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Bhakti and Dharma
Manjunatha (Arjun), who is named after the Lord (Chiru), is an atheist. However, he is a good man, who helps the unfortunate. Because of his goodness, Lord Shiva feels that he is the perfect vessel for the Lord's plan on earth. One day, he meets a girl (Soundarya), who is a great devotee of Shiva. After several meetings, they marry and have a child, Siddu. Manju is finally converted to a devotee, but faces hardships as his earlier enemies blame him for the lights in the Shiva temple going out and serving food on the same day his son had been killed by his enemies. However, Lord Shiva in his many disguises comes to rescue. Finally, Manju and his wife die and their souls are integrated with the Lord. Nara Jayasridevi, producer of this film, in an interview with the Telugu TV program, "Shubodayam," said that Chiru was selected because of his right looks, acting talent, and incredible dancing ability. The Megastar delivered on all counts. This is one of his finest performances. Whether he played the all-merciful Lord, the crude, irritating old beggar, or the great, powerful sage, Aghora, Chiru was just magnificent. He delineated the characters excellently. He showed once again how extremely versatile he is. Chiru's dancing was again wonderful. His Ananda Thandavam was great to see. While watching him dance, the audience feels they are watching Lord Shiva dance. Soundarya, as the great devotee was absolutely brilliantly. No words can describe how great she was in this film. Arjun gives one of his most sensitive and versatile performances. He was just truly great. The rest of the cast of Sumalatha, Bramhanandam, etc were good as well. Graphics, sets, and costumes were impressive and made the film rich. Music by Hamsalekha is hard on the ears at first, but after a couple of times, is pleasant. The breathless song, "Om Mahaprana Deepam," by Shankar Mahadevan is unbelievable. His range and versatility were beautiful. The songs were pictured wonderfully. K. Raghavendra Rao did a so-so job. It seemed he followed the blueprint of Annamaya for this film. However, unlike having some vulgar scenes in Annamaya, Manjunatha was neatly done. But Rao should have taken more care regarding Chiru's makeup as Shiva. Though he does look good, at times it looks overdone. The makeup for the beggar role and for Aghora was perfect.
- Feb 22, 2005
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