Ammana Mane could not have gotten a better release date than Women’s Day, for the movie revolves around the three most important women in the hero’s life – mother, wife and daughter. This comeback film of veteran star Raghavendra Rajkumar had upped the ante with its intriguing trailer. However, the makers had sent a clear message that this would be an engaging, meaningful film and not a commercial potboiler for entertainment lovers. The film stands by it.
Born with a deformity, Rajeeva (Raghavendra Rajkumar) is thin and frail. This upsets his father who gives his wife (Rohini Nagesh) an ultimatum to choose between the ailing baby and him. Rohini chooses the former, determined to make her son an independent man. He cannot walk or talk fast, so she stands by him throughout.
Rajeeva grows up and gets a job as PT teacher in a school. He gets married and has a baby girl. One fine day, Rohini becomes wheelchair-bound and the onus is now on Rajeeva to take care of her. His life is filled with three important women – the mother who stood by him throughout his weakness, his wife who would never give up on him, and a new-age daughter (Sheetal) who is struggling to understand why her ailing grandmother is so important to her father.
A series of events leads to a war of words at home and Sheetal insists that Rohini be sent to an old age home. Torn between mother and daughter, Rajeeva is helpless. He now has only one option – to choose his ailing mother or his daughter.
The film is set in a lower middleclass family and echoes the struggles and sentiments of this section. Along with this thread, there is a consumer court case plot, which Rajeeva fights with all his might. The film touches upon several relevant issues throughout. There’s also some comic tonic by Tabla Nani.
Raghavendra Rajkumar might have stayed away from the limelight for over a decade-and-a-half owing to ill health, but we are all aware of the kind of support his mother Parvathamma, and his wife Mangala gave him during his illness. After watching the movie, one can be certain that growing and healing around these women had prepared Raghanna to get into Rajeeva’s shoes effortlessly. His closeness with his mother has been reflected very well with his onscreen mother. He is a star performer and if you are a Raghanna fan, you will get to see a totally different actor in Ammana Mane. The subject reiterates why Raghanna chose this one to make a comeback.
Theatre artist Mansi Sudheer who plays Raghavendra’s wife has a minor role. Rohini Nagesh plays a powerful character and shows she is an acting gold mine. She essays the role with lot of strength and grace. Sheetal too has performed the role of the daughter well. Director Nikhil Manju is seen in a small role as a cop and has done justice to it. Suchendra Prasad as the judge blows you away with his pure Kannada accent and voice.
The film has only two songs; both are sung by Raghavendra Rajkumar and are aptly placed. The background music is a little tricky in the film. Most part of the film is silent, giving us an art movie feel.
Ammana Mane is the adaptation of writer Sri Lalithe’s novel. The movie has passed with flying colours in terms of translating a book into a film. But the movie may not appeal to film buffs who are looking for entertainment. The lead character, by nature itself, is slow. The way he talks, walks and understands is very slow and this is echoed in every frame. Just like the hero, the film is also slow-paced and though that goes very well with the character, it may not be very appealing to the audience. Having said that, the overly sentimental women characters too may sound melodramatic to many.
You can knock on the doors of Ammana Mane if you want to get high on mother sentiment.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film’s producers or any other members of its cast and crew.