversations between Nagarjuna and Vennela Kishore, who plays the former's loyal assistant. The scene where the duo recreate the popular emotional scene between Sivaji Ganesan and Rajinikanth in Narasimha had the audience in splits.
Manmadhudu 2 is thankfully a film that does not resort to body shaming women. Unfortunately, it has the men shaming each other instead, by making jokes about age, looks, and relationship status. Most of these jokes admittedly do get the loudest cheers. And Kishore steals the thunder frequently with his witty lines.
That said, the protagonist, despite being a playboy, makes genuine attempts to restore a woman’s dignity and defends gender equality by fighting violence and discrimination in a relationship. And this is a relief.
The film largely rests on the shoulders of its lead actors and there are some scenes where you empathise with them. But the story lacks soul and that is why we can't root for either of them. Rakul looks stunning and performs exceptionally well in the climax sequences.
Rao Ramesh makes his presence felt as Ithar Pushparaj. Lakshmi, as Sam's mother, occasionally succeeds in infusing some emotion into the proceedings. She lends credibility to the narrative with her earnest performance. Other actors like Jhansi, Devadarshini and Akshara Gowda deliver functional performances as Sam's sisters.
Save for a few comic sequences, Manmadhudu 2 is a bumpy ride that struggles to take off at the right time. The convoluted plot devoid of a strong emotional arc makes this a dreary affair.