"Kal Manja", produced by actor Komal's wife Anasuya Kumar, starts off in a disastrous fashion but salvages itself after 40 minutes of a dragging narration. It then picks up its tempo and goes on to keep the audience on tenter hooks.
If you have enough patience to tolerate the tedious first 40 minutes, "Kal Manja" will certainly impress you with its gripping screenplay.
The film is the remake of Malayalam hit "Chathiyan Chandu". The original film directed by duo Rafi Macartin had a classic touch and a strong native fervour.
But there are some additions in the Kannada remake to add commercial elements in the script which may look a little odd in an offbeat-styled film.
The original Malayalam version had many appreciable points like its imaginative plot and the climax which had a lot of comedy elements.
Even the performances in the film were good. But in the Kannada version, some fights and dances have been added to boost Komal's image in the hero's role. In the process, his characterisation suffers.
Manja (Komal) wants to be a famous film scriptwriter. As he does not succeed in convincing the directors about his screen play, he decides to narrate his real life story to a maverick director.
Manja is loved by a rich person's daughter Indira in his native village who wants to reveal her inner feelings to him, but does not succeed.
Sensing that his daughter is secretly in love with Manja, Indira's father forces him to write a letter to an imaginary Vasumathi in a village. Manja expresses his love to the girl in writing and asks Indira to post the letter.
Indira reads it and is left broken hearted.
The twist in the tale comes as a real Vasumathi exists at the address on the letter. She is trying to end her life due to the torture inflicted by her greedy relatives.
Manja's letter brings her some hope as she decides to escape from her house. She meets him in a bus.
What happens to Vasumathi and Indira after Manja is able to get a nod from a producer for his story forms the rest of the film. Finally, the movie ends on a hilarious note with Manja marrying both his lovers.
Komal selected a story which has many heroic elements with a strong focus on comedy which has been his forte. But he looks too hefty for the role he performs.
Telugu actress Udaya Tara is a revelation in her role and performs brilliantly.
Aishwarya Nag has the best role in her career and she performs with ease. The performances of comedy artistes Raju Thalikote and Sathyajith evoke laughter.
Director Prabhakar has allowed many artistes to go overboard. Director Guru Prasad, who plays himself, overacts and even his dubbing is poor. Komal also overacted in many sequences.
Emil's music is very good and compliments the flow of the film. But the camera work needs a little more focus.
Overall, "Kal Manja" is an enjoyable film though it starts off at a weak note.