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Movie review - Sri Manjunatha
Chinni Films
Sri Manjunatha
Jeevi Rating: 3.75/5
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Jeevi Rating: 3.75/5 (Three and three quarter)
: Chiranjeevi, Arjun, Ambarish, Meena, Yamuna, Soundarya, Sumalatha, Master Anand Vardhan

Story & Dialogues: JK Bharavi
Screenplay & Direction: K Ragahvendra Rao
Producer: Nara Jaya Sri Devi

Theatrical Release Date: 22nd June 2001



There is village called 'Dharmasthali'. There lives a guy called Manjunatha (Arjun) who hates the Lord Shiva (Chiranjeevi) and feels that Lord Shiva is a cheater. There is another beautiful lady Katyayani (Soundarya), who is an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. This couple meet with each other on and off in pucca Raghavendra Rao style.

During one night, this couple is forced to stay in a jungle as Katyayani was wounded. Manjunatha fixes her wound. But the village heads pass a judgement that Katyayani is no more a respectable lady and they force her to become a devadasi. Manjunatha marries her to avoid her becoming a devadasi. Katyayani's devotion to Lord Shiva irks Manjunatha. Katyayani gives birth to a kid, with the blessings of Lord Shiva. Even the kid turns out to be a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. An irked Manjunatha slaps the kid and later on realizes the power of Lord Shiva.

There is king (Ambarish) in that territory who is also a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and he acquires the kaala gnanam (Knowledge of the time - knowing the future).

Manjunatha visits the Lord Shiva shrine at Dharmastali along with his family. During his visit, a few bad omens occur. The other devotees accuse Manjunatha as the cause. King happens to be there at that place. He asks Manjunatha to prove his innocence by making all the diyas glow again. Manjunatha sings the breathless song (Mayakaya Deepam by Shankar Mahadevan and written by Maharshi Veda Vyasa) and make the diyas glow. Everybody realizes that Manjunatha is a changed man and is a greatest devotee of Lord Shiva.

Manjunatha wants to get himself acquitted of all the sins he has made in the past. He installs a crore of Shiva Lingas in a place (Dharma Sthali). Lord Shiva visits that place in the form of old man asks devotee to give him some food. Meanwhile, old man behaves in such a way that Manjunatah sends him out without offering food. Manjunatha realizes his mistake later. But it was too late.

After few more gripping incidents, the king felicitates the Manjunatha. During that time king realizes that Manjunatha is going to die on that particular day (as king knows kala gnanam).

Will Manjunatha die? Is premature death the presentation he gets for all his devotion toward Lord Shiva? You have to watch this heart-touching climax on the big screen to enjoy this 3-hour long devotional film.



Chiranjeevi: Chiranjeevi acted extraordinarily well as the Lord Shiva in this film. He looks little obese in this film. The get-ups of Old man and Aghora are terrific. This film has given an opportunity to prove his caliber in a various get-ups and Chiranjeevi grabbed this offer with both hands and proved his versatility. There is one particular bit of 'Shiva Tandavam' in the first half of the film. You feel like watching the real Lord Shiva doing the Tandavam during that period.

Arjun: I have seen the real caliber of Arjun in the films Gentleman and Oke Okkadu in the past. This film offers him better scope than those films to prove himself. He did do a wonderful job as a changed man. His action in the second half is extremely good. He makes you cry in the second half with his sensitive action..

Ambarish: Watching Ambarish in a miniscule, yet important role, in Karnataka Theater is a different feeling all together. You can find the crowds from the lower class in the theater go to the screen and touch his feet whenever he appears on the screen.

Meena: Her role is a small one and she did it with ease. She (Parvathi Devi) shares the honor as wife of Lord Shiva along with Ganga (Yamuna).

Soundarya: She acted as the wife of Arjun in this film. Her character epitomizes the innocence of village girl and devotion of a great devotee. She did good job.

Technical Departments:

Screenplay & direction: K Raghavendra Rao has done a commendable job as director in this movie. But he could not avoid using his commercial style in the first half, especially those scenes which makes a way for the love between Arjun and Soundarya. His screenplay in the film is impeccable from 20 minutes before interval to the end of the film. And he knows how the play with the emotions of the viewers once he gets them in to his grip.

Story: JK Bharavi has done a pretty neat job by selecting a story that appeal to all the sections like Annamayya.

Music and Songs: Hamsalekha did wonderful job as the composer for this film. All the songs are good for listening. On the screen, the first song (Oho Garala Kantha) and all the songs in the second half are good. The much-hyped mass song of 'Olammo Gowrammo' does not impress. Like Keeravani in Annamayya, Hamsalekha too made the effective use of 'Om' as the backdrop score.

Production: There are rich technical values in this film. Producer Nara Jaya Sri Devi must be commended for delivering a devotional film in this cyber age.

Analysis: First half is little slow in this film. It took one hour for K Raghavendra Rao to take the entire audiences into his narrative grip. Once he has the audiences spellbound, there is no looking back. He takes us through a journey till the heart-touching climax by making the best use of the histrionics of Chiranjeevi, Arjun and other actors. We have to wait and see how the audiences of Andhra Pradesh would hog onto this devotional film.

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