Manoharam (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


‘Manoharam’ has those sparks that you cannot definitely miss, but leaves you wanting for much more. It’s surely not without its charms, and yet it rarely rises above the level of its conventional premise.


There was this moment, around ten minutes into Anvar Sadik’s ‘Manoharam’ when I felt that this is a film that would stay true to its title. It does not hold the initial promise though and gets lost in a labyrinth of make-believe moments, that simply do not ring true, as badly and as robustly as you want them to.

Manu (Vineeth Sreenivasan) has a fantastic way with the paint brush, and has proudly carried forward a legacy that has been left behind by his painter dad. However, with the influx of technology, Manu realizes that talent has slowly started shifting to the rear seat, and mechanical skills have started showing signs of gradually taking over.

On the insistence of his best buddy-well wishers Prabhu (Basil Joseph)  and Varghesettan (Indrans), Manu decides to master Photoshop, much to the chagrin of Sreeja (Aparna Das), the instructor at the Akshaya centre, the reason being that she’s clueless about the image editing software. Manu’s arch rival since childhood, Rahul (Deepak Parambol) offers to help, and Manu hesitantly accepts, especially since he suspects that Rahul has his eyes fixed on Sreeja.

‘Manoharam’ does have its fair share of charmer moments, and it even seems for a while that Sadik might have a winner in his hands. But then, Manu and his friends decide to start a flex printing business  that hardly ever takes off, and the film too gets stuck in a rut like the printer that refuses to print.

There is indeed a subtlety to the romantic track that involves Manu and Sreeja, and much is left unsaid. This augments the warmth of the relationship that they share, that has its share of ups and downs. This is also the thread that keeps ‘Manoharam’ interesting, and everything else, including Manu’s aspirations turn out to be appendages that are sewn around it.

That said and done, it should be noted that ‘Manoharam’ talks of the unearthing of the real self that lies within Manu’s being; the self that had disguised itself into an undecipherable form, behind layers and layers of reticence and pessimism.  This process of unravelling is what holds great interest to the viewer, even as the proceedings and sequences that eventually  lead to it appear downright familiar to us.

The climax is a downer in more ways than one, and the foremost reason is its predictability. It goes without saying that a film as this would ultimately witness the revival of the downtrodden. This is no different, but the ploys that are employed here are downright  dramatic, and maintain a distinct disparity with the balance in tone that is otherwise mostly maintained.

There are staunch performances from Vineeth, Basil and Indrans, and Deepak Parambol affirms yet again that he is one young actor who deserves to be increasingly seen on screen. There is a fab performance from Aparna that should without doubt, make quite a few heads turn her way. Jebin Jacob’s frames and his montage shots are dazzlingly striking, and the highly agreeable musical score by Sanjeev Thomas luminously adds to the appeal of the piece.

‘Manoharam’ has those sparks that you cannot definitely miss, but leaves you wanting for much more. It’s surely not without its charms, and yet it rarely rises above the level of its conventional premise.


Verdict: Mixed Bag


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