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Manasanamaha [Deepak Reddy, India, 2020]

The film follows Surya (Viraj Ashwin) who recounts three relationships from his past. The first person shown is Chaitra (Drishika Chander) who is funny and commanding, Varsha (Valli Raghavender), joyful and charming, and Seeta (Prithvi Sharma), a no-nonsense and charismatic individual. Through each season of Surya’s love life, Chander, Raghavender, and Sharma stand toe-to-toe with Ashwin in their scenes, conveying how each relationship came together and fell apart with vibrancy in their performances that leave strong impressions of each main character within the brisk pacing of the film.

On a visual level, Manasanamaha is marvel to behold. Each edit is eye-catching and the colours within each scene pop. Reddy’s creative vision for this film is both slick and audacious, particularly as he starts playing around with the passage of time as the scenes start rewinding while the music moves forward. This stylised approach to conveying the whimsy that can come with romance is moving and plays around with how nostalgia of one’s past tends to be depicted on-screen.

While the notion of seasons is used effectively in the film, each intertitle dampens the suspense. It is important to note the languages are English and Telugu, so while the contents of the intertitles are made in respects to this, the creative direction overall gives the impression that this motif could have been conveyed with a little more subtlety.

Manasanamaha is stunning both in its cinematography and music choice. This is augmented by strong performances across the board and a distinctive creative approach to bind the film together. While there are some slight hiccups, Manasanamaha is quite literally a bold film to look out for.


'Manasanamaha' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2020.


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