Mr. Prabhu made a dream debut in 2007 with Chennai 600028. I still consider that movie as having one of the very best climax in Indian cinema. I walk out of the theatre and couldnt stop laughing. Just turned back and found that it was not just me, everybody walking out of the hall was still laughing out. Chennai - 8 was a very different movie, one of the path breakers in Tamil new age movies with its brilliant casting. He followed it up with Saroja and Goa which were also different and successful, especially the former. On hearing that his new movie was going to be a big budget movie with a big super star, two actually, in the lead, I was disappointed, especially because one of the stars was Ajith. Ajith was one of my favourites with his performances in Aasai, Pavithra and Vaali. But there after I think he looked really poor with his movies. He impressed with his physical transformation in one movie (I think it was Godfather) but as an actor and star didnt have a good movie for long time. Inspite of that he remains one of the largest crowd pullers in Tamil cinema and with Mankatha, I am sure Ajith is making a brilliant come back.
There is lot of black money doing the rounds in India, connected with Cricket and illegal betting. Vinayak is a corrupted police officer, currently serving suspension, in Mumbai. Chettiyar is one of the mafia dons who is linked to the betting money. When Rs 500 crores is taken to Mumbai for the IPL Cricket finals, Chettiyar plans its routing. Vinayak makes his plans to steal this. Four young guys has plans too. There is also a special squad, appointed by the Govt. of India who is tracing the illegal bettors.
To be frank, for me, this movie is may be the best heist movie from India. Whenever we have had movies on similar topics, they always had disappointed. Mankatha is not a classic, nor is it a 100% genuine movie. It has elements which has been inspired by many movies, like the hacking of the traffic lights from The Italian Job, to shades of the character of Heath Ledger from Dark Knight and some other inspirations. But all together it is still an excellent entertainment package. I am not saying it is all brilliant in that front. There are stupid elements and logical issues in the script. But Venkat Prabhu has done an excellent job that we would ignore such things and would enjoy our time in the theatre. Had it been a bit shorter, it would have been much better.
Mr. Prabhu, does not believe that there are any good elements in our police department. This, like in Saroja, is quite clear in this one as well. And including the final surprise, there are lots and lots of twists and surprises, but he manages to hold them well and keep us really involved. To be frank, we could guess some of them, but I would rather applaud the director for the way he has treated it and made it a nice entertainer. There are some moments, when his brilliance is quite evident and some, when we would think he could have been a bit more careful. But still, I enjoyed watching this and I might watch it again. Especially because of Ajith.
It has been long since I really liked Ajith in a movie. And what a performance this has been. From his very first scene to the end, Ajith has played it brilliantly. Acting wise, there is hardly any moment when he disappoints and there are some moments where he was surprisingly brilliant. And above all his charm was brilliant. With his grey hair and the way he conducted himself, I would like to compare him to George Clooney actually. This is definitely the best performance of Ajith and it is indeed note worthy that he made it through a character with dark shades and is almost like a villain for most parts. I much appreciate that he chose to do this role, inspite of having scenes in which he ditches his love without any haste. Normally when our heroes does dark characters, some elements are still kept intact, to endear the anti hero to the audience, especially the women. Here, Venkat Prabhu doesnt seem to care and it has given us one of the best super hero characters in recent times. I hope, Ajith will try to keep his physique in tact.
Venkat Prabhu has used some of his favourite actors here too and Premji Amaran really excells as Prem. Some of his moments are really hilarious too. Arjun doesnt have much to do anyways.
I would have liked it better, if at least two songs were not there. Had the production values been like in Hollywood, this movie could even compete with some of those famous western heist movies actually. Well, money is always a limitation.
This is a male oriented movie and there is not much left for any female roles. Still, Trisha has some prominence in the first half. The theatre was full of Tamil families and it was interesting that the women were laughing out loud for the typical scenes, where a heroine is always ridiculed in Indian movies. Is it that, our women dont realise that the movie is really poking at them, or is it that they really like to laugh at themselves or is it that they simply do not care. Whatever..
I had read, couple of reviews by Keralites that Mankatha was just another Tamil entertainer which could be avoided. After seeing the movie though, I can only reinstate my belief that Malayaalees try their best to downgrade anything from Tamil. If this movie was in English, with Hollywood actors and all, would they have made the same comments, I wonder. Or, if it was Mohanlal who played Ajith's role (or for that matter Kamal Hassan who is the only Tamil actor who most Malayaalees consider as worth to spend money on), would they have made the same comments.