MANAL KAYIRU

A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam



Cast: Visu, S.V.Sekhar, Shanti Krishna, Kishmu, Manorama, Kamala Kamesh
Music: M.S.Viswanathan
Direction: Visu

Like Bagyaraj, Visu was another director who enjoyed a successful run for awhile by churning out movies with a tried and tested formula. His movies focussed on a huge, middle-class family for which Visu, a glib talker, was both the originator and solver of problems. He hit his career peak with Samsaaram Adhu Minsaaram, a commercial and critical hit in the eighties but has seen his stock fall since and successfully shifted his focus to the small screen. Manal Kayiru is one of his earlier films. It is a trademark Visu film and very entertaining.

Kittumani(S.V.Sekhar) lays out eight conditions that a girl should satisfy for him to marry her. Ranging from difficult(his wife should cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals) to practical(she should remarry if he dies), he is unwavering in his demands and rejects many a girl who doesn't satisfy one or more of his conditions. He seeks the help of the improbably named Naradhar Naidu(Visu), a marriage broker, to find him the girl of his dreams. Naradhar Naidu picks a girl Uma(Shanti Krishna) for him to wed. She doesn't fulfil even one of the conditions but Naidu makes Kittumani believe that she does and gets them married. All hell breaks loose when Kittumani finds the truth.

When a huge cast is involved, it is difficult to make them all interesting and memorable. But Visu succeeds in this difficult task admirably by introducing a bunch of eclectic, lively characters with their own quirks. The hen-pecked husband Kishmu has a lion's share of the scenes and is naturally, the most noticed. But Shanti Krishna's rowdy brother and her deaf father, who are on the fringes, still make an impression solely because of their dialogs and characterizations. Almost all characters, be it S.V.Sekhar's friend Bhoopathy or Shanti Krishna's mother Kamala Kamesh, have atleast one scene where they catch our attention.

As in all his movies, Visu maintains the right mix of comedy and sentiments. The scene where he sets up the family members at the right places with the right dialogs to dupe S.V.Sekhar into believing that Shanti Krishna is his dream girl, is delightful. The way S.V.Sekhar gradually realises the truth also has its share of laughs with the scenes where he realises that she cannot dance and has a wayward older brother, taking the cake. At the same time, the sacrifice Bhoopathy does so Sekhar doesn't realise that his wife can cook only vegetarian dishes, is touching. This blend is maintained throughout the movie.

But Visu does go overboard with sentiments in the climax. The behavior of the characters and the changes in their attitudes are quite unbelievable and the only intent seems to be to earn some sympathy for Visu's own character. But it does set the way for a nice closing scene.

Performances are uniformly good. Visu suits the role of the marriage broker well and also pens some strong dialogs. Kishmu overacts most of the time but there are a couple of places(like his first encounter with Shanti Krishna's deaf father) where he makes us smile. The actor playing Shanti Krishna's brother impresses in the double role(the use of MGR's Enga Veettu Pillai poster is clever touch). Production values leave a lot to be desired. The comic touch in song sequences like Ettu Vidha Kattalai... and the group song save them but the duet, with the trained and awkward poses of both S.V.Sekhar and Shanti Krishna, is terrible.