The one thing that strikes you about Maanja Velu is what a talent house Tamil cinema has been. As you watch the parade of the seniors like Karthik, Prabhu, Vijaykumar and Vagai Chandrasekhar you feel glad that they came up with good, great, moving or simply lovable performances in the past. It does a lot to ease the heart burn caused by the so-called earthy cinema that we has have been treated to for months and months now. Where you saw plenty of victims of circumstances on display, but so very lacking in angst that you came away from the movie without any emotional connect.
One look at Karthik, playing Assistant Commissioner of Police Subash Chandra Bose, and a tide of nostalgia washes over you. An effortless actor who brought an element of sheer joy in watching him, more because of his acting and less due to his looks, he has been thankfully given a meaty role. Taking on Umapathy (Vagai Chandrasekar), the villain, Karhtik s age may show in his wobbly chin, but his on screen charm is still very much there.
In case you are wondering about hero Maanja Velu (Arun Vijay), well he is
Bose s younger brother and like al action heroes, spends his time romancing Anjali
(Dansikaa) in the first half. Dont get restless, the second half gets better, when Prabhu makes his entry .The screenplay perks up, and there are quite a few fun moments. Through Santhanam, director Venkatesh pulls of a nice spoof on Nadodigal and you realise that it is not a bad at cinema, although the film is shamelessly a mass masala film.
And it borrows generously from Lakshyam the run-away hit in Telugu. But all the same, Venkatesh packages it neatly, giving Arun Vijay his space as action hero towards the last forty minutes or so. (Yawn) You can step out for a coffee at this point. Or every time the stunt scenes take off. How much of stunts can you take, seriously? Every hero has been there, done that. One more heroine has entered the fray, and will quite likely add to the drool factor in fans. And considering that talent pool that he is up against in the film, Arun Vijay comes off a poor second as an over-wound actor. But that s only a small part. Watch it with your gang, don t get your hopes up: that way it is entertainment guaranteed.