They paid no? - any Tollywood film buff in the new milennium would remember this dialogue from Brahmanandam in Manmadhudu. The film has become a modern day cult classic of sorts largely because of its comedy. Seventeen years later, Nagarjuna is back in Manmadhudu 2 , directed by Rahul Ravindran . And while this film has no connection with the original, one thing that remains constant is the rip-roaring humour. If it was Brahmanandam who stole the show in Manmadhudu, this time it's Vennela Kishore who leaves the audience in splits with his terrific comic timing, that lifts this rom-com into something special.
Having had his heart broken Sambasiva Rao AKA Sam (Nagarjuna) decides that he doesn’t believe in commitment or marriage, and instead deals only in one-night stands. When his family gives him an ultimatum to get married, he ropes in Avanthika ( Rakul Preet ) to act as his fiance and ditch him on the wedding. Little does he know that his plan could have serious consequences.
When you look at the rushes of the film, you'd expect it to have plenty of humour — and Rahul Ravindran doesn't disappoint there. There are some absolutely hilarious scenes in the film, especially involving Vennela Kishore, who really is the scene-stealer as the hero's friend. Whether it's him bursting into a long monologue in English or one particular instance where he inadvertently smokes weed and gets stoned, the actor is involved in some side-splitting humour. The visuals too are wonderful, with the stunning locales of Portugal and Switzerland adding to the film's vibe.
In attempt to balance the story, Rahul sometimes makes it seem a bit too melodramatic. The climax, in particular, could've been a touch better. A little less melodrama and a little more of that brilliant humour would've probably served the film better in the last half hour, especially how given the plotline, one could've predicted a melodramatic climax from a mile away.
It doesn't take much for Nagarjuna to convince us while playing the role of a casanova. "I don't fall in love, I make love," Nag quips in one scene and the effortless ease with which he pulls it off shows the trait of a seasoned actor. What's heartening to see is that both Rahul and Nagarjuna were willing to joke about the age-difference between the two lead actors. At one point, Rakul refers to Nag as "the hot older man". Rao Ramesh and Lakshmi - both terrific in the film - also take some hilarious wisecracks at the couple's age difference. Which is why a love story between the two of them doesn't seem cringe-worthy, and Rahul deserves credit for it.
The director missed a trick or two with the climax but gets almost everything else bang on, ensuring a hilarious entertainer that you wouldn't mind watching on repeat. Too much of something can be an overkill, they often say. But when it comes to Vennela Kishore's comedy in Manmadhudu 2, that doesn't ring true. In fact, it only leaves you wanting for more.