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While the presence of three generations in a single movie could have been a distracting opportunity for the director Vikram Kumar to go gaga in elevating their on-screen stature and the chemistry, he doesn't succumb to the ideas that most of his contemporaries would have easily did. He neither wants to give up on his screenplay-driven story, his rebirth themed plot nor the lighthearted touches surrounding it all. The characters stay as per the script and if you have a producer who only wants to glorify the cinematic legacies of ANR within a film, he wouldn't have bothered to give as much screen-time to Samantha and Shriya Saran in the very same film. The cast feels complete and each of them are equally dedicated to the exercise of making a simple film with fine touches of novelty, humour and emotion.
From the bespectacled look that Naga Chaitanya bears to the homemaker Samantha, the progress of the story doesn't stop the director Vikram Kumar from delving deep into their histrionics. Whether it's hatred, ambiguity, misunderstanding or love, the foundation laid to justify the emotion is immensely believable. The film goes back and forth from being a periodical to a contemporary outing. If it's the wacky humour that the latter phase provides, the past helps you peep into the little-nothing pleasures, in-depth relationships during which the blissful portions of Nagarjuna and Shriya tug your heart-strings. The portions surrounding the modern era aren't compromised either where a modern couple is introduced with a 'selfie' moment in a rainbow backdrop.
There aren't the usual cinematic fluffy flashbacks justifying reincarnation and destiny. Few elements such as the clock-tower, the perilousness surrounding the car rides, faster heart-beats between a lovestruck couple are placed to portray the connect between those individuals who are to meet for a purpose. Most of the characters have sweet sketches with a good balance of sense and innocence, spare Shriya Saran who could have been more than the good-looking doctor.
Provided Manam had the same electric momentum as prior to the interval in the latter parts, it should have been a trend-setter. The surprises mostly end within the first half and probably, it's the same reason that the mechanical screenplay doesn't strike a chord as much as you would have hoped it to. However, the film unleashes some fine performances, especially from Naga Chaitanya who certainly looks to have arrived as an actor with this. So, is Samantha, who gets her best role after Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu. ANR's presence is impacting but minimal. While Nagarjuna gets a lot of time to put in his experience into place, Shriya manages to latch onto something worthy after a long while. Manam is just the saccharine-coated, heart-warming outing that audiences in today's generation can afford to experiment with, ignoring its negligible follies. Try not missing this.