Bad Manners is every bit the 'Sukka Suri' pour we were expecting it to be, but the film is far from being in the same category as his best work.
Having lost his service gun while on duty, police officer Rudresh or Rudra is now desperate to find its replacement to save his job. This leads him to a secret town named Goda which is notorious for mass production of duplicate or 'country' weapons, where he encounters kingpins of that world. Will Rudra get what he wants? Or could it be that there's a lot more to his mission than simply picking up a duplicate pistol?
Every Duniya Suri film evokes a lot of excitement among Kannada film audiences mainly because the filmmaker has delivered multiple cult films over the years like Duniya, Jackie, Inthi Ninna Preethiya, Tagaru and Popcorn Monkey Tiger. The filmmaker's trademarks, be it the non-linear, jumpy screenplay, the philosophy infused in his dialogues or the 'raw' performances he extracts from his actors, are extremely popular among his fans. Thereby, one expects him to deliver another quintessential 'Sukka Suri' film in Bad Manners, which stars Abishek Ambareesh in the lead.
At the outset, Bad Manners is the Suri film we are all hoping it would be. There's his characteristic incoherency that is felt from the word go and we realize that it's all by design, thus warranting all our attention so as to make sense of what's happening. And fittingly, it takes a while for the film to actually get going, for us to warm up to the world that he is attempting to create. The narrative jumps back and forth at a blink-and-you-miss pace, countless characters pounce at you and the dialogues don't necessarily mean much, but Suri does not relent at any point to give you a breather.
The problem, though, is that you could be left overwhelmed because of the sheer density that these portions carry and if the filmmaker isn't at his best (like he was in both Tagaru and Popcorn Monkey Tiger), it can all look untidy. In his previous outings, Suri's approach was well-complemented by the performances of his central cast but in Bad Manners, Abishek Ambareesh isn't fully able to get hold of the pitch of his character. The actor, who is only in his second outing, looks reasonably good when he isn't mouthing verbose lines and holds his own in certain portions because of his tall frame. But in all the key moments, one would have liked him to be more at ease with himself and sink his teeth into the role in a manner that someone like Daali Dhananjaya would have.
The screenplay of Bad Manners, written by Amri and Surendranath, too, is slightly lacklustre. Keeping the haphazard structure aside, the writing does not offer the leading man the emotional core that he needs and as a result, we do not get to see an 'arc' or journey of any kind. Granted that Suri's films do not really lay a lot of focus on such conventions but his best work has emerged only when the viewer has found the protagonist to be relatable and vulnerable. In his latest film, we do not, unfortunately, see that being the case.
Another flaw in the writing can be spotted in the way the female characters are rendered in Bad Manners. Despite the monotone nature of those characters, Suri's films often drew women roles that are closer to life and are also quite intriguing. But in this case, neither of the two 'main' female leads have any significance in the narrative and that becomes a major shortcoming in the overall scheme of things.
On the other hand, the wordplay, the use of Charan Raj's superb score and the cinematography (by Shekar S) are impressive. Noted action choreographer Ravi Varma's work is another highlight of the film.
Bad Manners is a Suri film, no doubt, but this one's far from his best work. As pointed out, the lack of emotional depth in the narrative defeats the film and the filmmaker tries his best to salvage it with the help of some slick action sequences and his unique worldview and making. Bad Manners would have benefitted a lot more with the help of a better script and central performances.