Mankatha – the lost game!

It is a Venkat Prabhu film with Ajith and Premgi in it called Mankatha! Obviously, I wasn’t expecting to see a meaningful film that would be a path breaking initiative in overriding Tamil stereotypes. Even as a fun-film that one should watch without exercising their brain cells, this film is trashy!

Mankatha begins with a promise. A fancy entry for Vinayak Mahadevan (of course Ajit), a stunt scene establishing his invincibility, betting in Indian sports and all the supporting actors who will eventually go unnoticed – the film begins with some spectacle and noise.  Suddenly some police officer hangs himself. Prithvi (Arjun Sarja) is appointed to “eradicate” betting in Indian sports. The stage is set for the ‘Thirudan-Police’ game. Venkat Prabhu brings in lorry loads of people, some 500 crores, guns that never run short of bullets and some scantily clad women to make up the rest of the film.

Ajit’s character is flimsy. He is a drunkard (also drives drunk), smokes like a chimney, sleeps with any woman (once with Premgi as well, if I dare say), cheats on his girlfriend, shoots people without mercy and suddenly post intermission acts like a psycho. Of course, there are moments of brilliance. But the film has no ‘stuff’ for Ajit to rein on! He can’t dance for nuts. He is rather unromantic. Does nothing extraordinary and carries a ‘thoppai’ that has a mind of its own.

Image Courtesy: Sulekha

Arjun (Sarja for the non-Tamils) comes on screen after ages. I can’t even remember what was his last film. Arjun gets a glaring introduction where he annoyingly blows his hair away at every turn. To give credit where it’s due, Arjun has done all he can to earn equal footing as Ajit in the film. He runs hard, shoots his gun (at a weird angle) often, sits in conference rooms and makes grand plans. He’s done a fair job of what’s in his control. If only he could manage to look a tad younger, I’d be showering praise for him.

There are three women (leads) in the film. Trisha looks pretty, gets cheated, cries a bit and disappears. So much for being Ajit’s pair in the film. Lakshmi Rai sleeps with Ajit. Then reappears post interval in swimwear only to make a fool of herself (getting called **************** before dying). Andrea, playing Arjun’s wife, come in exactly three scenes, looks hassled and makes no difference. Venkat Prabhu seems to have taken it upon himself to ensure ‘Mankatha’ is not mistaken to be a woman.

Image courtesy: Sulekha
Image courtesy: Sulekha

Vaibhav Reddy and Arvind Akash have done commendable jobs and look more handsome than Ajit (if I dare say). Premgi’s plays the role of an IIT gold medallist who can hack into an ATM with just an IP address. Rather ordinary and not in the least funny.

As we’d have expected, there is no story. What’s disappointing is that for a film running on robbery and sports betting, this is brainless to say the least. Ajit uses no brain to thieve the money from Chettiar. Instead, he rides on a bike and unscrews something under a lorry and leaves you feeling like a fool. At every turning point in the film (mind you there are many), someone dies, money disappears, gunshots happen and the story goes nowhere.

Mediocre dialogues. Apart from “comedy panna naan yenna santhaanama” and “vada Billa Gatesu”, there is not one dialogue that will become cult (like most dialogues in Venkat Prabhu’s previous films). A couple of foot tapping numbers and a decent re-recording, Yuvan Shakar Raja does no magic. Lyrics are either gross or incomprehensible.

There is too much hype around Ajit that is hardly substantiated. He keeps saying “I am king maker” and I wonder which king has he made. One small show of a Vijay song, one mention of Ilayaraja, Vinayak and Prithvi calling each other Thala and action king – some of the very many annoyances in the film.

In summary, Venkat Prabhu has completely lost the point. He should perhaps try and write the story first and cast later!

Mankatha – the lost game!

52 thoughts on “Mankatha – the lost game!

  1. Nice.

    A few doubts I had on if I should watch the movie in theater have disappeared now. Loved the “carries a ‘thoppai’ that has a mind of its own.” bit.

      1. Krish says:

        came across this review (POS) if i dare say that while googling for mankatha’s review. I admire your vocabulary but you are actual intentions are really shady. your review seems highy baised and looks like the only intention of posting this masterpiece of yours is to bring down a decent entertainer with sheer badmouthing. i dont have explain that mr ajith has had 40 surgeries to his back and after watching the film i thought he looked smashing your comment “his thoppai has a mind of its own” is really over the top (you really dint have to mention it in a public forum) is framed in such a way to intentionally insult a decent actor ( whom u actually might hate to the core)then there is always a pretext of being a neutral observer of tamilfilms and claiming to like the VP’s earlier two offerings this being the only bad apple (to show that you are not rely baised).Please enjoy movies without any bais or stop being over intelligent cause there thousands of people who know everything and realize being subtle is always for greater good. Btw dont give me the danny ocean or Italian job rip of crap i too get cable in myplace.

    1. This guy has written this review just to criticize everyone acted in d movie. If u were not able to comprehend d lyrics of the song, it implies u are too dumb to understand tamil. A line from nanbanae song written by vaali . “Valakkaiyai pidithu, valaikkaiyil vizhunthaen; Valakkaram pidithu valam vara ninaithaen” Vaarthai jaalathulaye vilayandrukaru. If u had no interest in watching this movie, u shouldn’t ve gone to watch rather than criticizing the movie to the fullest.

      1. unni says:


  2. Venga says:

    This review seems to be so biased on the basis of story line and the screenplay factors. Am not a fan of Ajith either but i liked the movie not so deep or not so shallow. It was a good entatiner over all. Ofcourse it has logical breakage factor still it can be enjoyed and should be even. Not all movies are logical :-). One should like both logical movies and the masala movies(My personel say ;-)). I like both for sample I love The Dark Night and also the Transformers series. Am a die hard fan of Christopher Nolan and also Masala king James cameroon. So whatever i do enjoyed this movie. Hope many will :)

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Babu. If you go ahead and make time to read my blog in full, you’ll get a picture of how I see cinema. I am a very curious cinema lover and I have nothing against “popular” cinema (what you call masala – we call popular). I am not looking to see a melancholy art film. In fact, I enjoyed Saroja and Chennai 28 to bits.

      I did not think the film was very enjoyable. It was slow, went no where, no display of intelligence and everybody dies in the end (except the one who can not be made to die). It was such a drab!

      1. Venga says:

        Great :) We ppl think different and do different lol that’s a damn hard truth. So i consider the movie was kinda fast. also i dont get the thing you meant “no display of intelligence” what kind of intelligence you were expecting in this film ? :-) and for the factor everybody dies, bad ppl should always die as per Tamil Cinema’s logic and the breakage is then hero(villian in this movie) should have been died too :). The logic here was if you totally love something you ll get that whatever happens you wont mind breaking anything(Ajit’s character) ofcourse you wont know you broke something in that case as your eyes will be only on the target not at the sides :-). So i feel this was the logic and had been portrayed good.

  3. Akash says:

    The movie is good considering Ajit’s last outings and the so called blockbusters of Kollywood..!
    but there is no denying that the movie was not up to the hype, the screen play could have been better, there are lot of characters, unnecessary songs, lorry scene (but considering the robbery scenes in Indian movies you can’t expect brilliance here… for ex, robbery scenes in Dhoom)… etc.

    “Ajit’s character is flimsy” — oh, common… don’t say you expected a usual never-ever-do-evil kinda guy.. of course it has flaws but it sure is one of the good characters for him..! and the movie is watchable just because of him..! Well, I’m not sure whether girls like this character, but guys are going to like this villain character.. and it was a good move by Ajith to select a character like this… because if you take most of the superstars of India they became famous through portraying anti-hero roles.. say for ex, Rajni, Kamal, Mammooty, Lal, SRK, etc.. Boys like villains. period.

    By the way, I think.. they already won the game.. and this one is going to get lots of hits too -:)

    1. My review is not considering anything else but the film in its entirety. It is especially not taking anything from Ajit in the past. This film, on its own, isn’t a great film. That’s all.

      Again, considering robbery scenes in Indian films, you can’t expect……….why can’t Tamil cinema make thrilling robbery scenes. Using magnets to replace containers of lorries? Really? Sariya kaadhula poo, that is!

      “flimsy” by definition means “without much meaning and character”. I wasn’t expecting to see any nice guy. For a bad guy, how about some smartness, some substance and some meaning in the characterisation? And again, his previous films being bad does not make this a good one (I am not talking relativity here).

      I’m sorry I do not want to contribute to the ‘boys like vs girls like’ conversation you’ve brought up.

      Thanks so much for taking the time out to comment, nonetheless. :)

  4. Sujai says:

    I expected this kind of output when director said he made this movie as a thala fan. It must always be other way around. Illana padam urupadadhu.

    Directors – please be a fan of your script first.

  5. Karthik Krishnan says:

    not yet . The movie is releasing only on Saturday here in Germany. I will be travelling. Will try to watch in Chennai

  6. shaantanu says:

    The movie was really a gud entertainer… a neutral i loved it…..even certain Vijay anna fans loved it…..this review is useless and misguides others….

  7. arun says:

    MANGATHA a Total Disapointment from ajith !(for me*)
    1st half- WORSER.cant sit for a long tym
    2nd half-nothing special and each scenes are PREDICTABLE so WORST.
    i am a fan of CINEMA.i get angry if someone spoils it in the name of CINEMA.

  8. Mostly agree. Non-existent writing, bad bad staging of scenes in the first half and yeah, no semblance of a story. But Ajit did well in IMO. If there is anything positive about the film, it is only him. He really has the screen presence that Vijay can only dream of and Surya has to work hard for(though Surya is infinitely more talented in other areas). So I really wonder about the possibilities if he lets himself loose as a negative/anti-hero in a competent script rather than this shoddy effort.(I also remember the pre-Thala Ajith speaking in interviews about Shah Rukh Khan’s negative roles in Darr and Baazigar and willing to do roles like that. But he stopped with Vaali).

    Now I am really skeptical about Venkat Prabhu and wonder if he is a one film wonder. Saroja had its moments and some great lines but ultimately not original. Goa I did not care much for(though I’ll admit if you go with bunch of friends you can have a rollicking time but that’s just once).

    1. Dearest Gradwolf, come here and hug me close! You just made my day! Since morning I’ve been trashing comments calling me names.

      I liked Saroja for the lines and the lack of hype. It was fun to watch. Chennai 28 was heff! Goa was alright. Some good lines. Some rib tickling performances. But this one is a shame. Ajit is the only factor going *for* the film. Though I think it’s the aura and not skills. He dancing and romance is still shoddy. And let’s not compare him with Vijay. That man Vijay definitely needs to go search for his inner self.

  9. I am not a Thala fan; seen the movie first day first show.

    Movie is Good. Infact I enjoyed a lot. A total entertainer. Ajith’s presence is great in the movie.

    Is this review biased?

  10. Your review is for those English speaking High class people. The movie was damn gud than the media darling favorite Surya’s films. Better than his vaaranam ayiram and Singham.There are some intellectuals who supports actors like surya and closing their eyes they will support him. The whole of Tamil Nadu is enjoying this film to the hilt…Ajiths screen presence cant be matched. Think of this film with Mr.Vijay or Mr.surya or Mr.vikram.You will come to know what i say and what tamil nadu sayss….And It has stuck like tsunami., while others cared for their image.., Mr.Ajith has come out with a character.. which will be etched in our memories for long time.The editing,BGM and presentation top class…. venkat prabhu without formal intro to direction has matured…..

  11. About movie- i don’t think it’s a good entertainer. I tried very hard to laugh with those few comical scenes and barely succeeded. I don’t remember the last time where I saw such a pathetic ‘timing’ from leading Tamil comedians. In some scenes, I thought comedy was directed by Perarasu, it’s certainly not Venkat Prabhu class.

    Songs were coming from nowhere…. I still don’t have any clue why director showed that first song ‘showcasing’ honeymoon of gangster & his lovely wife (though that beach scenes with wet saree clad Anjali ….. sorry Ranjani…. was superb :D :D ). Then there came a Trisha song with Ajith as it is an advertisement for Asian paints & Damro furniture! Post interval, there were several songs and the only thing good in those songs were….. again….. wet girls! :D :D). I think Venkat Prabhu hav a free supplier of bikini girls for dance. No other way he can include so much girls without ANY reason!

    Comparing with other Indian films in this thriller genre (like Race, Johnny Gaddar), this one scores pretty low score. Climax is very long and if you haven’t seen any thrillers with several twists, this climax may surprise you. But if u have a bit commonsense that a Venkat Prabhu can never kill Ajith, u can end up waiting for this unbelievably low brain anti climax. The only worst climax I can think now is Puthiya Geethai.

    However, I did like movies with brain-dead comedies & thriller stories but sorry, this is not my cup of tea. Anyhow, when u compare it wit other Vijay type movies, this is slightly better because of Ajith and Venkat Prabhu. As Ranjani said, it’s all hype and I find nothing else. Nevertheless, this is not bad as Vallavan and I think majority of film viewers may find this movie okay.

    Thank you Ranjani for this post, this acted as a “shock absorber” for me!

    but yes, I do agree with most of above comments about Ranjani’s reviews. I rarely agree with her. Her expectations r pretty high, I think.

    and just to add- I loved Goa and Billa!

  12. Stalkerking says:

    Agree mostly with your review. Given, the hype and hullabaloo it was a tad disappointing. But, let us consider one thing before criticizing outright. Ajith is an actor with very limited acting skills.(even low than joker-peers like Vijay, Vishal, SImbu, Vambu, Korangu etc…). He rides merely on aura of friendliness displayed by his fanboys. With his rigid stone face devoid of any expression, he would find it very hard to find a role even in a crowd scene if he was in any foreign movie industry. The factor which makes him lovable by all is just because he is outspoken and believed to be a good samaritan. The man however needs to be commended for his guts to pick up a negative role in his 50’th film.
    Venkat Prabhu clearly doesn’t belong to the elite league of directors. I honestly didn’t get a kick to rewatch whatever he did. Most of his films are overrated. His Perseverance in making movies without a story makes me wonder, if he takes this business seriously or whether he thinks tamil movie fans are so dumb to queue up early morning to watch whatever Sh*t he offers. He falls way below his peers like Selvaraghavan, Goutham Menon. However, I feel the rest of the cast has done a decent job.(Vaibhav in particular, Mahat and Ashwin were okay. PremG is annoying as always). The heroines doesn’t have much to do. Trisha proves that she can spoil the show even if she’s given a miniscule role. The fact she still survives in movie industry shows the current shitty state of Tamil and telugu movies.
    Yuvan honestly needs a break. His music nowadays turn out be cacophony of sorts. The fact he failed to patch up with his one-time best buddy Selvaraghavan is reflecting on his music.
    Encouraging mind-numbing trashes repeatedly makes me come to a conclusion these sniveling moron- Fanboys deserve the movie they get.

  13. Well. Let me start by saying that you did not really understand the movie. Most people have’nt understood the movie. Watch the movie with this in mind and you will like it. Arjun and Ajith are the male and female sides of a single character. Consider trisha as a male character. Now watch the movie and tell me what you understand.

    Anyways, the movie is about human evolution. According to human evolution, there will be a guy who has his left brain and right brain equally well developed. You will come to know that if you listen to the song vilayadu mankatha well.(Remember the lyrics – “I got my head twisted all around for me.”)

    Some questions to you since you have written the review.
    Is the couple trisha and ajith living together?
    The answer is that they are. This piece of information is left well.
    to be Continued…

    1. The movie as such is a calling to that guy. Remember the lines in hindi and urdu in vilayadu mangatha song? They are there because the movie wants to impact that guy anyways and the guy is most possibly in south asia now.

      1. The writer has a day job and a life to take care of. She will respond promptly when she finds time. Thank you for your comments. It has been read and approved. Response will duly follow.

  14. Hemanadhan, sorry for the long gap. I couldn’t make time to understand your comments and respond.

    Seeing Arjun and Ajit as male and female sides of the same character is alright. But I don’t see why that’ll change anything in the film. It is just two people chasing each other for the world, but who end up being on the same side. Why is the gender an issue at all? And Trisha as a male character? Why? What difference will Trisha and Ajit living together make? And why is that information well left?

    The moving is calling which guy? Oof! As much as I did not understand the film, I do not seem to have understood you either. Huh, the very very dumb me!

  15. I will give you a small reply now and will give you a elaborate reply sooner. The thing about males and females is this. Males are left brain dominant and women are right brain dominant. But as per human evolution, 2011 is the year in which there will be a guy who has both left brain and right brain very well developed. And this will most probably in south east asia. It is possible that he is from southern india as well(obvious). This guy will be excellent in reverse psychology and can convince any man or women to accept what he proposes. This guy will probably be considered a God. (Recall the lyrics – aandavan kan vechaan vechaan in “idhu enga balle” song)

    Now, let me explain you about something called the big bang of consciousness.(Refer Human evolution page in wiki). So far, in the world, we had what is called right and wrong. Every person was expected to do what he or she thinks is right. The big bang of consciousness happened on oct 7th 2011, i think. As per that theory, we all, the whole world itself does not believe in right and wrong anymore, even though the person whom you check this thing may say so. We all have accustomed to a way of living and we just live. None of us believe in right and wrong anymore. Check it up.

    That guy who is awesome in reverse psychology will be able to talk to a man like he is women and can talk to women like a man. He will be able to understand the movie easily.

    Trisha as a male character – If you have time, try to watch “Vaada bin laada” song. Most of the things she does will be the actions what a man does and most of things ajith does will be like a women.

    They had clues almost everywhere in the movie. One of the best clues is this – “Aasai padu alavey illa aambalaikku athu thaan azhagu; Kovapadu kuraiye illa pombalaikku athu thaan poruppu”(in the song – idhu enga balle). Now “azhagu” is a term usually associated with women and poruppu is a term usually associated with men. Notice the reversal.

    The movie is brilliant in lots of ways.

    Now that I have written so much, I dont think i need to give you an elaborate reply.

      1. Hemanadhan says:

        Ok.. A lil bit more. Why do you think the movie is named mankatha? That guy who has his left and right part of the brain equally well developed will have his right brain dominating the left brain. So he will be able to think like a women. We know that women use their brain 20% more than men day in and day out.

        So he will be as smart as a women and will be as reckless/fearless as a guy. Whatever happens in the movie is because of the female side of the guy. Told you to consider ajith as a women right?

        And this is why the movie is named mankatha. And Ajith is mankathaa.

        Mankatha daa!!

  16. Hemanadhan says:

    The first few lines of vilayadu mangatha song – Aadavaa.. Arangetri paadava.. Adiyaargal koodava.. vidai pottu thedavaa… Boomiyil puthi thaana thozhane.. pugazh koorum seedane.. nee vaa vaa theerane. – Told you the song is a calling to that guy.

  17. Ha ha ha thats an absolute funny review you sh¤¤ even my friends few die hard Vijay fans have enjoyed this movie a lot and I think so that u have written this review for ur own publicity and I dont need to write more ha ha ha ha…funny review

    1. Hemanadhan, thanks for all your detailed comments. I understand what you are saying. But I am not even sure if you are serious. I have nothing to say in response. May be you are right. So, you win!

  18. Sivaram says:

    Saw the telugu version of this movie (Gambler) today! Came across your blog while searching some telugu film industry blogs. I loved all your reviews including this one. Of all, reviews for Mankatha, Dhoni, Rangam (probably KO in tamil?) standout.

    I hated the movie and all my thoughts are reflected in this post.

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