Mana Oori Ramayanam came with little to no buzz – so much so that when I told people I was going to watch this film, many asked me if there was even a film by that name. A Telugu-Kannada bilingual (Idolle Ramayana in Kannada), this film brings to the fore those stories which happen in our everyday lives but go unnoticed only because they don’t make noise.
Through a drunk Bhujangayya’s one-off hookup effort with sex-worker Bangaram (as she asks him to call her), played by Priyamani, we are taken on a ride that switches gears between comedy and thrill ever-so-gracefully. Set in a vibrantly-lit small town where stage adaptations of Ramayana are still a thing, cinematographer Mukes’s lens navigates through narrow lanes and temple premises painting the small-town charm just as beautifully as it captures the Prakash Raj – Priyamani duo make awkward faces, shout at each other and in one amazingly directed scene, shed a tear or two, and all this within the confines of a cramped little room.
A collective effort of 5 national awardees and all other equally good cast and crew, MOR is a refreshing experience. A little shy of 2 hours, the film takes its time to set up as it lazes around the goings-on in the town – harikathas and stage plays and Prakash Raj’s association with Satyadev and his sittings with his friends. However, enter Priyamani, the film picks up steam progressively and the woman’s act is nothing short of brilliant. She inhabits the saree-clad ‘family-type-looking’ Bangaram completely, giving her not just the necessary oomph but also a depth which comes to fore as the film progresses. Also caught up in this web of events are Shiva, an honest auto-driver played to perfection by a charming Satyadev (give this dude good roles already!) and film-director Garuda (Prudhviraj).
The most interesting part of the film has to be its second act. The third act, the one with an important confrontation, is a source of several moral takeaways. It is worth mentioning here that nowhere is the film overly dramatized. It’s all so simple and neat. Credits are due to the effective, crisp dialogues by Gopisetti Ramana and Prakash Raj.
Prakash Raj and Priyamani are of course in full form here. Satyadev and Prudhviraj are on point. Those with minor roles also shine.
I cannot think of any reason why you shouldn’t give this film a chance. Go watch it!
I’m going with 3.5/5.
Rating: Worth buying on Blu Ray 😀