Manu – Movie Review

Why is this even a film? Kya majboori thi?

Here’s what I think happened (and I’m told this actually happened, more or less): Phanindra Narsetti, the writer-director-editor (of short film Madhuram fame) got an story idea for a short film. But then again, he thought why make a short film when you can pace down the 30-min content, stretch it to 3 hours and make a feature out of it? Then he called Chandini, who readily agreed.

80% of this film was shot in slow-mo for reasons best known to the crew. How can you not get bored of a door being opened for 5 f**king minutes? How can you tolerate slow-mo shot after slow-mo shot of just people’s legs while walking? Even dust in the air gets slow-mo shots. FML. I’m not exaggerating – this is supposed to be a 30-minute short film (I’m still not saying it’d be a good one, but you get the drift). Half of the dialogues in this film are just people wondering/saying/asking out loud obvious things. They’re as useless as “What’s up?”. The outcome would always be “Nothing”. The other dialogues aren’t really easy on the ears either. What was the need to be extremely extremely and needlessly poetic AND philosophical with each and every dialogue, really? It’s as if each word was written to bowl the audience over and show them what a great writer Narsetti is. I still gave it time, thinking maybe it’d get better, but after a point it just gets too much.

The film’s ridiculousness knows only one way, and it soars higher and higher until you wonder if this shit-fest can get any more stupid, and THEN IT DOES IT AGAIN! Ridiculousness may still be okay, but after a point there’s creepiness sinking in. One particular scene ups this creep-quotient to a crescendo, and I wondered why I have to put myself through this shit. For you. I watched this cringe-fest because you shouldn’t. I took one for the team, you guys.

I strongly believe directors shouldn’t edit their own films. Except maybe RGV. Clearly, Narsetti is OBSESSED with and mesmerized by his work – which is why we get to watch 2.5 hours of extra footage. The narcissism is written all over the film. Anyone who is even a but self-critical will edit out half this film, regardless of however much it means to them. At one point I actually wondered why the “crowd” funded this film.

It’s not like there’s solace to be found in anything else within the movie. You’d think the background music is good, but give it time, and it gets on your nerves. 60% of the time, the same BGM plays. It irritates the crap out of anyone. The film is drenched in dull tones, and some visuals are clean, but there are one too many RGV angles and zillions of slow-mo shots to spoil the experience for you. It’s easy for screenwriters of films in this genre to blame bad writing on non-linear screenplay, but make no mistake here: this is clumsy writing. It could have been way smoother. The performances aren’t something the audience will remember, either. The actors probably will, because honestly this could easily be their best work to-date, but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Chandini has to do the heavy lifting here, and she hardly manages to do justice. Sure, she’s good in some scenes, but falls flat in most others. In films like this, inconsistency is unforgivable. Raja Goutham’s beard masks most of his expressions, if any. It could easily have been some other actor playing this role.

At 3 hours (which feel like 6), Manu is probably Narsetti the dad’s favorite kid – he nourishes her, dotes on her and is extremely and CLEARLY proud of her. She eventually ends up being a twisted, crushing bore. Next time, sir, get your kids a mom who will cut the crap out of them!

I’m going with 1 out of 5! Nope, don’t watch it.

All the images used are screenshots from the film’s official trailer on YouTube. Featured image courtesy The Hindu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.