Manmadhan Ambu Movie Review
Star Cast: Kamal Haasan, Surya (Cameo), Trisha, Madhavan, Sangeetha
Direction: K.S. Ravikumar
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues: Kamal Haasan
Banner: Red Giant Movies
Production: Udhayanidhi Stalin
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Cinematography: Manush Nandan
Editing: Shan Mohammad
Padmashri Kamal Haasan teams up with director KS Ravikumar once again with Manmadhan Ambu after ‘Dasavatharam’ which made huge waves in 2008. Kamal takes charge of story, screenplay and dialogues besides essaying the lead role. Trisha is sharing screen space with Kamal for the first time in her career while this is Maddy’s second film with Kamal after Anbe Sivam.
There’s little of K S Ravikumar in the film as well, but it’s a Haasan film throughout. Kamal has tried to give a complete entertainer with an intriguing story woven around romance, sorrow and angst in almost equal doses. Though the movie don’t disappoint during the first half, post the intermission, the tone of the movie changes, and you’re not really sure if that’s a good thing. The mood becomes frothy and the slapstick you haven’t been looking for, suddenly overtakes all the characters.
Ultimately, the tender love story is lost in the process, and you can’t help but feel a pang.
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Manmadhan Ambu Trailer
Ambujakshi aka Ambu alias Nisha (Trisha) is the number one heroine in Tamil cinema. She is in love with Madhanagopal (Madhavan), son of rich industrialist couple (Kitty and Usha Uthup) and basically a Mama’s boy. Madhan and his mom happen to visit Ambu on the sets of a song picturisation in Kodaikanal with top hero Surya (playing a cameo).
Possessive by nature, Madhan mistakes her when she speaks to Jyothika and Suriya’s daughter over phone. Madhan and Ambujakshi pick up quarrel and eventually ends up in an argument. Madhan, who had been to present a car to her as gift ends up travelling in the car with her arguing and the car bangs into another car coming from the opposite side in Kodoikanal Hill Road.
Following the freak mishap, the couple has a bitter fight and an emotionally disturbed Nisha calls Madhan a ‘Sandeha Prani’ (suspicious guy) and part away.
To take off from pressures of work and personal worries, Nisha decides to take a break from her career on a European cruise with her friend childhood Deepa (Sangeetha) who is a divorcee with 2 kids.
On the other hand, Madhan approaches Major Raja Mannar (Kamal), an ex-army man to spy Trisha’s movements. Mannar takes on this job to meet the medical expenses of his friend (Ramesh Aravind), a cancer patient.
Mannar sets out to Paris and later on a cruise where Ambujakshi and Deepa been to. Mannar, who after following Ambujakshi closely finds out that she is a upright and a sincere girl, who thinks of no one but Madhan. When he informs this, a relieved Madhan backtracks from the promise he made to Mannar.
Hence Mannar hatches a conspiracy and comes out with a story saying that she is actually dating a man. An insecure Madhan now comes to Mannar again and urges him to stay there and follow her more closely. Meanwhile, coming to know of Madhan’s act, his parents go dissatisfied with him. Actually his mother wants him to marry one of their relative (played by Oviya of ‘Kalavani’ fame).
As it happens Mannar and Ambujakshi come to know each other. Mannar reveals that he was a commando in Indian army and that he was married to a French woman, whom he rescued from militants in Jammu Kashmir.
But Ambu is in for a shock when Mannar says she was killed in a recent mishap at Kodaikanal and that too when a luxury car knocked her down. All is now between Ambujakshi and Mannar. What happens from here on is narrated in an interesting manner. Did Madhan get Ambu or he repent for his act forms the climax.
As far as performances go, there’s really nothing to say about Kamal Haasan that hasn’t already been said. The man owns the screen, especially the flashback romance, and his sorrow for his deeply-suffering friend. His compelling, effortless portrayal of Major Mannar is the highlight. His dialogues are realistic and hit the nail on the head.
Trisha continues to perform well (carrying on from her VTV days), and actually emotes. And for the first time in her career she has dubbed for herself and it is a revelation and certainly adds greater strength to her character.
Sangeetha overshadows all the other artists in her natural and spontaneous performance. She excels with her dialogues, body language and expressions.
Madhavan, though looking older, does an excellent job as the jealous lover, and keeps you laughing through the slapstick parts. His debonair and suave looks in the initial scene accompanied by the right kind of body language for a rich industrialist fits the proceedings aptly.
Surya, in a cameo as Trisha’s co-star in her film, brings the roof down.
Ramesh Aravind and Oorvasi, though in short roles, bring tears to your eyes.
Malayalam stars Manju Pillai and Kunjan, who play producers running behind Trisha for dates, strike with their comical performance.
The ship, Splendida, is a character in itself, and almost out-performs everyone else.
cinematographer Manush Nandan makes a big impression. The man has simply run rings around luscious locations such as Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Venice and Kodaikkanal, bringing in the sun and the wind right into your face. He deserves a dozen pats in this Kamal’s venture.
Kamal Haasan is there right in every department. Be it the dialogues or the subtle silent expressions, he is breezy and entertaining. He is as solid as Sachin Tendulkar, fresh even after completing 50 centuries on the Test cricket ground. His one-liners and the agile stunt sequences are a delight for audience.
Dialogues are enjoyable in some places like the scene where Sangeetha says – matrimony may not be good but alimony is.
Under music director Devi Sri Prasad’s compositions, Oyyale stays in mind and the other numbers are just about satisfactory.
Background score could have been better.
In typical Crazy Mohan fashion, all the characters suddenly arrive at one point, kid around each other and though there are genuinely funny moments, they seem contrived. There’s the mandatory toilet humor (overdone) and all the comic mandates that keep everyone in fits of laughter.
The live recording evokes mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s a different feeling, listening to the actors talk in real time and know what they really sound like; it increases the intimacy. Yet there are times when the extraneous sounds play spoilsport.
K S Ravikumar who understands the semiotics of film making has attempted to narrate the story in his style but its languorous pace works against it. Although the story is interesting, the film unfolds very slowly and does not gather momentum at any stage. The script sparkles in patches and fails to engage the audience completely.