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Memu Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, July 8, 2016 • Telugu ]
Memu Review
Sai Manikantha Creations
Suriya, Amala Paul, Bindhu Madhavi, Mundasupatti Munishkanth, Vidhya, Master Nishesh, Baby vaishnavi
Julakanti Madhu Sudhana Reddy

Memu Movie Review

'Memu' (dubbed version of the Tamil film 'Pasanga-2') is 'Taare Zameen Par' baptized in the Kollywoodian tradition. That's why director Pandiraj is not content with projecting two ADHD-affected kids as realistically as possible.  His girl child's character is over-smart, reminding us of Baby Nainika's character from Vijay's 'Theri' ('Police' in Telugu).  As for the boy child, he has a Tamil cinema male lead's trait that Telugu audiences don't find sexy: dancing to 'dappu' with gay abandon.

Naina (Baby Vaishnavi) and Navin (Master Nishesh) are extremely active and mischievous kids who are vexatious at school and troublesome at home.  Their parents are forced to keep on changing the schools.  The parents are at a loss to comprehend their wards' unusual behaviour.  In comes Ramanathan (Suriya), whose very presence sends positive vibes around (well, he is a South Indian hero and has to have special powers, you know).   Ramanathan, a child psychiatrist, discovers the kids' special abilities in their Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder and decides to groom them, helped by his wife (played by Amala Paul), a teacher who has an altogether different perspective on parenting, education and schooling.

Pandiraj does present interesting moments.  For example, a fat boy participating in a long-run competition and winning a prize despite coming last in the race, and refreshing the audience's memory in the second half when Suriya's character takes off, is a case in point.  The idea of using the titling space to subtly convey the point about how humans are influenced even as foetuses by what their moms do/talk/hear/watch during pregnancy is another good example.  Of course, this is a bookish idea, but the presentation is interesting.

Thankfully the emotional scenes do not border on the melodrama and most parents can relate to the situation faced by the parents of these two kids.

The film offers umpteen infotainment and the messages are conveyed without sounding preachy.

However, one feels the film has good many flaws/cliches.  For example, Naina reproducing rhymes in front of guests and the tenor of the language she uses are so unrealistic.  She talks the language of a frustrated and depressed adult in this scene.  Suriya explaining the children-sapling metaphor is too academic in tone.  How can all the teachers/principals be equally harsh?  All of them have to be shown to be mean till the saviour teacher (Amala Paul) steps in.  Right?  The song sung by the kids once they are put in the hostel is a throwback to 'TZP'.  The inter-school competition in the climax, and the girl's maudlin act on the stage are too routine.

The idea of showing the male kid's father as suffering from Kleptomania comes across more as an excuse for comedy (rather than as a sub plot that complements the main theme) in a film with no comedians or a demarcated comedy track.  Well, it's up to the parents among audience to take it as a message of self-introspection because almost all or at least most of traits (bad or good) in children owe it to their genes.

The film deals with upper middle class and middle class families and how the message reaches the other sections needs to be seen. Note that a character decries that education is now offered by private sector, while it's in a private school that the troubled kids receive the special education they need.

The film's lead actors Vaishnavi and Nishesh make a brilliant debut.   Between them, Vaishnavi is more convincing.  Everyone will definitely love these kids and also the other kids seen in some scenes.

Karthik Kumar and Bindhu Madhavi as Vaishnavi’s parents put up a good show. Muneeshkanth and Vidhya Pradeep as Nishesh's parents are good.

Suriya deserves kudos for doing such a role despite being a big star.  In the role of a child psychiatrist, he is dignified and natural.  Taking the Aamir Khan act in 'TZP' to the extreme, he is not just lively but also extra sprightly.  Amala Paul pulls off the role quite well.  In the role of a special educator, she is very true-to-life.

Arrol Corelli's songs are passable while re-recording passes muster. Balasubramaniem’s cinematography is apt and fits the tone of the script and offers us delightful visuals overall.

Verdict:  A good theme.  The screenplay has its lighter-veined moments and very mature performances by the two kids.  However, cliches blight 'Memu'.

Rating: 2.50 / 5.0

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