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Rajasthan-based Satyaveer Singh Randhawa works as a Junior Engineer with Lahkot Municipality's Public Works Department and lives a middle-class lifestyle with his wife, Nimmi, and son, Raju. The region faces drought and extreme temperatures, with the local Irrigation Minister, P.P. Rathore, making tall promises of diverting water from Haryana and Punjab via a canal that is being constructed on a controversial site. Satyeveer also authored a fictional novel 'Manorama' that sold only about 200 copies. So dismayed was he with this that he decided to not even keep a copy for his private library. To make matters worse he accepts a motorbike from Seema Constructions as a bribe, is apprehended, and suspended pending an inquiry. Now out of a job, he is approached by Manorama Rathore, the wife of the Irrigation Minister, to collect evidence that her husband is having an extra-marital affair for a fee of Twenty thousand rupees. Satyaveer accepts this offer little knowing that he will soon be ... Written by
Manorama SFU is all about a somewhat corrupt junior engineer Satyaveer (Abhay Deol) who moonlights as a writer of detective fiction and lives in a small town in Rajasthan. His only published work is MANORAMA. He is 'happily' married to Nimmi (Gul Panag) and has a kid. One day he is asked by a woman called Manorama (Sarika) to investigate her husband PP Rathore, the minister of public works (KulBhushan Khrabanda). Satyaveer manges to take some photos of the minister and hand them over to Manorama. Strange events follow where she tells him she is being stalked and may be killed, tells him her age, and then dies. He is stalked and attacked by hoodlums but persists in trying to unravel the mystery with the help of Manorama's room mate Sheetal (Raima Sen). But nothing is as it seems, there is a doctor, a mysterious woman who wants to marry the doctor, the novel Manorama; the minister is connected to all this and to a proposed canal scheme. The plot twists and turns in a very ingenious and real way and keeps one wanting to know more and more. This mystery may have been inspired by Chinatown but it is very much its own film, intelligent, well paced and interesting.
The cast gives commendable performances, Abhay Deol is wonderful, Gul and Raima are real and believable. Then there is Sarika - how does she look so good at her age? Vinay Pathak is great as Nimmi's brother and small town cop. The snooping neighbors, the hoodlums in the desert, the old Taxi Walla - the film does not miss a beat.
The negatives? My version of the Shemaroo DVD had the most absurd subtitling that turned this excellent film into a farcical affair if you cared to follow the subtitles. But even with that glaring flaw Manorama is one wonderful film.
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