Man Madhan Ambu is a good movie. No argument there. It makes for enjoyable viewing but what irks me is that it could have been a great movie but falls short by a mile. The director K. S. Ravikumar and Kamal Hasan are master craftsmen and yet when they get together they feel compelled to showcase every single weapon in their collective arsenal which leaves the movie dangerously close to an implosion.
We all know that Kamal Hassan is a versatile actor who does comedy, tragedy, sentiment, action, etc. etc. with equal ease. But everyone who works with the dude makes it a point to drive this home and with a sledgehammer at that. The resultant genre - blending can get dizzying and seriously annoying. Sometimes it is important to decide at the onset whether you are making a farce - type comedy or a seriously emotional drama.
That being said the disparate elements that comprise this flick are really beautiful. The love story is wonderfully nuanced and sensitively portrayed. There are some seriously funny gags so the comedy bits are also good. However the manufactured drama and comedy gets a little tedious towards the end when it unravels in an all - out goofball fest.
There are some good performances that contribute towards engaging the audience despite the shortcomings mentioned above. Kamal Hassan is awesome! And then some. How does he do it? He looks great and is very much in his element as arguably the greatest actor this country has produced. His talent as an actor is matched only by his singing. The haunting "neela vaanam" number is guaranteed to make the crustiest soul in the audience weep. Trisha is surprisingly decent and looks gorgeous. Madhavan plays a thankless character, that of a rich, insensitive, crude, jerk/pig but is nevertheless a hoot. A testament to his growing prowess as an actor.
Nobody and I mean nobody does flashbacks quite like Ravikumar and he has outdone himself with this one. An entire song shot in reverse depicts a tragic and heart - warming love story with none of the "lets shamelessly manipulate audience sentiment for all its worth" crap.
The music is another plus. Devi Sri Prasad is really good.
Man MAdhan Ambu gets 7/10, but it could have scored a ten.