Cast: ANR, Nagarjuna, Shriya, Naga Chaitanya, Samantha
Music: Anoop Rubens
Producer: Akkineni Family
Direction: Vikram Kumar
Radha Mohan (Naga Chaitanya) leads a stressful and unhappy life due to his stubborn wife Krishnaveni (Samantha). They have a six year old son named Bittu. Radha and Krishna decides to break their marriage but they die in a car accident before the divorce.
After 30 years, Bittu aka Nageswara Rao (Nagarjuna) is a billionaire. He happens to meet Nagarjuna (Naga Chaitanya), a replica of his father, on a plane. Nageswara Rao (Nagarjuna) strongly believes that his mother could have born again the way his father did. After a search of few days, he finds Priya (Samantha), a replica of his mother. Now his goal is to create love between Nagarjuna (Naga Chaitanya) and Priya.
Meanwhile, Nageswara Rao (Nagarjuna) falls for Anjali, a doctor, at first sight. Through her, he happens to meet Chaitanya (ANR), a patient of Anjali. Rest of the film deals with Chaitanya’s (ANR) history and how Nageswara Rao (Nagarjuna) unites Nagarjuna (Naga Chaitanya) and Priya.
ANR has got a limited screen space. He has done justice to his role with his trademark expressions and dialogue delivery. Nagarjuna is the spine of Manam. He totally changed his body language and dialogue delivery for the role of Nageswara Rao. He showed his class in the role of a Zamindar in flashback. Naga Chaitanya is natural as Radha Mohan. But Nagarjuna has dominated his son in combination scenes.
Samantha has got another important role(s) in Manam. She makes you hate her as a stubborn wife. She is at ease as bubbly Priya. Her combination scenes with Nagarjuna are a treat to watch. Shriya is okay in both the roles. Amitabh Bachchan made a guest appearance to pay tribute to ANR. Akhil Akkineni made a dynamic entry during the climax. He is ultra stylish.
Brahmanandam, Ali, MS Narayana and Posani are wasted. Sapthagiri once again delivers a rib tickling performance.
Technical standards and creativity have competed with each other in Manam. Every technician has done justice to the film. PS Vinod’s cinematography is a visual feast. He went into minute details as the story takes place between 1930-2013. Rajeevan’s art work is fantastic. Prawin Pudi’s editing is good. Anoop Rubens music is so soothing to ears and so is his BGM.
Vikram Kumar’s story is novel yet silly. However he has successfully grabbed the interest of audience with his gripping and simplified screenplay. His direction is of top notch. Harshavardhan could have come up with better dialogues. Though there were many scenes which provided scope for funny one liners, his pen has not been witty.
Though Manam has been projected as an Akkineni’s multi-starrer, we can safely say that it is a Nagarjuna’s film in which ANR and Naga Chaitanya have played very important supporting roles.
Manam once again proves that you can sell a silly concept if your screenplay and characterizaions are good. Vikram Kumar has designed every lead character beautifully. He cleverly linked those characters to their past lives. He also used properties like clock tower, vintage cars and even a thermometer cleverly to take his story forward.
In spite of few flaws, Manam gives you the happiness of watching a good film while stepping out of the theater. It would not have left this kind of impact if the lead actors were not from the same family. Seeing ANR as Nagarjuna’s son and Nagarjuna as Naga Chaitana’s son is real fun. The presence of three generations from one of the reputed families of Tollwood has injected magic into Manam.
On the flip side, ANR’s background and his goal fails to grab our interest as his story is repetitive. Manam would have been perfect if Vikram Kumar had given a new dimension to ANR’s role. The director also wasted major comedians in unimportant roles. Heroic guest appearance of Akhil may impress Akkineni fans but it is not at all necessary to the film. His elevation scene has polluted the feel good factor in climax.
More than a film, Manam is a magical experience. It is a decent farewell to one of the legendary careers of Indian Cinema. Other than being ANR’s last film, Manam has got hundred other reasons to wach it. Don’t miss this romantic comedy drama.
Film Circle Rating: 3.5 on the scale of 5