Production: AR Murugadoss, P. Madhan
Cast: Hansika, Satish, Siva Karthikeyan, Vamsi Krishna
Story: A. R. Murugadoss
Music: Anirudh Ravichander
Background score: Anirudh Ravichander
After notching up back to back successes as the endearing and funny ‘boy next door’, Siva Karthikeyan is back with Maan Karate in a role which is akin to his previous ones but with more scope for action this time around.
Siva plays Peter, a playful chap with very little worldly exposure and with nothing on his mind except his girlfriend Yazhini. He poses as a boxer to woo her, as she is an ardent fan of sports. But destiny has bigger plans for him and makes him register for a boxing tourney.
Maan Karate combines elements like fantasy and the regular brand of commercial entertainment in true Siva Karthikeyan style. The young man looks handsome in neatly fitting, trendy costumes and accessories, and looks the part as a dashing lead hero. The way he has improved his dance moves is unbelievable and there is an evident and effortless grace in his moves now. And like a typical mass hero number, we have Siva and the song’s choreographer dancing together to a signature move, in the ‘Royapuram Peter’ track.
Hansika is pretty and cherubic as ever and looks gorgeous in the song and dance sequences. Other than that, she gets to be a loyal, unsuspecting and supporting girlfriend who stands by her guy.
Soori plays a pretty hyper, easily excitable boxing referee and will please his hardcore fans in the limited time he has. The chemistry between Siva and Soori is evident in these scenes and they do bring about a few laughs. Sathish has a few one-liners to make a mark and effortlessly does so.
The other actors such as Vamsi as the domineering boxer and Shaji as Siva’s coach play out their roles in the required manner.
Technically, Maan Karate is a superior product with the grand boxing arena and the massive scale in the final fight, catching the eye. The songs are a delight to watch thanks to Sukumar’s lighting, the glossy visual treatment and the lead pair’s attractive costumes. ‘Maanja’ and ‘Un Vizhigalil’ are the best of the lot but the movie is let down by the placement of these songs as you can preempt exactly when all the songs are going to arrive.
Sukumar’s work is also really brilliant in the movie’s initial few minutes as he transports us right into the proceedings on screen.
Now coming to the biggest highlight of the movie, Anirudh and his spellbinding work on the BGM score. The final boxing tussle is elevated several notches by Anirudh’s quirky and groovy electronic score. The little training montage is another sequence where Anirudh rules with his orchestration in the background.
All things said, we aren’t able to root whole heartedly for the underdog in the final boxing tussle, and we don’t make an emotional connect with him. The unconvincing way in which the boxing tournament is staged in the movie, may be a reason. Even with a funny title like ‘Maan Karate’ (meaning pulling off an escape act), when you are making a movie with sports as a key element, a certain amount of seriousness is required in the way the sport is approached and treated on screen. The movie also becomes overtly dramatic towards the end and this reduces the final impact.
On the whole, the movie is definitely watchable, with some amount of suspension of disbelief, for the many segments of entertainment that it offers.