Manjunath (2014) is a Hindi movie. Sandeep A. Varma has directed this movie. Anjori Alagh,Karan Ashar,Aarun D. Baliean,Asif Basra are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2014. Manjunath (2014) is considered one of the best Biography,Drama movie in India and around the world.
Manjunath is a true, inspirational and hard hitting story of an ordinary man and his fight against corruption. After passing out from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, Manjunath Shanmugam was placed with an Oil company as a sales manager only to blow open the large scale adulteration of fuel taking place in the country. It was then that this courageous and honest man was brutally murdered while trying to do his job in the right way and became the victim of this very system which he was trying to protect.
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Manjunath,an IIM-Lucknow graduate whose murder in 2005 while on duty had stirred the nation , particularly the corporate hoipolloi is an earnest film that deserves to be told.In the hands of the first-time director Sandeep A Varma, whose style is reflective of Govind Nihalani and Prakash Jha, it chronicles the life of the unsung hero who dared to expose the adulteration scam and ultimately was silenced. Set in the rustic milieu of the badlands of UP infested with goons and mafia, the drama unfolds with quite an intrigue where the protagonist - Manjunath Shanmugam,working as a sales officer for a reputed oil company, is terrorized with death threats by miscreants led by a wicked dealer, Golu Goyal (Yashpal Sharma,excellent)who is having a tough time dealing with the whistle-blower. Manju soon becomes a victim of mental trauma and has to seek medical intervention along with emotional support of his parents , particularly his mother(Seema Biswas, in terrific form).Varma maintains a tense atmosphere throughout with continual appearances of the Parikrama rock band , the underlying tension keeps you gripped even when it frivolously cuts through flashbacks depicting Manju's life at the IIM campus and his camaraderie with his close friends.In a sudden quirk of events, things go horribly wrong and Manju pays a heavy price for standing against the prevailing corrupt practices. The narrative however lacks the steam during the closing reels with the repeated confrontations of ideas and verbal duel between Manju's spirit and Golu Goyal.Somehow,I felt it was overdone to hit at your conscience. Varma also zip-zaps through the chronological hodgepodge of events following Manju's murder, subsequently diluting the impact of the candle-light protest and the final court verdict.But these are inevitable and minor glitches which are redeemed by the superlative performances from the star-cast.Newcomer Sasho Satish Saarthy playing the titular role is first-rate.With an unmatchable panache, he conveys Manju's pulsating rage, his apprehensions,his insecurities(for being a backward class)and the ultimate spirit for fight against injustice.Seema Biswas and Kishore Kadam as Manju's hapless parents are shockingly authentic.Yashpal Sharma is phenomenal and delivers a towering performance with evil personified.Divya Dutta impresses in a cameo.Anjori Alagh is effectual in a brief role. The film, at the end,poses a paradoxical question for the discerning viewer - was Manjunath really an idiot,for what he did ? Vivid,brutally honest and deeply meaningful , Manjunath is a brave attempt passes a strong message. Make your time for it - its worth every penny !
Besides being the true story of a brave and courageous man, The film stands out for 3 different reasons : a) The entire cast is brilliant in their portrayal of how they relate to the central protagonist and are able to touch a cord in our hearts b) The treatment of some of the scenes in the movie is quite novel and hard hitting .. You will realize this when you see it! c) Last but not the least, the background score by Parikrama is fantastic and helps build the tension as the story moves ahead ... Overall, a great film to watch and identify with .. Will make you reflect on the big sacrifice made by Manjunath in the pursuit of doing the right things ..
In the late nineties, while travelling in the outskirts of Delhi (around Najafgarh) in an auto-rickshaw, I felt a constant irritation and burning sensation in my eyes. Also I strangely could feel the smell of kerosene oil from the moment I took the auto but wasn't sure. So reaching the destination, I asked about it to the driver and he started smiling. On my repeated questioning he revealed that actually the petrol here is mixed with kerosene oil and therefore the smell & irritating eyes. Puzzled to hear that, I really couldn't believe this new piece of information about the adulterated petrol, so left it right there, never to recall it again. Cut To - The memory came back after more than 15 years while watching MANJUNATH, a film based on the shameful real life event of 2005, wherein a truthful officer was assassinated because of his voice raised against a hidden crime. And that undisclosed, unheard crime was the same illegal practice of selling impure petrol (mixed with kerosene oil) openly at various petrol pumps in U.P. The film certainly made me open my eyes widely with that old time memory reviving in mind and just forced me to think that this was all happening since the late nineties (or even before) when I had that unbelievable chat with the auto driver. Hence based on such major yet less talked about activity, MANJUNATH can easily be rated as an important attempt to educate the youngsters about that forgotten event. And admittedly I was also not aware of the exact proceedings before watching the film, which might be the case with many friends here in all possibilities. Therefore as a purposefully made project by director Sandeep Varma, MANJUNATH largely works in one way, being an honest and sincere attempt to spread awareness about the unsung hero and his brutal murder. But unfortunately as a film, it is not able to impress in its opening hour taking too much time to come to the point and gaining momentum only in the final 40 minutes, when the case gains national attention. The director remains faithful to his core subject throughout but the execution is not that hard hitting and impressive as it should have been. Particularly using the poor rock song in between, talking to Manjunath's spirit post the murder and the hurried court case in the end, completely fails to reach the audience in the desired manner. Both Cinematography & Background score remain average, whereas few performances do manage to grab your attention in the second half namely of Seema Biswas, Kishore Kadam, Yashpal Sharma and Faisal Rashid. Divya Dutta coming in the final moments only remains wasted and Sasho Satiiysh Saarathy sincerely tries hard to play the lead revolting character resulting in a mixed kind of impact. On the whole, yes projects like MANJUNATH need to be made to expose the shocking truth, before it gets lost in the weak public memory as usual. And thus the film indeed can be rated as a courageous effort from the team with a moral mission. However I really wish it was executed in a more polished way which could have taken it to a much wider audience fulfilling its basic aim.
This almost does not feel like a movie. Its slowly draws you in, whether or not you have heard about Manjunath Shanmugam the real person before this or not. I started seeing this thinking its a biopic. For the large part it is, but suddenly in the second half, it flips the whole debate open. I at least saw one reviewer here talk about it being a little boring, but i think thats because people are too used to seeing Indian cinema style over-hyped drama. This is so true to life, that it is stark. it raises important questions without being preachy at all. In fact, I found myself in tears at various points, and got up the next morning thinking about what the movie meant to me. It points fingers at us straight, and makes us uncomfortable - which could be one reason it did not fare that well at the box office in India. Sasho Saarathy is top class as the lead role, but it is Seema Biswas as mother, Kishor Kadam as father and Yashpal Sharma as the killer who take the cake. I have seen a better script to a Hindi Film to date, and no wonder it swept screenplay awards at many award shows. i thought for a debut director Sandeep Varma displays great story telling abilities and is almost invisible in the film, which is fan static. Top marks from me. I have only cut one vote not because of the movie, but for its lack of promotion.
Manjunath : Well, all educated people of this country know about him and all people in the surrounding (Goal in UP) where he died know about this young sales officer who was doing his job like many of us do, most people back off when confronted with dilemmas and refuse to hear to their conscience but Manjunath did. Movie is well made under limited budget and for me three highlights of the movie are - (I) The resemblance of central character playing Manjunath in the movie Mr. Sasho Saarthy is amazing. This young actor have done a brilliant job in the movie. (ii) The scenes with parents and especially with mother are tear jerker. It happens in almost all middle class family yet you would like to watch them again and again. (iii) Post death conversation between Manjunath and convict is just superb. Yashpal Sharma is a brilliant actor too. Go watch it people, not to be missed. Reality and artistic creations are at it's best. Now the sad part is we go to cinema in watching mindless Bollywood packages and make them run for long time to earn lot of money. I am not saying or judging it is wrong but sad part is that an inspirational movie on real life characters earns 30 lacs INR, Shame on us. For any movie goer, from any country or language, it is a must watch. Hats off to the producers and director for investing and making a story which needed to be told. Thanks !!