5 January 2005 | mervkv
better than average film
Don't let the first 15-20 minutes of this film fool you. The first time I tried to watch this film, the first few minutes gave me the impression that this would be another boring, shoddy melodrama (which is unfortunately what most Malu movies are). I stopped watching Manasinakkare about 10 minutes into it.
Good thing I decided to give Manasinakkare a second chance. After sitting through the first half hour, I was hooked.
This film is not so much a melodrama as it is a thoughtfully written and unusually well made film. I believe the number one rule of film-making is to never insult the audience's intelligence. This cardinal rule is broken by the majority of Indian films I've seen (especially Bollywood), either because of glaring plot holes or overly sappy sentimentality. Manasinakkare, however, is an intelligent film that was clearly made for an intelligent and demanding audience. While the film obviously is sentimental, it never lays on the syrup too thickly.
While the pacing is unhurried, it never lags. All the scenes in this movie are there to drive forward the plot. Just as natural as the dialogues is the characterization. There are flawed characters in this story, but not one of them is portrayed as a villain. (Can you imagine-- an Indian film without villains!) Instead, both the "good" and "bad" guys in this film are well rounded characters who could easily be people you'd meet in your own life.
Manasinakkare is the simple story of a society coming to grips with the new wealth it has gained from India's rapid economic growth. Due to centuries of poverty, Indian society relied extensively on tight family bonds to survive. Now, with the explosion in wealth, India faces the problem of how to adapt traditional family values to the irresistible flow of modernization. This is the problem faced by Kochu Thresia (acting legend Sheela in a comeback performance), who raised her children through grinding poverty to great financial success.
Now that her sons are busy chasing after money, they neglect their lonely widowed mother. By chance, she meets Reji (Jayaram), who earns a small living raising poultry. Reji and Kochu Thresia slowly become friends as he gives her the attention and respect that her own sons deny her. Meanwhile, Reji has problems of his own as he keeps an eye on his father's (Innocent) drinking problem.