Koimoi Recommends Maanagaram: for all those who live in any metropolis, how many times has it happened that a stranger has helped you out or landed you in a situation and you don’t even know his/her name? Lokesh Kangaraj’s Maanagaram is a shocking ode to the underbelly of a city where stranger lives entangle and create sparks, bright enough to show you the possibility of ironies we are surrounded with. Today on Koimoi Recommends, I recommend you 2017 Tamil film that has made me more observant about my surrounding.
Director: Lokesh Kanagaraj
Available On: Amazon Prime Video
Language: Tamil (with subtitles)
Three men arrive in the same city. A case of misunderstood identity leads to an IT aspirant (Sri) getting badly beaten up and his documents and phone getting robbed. In another part of this universe, a child is kidnapped, and the stolen phone is used to communicate. The second guy (Sundeep Kishan) is in love with the HR manager of the IT aspirant. The third (Charlie) is a new cab driver for the same IT company. Their lives collide and what happens is a journey that brings you to the edge of the seat.
The last time I was in awe of the writer for sketching a character without a name was in Udta Punjab. Remember, Alia Bhatt’s character had no name throughout? (Marry Jane was a metaphor, not her real name). The idea of sketching a person but without a name fascinated me. Maanagaram is ten steps ahead, here are three characters who do not have names, for real!
These are three men who are attached to a tragedy which involves goon and gangsters through sheer coincidence. The bad luck of being at the wrong place at the wrong time plays a vital role here. Maanagaram writer Lokesh Kanagaraj uses these three nameless men to show you the vastness of a metropolis and yet how intervened our lives are.
Full marks to Lokesh for not wasting time in setting a base. You are thrown in bang middle of a day in the lives of these three individuals. This is also a subtle try to show what happens in a city that not everyone witnesses, but just a few who take the wrong turn. It is also an honest, open letter from the migrants who suffer the stone-hearted attitude of a city many times.
Maanagaram is not just a thriller for the sake of it. It’s alert and knows what constitutes to make a tragedy look believable. Just like Delhi Belly, Lokesh as the writer and the director uses this darkness to make humour out of it. But he makes sure that you don’t get to relax on your sit for a minute even. He connects these three men effectively.
Adding more to this nail-biting experience is the fantastic cinematography by Selvakumar S.K and crispiest editing by Philomin Raj.
The film also gets an able cast in Sri, Sundeep, Charlie and Munishkanth who get the maximum screen time. It is challenging to make the audience invest in you when you don’t have a name. These men do that successfully.
Though music plays a significant part and quite impressively, a romantic track seemed forced and lost me. For that matter, the only women in this trajectory played by Regina Cassandra is just a mere plot point. Her character deserved a layer.
All in all, Maanagaram is a film that will shock you as what the tiniest piece of misinformation can do to a person and lives around him. And on the top of that, just when you thought a big city is all about I, me and myself, your life might entangle with a stranger at the deadliest end. Also, Maanagaram means Metropolis. Thank me later!
Maanagaram Star Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three And A Half Star)