We’ve seen stories of aimless heroes chasing the heroine as if she was a coveted trophy. We’ve seen stories where the villainous rival challenges the hero, and we’ve seen stories that featured underdogs rising to fame. But all these sub-plots are usually lined by a realistic approach and a tight narrative. But Maan Karate fails to combine all these elements.
The film starts off with a promising fantasy tale, where a bunch of kids (Youth, whose only aim is to get rich) seek blessings from a sage to foresee events. They try and pin Peter down, with whose help they receive a reward of 2 crores. Then comes Yazhini(Haniska) , the usual quintessential heroine who acts all cute and bubbly and eventually weeps when the hero is in trouble. Then comes the villain, who does what he has to do best. The scene where the villain’s wife calmly requests a “pity-favor” and the scene where the villain quickly reveals his motive displays his corrupt nature.
Sivakarthikeyen, who is fast turning out to be a bankable star, returns with sports-based film after Ethir Neechal. In one of the funniest scenes, he decides to compete in a Tamil Kural competition, to win the hand of his lady love. He preps up and appears with confidence, and recites the kural to Yazhini’s father (Sayaji Shinde) only to mimic the different voices of Tamil movie stars. The father then puts him on the “reject” list. He is glum and disappointed but he prepares himself and unabashedly appears for the second attempt, where he quickly uses his wit. He emotes well, dances well and allures confidence in the whole movie. He reminds us that a highly-expressive face in a funny sequence, is enough to crack us instantly. But his look- A civilized, polished Royapuram youth doesn’t fit the local essence, the character should carry but he quickly compensates this novice in the English language and the sport; boxing.
With a gripping background score, Anirudh’s music is peppy and lingers in your mind, but is picturized in foggy atmosphere, set in highly colourful sets. In fact, the whole film has a very Bollywood feel to it – a red Beatle against a yellow wall, closed interiors with silly matching colours, glaring lights, artificially-set flares, though shot well, isn’t necessarily required for the film. Not to forget the hailstorms that seems unfamiliar to the people of Chennai.
After a point, you wouldn’t know why the film has turned out this way. Peter packs a few punches, uses his Maan karate style to win his lady’s heart, but why didn’t he use the same grit to convey this sooner? Director, Thirukumaran, delivers a loosely-scripted film delivered in fancy execution. This film could’ve been neater, tighter and strongly narrated, generously-drizzled with the necessary local milieu. Strictly for those who want to see a lazy entertainer.