Sudhish Kamath's Pad On The Net

Mankatha: Ajith plays his cards right, finally

Ajith’s character does not exist in the film. That’s the ending.

He’s a figment of Vaibhav’s imagination. The Keyser Soze. The dangerous diabolic villain Vaibhav ‘Verbal Kint’ makes up as he comes up with a story he makes up in the interrogation room from plot points he remembers in Tamil films.

First Vaibhav creates a Nayakan character. A Dharavi don, we don’t know if he’s Nallavara Kaettavara (good or bad?).

Then he makes the Nayakan Don marry him off to the girl he loves like Mammootty does for Rajnikant in Thalapathy.

They plan a heist involving a geek hacking into the traffic light system of the city, like in the Italian Job. And there’s Ajith sporting his natural greys like Clooney in Oceans.

There’s a hint that he’s making up stories from Tamil films he watches because there’s a Kamal Haasan poster in his room and he’s sporting the same beard as Kamal. In a Trisha-Ajith song, there’s a song from Kireedam playing on the TV behind.

Vaibhav makes up this story about an imaginary character called Vinayakam played by Ajith and walks away into the sunset with “500 crores. Ainooru Kodi. Money. Money. Money. Money.”

Mankatha da!

Gotcha suckers! Was kidding. I made up that ending, to mess with those who are reading reviews before watching the film. “My f***ing game”.

On a serious note though… The pop culture nods/references are so many that you think you’ve cracked it but Venkat Prabhu keeps messing with your head, the references just used to tease and nothing more. Just as you think it’s going the Ocean’s way, it’s not. You think it’s going the Italian Job way, it’s not. You think it’s going the Usual Suspects way, it’s not. You think it’s going the Reservoir Dogs way, it’s not. It’s a fairly original film, even if long-winded and a tad conveniently slapped with a twist ending.

Personally, I would have liked one of the other boys in the film to emerge as the hero in the end but I guess mainstream Tamil cinema is not ready for that yet.

After Aaranya Kaandam, Mankatha is one of those rare Tamil noir films. Neo-noir, like the Thiagarajan Kumararaja film, with all its pop culture tributes, plot derivatives and spins on film noir narratives.

If at all you hear the film is ripped off from such and such film, it’s because whoever told you that has probably seen only that one film in that genre.

Noir is not just treatment, noir is a genre with a clearly identifiable template and recurring themes – evil dominates, almost every character is grey or black hungry for money and could kill for it, the deadly femme fatale, allies turning against each other, betrays, greed… you get the idea, a complete exploration of all that has to do with the dark side of human nature.

Calling it a noir film does not automatically become a compliment just like calling a chick flick a chick flick does not by default make it a good film.

I won’t get into the plot details (though it is pretty much what is expected from the genre template) but hats off to the director to take the genre that typically explores the dark side of man and turn it into a completely light-hearted mass entertainer. I can think of wickedly delicious and dark crime comedies that employ the noir template but it’s one of the first films (Farhan Akhtar’s Don did this too) that takes something that is primarily dark (and hence restrictive in reach by genre) and turns it into a celebration of the morally bankrupt by a mainstream hero worshipped by millions without failing to glorify its “hero” who is in reality the scum of all scums.

As the opening titles roll out, Venkat Prabhu gives you the first hint – Mankatha – Strictly No Rules. There are no rules for this “hero”. He drinks to the point of total memory loss, he cheats on his girlfriend, manipulates friends for his own gain and wouldn’t think twice about killing anyone. Yet, he’s still the Thala – that stupid sobriquet that blurs the line between the star’s real life persona and the character he plays in films. I hope he uses his head and drops that Thala baggage at the earliest.

Stars play the same role again and again in all movies (MGR, Rajni, Vijay, Ajith) because people pay to watch them do the same things while actors do different roles again and again (Sivaji, Kamal, Vikram, Suriya, Dhanush) because people pay to watch them do different things.

In recent times, we have had some stars preferring to do actor roles (Vijay with Kavalan, for eg. or Rajni with Enthiran) and some actors preferring to do star roles (Suriya in Aadhavan or Singham or Vikram in Kanthasamy) and that’s where our problems begin because here we have this blind idiocy of hero-worshipping the guy who can beat up people on screen.

He maybe bald, he may have a paunch or a triple chin or be as tall as a midget in real life, does not matter. As long he has a sobriquet (Ilaya Thalapathy or Thala or Little Super Star or Captain) and fan clubs, there will be idiots around who will pay to watch them do the shittiest movies in history of Tamil cinema and also have the nerve to defend them.

Which is why I respect Suriya, Dhanush and even Vikram (his Chiyaan is just based on a character he became popular for), unlike this Worship-Me-I-Am-Your-Leader self-styled sobriquets… Thala or Thalapathy, that flaunt their ambitions of being the Thalaivar (leader). There is no doubting that Ajith can act, so can Vijay. Like all actors do, why don’t they just do their jobs instead of being on this narcissistic trip of being worshipped by fans?

So I would be the first to applaud Ajith for taking a step in the right direction and playing an actor who essays a role that’s usually used to describe the villain.

Which brings us to the problem area, that in the context of our cinema for the masses, fans are so blind and loyal that they actually think that by virtue of the hero doing certain things considered inappropriate, it becomes acceptable and legitimate to do that.

Now, I watched this film with hardcore fans of Ajith on the first day. So it was disturbing that they seemed to applaud the fact that he would drink to the extent of memory loss every night. Like he just echoed their thoughts. I heard some of the most obscene, sexually frustrated comments every time Lakshmi Rai or Andrea made an appearance and I am really wondering if the time is still right for us to make a film where the hero can play evil, not grey… completely and absolutely evil, with no redeeming feature. Almost.

Spoiler alert (Highlight to read): If he is that unabashedly evil given the number of people he kills in the film, would he need the friend or ally when he could technically keep all the 500 crores to himself, instead of splitting it? Why not kill the friend as the last ultimate move of villainy? But no, this is commercial movie. There has to be some good to make Thala likeable. With this ending generating feel good, Mankatha becomes a complete celebration of greed just like how fantasy films celebrate the good. 

The morals are a little unsettling in the Indian context of drunk fans and blind hero worship, at least given the bunch of people I shared the hall with. The last thing we want is drunk folk going around calling women “thevidiya mundais”.

To Venkat Prabhu’s credit, he uses quite a few alienation techniques to remind us that this is all just a story not to be taken seriously… there’s green blood to make it more children friendly, the jokes are of the nature of your best friend spoofing cult movie moments, the stunts are unbelievably larger than life and the really bad visual effects like glass shattering ensure that you always know that it just campy, cartoonish pulp fiction that you are watching, especially with Premgi’s presence (I found his quips to be the best part of the film) and Mahat. Good to see Action King Arjun and Laxmi Rai given something to play with but not enough but the rest of the cast, including Trisha, Andrea, Anjali, only get extended cameos. It’s quite nice that Venkat Prabhu is creating these small heroes who can support the smaller filmmakers – In addition to Shiva, Jai, Vaibhav, Premgi, Sampath, Arvind Akash, now add Mahat & Ashwin to that list.  The biggest bonus is the goof reel at the very end that assures kids that it’s just a bunch of friends having fun making a film, playing a game rather, and that who dies and who does not is immaterial because it was just a story to be forgotten instantly.

Mankatha is just that. It is forgettable but fun while it lasts. But it lasts too long. Ajith is given ample scope to perform and play a badass and this is probably the best role he has done in a while (considering Billa didn’t involve acting, it just needed him to show up to work and walk, Vishnu even keeping dialogues minimal). It’s refreshing really to see this side of Ajith. Make sure you stay till the end credits to see him have a blast on the sets, enjoying himself. As an actor mature enough to play his age or take digs at his own paunch, Ajith is evolving into a down to earth, likeable actor.

Venkat Prabhu does not seem to have the heart to cut anything out of his though quite a bit of it is indulgence as expected from a mass film made for fans on the occasion of the 50th film. He also has no heart to cut out the rest of the ensemble and makes sure he gives them all a song each at least and quite a bit of importance than you would usually not find in a solo hero film.  The result is a long film with which songs feels even longer though Yuvan does rock the score, the violin bit with slow motion action choreography being one of the best parts of the film.

Though it’s more thought out than most heist films made, the convenience with which everything is tied together in the end is a little disappointing. It’s as if the masses wouldn’t understand if it were any more complicated.

In the end, we have a film that looks more smarter than what it really is. Venkat Prabhu wins the guessing game (though you may guess the ending from a throwaway scene earlier on in the film) not by outwitting you playing by the rules but by cheating. Sorry, bongu.

But then, the tag line warned us. Strictly No Rules.

Rating: 6.5/10

P.S: I really hope Ajith and Vijay soon get tired of the hero-worship (and drop Thala / Ilaya Thalapathy from their names) and do their jobs as actors more often. The first step towards becoming a more serious actor is getting rid of the baggage that comes with the stardom. Yes, I am guilty of cheering for Vijay in the past too when Thirupaachi and Sivakasi came out. You know what that got me? One bad film after another. They kept making the same film again and again with him to the point of irritation that even the badly directed Kavalan seemed like a good break. The greatest disservice to an actor with potential is to worship a bad film. Stop defending the Aasals, aas***l*s.

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82 responses

  1. Krishna

    Hi

    Nice review. Saw the movie and was refreshing. Just one thing to clear is that Ajith is the only actor in recent times, to dismantle his fan clubs, only a few months before his 50th movie. He is also the only actor that I knew of since my birth to have dropped the title given by his fans “ultimate star”. He is truly an actor who just doesn’t want any heroism tags. Even in Mankatha there is a scene where Vaibhav slaps Ajith. Which other hero would do this? It is very unfair to compare Ajith with any other actors. That’s the only point to which I beg to differ.

    I too like you, sincerely hope that Ajith carries on doing author backed roles rather than Asals etc., When potential is there within him, he should chose the right scripts – no non-sense script. Consistently doing do, he will become an actor par excellence.

    Kudos to Ajith who with such a mass appeal to have disowned the Ultimate Star title and dismantling his fan clubs and choosing to play Vinayak. Fresh breeze of air…

    Thanks
    Krishna

    September 1, 2011 at 5:19 am

    • sudhishkamath

      Yes, I heard about the dismantling of fan clubs. I guess it’s one step at a time and he’s taken the right step forward. Cheers!

      September 1, 2011 at 6:01 am

      • santhosh

        y should he drop thala name tag…. he already dropped ultimate star name tag….for ur knowledge thala is the character name in movie dheena….. ur review is not good. u seemed to be fan of dwarf(surya). vikram. chyan is also a name tag isint. do u went blind while writing the review… first ly… u shut the eff up

        September 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      • Abhinandhkumar Santhakumar

        The only way to make your contribution to tamil cinema is by reviewing decent movies which star the so called lesser heroes…
        eg Muran, Avan Ivan, Engeyum Eppodhum, Naan Kadavul, Kattradhu Thamizh etc.
        The best movie of the year is a tie between muran for its brilliant storyline and screenplay, or avan ivan for its raw humour and vishal’s masterclass.
        But you don’t … because it is much better for your blog hits if you review the mankathas, kandasamys and sivajis…..
        You may come up with some lame excuse but machaan, fact is you fell prey to commercialism.
        Mankatha was a mediocre entertainer… ajith was good and the rest were pretty ok. Ajith and vijay are more or less on even keel to be honest…. ordinary actors with a tremendous following…..

        and Lakshmi Rai was called a thevdia munda cuz she was one, (in the movie) and is one (in real life) and men reserve the right to call thevdias as thevdias…. The rough english equivalent is slut or bitch… which seems acceptable to your pseudowestern/ hinglish sensibilities….
        PS – Ungalukku dhaan englees theriyumaaa nangalum pesuvomla?
        And i loved one of your hindi film reviews….. some lame movie… and your review went “and then?” … brilliant. Keep it right up.

        October 18, 2011 at 1:16 am

    • நல்லதம்பி (தலதளபதி சலூன்)

      //Even in Mankatha there is a scene where Vaibhav slaps Ajith. Which other hero would do this?//
      Rajni did this several times, in one movie (I don’t remember the name) Vadivukkarasi does something to Rajni, Even in shivaji Sumen kicks him. You can name all the heroes, Surya, Vikram, Arya, Vishal, Dhanush, barath, Ravi etc etc.. Ajith is only latest to the party.

      Actually speaking, todays generation has dropped All this Stardom hunting, and became more Script oriented actors, that something forced even Rajni to do actor roles. Thats the main reason for the failures of Ajith, Vijay even Kamal Hasan in recent years. We are not in the ages of Star’s movies, we are in the ages of Director’s movies. I give my respect to Ajith, You can say Ajith is the only person who spoke up against the Hero-Worship (In an event to celebrate Former CM), I really Have respect for him on doing that.

      September 3, 2011 at 10:06 am

      • karthick

        Hey dude , those heroes from rajini to end simbu, has got hit pretty hard by villians. But remember one thing they agreed to do those stuff, when they are not consider as stardom..Will u saynow , any stardom actor will be get kicked by villians . No way ..Only Ajithkumar who accepted to do this stuff, eventhough he earned reptutation of huge fan base..Still ajith is ready to get hit hard , as he consider role, not showing heroism .

        Ajith kumar is the only hero who reveals his age in the mankatha .
        Will any other actor ready to say there age? chanceless .

        Ajithkumar showed his barebody in the movie mankatha,even he got belly,
        Will anyother actor shows there barebody in a movie with a belly?no way.

        September 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm

  2. Ashwath

    More than your opinion about the movie I totally bow down to your take on the ‘hero-worship’ scenario prevalent in tamil cinema. Thats the way things have been. The hardcore fans are more like selective parasites. Choose to follow the badass stuff done by their thalaivar, and seldom the good ones preached. Sickenin to see vijay rockzzzz, ajith rulezzzzz.. The Following comment then argues for the extra ‘z’ added.
    The fans seriously need to grow up big time! Sony music south had a tough time handlin comments over facebook between fans of ajith and vijay. With respect to movie, nice review. I just felt premji was a let down. Came out with a average performance when compared to chennai28, saroja. His arima-black sheep spoof was the only good scene by him. The scene just before interval- revealing the plot in his mind thingy- was excuted well. Hope you can actually help create a change in the way tamil film functions, by takin the issue to ajith himself sometime. Kudos!

    September 1, 2011 at 6:36 am

  3. How dare you say about Thala? This is a bad review.Sudhish no nothing about Thala

    Thala rockzzz

    September 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

    • raj

      Thala sure regret to have fan like u…

      September 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

  4. I am a die hard Ajith fan. A nice review for the 50th movie! Please dont compare Ajith with any other heroes. Personally, I hate people comparing and debating skills of Ajith and Vijay. And please dont think we fans would follow what Ajith does in screen!

    Hope Ajith does some more roles of this kind with ULTIMATE perfection! ;)

    September 1, 2011 at 7:40 am

  5. Nas

    Do you not realized that ‘Thala’ is also based on a character Ajith becomes popular, ie Dheena? Very hypocrite from you.

    September 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

    • sudhishkamath

      So they have to call him Thala in all films? I see. Oh yes, because he plays Dheena in most films huh?

      September 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  6. Ashwath

    *Sigh* slaps forehead. Bane/woeful fate of tamil cinema!

    September 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

  7. Once again, I really liked your honesty. And the bit about Ajith’s bad-language. I have no great issues with cuss-words on-screen (hey, I liked Aaranya Kaandam) – but they need to be effectively used, and with discretion. I (as I’ve already explained, I think :) really liked Ajith’s work. I appreciate the fact that he’s had the guts to dismantle his fan-clubs, and drop his title. He still does have the Thala hangover, though.

    That whole yelling bad words at Laxmi Rai – it was jarring. It may been intended to be cool, but it wasn’t. And of course, we’ll have legions of fans going around spouting the same stuff because Thala does (I remember you saying the same thing when 7G Rainbow Colony came out – you said men would now go around chasing girls because it was ok to do so). Yes, Ajith needs to be applauded for veering away from conventional masala roles – but methinks VP could have gone with something more substantial. But you already know that. :)

    September 1, 2011 at 11:59 am

    • Ajay

      Lol.. You liked his honesty in reviewing movies??Feel sorry for u..:P

      As everyone knows the character Vinayak played by AJith is meant to be a devilish kind of role..Why dont you take it as a character rather relating it with AJith’s personal?

      May I know what else can you expect from a devilish corrector?

      September 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      I really admire Ajith even more for disbanding fan clubs after seeing these idiots comment. He probably realised it was this sea of idiots that were not letting him to explore roles as an actor. They want to see him as Thala in all films. The earliest he shakes off the tag, the better for him.
      Also, there’s a difference between Selvaraghavan’s sense of realism that makes his characters all the more dangerous because they are real and they legitimise such behaviour. The number of girls teased in MTC buses with Variya is not funny. Here Venkat Prabhu uses many alienation techniques that make the film larger than life and hence, not real. Including the goof reel in the end. So it’s slightly more responsible filmmaking than 7G Rainbow Colony, which otherwise was great cinema.
      I am sure that the character was probably justified using bad language (him being the bad guy and the girl being a total bitch anyway) but the issue becomes problematic only because of the star image he has and idiot fans who crave for a hero to worship…because they have nothing else happening in their lives. Why do people need a hero to worship? I understand Rajnikant, he has decades of proven good if not great cinema to back his stature. Ajith has barely half a dozen films that qualify as good – Aasai, Amarkalam, Vaali, Villan and Billa. While he was very good in Varalaaru, the film was one of the worst films made with his character justifying raping the girl. Already, the sexual frustration of these guys in the halls is scary. They sound like they would rape Laxmi Rai if they see her given the comments they pass. And the last thing we need is their Thala saying it’s ok to rape if she called you frigid.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      • santhosh

        nice review u dum ass…. get a life.. its just a move… if u dont like na then watch some thing else… no need to go gaaa gaaa about it… if ur impressed then y the fuck u care to write a review… just to get some hits in ur site.? u are using this move to establish ur self as a good reviewer … which ur not… where the fuck is ur honesty when adavan,ayan,kandaswamy came out… ho i get it! people wont read that review isint… on behalf of thala fans iam proud to say Fuck you :-)

        September 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      • sudhishkamath

        I was right here when Kanthasamy came out. http://sudhishkamath.com/2009/08/22/kanthaswamy-cockman-chronicles/
        How do you manage to say Fuck You when you have a mouthful of cock? Admirable.

        September 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

  8. Thamizh

    Yes, I am guilty of cheering for Vijay in the past too when Thirupaachi and Sivakasi came out.

    Nice review dude.I appreciate you for honestly accepting that you have been an aas***l*

    September 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      I still maintain Thirupaachi as an action film had it’s focus right with a racy screenplay. Just that I am tired of him doing the same old shit.

      September 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm

  9. dushyanth

    good

    September 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm

  10. Ajay

    Wow U rocks man.:P.. You are such a biased reporter I have ever seen..
    What does this para means?

    “Which is why I respect Suriya, Dhanush and even Vikram (his Chiyaan is just based on a character he became popular for), unlike this Worship-Me-I-Am-Your-Leader self-styled sobriquets… Thala or Thalapathy, that flaunt their ambitions of being the Thalaivar (leader). There is no doubting that Ajith can act, so can Vijay. Like all actors do, why don’t they just do their jobs instead of being on this narcissistic trip of being worshipped by fans?”

    Doesnt you realized The Title “THALA” also based on a cine corrector Ajith becomes popular among the fans??What the exception does you feel in Chiyaan’s case??Doesnt you feel u r biased when u see ur own face in the mirror Mr.Sudhish??And coming to Surya..lol such publicity monger. Ajith never comes forward ask the fans to worship him as Thala in all his movies..Doesnt you have at least a sense to understand these worships are all for the Movie hype and make mass appeal among the mass fans by the movie directors..?
    Hypocrite at its very best :P

    Get a life u (as u mentioned Aasal as aas***l*s.)

    P.S .better just concentrate on your reviewing movie rather poke ur nose into actor’s personal.. Cheers..

    September 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      You are also very good corrector. I like you because you make my point stronger. :)

      September 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    • Giri

      Sir, may I know where you conduct your English tuition classes? I want to join.

      September 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      • sudhishkamath

        Application rejected.

        September 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    • Chandrasekar

      Leave surya out of this…he s awesome on and off screen.

      Why dont you concentrate on defending Ajith ‘rather poke nose into actor’s personal’?
      ‘Cheers..’

      September 8, 2011 at 3:23 am

  11. aswin

    dai ne oru padam direct pani nadi…oscar kudupanga…B)
    Thala nu kupta unaku enga da eriyuthu??..cinemave kandipidicha matri elutha kudathu.
    change tis kinda attitude of urs…pls stop writin reviews fo Tamil mvz…if u don lik tamil mvz pls don watch..

    pls do reply fo me to ma mail…wanna talk wit u…:))…bye

    September 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      Hahaha! Idiots like you only make my point stronger.

      September 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      • Salim

        that was a gud review sudhish.. u reali did wat a reviewer had to do..but about that “thala tag” i think u sorta reali support surya and others…pls just don compare Ajith with others.. I liked the comment “And coming to Surya..lol such publicity monger” by Ajay.. u know he reali is…
        And 1 thing these surya, vikram and others reali dont have the kinda fans that Ajith and Vijay have, then its obviuos that there wont be any titles on them and so and so…
        Once again u did a great review..
        but u reali suck as human being buddy..

        September 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      • sudhishkamath

        Repeat after me R-E-A-L-L-Y :)

        September 2, 2011 at 2:25 am

      • santhosh

        machi … dont get tooo smart da….

        September 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    • Karthik

      Ha ha.. you are such a loser.. he is a review writer for God’s sake not a director..

      September 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm

  12. The way I see it, these titles/sobriquets become necessary as we refer to our actors from down south by their first name. It doesn’t just stop with actors; that is how things work everywhere in South India. I myself do not have a proper second name. I grudgingly use the ‘Reddy’ because, at places, I am not left with any other option.
    In west, the system is thankfully different. When I say Robert, I could be referring to De Niro or to Redford; which is why we all stick to the last name. Even Bollywood isn’t that bad when it comes to names.
    My point is, just a first name like Vijay or Ajith feels incomplete. I noticed you yourself felt the need to mention ‘Action King’ before Arjun’s name.
    I am not defending it, but pointing out why it is being done.

    September 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      Ajith Kumar is a perfectly nice name. What’s wrong with it?

      September 2, 2011 at 2:26 am

    • Common Sense

      How many Ajith Kumars are there in our industry?! 5? 10? NO. Just one.

      September 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      • Yes, but there are a lot of Kumars. Here, the emphasis is on the first name rather than on the last.

        September 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm

  13. poda sunni

    September 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      Hahaha!!

      September 2, 2011 at 2:23 am

      • Chandrasekar

        Love ur response sudish :)

        September 8, 2011 at 2:32 am

      • Sunder

        Sudhish – Why do you even answer these morons?! They take criticism as if they are being criticized!

        September 10, 2011 at 3:58 am

  14. ash7

    I read ur piece for review but all it seem to have his ur sermon. Boss, whats wrong if we fans call him thala. Whats ur problem in that.
    Rest appreciate ur flair of writing. Hopr u can add some sense in the writings too and stop being preachy. Now its ur blog and u can write watever u want.

    Sorry if i am sounding like a front row seater. Just my 2 cents.

    September 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      Was that sermon, advice or just irony? Haha!

      September 2, 2011 at 2:22 am

  15. Karthik

    Brilliant review.. I am happy that this was not a rip off.. venkat prabhu again proves that he makes movies just for fun.. though the movie is full of “Thala”, always appearing when a door opens (mass effect maybe?) it felt good that it was not inspired. Premji was awesome as always and the plot was good enough for me.

    Some of the letdowns
    1. Movie was over hyped for what it turns out to be.
    2. The shooting scenes seemed surreal.
    3. Too much of ‘Thala’.

    September 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

  16. I think its a very much in-depth, neutral, unbiased review which just reflects what you think.
    I want to make some comments to this review – After all a movie is made to make money and for that some things are inevitable.
    I enjoyed Ajith smoking, sleeping with diff girls, drinking.
    But in real life, I wont even stand near a moron who smokes. I simply hates that habit. I am enjoying a particular scene doesnt mean that I encourage that or I will do that.
    A super point of your review is mentioning about the end of credit blooper scenes which would explain this is just a movie and they had good time while shooting though playing against each other in screen.

    September 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm

  17. Great Review! Is it the director who forces in the ‘ Thala ‘ / ‘ ilayathalapathy’ dialogues or is it the actors themselves?? Anyways hats off for the unprejudiced review. It is a welcome break for Ajith after a slew of below average movies like ‘aalwar’ , ‘aegan’ , etc.

    September 2, 2011 at 4:59 am

  18. BC

    I got to read your article after a very long time. I used to read all you write in Friday Review and Metro Plus over 10 years ago when I was at school.

    Keep up the Good Work.

    PS: I was cursing you yesterday after reading the first few lines before watching the movie :)

    September 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

  19. Vishy

    Hi Sudish ,

    For a Dav’ian like you and me , Hero worship would definitely irk !! But We got to see the larger picture !! When I was doin a small social service in on e of the slums in North Madras , I just found the number 1 entertainment for people is Cinema !!! They literally jus live and breathe it !! And same goes with the people Down South/interior TamilNadu !! There isn’t good recreation for the common man other than Tasmac and Tamil Cinema !! So no suprise there is a mad following for Ajit and branding him the “Thala” , U can call them Dimwits but I would blame it on the City/State/Country rather !! I met Ajit a yr ago and asked him abt the same !! He was quite concerned abt fans wasting their time on what he does/what he wears / where he goes and he was trying his best to make them not think of him always!!!

    September 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm

  20. chitradeepa

    Saw Thala rock in Mankatha yesterday! First time i am seeing him on big screen!!! mankatha was to me like playing some online virtual game or video game. Post interval movie was superb. Until intermission, it was a bit dragging and I was restless for the intermission title to be flashed. It was fun watching the movie with my twins. totally enjoyable!

    September 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    • hafiz

      even though i didnt like to be a fan of anyone i converted into his fan lol

      January 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm

  21. icecool

    Hey sudhish wish you could do a thamizh film review show in one of the gec’s which will be quite unbiased am sure. Cheers

    September 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    • Yeah! rope in the big actors.. Like what you did for a short time in NDTV Hindu. Maybe in another channel. Would love a talk show!

      September 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm

  22. More than your opinion about the movie I totally bow down to your take on the ‘hero-worship’ scenario prevalent in tamil cinema. That’s the way things have been. The hardcore fans are more like selective parasites. Choose to follow the badass stuff done by their thalaivar, and seldom the good ones preached. Sickening to see vijay rockzzzz, ajith rulezzzzz.. The Following comment then argues for the extra ‘z’ added.
    The fans seriously need to grow up big time! Sony music south had a tough time handling comments over facebook between fans of ajith and vijay. With respect to movie, nice review. I just felt premji was a let down. Came out with a average performance when compared to chennai28, saroja. His arima-black sheep spoof was the only good scene by him. The scene just before interval- revealing the plot in his mind thingy- was executed well. Hope you can actually help create a change in the way tamil film functions, by taking the issue to ajith himself sometime. Kudos!

    September 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm

  23. Well said Sudhish about stars and actors !! There is a saying ” never argue with idiots”.. As u said it only makes ur point stronger…Lousy guys , they will never learn :P

    September 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm

  24. On a serious note , is the Passion for making GOOD MOVIES dying ? All I see that the main aim of making a movie is to get back multiple times the investment . Hardly good movies coming out these days . Shame on Kolly,Bolly and Tollywood .

    September 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

  25. Eugene

    Sudhish More than yourreview, am loving your replies!!! Lol samma :)

    September 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

  26. hai im from pune bt hv Cn many madrasi muvis in colage … Duz dis muvi hav wimen with stomaks pouring out of saris ? plz replay also tnx fr reweu

    September 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

  27. sarath ramakrishnan

    Ha ha , sir the comments themselves will attract the entire web traffic to ur site , thank you so much for accepting all the comments , readers delight :-D

    September 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

  28. Ashwin

    Hahahah comments are hilariously stupid. I wonder how proud your “thala” would be seeing these.

    September 2, 2011 at 8:02 pm

  29. Bharath

    absolute laugh riot the commments are :) …Kamath the man kamath the comments !!!

    September 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm

  30. Rajesh Madhanagopal

    dude.fabulous review and i really loved ur bashing of sobriquets…Rajnikantha and Kamal Haasan earned it while the remaining bought it and thrusted it on a bunch of hooligans who will spend their time in defending shit…

    September 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

  31. luv2fly

    Sudish, Lost respect for you as a critic after this pathetic review. It is ironical how much your review resembles the movie. Pretentious and boring.
    I respect TR and Perarasu,where the film-maker/viewer quotient is very clear. You get you what you want. No confusion.
    After a couple of decent films, and a lot of hype, Venkat Prabu leads you to expect an intelligent heist film with cultural references. And, it screws up big time.
    No screenplay whatsoever. Myriad sub-plots followed by mindless songs. What is the need for such a ruckus about cricket betting? The gang might have as well burgled the chettiar’s house, no difference. The last 5 min has this interesting twist, but has no meaning when referenced with scenes that precede it in the second half.
    Ajith looks pretty cool, but it stops with that. Build-up after build-up. And, you have this admiration for thala who has done a character as opposed to a mass masala action hero. I’ve lost count of the number of slow-mo walks and grand entries that he makes. Ajith refers to action king and he in turn calls ajith thala. Disgusting. Who are you kidding. This is anything but a mass masala film cloaked as a cult film
    Ajith drinks and smokes a lot and it all it does is legitimize and mirror the thoughts of every drunk and sexually frustrated ajith fan in the theatre.
    Premji is supposed to bring in the humor element. He is a gold medalist from IIT and and is a hacker that uses mere ip addresses to effectively hack security systems. what a hoot.
    And, yuvan;s music. what a low. If you want to see “an action bit with violin choreography” done right, watch his own score used in Aranya kanndam.
    The film’s tagline should have been “Strictly No STORY”.

    September 3, 2011 at 8:59 am

    • sudhishkamath

      I have no problems with Tirupaachi. I have a problem when he tells me Tirupaachi 15 times over. Also VP films don’t take themselves seriously either. Cricket betting money makes it stealing from the bad guys, the only good quality the hero gets. Everything else is expected in a star vehicle and it’s that thala-ness that I have criticised which for some reason you are unable to read. Lastly, if you will only read a critic who agrees with your PoV, you should write and read your own reviews.

      September 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      • Chandrasekar

        hi luv2fly..

        Go thru the comments some ‘thala’ fans have left here. Now imagine that the review was to sound remotely like ur comment. Do you think sudishkamanth can ever review again? :)

        Personally I agree with a lot of ur comment. So I am not trying to defend sudish here, but just sharing the frustration I’ve had wen trying to talk sense into my friends who r mass movie-lovers(the intense version of whom are Ajith fans!)

        If u keep ur expectations even slightly western or look for finesse even in the vicinity of the avg tamil movie u r gonna b disappointed like hell. And a regular reviewer like sudish cant list every instance where the movie has gone wrong. For the same reason, he has to list almost everything that has gone right.

        Same thing with the star.

        Personally i think he has done a good job of translating your comment into a review that most ppl can read without blowing their top.

        September 8, 2011 at 3:10 am

  32. shalini

    Ahh yes, I finally got my fill of the usual token comedian role in Tamil movies, which was somewhat lacking in Mankatha….and found it here in the comments section instead.

    I thought it was an apt review Sudhish, and I think special mention goes to Venkat Prabhu and team for producing a stylistic movie albeit using familiar storylines. And yea, frankly, I got a little nauseous after the 10th mention of “thala” in the film. Like, we get it already! Ajith is a fine actor, and I think it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out if he decides to break out of the whole hero worship bubble, and push boundaries in Tamil cinema just as Abhay Deol has done quite successfully in the north.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:40 am

  33. நல்லதம்பி (தலதளபதி சலூன்)

    “People love this kind of movies so we make it”, “Tamil Cinema Audience are not intelligent you need to explain every bit”, “Our Fans got very bad taste, we are working on improving it”. Until now I looked at these comments by our directors as a lame excuse to hide their inability but After reading the most comments I realize that these claims are true. There is a large fraction of people love hero-worshiping, and they are doing it. Whenever somebody say surya is doing a better job in recent days at least one person will say He can’t become the CM or he don’t have the crazy fan following as Ajith or Vijay, and it shows that our people still look at actors as “Leaders”, ultimate rescuers, a piece of god in earth. We can’t change it.

    It would have been better if you just analyzed about the movie as your title suggest and focus this aspects in a separate article. I understand your point of defense in the larger than life elements of the movie and the spoofing culture. (This movie spoofs from Endhiran to Hangover). As I see, if you disregard the spoofs the movie will only add upto 1 hour or so, and it questions the amount of originality VP has got as a director in him. Mangatha for me an out and out Ajith movie, VP didn’t full fill the expectations he created with his previous movies. I got no issues in calling Ajith “Thala” or Vijay “Thalapathi” out side the movie, but I hate it in the movie (Rajni doesn’t do it, I hate it when kamal did this in Dhasavatharam). Finally, Mangatha definitely “Ajith’s Fu***ng game” (after Singam this is the perfectly done mass entertainer, May be better than Singam given the Mass appeal Ajith got),

    Thala Rocks, VP a little let down and sorry to say this Premji sucks. otherwise it’s a well thought and well written review.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:42 am

    • sudhishkamath

      Spoof is original. The references to pop culture that make it postmodern noir, neo-noir rather.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:51 am

  34. Yash

    Oh man.. your blog definetly needs to be added into every parental control list that’s around..

    September 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  35. sivasregal

    I am saddened by the fact that not a single comment(a bit exaggerated) in your blog is related to the story of the film. WTF! If it was all about him, why not have a runway show focussed on him in different attires and poses? The film is so full of shit and these cocksuckers are fighting for the tiny piece of “fake diamond” in it :) my letdowns – green blood?? Unwanted songs? Waste of Motion control? And the most disgusting part – tht song which is shot like a furniture commerical! Was that sponsored by vasant and co too? Also the muted profanity!

    September 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      I understand your frustration but green blood was probably used to make the film less gory and more family friendly rating. Cartoonising the violence.

      September 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm

  36. Nambi ponen paaru, yenna seruppala adikanum. I’m scarred for life, man.

    September 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm

  37. Neeraj

    Its the comments of the users that makes your blog readable…

    Otherwise total bullshitting… preaching whats good movie and bad movie…
    May I know what f..king thing u gotto make such idiotic statements and reply in the most ever idiotic crap manner to get away…

    Get a life Sudish… Had a lot of respect for you man…

    September 4, 2011 at 2:17 am

    • sudhishkamath

      “May I know what f..king thing u gotto make such idiotic statements and reply in the most ever idiotic crap manner to get away…”
      Can you please repeat the question?

      September 4, 2011 at 11:03 pm

  38. The rating is too low, dude. Could have done with a 8/10.
    It was indeed a promising great f****ng game :D

    September 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    • I like your review … very honest one … I totally subscribe to that..

      September 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

  39. sfightclubl

    To pull of this kind of magic at the BO (usually opening next only to Superstar) after disbanding fan clubs, sharing screen space, playing a grey haired 40 year old “negative” character!!

    Hats off to ajith

    Have taken all other points of yours very very lightly .. u are far away for reality of Tamil cinema fans .. probably a tamil cinema outcast … long live tamil cinema

    September 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

  40. johny

    i know that you(reporter) is the fan of that kucking ass hole surya. and is that is correct u r a ass hole toooooooooooo.

    September 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    • Now now, Sudhish is right – stars have too big a following to break out of their moulds. Kamal has successfully done that, but Rajni has not. Do you seriously want Ajith/Vijay to reprise the same roles over and over? This is a very good point – they must choose different roles, remade movies or not, to fulfill their potential.

      September 17, 2011 at 12:19 am

      • hafiz

        u r correct on yhe case of vijay every actors try to come with different roles but vijay is the only one who comes with same story and dialogues

        January 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm

  41. Sam

    My question is, what scale (if any) do you use to rate movies and why?

    September 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    • sudhishkamath

      If reviews are anyway one person’s opinion and are subjective, what’s wrong in quantifying how much you liked it and why? Just because I rate a film 9/10 does not mean you will rate it 9/10 or any other critic must rate it 9/10. It just means I liked it enough to rate it 9/10.

      September 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm

  42. prabhu

    man your piece of works are really great. How could you manage to pull these many comments and feedbacks..:P(bashing and supporting at the same time..:P??)

    Of course its just a spot on with the pros and cons.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm

  43. mankatha is an awesome movie…..it works because of ajith who has pulled off his role with panache and impeccable style…..However the movie has too many similarities with the pilot episode of the heist tv series Hustle….Anyone who has watched it will note the many similiarities..this includes the twist ending and the trick pulled off towards the end

    December 25, 2013 at 9:15 pm

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