From the word go, R.P. Patnaik’s Manalo Okkadu is a persistent attack on the egos within the media. The actor-composer-director throws light on how an innocent lecturer from a college is wrongly framed by the media as a molester and his journey back to dignity. Manalo Okkadu is very old-fashioned in its execution, especially in its black and white portrayal of the media. Making the television channels his target, he portrays it as though nothing but money works in the industry and ethics always take a back seat.
In the first hour of the film, R.P. Patnaik focuses on Krishnamurthy (played by himself) whose life goes topsy turvy after a molestation charge. From the watchman, his flat-owner to his wife, none trust his innocence. He loses his job and is ostracised from society. The lack of evidence adds to his woes. Only his childhood friend stands by him through the struggle.
All along, there’s no entertainment to keep a spectator engaged. A man with tattered clothes and a wine bottle keeps taking satirical digs at the new lows of media. The monotony hurts. There are capable actors - Tanikella Bharani, Nasser, Sai Kumar and Banerji - to keep the proceedings afloat. The portions involving Jayaprakash Reddy, a mockery on expert panels in television channels, provide humour. Anita Hassanandani’s presence remains futile.
However, the film’s biggest minus is R.P. Patnaik himself. Neither does he succeed as a filmmaker nor as an actor. Most of the sequences seem staged and not for once do you feel the character’s emotional turmoil.
Stretching close to 150 minutes, the film lacks any cinematographic and musical appeal. But for the climax twist, where you’re genuinely surprised, the lack of a narrative high hurts its cause. Perhaps, that’s the reason you relate with the Yesudas’ track titled ‘Kalikaalam’.
Cast: R.P. Patnaik, Anita, Sai Kumar
Music: R.P. Patnaik
Director: R.P. Patnaik