Manyam Puli - Movie Review

Friday, December 2, 2016 - 15:00
Manyam Puli (2016)

Kumar (Mohanlal) has been a pro at ferociously hunting down the tigers on the prowl in the neighborhood forest.  When the beasts become ruthless, the frightened villagers approach him to do the saviour act.  And kills the tiger pronto.  

This adventurous and smart killer of tigers is an utterly lovely husband at home.  Wife Myna (Kamalinee Mukherjee returns) doesn't like her husband doing such risks, but then, Kumar knows how to win over her by talking about the emotional reasons.  

All is not well in Kumar's life, though. RK (actor Kishore of 'Chandamama Kathalu' fame), the bad cop who had lusted Myna five years ago, is back in the village.  On the other hand, Kumar and his brother could just be in danger because they are apparently being taken for a ride by Daddy Girija's (Jagapathi Babu) pharma company that claims to be making an anti-cancer drug using 'ganjai' as an ingredient.  The unsuspecting Kumar and brother are unknowingly part of this racket as they believe it's all for a good cause.   Somewhere, the element of yet another killer tiger on a rampage even as Kumar is missing, is introduced.

The second half sees the escalation of the sub-plots and the converging of all these sub-plots.  The climax is about how Kumar heroically rises to the occasion and eliminates his own and the villager's problems.  


This dubbed version of the Rs. 125 cr Mollywood grosser 'Pulimurugan' comes with a lot of Malayalam nativity, but from the beginning, there are healthy doses of heroism - a kind of heroism not associated with mass masala entertainers, but a heroism which is nevertheless appealing to the mass audience.  

The first 10 minutes of the film, which sees Kumar as a child plotting to hunt down the tiger which butchered his father, is breathtaking.  If Mohanlal's intro scene is qualitatively as good as the kind of intro scenes we see in massy Tollywood films, the kind of gradual yet imaginative tempo-building before the hunting scenes is a major plus.  Action choreographer Peter Hein and director Vysakh leverage their creativity to make the most out of such scenes where Kumar's emotional investment in saving the lives of his villagers is admirably played out and intertwined with the action part.  

That action is the film's soul is proved also by the fact that Kumar's guts come out unannounced but effectively in the adda of one baddie (read Khadar bhai).  It's moments like these where 'Manyam Puli' becomes a nice watch. 

Unfortunately, Mohalal's terrific act and screen presence is not complemented by the way the sub-plots are narrated.  The bad cop RK's attempt to rape Myna is narrated in a mediocre way.  Namitha as that suggestive Julie aunty doesn't help the matters either.  But what is even more old-fashioned is the track involving the hero, his wife, brother and the 'bava'.  Look at the episode: He drinks, she doesn't like it.  She shuts the door and he has to sleep outside with his 'bava' and brother.  At sunrise, she wakes him up like a lovely wife.  He affirms love and after some public display of affection, a duet-cum-family number follows.  Watching this, you wonder whether this is 2016 or 1996.  

When it's not a native superstar, elements like these are not appreciated as well as they would otherwise have been.  If the likening of Mohanlal to a 'pasi pilladu' who can be a Narasimhudu doesn't peeve us (note that this is a known line), it's because the Complete Actor is such an endearing persona. Otherwise, the dialogues are largely plain. At many places, they could have gone beyond scratching the surface. 

One feels the Daddy Girija-Kumar track should have been peppered with spice. Not of the bathroom-peeping variety, though.  In these portions, Kumar's knack is found wanting except when he is meticulously bashing up the baddies.  

Showing brawn and heart-felt emotions with elan, Mohanlal becomes the lifeblood of 'Manyam Puli'.  He is very endearing from the start.  On the flip side, the other members of the cast don't make much of an impact, including Jagapathi and Kamalinee.  

For all the inspirations here and there, Gopi Sundar's music is largely enjoyable.  Peter Hein and the graphics department are a big plus on the technical front.  


The action adventure 'Manyam Puli' starts off on an interesting note, but reduces itself into a formulaic story later on.  The backdrop of hunting is what makes it unique at the conceptual level. Mohanlal's one-man show. The action episodes are its forte. The cinematography and BGM are two of the other highlights. But nativity problems mar it in no small measure.

Reviewed by: 
Vishwanath V