Manalo Okadu - Movie Review

Friday, November 4, 2016 - 14:30
Manalo Okadu (2016)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Manalo Okadu
R P Patnaik, Anitha, Sai Kumar, Sri Mukhi and others
Cinematography: S J Siddharth
Producer: Jagan Mohan
Direction: R P Patnaik
Release date: Nov 04

Krishnamurthy (RP Patnaik), a middle-class lecturer well respected for being an embodiment of all virtues, lives a happy life with his wife Sravani (Anitha), a music teacher. A scandal deals him a fatal blow in the form of a news report on Moodokannu, a TV channel run by Prathap (Sai Kumar), a TRP-hungry, unethical journalist. As Krishnamurthy gets embroiled in a harassment case, he loses his job, peace at home and all respect as he runs from pillar to post to prove his innocence.  

He makes all efforts to urge Prathap to put the record straight, as the girl student wasn't complaining against him but another Krishnamurthy, a lab assistant in the same college. Prathap and his subordinate (Sree Mukhi) refuse to admit their mistake, making it clear that their ego won't allow them to show their own report as untrue. Left with no option and cheated by a corrupt media system, Krishnamurthy decides to defeat Prathap at his own game. How he does it forms the crux of the second half.


Director RP Patnaik has come up with a fairly interesting story line. The idea of a humble, no-nonsense college lecturer with no resources taking on the might of an arrogant, aggressive media baron is interesting. In dealing with this potentially gripping subject, RP has made some mistakes, but overall he has done justice to the subject.  
The story sequence is damn right. The trouble comes all of a sudden, leaving Krishnamurthy in a very pitiable situation. The writing has it in it to make the audience root for this innocent guy.  All throughout, very measured pot shots are taken at the declining standards of the media. Various characters like a sincere journalist, a sincere editor (Gollapudi), and RP's character himself make sure the sensationalism, crassness and unethical behaviour of the media is exposed. In doing this, the film avoids playing to the gallery. There is, thankfully, no resorting to double meaning dialogues, over-emotional acting, etc.  

Tanikella Bharani as a lawyer promising Krishnamurthy a clean chit delivers a twist, although a cliched one.  As Krishnamurthy is branded a sexual predator thanks to an irresponsible media trial, his helplessness in securing his job and convincing to his devastated wife is well narrated.  

The climax episodes, which bring in Nassar, a Union Minsiter, and Sai Kumar to indulge in a TV debate, evoke interest. All is well that ends well.

However, the film is not without flaws. Why do the police not take suo moto action against Krishnamurthy when the whole town is outraged at his scandalous behaviour? An editor may be unethical, but what is the point in showing him talk like a politician? Should it always be that dramatic? RP, the central character, having a passive role in the climax could disappoint many. The scenes involving RP and Anitha are either too lovey-dovey or unnecessarily teary. There is a good dose of old-fashioned narration, especially the portions in the college.  Another flaw is the portions in the first part of the second half.  Krishnamurthy's travails are neglected and instead, outraging against the media takes a front seat.

While he does a good enough job as a director, RP doesn't convince us as an actor. He looks a bit old to play this role, his body language and get-up is also oldish. Just because he is a lecturer, does he have to look like a Rip Van Winkle from 80s era? Anitha is OK.Sai Kumar and Sree Mukhi have done a very good job. Nasser, the young lad who played his son, Banarjee and others are OK.

The technical elements are a let down. The music and the cinematography don't help the film in looking updated. Like we said, 'Manalo Okadu' deals a relevant topic and the direction of RP is interesting.
Bottomline: 'Manalo Okadu' comes with a fairly good idea. RP Patnaik succeeds as a director. The screenplay is suspenseful, but the technical elements are not up to the mark. Overall, it is a nice attempt.

Reviewed by: 
Vishwanath V