December 25, 2010 Y. Sunita Chowdary
Manmadha Banam does have a plot but the character development, narration and the pace makes it a very restless and a tedious watch. Firstly, it is a prime example of how the choice of dubbing artists can spoil the entire film, the visual experience and the aural quality of a story. Just because Chinmayi's voice was a hit with Ye Maaya Chesave, the filmmakers chose to use her for Trisha, Jhansi for Sangeetha, SP Balasubrahmanyam for Kamal Hassan. Not only did their voice diverge, it was loud, did not gel with their faces and helped in stripping the film of the little authenticity it was blessed with.
So bad was it, that it was difficult to make out if Kamal was acting out a role of a spy or if it was another episode of SPB from the small tube. The film begins on an ambitious note but as it progresses, it becomes distinctively boring with insignificant scenes showing no signs of momentum. Except for Trisha all characters look ungainly and push the drama in the last hour and what is supposed to be hilarious rom com ends as a farce.
Madhan's (Madhavan) obsessive love for actress Ambujakshi (Trisha) ends on a sour note as the former happens to be too suspicious of her. He is still crazy about her and hires a private detective to know if she is involved with someone. The detective Maj Bhushan strikes an acquaintance with Ambu while she is on a holiday with her friend Deepa (Sangeetha) and her kids and in the process, falls in love with her.
Most of the film centres around the conversations on the phone, Urvashi is not screaming this time but drowns one with her sob story intermittently. Ramesh Aravind's commentary from the hospital bed dampens your spirits. Kamal is wasted and does have atleast one melodramatic scene that he is known to excel in. The only redeeming factor is Venice where the last portion has been mostly shot. The film could have drawn a little wider audience than the filmmakers intended, if the length would have been a half an hour shorter.