Madha Mattu Manasi: A man’s painful rant about unrequited love

A still from the movie.

A still from the movie.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Madha Mattu Manasi (Kannada)

Director: Sathish Pradhan

Cast: Prajwal Devaraj, Sruthi Hariharan, Rangayana Raghu, Bullet Prakash

It is perhaps better to not take Sathish Pradhan’s Madha Mattu Manasi seriously.

At least that way, you will not get offended every five minutes.

But that’s difficult to do. Madha Mattu Manasi has the capacity to burrow its way into the mind of the most indifferent viewer and offend his sensibilities.

It is a love story but we really do not know much about the couple, except that Madha (Prajwal) saw Manasi (Sruthi) at a temple and decided that he has fallen in love with her.

Of course, as most ‘stalking is love’ films go, he does not care if Manasi likes him too. The important thing to remember is that he loves her and will do anything for her.

This is stretched to such an extent that when Manasi is raped, Madha steps in to say that ‘despite the incident’, he still loves her.

The filmmaker also gets in a few more voices praising Madha for being gracious enough to accept her. This, of course, is only after Madha performs a ‘purifying’ puja to render Manasi pure again.

Manasi then goes blind too. But the only take away for us, the filmmaker reminds us, is that Madha still loves her.

The melodrama reaches unimaginable heights and is couched in regressive dialogues and actions throughout.

The way the film deals with rape is only one example. It barely matters to the filmmaker that Manasi has not given her consent to Madha; in fact she explicitly says she loves someone else. But that barely deters Madha from creepily following Manasi, drinking water that falls from her mouth/bottle and so on.

The story itself is shoddily written even if the overall goal is to simply highlight Madha’s angst and unrequited love.

Most of the dialogues are a string of one-liners about the pain men go through after being rebuked by a woman. Women are flimsy and fickle-minded in contrast to men who are sturdy, resolute lovers, according to the filmmaker.

Now, even apart from the film’s regressive and outdated politics, Madha Mattu Manasi is a difficult watch. None of the characters are given any depth whatsoever.

The songs are ill-timed and too many. The dialogues are lazy and quite ridiculous too. There is one that stands out: In a scene in which an angry Madha screams at an idol of Shiva, he says ‘love is not a god, it is a rod’.

The explanation is that it is sharp and hurts, apparently. Then there are instances of weak film craft: photoshopped landscape images as transition shots and serial-like dramatic inter-cutting shots to name a few. Perhaps, the filmmaker too did not take his film seriously.

As the hapless romantic, Prajwal delivers a poor performance. Sruthi Hariharan looks as troubled as her character and understandably so. There is also an attempt to squeeze in a comedy track but it is full of horribly regressive humour about being fat and dark.

But after all of it, does Madha even get the girl? The climax is painfully long, melodramatic and disappointing.

If only a man like Madha understood that consent is a two-way street. Then perhaps, a film like Madha Mattu Manasi need not have been made at all.

Archana Nathan

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 3:51:30 PM |

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