Mirror to a depressed mindscape

Mana Manthana
Kannada (U)   Cast: Ramesh Bhat, Kiran Rajput, Arpitha, Suman, Suresh Heblikar, Sangeetha, K S Sridhar
Director: Suresh Heblikar

Suresh Heblikar returns to screen after two decades. Known for his trail-blazing films, Heblikar’s return from a self-imposed sabbatical turns nostalgic for film lovers fed on his delectable oeuvres.

Heblikar, in association with Shivamogga-based psychiatrist Dr K A Ashok Pai (who passed away prior to the film’s release), has given Kannada cinema educative films exploring psyche of individuals, their last being Aghata (Trauma), 1995. The earlier repertoire includes Kadina Benki (1989), and Prathama Ushakirana (1990).

Heblikar’s Mana Manthana sees him tread a familiar trail. And it turns out interesting and intuitive, as it probes the psyche of depressed minds.

Drawn from real-life incidents, the film revolves around troubled teenager Ajay who is battling depression, thanks to authoritarian and self-centred dad Jagadish, for whom business is all. Working much against his aspirations of seeking a career as an engineer, Ajay pursues his passion for violin. A BCom, he interns with an auditing firm in Bengaluru. His return to home in Malnad turns fortuitous, as Ajay finds himself in the charming company of young Madhuri, pursuing her PG. He finds his soul mate in her and pours his heart out.

Even as the two bask in the bliss of their blooming romance, bitter truth forces Madhuri to head to Chennai to take up a job. An already depressed Ajay ends up in a psychiatric institution after a suicide bid.

Mana Manthana is captivating with an old-world narrative. The film’s larger social message is for disciplinarian parents who wreck the lives of their children by imposing their will on them.

The film shows how children must be allowed to chase their dreams, pursue their passion and lead unfettered lives from parental pressures.

The cast gives an understated performance, led by debutants Kiran Rajput and Arpita.

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