Director: Rahul Ravindran
Cast: Nagarjuna Akkineni, Rakul Preet Singh, Lakshmi, Rao Ramesh, Jhansi, Vennela Kishore, Devadarshini
Manmadhudu 2 feeds off on the title of Nagarjuna’s iconic Manmadhudu released 17 years back, but this is no sequel. Instead, it is the official remake of the 2006 French film I Do, and the story has been changed to suit local tastes.
Also, it is a coincidence that director Rahul Ravindran won the national best screenplay award for Chi La Sow on the day Manmadhudu 2 was released. It also features Keerthy Suresh, national best actress award winner, in a minor role.
Sam or Sambhasiva Rao (Nagarjuna) stays with his mother and three sisters in Portgulal. He is unlucky in love, and decides against marriage. When he reaches middle age, his family pressurises him to marry.
Sam hires Avanthia (Rakul Preet Singh) to act as his girlfriend. The deal is that she should walk out on him on the wedding day. It all goes as per the plan, but then Avantika returns to the scene. The rest of the film explains why.
Rahul Ravindran, who has Chi La Sow in his filmography, mostly depends on tepid jokes. There is no story in the film. The first few minutes when Vennela Kishore helps Nagarjuna lure girls and have sex with them sets the tone.
The conversation between the two is absurd, the way the director shows Vennela Kishore when Nagarjuna is with a girlfriend in another room is in poor taste. Though there is a family connection, the director does not focus on it.
Nagarjuna spoke very highly about the film but it falls short of expectations. One wonders what interested Nagarjuna. The story is clichéd, there are a lot of adult jokes and double meaning dialogues and no emotional connect.
The director fails to establish why the story is set in Portugal in an interesting manner. Perhaps it is to create the setting for adult jokes. Why Nagarjuna remains a bachelor is not satisfactorily explained, why Rakul is a bartender in Portugal is not believable. There are many forced scenes like Rakul kissing Jhans.
Ravindran, his wife Chinmayi and Nagarjuna’s daughter-in-law Samantha had recently spoken out against a director for his comments and his film’s content. Therefore, it is surprising to see them in Manmadhudu 2, with Chinmayi dubbing for Rakul and Samantha acting in a cameo.
Nagarjuna looks younger, but his performance pales in comparison to his earlier films. Rakul Preet Singh’s role is not designed well.
Chinmayi usually dubs for Samantha so it is something of a surprise to hear her voice for Rakul. Vennela Kishore gets a lengthy role and Rao Ramesh a cameo and both provide some humour.
Lakshmi, Jhansi, Devadarshini and all others play family members but they are not connected. The presence of Samantha, Keerthy Suresh and Brahmanandam is squandered.
Manmadhudu 2 is a big blunder from Nagarjuna, who bought the remake rights of the French film. He spoke very highly about this film but it does not come to pass. The film’s leading lights stressed many times that was a film is for a family audience, it is anything but that.