Whenever a festival season approaches, it's happy days for the film fraternity & if at all it coincides with the landmark of one of the biggest stars; then it's party time for the producers especially in the Tamil industry. Incidentally, this week marked the release of "Thala" Ajith's 50th movie "Mankatha" on the occasion of Eid. With Venkat Prabhu known for his humorous yet engaging films such as "Saroja", "Goa" etc., calling the shots, there's a sense of deja vu that this is gonna be a smash hit. So was this feeling the creation of a delusional mind or will it rack in the good times???
Mumbai is chosen as the backdrop for this thriller with betting on the IPL matches being the core subject. Arumugam Chettiar (Jayaprakash), is part of the betting syndicate who routes the money to the tune of 500 crores from all the major investors through his dilapidated theatre At this point, Arumugam's henchman Sumanth (Vaibhav) hatches a conspiracy to flick the moolah in the company of his friends which includes police officer Ganesh (Ashwin), bar owner Mahanth (Mahanth) & IIT graduate Prem (Premgi). But before they could implement the plan, suspended cop Vinayak Mahadevan (Ajith) gets a whiff of it & barges into the group with the intention of getting a share of the money pie. In the meantime, Special Task Force ACP Pritvi (Arjun) is hot on the the heels of the betting mafia which eventually leads him to the trail of Vinayak & the rest. Things take an unexpected turn with Mahanth & Prem pulling off a fast one on the rest of the gang. So will Vinayak & co. have their vengeance or will ACP Prithvi draw the iron curtains on the gang???
Just as in his previous ventures, Venkat attempts a liberal sprinkling of humorous one liners which though at times fails to live up to expectations. The script is written keeping in mind to make use of the aura of Ajith to the hilt & there's no doubt that he has succeeded that on all fronts. The biggest plus point is undoubtedly breaking off from the stereotypical mass hero style, as Ajith is shown more with shades of grey along with getting blows as well, which would have been unthinkable in normal circumstances. However, there are a couple of major pitfalls, as it stretches a tad too long & moves along predictable lines. As a matter of fact, inspite of having a thrilling climax; it doesnt tread into any unchartered territory as the audience will more or less guess the ending.
Coming to performances, it's an out & out Ajith movie as he unleashes his dark side with panache. His lazy gaze, sarcastic laughs & his unbridled greed for money just makes the audience asking for more. Arjun plays the supporting role with authority with ample scope to showcase as to why he is called Action King. The remaining cast does their part aptly, but more or less gets lost in the aura of Thala. As for other technical aspects, Yuvan Shankar Raja's music was definitely a highlight especially the title track while the visuals by Sakthi Saravanan was enthralling. Though the editing by Praveen & Srikanth were crisp, it could have been better.
Verdict: Ajith couldnt have hoped for a better half century as the film will garner a thunderous opening at the box office. It will definitely whet the appetite of Thala's fans & it should be the talking point for the next couple of weeks. In short, though the storyline is predictable; Ajith's mannerisms & grey shades makes it for an interesting watch. So if you do have some time to spare, it wont hurt to check it out!!!