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Manmadhan Ambu: Hits the bull’s eye

Appeared in expresso, the daily supplement of The New Indian Express on Tuesday, 28th December 2010

Movies scripted by Kamalhaasan have always provided fodder for the grey cells. When a potent mix of humour along with a strong subject comes your way, which is what K S Ravikumar's latest directorial, Manmadhan Ambu (Cupid's arrow) is, rest assured that you have an entertainer.
Ambujakshi (Trisha), a successful actress who believes in long-lasting relationships, is engaged to Madanagopal (Madhavan), a leading businessman and a mama's boy, who is wary about her conduct with other actors and suspects her fidelity, leading to their breakup. Madan now deploys Major Mannar (Kamalhaasan) to spy on her. He travels in the same cruise liner that she and her friend Deepa (Sangeetha), a divorcee, do and gives constant updates about her activities, under the agreement that the medical expenses of Rajan (Ramesh Aravind), a cancer patient, are fully borne by him. A series of twists and turns, mostly rip-roaring, in the second half that also include Malayalam actors Manju Pillai and Kunjan, leave the viewers clutching at their bellies.
Certain dialogues between Deepa and Ambujakshi and Madan and Mannar about male and feminine stereotypes respectively give the impression that the director had sought inspiration from the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus!
Ambujakshi, as an ambitious woman, is reminiscent of Jessie, Trisha's character in Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya, and deserves special mention. It is not too often that a heroine, that too in a Tamil movie, criticises the film industry for running after fair-skinned ladies having little diction over Tamil.
The sequences in which Madan talks about life and women to Sriman (in a cameo) and over the phone to Mannar about his suspicions in drunken stupor are hilarious. Manmadhan..., however, takes time to position itself as a comedy movie (only by the second half). Kamalhaasan, needless to say, puts in an impressive performance, as does Sangeeetha.
Devi Sriprasad's music score, for a change, blends with the movie and is pleasant on the ears.

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