‘Manamey’ movie review: Sharwanand, Krithi Shetty starrer is a lighthearted rom-com with occasional fun moments

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Krithi Shetty and Sharwanand in ‘Manamey’

The good things first. Sharwanand, who has quite often been cast in characters that require him to be restrained, gets to loosen up and have fun. the actor is in his element in the Telugu rom-com Manamey, where director Sriram Adittya presents him as a manchild who does not want to grow up. In a typical case of opposites crossing paths, he is contrasted by the mature and responsible female lead, played by Krithi Shetty. The film rests on a predictable storyline, is aware of its limitations, and makes its narrative breezy and entertaining. Some of the fun lines around Sharwanand’s character work but after a point, fatigue sets in. After Hi Nanna, this is another Hesham Abdul Wahab musical but his melodies cannot make up for the lacklustre writing.

In an early scene, Vikram (Sharwanand) walks up to a woman and asks if her dad is a painter, as an appreciation of her good looks. You get the drift. Such lines are more cheesy than charming but Vikram has a way with women; he is happy not to be tied down with relationships and responsibilities. Things take a turn when his best friend Anurag and his wife Swati succumb following an accident, leaving behind their two-year-old son. The boy takes a liking to Vikram, but he wants no responsibilities. Subhadra (Krithi Shetty), a friend of Swati, arrives around the same time. In a dramatic turn of events, Vikram and Subhadra are talked into being temporary caretakers for the child. In the meantime, Subhadhra hopes to convince her fiance Karthik (Shiva Kandukuri) to adopt the child.

Manamey (Telugu)

Director: Sriram Adittya

Cast: Sharwanand, Krithi Shetty

Storyline: When two opposites come together as temporary caretakers of their friends’ son, romance blooms.

From thereon, everything happens along predictable beats. The fun stems from the lines given to Vikram who is torn between the love for his childhood friend and having to mend his carefree ways when he is suddenly asked to nurture a child. Considerable time goes into establishing his happy-go-lucky lifestyle, flirting with women and guzzling beers and spirits, and it soon becomes repetitive. They say it takes a village to raise a child and Vikram and Subhadra spar over everyday tasks. To amp up the humour quotient in their run-ins, other characters including Vennela Kishore as a paediatrician and Rahul Ramakrishna as Vikram’s Man Friday step in. 

Much of the story takes place in London and almost all the important characters belong to the well-heeled section of the social strata. The designer aesthetic extends from homes that belong to architecture and design magazines to clothes that spell style statements. Vikram and Subhadra hail from well-to-do backgrounds and that explains their lifestyle. But the home that Vikram’s friends leave behind is also nothing short of a dream abode. There is nothing wrong with watching a rom-com in a plush setting but I kept wondering if young restaurateurs in London could afford such a home. Never mind.

For the most part, Manamey is content being a lighthearted entertainer and when it brings in an antagonist (played by Rahul Ravindran), it does not hit the right note. The part is poorly written. A business rival of Vikram’s friend, he periodically tries to kidnap and kill the child! At first projected as a monster, it is laughable how he is cut down to size and is later nowhere to be seen.

The drama that revolves around Vikram, Subhadra and Karthik in the later portions is reminiscent of a hundred rom-coms we have already watched. The emotional heft comes from Vikram’s conversations with his parents and when a few universal truths are spelt out, it can make at least some of us want to call and talk to our parents. The film could have done with a few more such moments to give it some gravitas.

Hesham Abdul Wahab’s music is the lifeline of Manamey but on several occasions, the background score preempts every move and amplifies emotions without a pause. Occasional moments of silence wouldn’t have hurt. In any case, his melodies cannot make up for the lacklustre writing.

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