After a number of rom-coms with Santhanam and an action flick, Udhayanidhi Stalin is back on the silver screen with Manithan which falls under the courtroom drama genre, something that he is new to. Director I.Ahmed, who gave us the breezy entertainer Endrendrum Punnagai, wields the megaphone for Manithan which is a remake of the 2013 super hit Hindi film, Jolly LLB.
Apart from Udhay, the film boasts a plethora of talents such as Hansika, Aishwarya Rajesh, Prakash Raj, Radharavi, Vivek and others. As far as the technical crew is concerned, the tunes are composed by the hot and happening Santhosh Narayanan and cinematography is by R.Madhi. Just like all the films he has starred in, this too has been produced by Udhay’s home banner, Red Giant Movies.
Manithan is the story of Sakthi (Udhayanidhi Stalin), a struggling lawyer who tries to make his mark in order to win his girlfriend’s (Hansika) hand by wooing her father. Situation forces him to reach Chennai where he locks horns with a much experienced lawyer Adisheshan (Prakash Raj) in the form of a hit-and-run case. What Sakthi starts as a gimmick to gain publicity and make money transforms him into a responsible lawyer who ends up fighting for the justice of needy people. Who wins the case and whether justice is served to those with truth on their side forms the rest of this story.
This is Udhay’s 5th film as a hero and his acting skills have improved exponentially. Be it the scenes where he’s a fame hungry youth or the ones where he tries to win the case to help the affected lot, he emotes really well and his acting doesn’t look artificial even in close up shots. Hansika is at her usual bubbly best and executes her role perfectly. Aishwarya Rajesh, as a honest reporter, does a decent job. Vivekh, as Udhay’s uncle provides the comic relief and his comedy with his body language is as good as the one with dialogues.
It’s the veteran actors Prakash Raj and Radharavi who steals the show with their stellar performances. Prakash Raj, as the lawyer of the opposite side shows his experience with some impeccable acting. Radharavi on the other hand, as the judge, does his usual best with some laid back dialogues sprinkled with sarcasm.
The first half takes its time to establish the storyline and only a couple of minutes before intermission, the story gains speed. Ahmed, who’s known for his racy screenplay has proved his mettle with the second half. His choice of actors is exemplary and even the extras look apt in their characters.
Cinematography is excellent and Madhi has done a good job with the camera. The songs don’t do much in supporting the flow of the film. Editing, especially in the second half, is sharp.
Overall, the film delivers a heartfelt message without deviating away from the commercial elements which makes it a delightful watch. Outstanding performances and interesting court scenes makes Manithan the best Udhay film till date and a clean family entertainer to be watched and enjoyed.