Manu Teaser #1 Breakdown – 39 Shots, 1 Minute 38 Seconds of Journey to an Intriguing World of Manu
Finally, the first teaser of the much awaited Manu is out. If you haven’t already seen this thrilling teaser yet, then check it out now.
Before we get into the breakdown of the shots in this teaser, I would urge you to read the character introductions posted earlier by the director. If you are ardently following the updates of this movie, I am sure you must have gone through these.
Character Introduction #1. Manu.
Raja Goutham in & as Manu. Lover, Lock-collector and an Amazing Artist, someone who gives you a very rare form of art to take home.
Character Introduction #2 : NEELA
Chandini Chowdary as Neela, A character that sweeps you off your feet. Neela is a perfect balance of science and art, emotion and creativity.
So, here goes the breakdown:
1. Starts with a paint brush dipped in black color.
2. As the shot changes you can see the flickering words “Produced by the CROWD”. Truly, the CROWD deserves to be the first credit for having supported a unique movie. In the background, you can see the paint dripping from the brush into the color. So, from these two shots you can infer that artist Manu is at work.
3. Dust particles in the light of a hung bulb, hitting the frame.
4. Manu is seen lying on the floor, pleasantly listening to a red telephone and a box open beside him. The floor looks like a giant chessboard, prompts that the movie is a unique game (probably mind game).
5. Neela is walking across a corridor with a rose and a box. This box looks like the one in the previous shot. As the director mentioned in his crowd funding post that the movie will have an advanced non-linear narrative, seems like he has used a non-linear narrative style in the teaser too. The closed box in this shot is seen open in the previous shot.
So, Neela walks towards a latched door. Suddenly, there is a change of BGM, flickering frames and Neela turns towards the door which is locked. I guess, this change of plan could lead to a different set of events.
6. Just when you are getting into the theme of the movie, the mastermind behind this thriller is revealed– “From Phanindra Narsetti”.
In the background, water is draining. This shot itself is like a puzzle. I guess, it is an underwater frame with a 180-degree flipped angle, capturing the drain. The uniqueness of this frame shows the uniqueness of the director and hence his name is aptly placed.
7. A girl (third character) is walking down the stairs with sandals and her skirt is falling on the steps. Seems like this is not Neela as her dressing sense is distinct. (You can read more on this from the director’s timeline)
8. The pages of a book are being flipped. Each page has something written at the top but the focus is not on the letters.
9. The first exterior shot of the teaser. A transmission tower and a telephone booth. The light in the booth is well placed to highlight the coin box which is tilted. This shot appears distinct in the whole teaser since most of the shots are close-ups.
10. Manu is seen thinking as the clock behind him ticks. Perfect sync of sound, time and Manu’s oscillation. Note that there is a transistor also on the table.
Shots 11, 12, 13 and 14 are top angle shots of the typewriter with shots 12 and 14 being close-ups of the top plate of the typewriter. Shot 12 in particular is from a 180 degree rotated angle of shots 11, 13 and 14. This sudden inversion of the angle appears like a jerk and makes the typewriter an object of interest.
15. Telugu keys on the typewriter – again unique and interesting.
16. The only dialog in the teaser – “Unko rendu rojullo Deepavali vasthundi. Unko surprise ki ready ga undandi.” Neela is saying this on a telephone with pale green receiver. She is herself excited about the surprise.
17. A fourth character is seen putting back a pale green receiver. It could be the same as in the previous shot. The walls of this room are also in pale green. There is a checkered sofa cloth and a specimen container in the frame, but out of focus.
18. This shot was the highlight for me. The camera is rotating and advancing forward. The change in BGM compliments the shot. The only words about the plot appear: “The Strength Of Your Desire”. The background is a different corridor. (This is not the corridor in shot 5 where Neela is walking) This one looks more inhabited, has a different lighting and most importantly, the doors have keyholes.
19. A fifth character is seen lighting a cigar in an exterior shot. The lighting of a small match has created a wonderful visual.
20. And here, the same character is limping under the moonlight. However, the interesting part of this shot is the vast moonlight at the top and a small lit end of a cigar – what a contrast!
21. A female (sixth character) is lighting a matchstick. Cannot be sure if this is Neela or the girl in shot 7. Neela has a distinct black nail polish in the character introduction picture and the girl in shot 7 has no nail polish on her feet. Neither of these facts can be used as a necessary condition to justify the identity of the female in this shot.
22. Manu is the focus in this shot and his expression is a complete contrast of his pleasant expression in shot 4. The crushed paper in his hand looks like a personification of his irritation.
This shot gives a lit up view of Manu’s room. A big idol with a rope hung in its neck. Seems like a contraption. Towards the extreme right, you have the table lamp and towards the extreme left, you have the transistor again. There is also a tea pot which is open.
23. Here’s a mask between two diyas placed at the door. Looks like it is Deepawali which Neela mentioned in her dialog.
24. The pale green phone is ringing in the pale green house.
25. The receiver is left hanging. This one appears to be red. So, it could be the one Manu is holding in shot 4. The red coin box shown in shot 9 usually has a black receiver.
26. Another 180 degree shot, with Neela lying at the centre of the chessboard floor and she is holding the transistor. The smile is still on. I get a feeling that she sets up a game and is also responsible for flipping it.
In the background, you can see paint brushes and a painting on one side and miniature idols slightly similar to the giant one.
27. Manu is searching inside a box with two rolled papers/paintings.
28. A different view of Manu’s room with a nice use of natural light. A relatively clearer view of Manu’s painting is visible though it is difficult to make out the forms. A skull is in the middle with a bull’s head under it. Towards the right, it seems like a middle finger with a crescent moon on the top. So far, the painting, the idols and the floor – everything is in black and white.
Manu is clearly tensed. Every shot of Manu in his room shows him at the edges of the room unlike Neela who was lying at the centre. Feels like Manu finds it difficult to get to the core purpose of the game.
29. A bottle of rum, a glass flask and a glass tea cup on a wooden box. But what’s that sound? Is the box being moved? The setting is clearly the house in shot 17 since you can see the pale green walls and the checkered sofa cloth.
30. A tap filling water into a tub. Seems like the drain in shot 6 belongs to this tub.
31. A key hole with an eye looking through it. This is a black key hole which appears to be on the doors in shot 18.
32. The curtain of the tub (in shot 30) is opened. Just when you try to move closer to look at the eye in the previous shot, the curtain holders are moved towards the camera, giving you a jerk.
33. The fourth character opens a door and is seen with some sort of weapon in a serious mode to attack. The walls look entirely different from the house in shot 17, Manu’s room or the bathroom.
34. Again looks like an underwater shot in shot 6. Though the movement of the hand is simple, it gives a feel of attack due to the sound.
35. Neela is on the phone. Slightly similar to shot 16.
36. Back to the corridor in shot 18. Manu seems to be moving in the opposite direction to that in shot 18. The placement of the shoe rack indicates this.
37. The glass flask and the glass tea cup in shot 29 are now on a different table but the setting is still the house in shot 17 (orange floor and checkered sofa covers). Is it a chit inside the flask or is it just the price tag/brand sticker stuck on the bottom side? No clue about the trajectory of the camera. It is not a complete semi-circle and the motion is not as jerky as in shot 30. How did he get this shot?
38. Back to the dripping paint brush, from a 90 degree angle.
39. The brush is lifted from the paint. Seems like this shot has started slightly before shot 2. The sound of the dripping paint is beautifully synced. You can clearly hear the drop of a higher viscous liquid.
Finally, the title of the movie along with the credits of the wonderful team that created this. The title is clearly written with a paint brush. Some of the departments in these credits are unusual. There is a special mention of the Gaffer here.
I am not technically literate to comment on the technical departments but I can definitely say that the editing, cinematography, music, sound mixing, lighting and color grading are way better than most of the commercial movies. Most importantly, the detailing is apparent in every shot.
Regarding the setting of the movie, there are multiple objects in the teaser which belong to the 90s. When you look at Neela’s character introduction, the old cameras in her shelves, the transistor, her watch and her dressing – all of this give an impression that probably only Neela is old fashioned. But the teaser has old fashioned houses, a typewriter and most importantly landline phones. I recently wrote an article on love stories from our childhood where I made a mention about the beautiful romance on landline phones in Gulabi. So, I was quite amazed to see this in the teaser and I am almost tempted to call this a 90s setting. The only thing which is stopping me to conclude this is Manu’s character introduction where he appears to be holding a smartphone, which is out of the focus. So, I am still not sure.
I started watching this teaser as a normal viewer. But the strikingly different frames made me watch this again and again as I desperately wanted to connect the dots. The frames have teased my wits and I ended up with more questions than the dots.
Another pre-shoot picture which many followers of this movie must have come across is this:
The movie team has mentioned that all the props in this picture have their own roles in the movie. We have seen most of them in the teaser. The transistor is prominently visible in shot 26, the red phone is in shot 4, the tea pot is in shot 22, the chair is in shot 28, the mask is in shot 23 and the table lamp is in shot 22. The specimen container is out of focus in shot 17. If you zoom up the prop picture, you will find a long strand of hair in the specimen container. So, what seems missing in the teaser is the satin ribbon. Anyways, this is just teaser #1. So, let’s wait for more teasers and trailers for more hints.
Get your grey cells charged up for this intriguing world!!!
P.S. I am neither a part of the CROWD nor a part of team Manu.
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