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Manorama Six Feet UnderManorama Six Feet Under : Movie Review
21st Sept 2007  22.49 IST
By Aparajita Ghosh  

Manorama Six Feet Under is an intriguing, complex and offbeat thriller set in a sleepy small town of Rajasthan.

The movie is a promising debut by director Navdeep Singh. People who are used to the escapist Bollywood fare may find the movie too slow or confusing. The fact is that 'Manorama' leaves many threads of the story open-ended. Even as it pays homage to noir genre, the movie stays close to reality. And there is a strong sense of impending doom throughout the film's narrative.

If you watch it closely you would find subtle metaphors in the story's undercurrent. The protagonist's flop novel is called Manorama and so is the mysterious woman who gives the protagonist the offer of spying on her husband. And both Manoramas eventually lie buried six feet under.

Abhay Deol plays Satyaveer Singh, a junior engineer who is suspended from his job for taking bribe. SV hasn't been able to succeed in his other passion, too, that is writing. His pulpy detective novel Manorama was a failure.

At home he has a nagging wife (Gul Panag) and an overactive son. In short, life could not be more drag for him.

But then, a woman (Sarika) gives him a tempting offer. Introducing herself as a minister's wife Manorama, she holds out a bundle of notes and asks SV to spy on her husband.

Lured by lucre and as a welcome excuse to get away from his mundane life, SV accepts. Intriguing facts come to the fore as SV digs for the truth. And before he can cut himself loose from the job, there is a murder and SV finds himself getting deep into the mire he can't get out of.

The plot of 'Manorama Six Feet Under' takes a winding path instead of going linear. Beginning on a cogent note, the movie veers onto a somewhat tangled route, as the focus flits from one subplot to another.

Verbally sparse, intelligent, and visually striking, the movie holds your interest despite its languid pace.

And complementing the director's and cinematographer's commendable job are performances by the actors.

Abhay Deol's natural and underplayed portrayal of SV lends a lot of credibility to the character. More than acting, Abhay believes in spontaneous performance. And it comes through on the screen.

Gul Panag stands in equal stead, playing his bickering, nagging wife. Raima Sen , as the other woman in SV's life, is good. Vinay Pathak , playing a cop, doesn't have ample footage but he gets to mouth some well-written lines. Sarika has a very small role. Kulbhushan Kharbanda is impressive.

Inspired from Roman Polanski's movie 'Chinatown', 'Manorama Six Feet Under' is a film for those who like unconventional cinema. At times bizarre, at times fascinating, the movie is arguably the first of its kind in offbeat Hindi cinema.

Recommended for those who like offbeat films.

Rating: ***

Manorama Six Feet Under
Abhay Deol
Gul Panag
Raima Sen
Vinay Pathak
Kulbhushan Kharbanda

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