Mankatha Movie Review
Cast: Ajith Kumar, Trisha, Arjun, Anjali, Lakshmi Rai, Prem G Amaran, Andrea, Vaibhav Reddy, Kainaat Arora
Direction: Venkat Prabhu
Production: Dhayanidhi Alagiri and Vivek Rathnavel (Cloud Nine Movies)
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography: Sakthi Saravanan
Ajith has the guts to don a negative role in his landmark golden jubilee film. ‘Thala’ has enacted the role of a police officer trying to loot a huge sum from the underworld dealers. Venkat Prabhu, who has a special liking for the game cricket, has chosen to look into the dirty game played behind the scenes in the name of betting. Instead of going deep into the menace he has opted to concentrate on the war between various players who want to grab the betting money. The movie is all about greediness and ruthless desire of different people with different backgrounds to earn huge money.
The film, set in Mumbai, opens with an effort to kill an accused person (Arvind) by police. The hero makes a flying (literally) entry into the spot before the bullet reaches the target. Vinayak (Ajith Kumar) saves the accused person by killing the police personal.
Vinayak has an affair with Sanjana (Trisha), daughter of Arumugam Chettiar, who is an underworld player involved in betting and smuggling. Sanjana introduces him to her father without knowing the background of her father. Vinayak gets suspended but his act earns him the friendship of Chettiar, as Arvind is Chettiar’s lieutenant.
Chettiyar has to channelize 500 crore betting money during IPL finals. He has planned it perfectly but he has some hurdles in the form of special police squad headed by Arjun to curb betting and redeem the huge money. Vibhav, a member in his gang secretly plans to loot the money with the help of a tainted police officer and a cranky IIT graduate (Prem G Amaran). Vinayak joins them and the operation gets hotter.
The team successfully loots the money. Chettiyar and the police are frantically hunting for the small gang. The team gets split because of the greediness of a couple of team members. Vinayak and Vibhav are desperate to get back the money but Vibhav is caught by the police. Premji escapes with the money with the help of a call girl Sona (Lakshmi Rai). Vinayak wants to get the money at any cost. But he has to face Arjun, who is equally tough guy.
Who gets the money and how is the rest of the story.
The title has a tag line saying “strictly no rules”. Venkat Prabhu’s story and screenplay justify this statement perfectly. The director has presented a story based on betting, gambling, and looting of huge money with some nuances. He has portrayed the greediness behind the whole operation well.
Venkar has made the movie interesting by making his script fast paced. He has filled the script with lot of twists and turns. He has made use of the huge star cast to make the proceedings interesting and attractive. Though the first half drags a bit the second half compensates with its pace. The climax is a real surprise.
On the flip-side, Venkat Prabhu has thrown the sense of justice out of the window in his pursuit to make an interesting film. A filmmaker has the right to represent the versions of the so called baddies but when unabated greediness of the lead players causes the looting of huge money and loss of large number of lives, the director should keep a distance from his characters. Prabhu has presented the whole thing without any sense of justice. You can tell the story of some greedy and ruthless persons but how can you celebrate their triumph?
Moreover, Venkat hasn’t looked at the way huge money is being generated illegally through cricket matches. He has chosen a sensitive issue but failed to present it with its complexities.
Coming to the logical dimensions, the credibility is missing in the looting operation and Ajith’s ‘dream’ plan to get the money is a boring experience. Prem G’s character is a clichéd one. Andrea and Anjali have been wasted.
But the surprising climax and the fast paced second half compensate for these flaws.
As mentioned earlier, we have to appreciate Ajith for donning a negative role with aplomb without any pretentions. His body language, casual style, dialogue delivery, and his expression of greediness have come out quite well. He also scores in romantic and comical scenes. He looks out of place when it comes to dancing.
Arjun as a smart police officer fits the bill perfectly.
Trisha as an innocent lover impresses a lot. She looks beautiful and dances with ease. Some of the close up shots betrays her age.
Lakshmi Rai sizzles in a small character with negative shades. The tall beauty is able to turn serious without losing her natural sex appeal. There is nothing much to do for Anjali and Andrea.
Jayaprakash has become a seasoned actor, who can handle any kind of role. He has handled the negative role amazingly well. Premji provides some comic relief. Vibhav and Aravind are effective.
Sakthi Saravanan’s camera work is a smart act. He has done especially well in fighting and song sequences.
Yuvan Shankar Raja has provided some peppy numbers (ex: Vilaiyaadu Mankatha) and a couple of melodies (En meni nee) which are appealing. His background score is fine and imaginative.
Acting by lead actors, especially Ajith and Arjun, Yuvan’s music, Shakthi’s cinematography, and fast paced script.
Lack of vision, dragging first half, and unconvincing scenes.
Venkat Prabhu’s Mankatha is appealing for its different backdrop and interesting script. But the film lacks broader vision about the issues that affect society like cancer.
Mankatha: Style statement of Ajith