Kannada (U/A) Cast: Jaggesh, Yajna Shetty, Tabla Nani Director: Guruprasad
It is recession time, with loads of job losses and pay cuts becoming routine. The work force is unsure of its future. Viewed in this context, Eddelu Manjunatha becomes a plea, for all those who have lost their jobs- through their or others’ fault, for all those students fresh out of college, with dreams of changing this world and for all those who feel they are always misunderstood and therefore, misguided in life. Most of all, Eddelu Manjunatha is a clarion call for people -who-matter to utilise untapped potential and harness the same towards developing the nation as a whole.
It is left to the audience to decide whether to heed the call or dismiss it off as another nuisance.
Manjunatha or Manja (Jaggesh in another round of restrained acting) epitomises a large section of today’s youth - languishing in self-induced deception and ‘condescending’ to ‘cooperate’ with parents, friends and society. His marriage to Gowri (Yajna Shetty, pleasant on the senses and the mind) is one of convenience. A street-smart gambler and drinker, Manja manages to evade established rules. But for how long?
Then, a blind man aspiring to direct a film, Narayana or Nani (Tabla Nani, a perfect foil to Jaggesh), is thrown into Manja’s company in the same hotel room where the latter is ‘locked up’ for stealing his employer’s money. A seasoned laggard, Manja recounts his life to Nani in the hope of gaining something. All the while his life hangs in the balance.
Guruprasad continues what he did in Matha: Expose the true colours of several aspects of society with some well-chosen barbs. He makes judicious use of Jaggesh’s stock expressions with telling effect while repeating some of his Matha cast. Ashok Raman’s lens brings alive Guru’s script. Anoop’s background score is better than the songs, except perhaps, Ee Prapancha...
Eddelu... suffers from an abrupt climax, offering no relief to viewers. It is here that Guru sheds his cynical self and shows the director within him. If Yajna Shetty sheds any notions of starry-inhibitions in the process, so much the better.
Eddelu Manjunatha delivers a hard punch, but will the punch mould characters into shape is another story altogether.