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O Manishi Katha: Oft told tale

Jagapati Babu and Kalyani

Jagapati Babu and Kalyani  

The title itself suggests that it is not a regular commercial movie but is aimed at family audiences. O Manishi Katha is a story that you wouldn't mind reading in some weekly magazine. Made with a duration of one hour fifty two minutes, this story looks to have been wrapped up in a shoe string budget.

Ramu (Jagapati) runs a small dhabha and Sita (Kalyani) carries milk to his place. They fall in love and marry but one night when the former is away, his trusted friend, a lawyer, rapes Sita and she kills herself.

A distraught and a vengeful Ramu goes to the city but undergoes a change of heart after the criminal’s wife and daughter shower affection on him. The so-called big twist to the story arrives when a guest attempts to rape the lawyer’s wife and Ramu kills him and goes to jail. The film begins with Ramu being released on parole and ends with the lawyer, his wife and daughter visiting him after he returns from jail. Because of the opening scene, the entire story gets predictable even before the first hour of the film is up. The amateurish direction and background score makes one cringe, the comedy episode featuring Kondavalasa is force fit and only escalates the agony of watching an outdated story. The most ridiculous part of the film is Jagapati carrying a knife singing ‘ ninnu veedani needani nenu’ and trying to scare the lawyer (Ravi Verma) time and again.

Performances are near perfect from the ensemble cast but are ineffective when such a story has a snail paced narration. Too many references to the epic Ramayana make it all seem pompous. The finale portrays Ramu as a saint, a god, a do-gooder who prefers to live alone in his small home with his wife’s memories. Kalyani and Jagapati’s chemistry is evergreen, and the former still looks beautiful and brightens up the screen as long as she lasts. Once she is gone the story and dialogues get very dramatic. Even a small kid has been given heavy lines to deliver, for instance when Ramu looks for water, the kid says, Yenti uncle meeru antha amayakanga unnaru, water bedroom lo yenduku untundi? Fridge lo untundi.

Jagapati is doing fine work, selecting versatile roles. He should be choosing his cinema with wisdom and not fall for such subjects at this juncture. Ravi Verma has a striking personality and has the potential to become a successful character artiste, one film and the tables could turn for him. All in all, it is a wasteful weekend outing.

O Manishi Katha

Genre: Family Drama

Cast: Jagapati Babu, Kalyani

Direction: Radhaswamy

Music: Vijay Kurakula

Plot: Man turns saint in the process of seeking revenge

Bottomline: Outdated and criminal waste of time

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 9:10:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/o-manishi-katha-review-oft-told-tale/article6708089.ece

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