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'Mallesham' Review: Sincere Effort

'Mallesham' Review: Sincere Effort

Movie: Mallesham 
Rating: N/A
Banner:
Studio 99
Cast: Priyadarshi, Ananya Nagalla, Jhansi, Jagadish Pratap Bhandari and others
Dialogues: Peddinti Ashok Kumar
Music: Mark Robin
Cinematography: Balu Sandilyasa
Sound design: Nithin Lukose
Art: Laxman Aeley
Editing: Raghavender V
Producers: Raj R, Sri Adhikari
Written and direction: Raj R
Release date: June 21, 2019

In the trend of Biopics comes biopic of Chintakindi Mallesham, Padmashree Awardee who invented a machine for yarning.

Priyadarshi playing the role of Mallesham and the interesting trailers have generated good buzz. Added to this KTR and other haves praised the movie.

Let’s analyse.

Story:
The film chronicles the life of Mallesham from his childhood and what inspired him to invent Aasu machine, what travails he went through before achieving his dream.

Mallesham belongs to a poor weaving family near Pochampally off Hyderabad. Due to poverty, his father asks him discontinue studies in 6th standard so that he would take up weaving profession to meet the ends.

Watching his mother’s pain at doing Aasu manually, he decides to invent a mechanical Aasu machine. He has no proper education background, nor does have money, nor support from anyone.

How did he invent? That is rest of the story. 

Artistes’ Performances:
Priyadarshi who has image of comedy actor has stunningly sunk into the teeth of this Mallesham’s character. His performance is authentic and sincere. His body language and dialogue delivery is very real.

Ananya Nagella as his wife has also given good performance.

Jhansi as his mother is terrific. She not only got rural Telangana dialect perfectly, but also got the weaving and doing Aasu right.

The actor who played child Priyadarshi and Youtube sensation Gangavva are impressive.

Technical Excellence:
The film is made on modest budget and the director has employed mostly FTII technicians. So, flashy work can be seen but everything from cinematography, art direction to sound design, they have made it look real and simple.

Editing is major drawback as pace of the movie and runtime both are bad judgments.

Highlights:
Priyadarshi as Mallesham
Performances of all actors
Authentic dialect, rural setup

Drawback:
Documentary feel
Slow narration
Lack of highs

Analysis
The main subject of “Mallesham” is not universal even though the line of an ordinary man achieving extra-ordinary dream against all odds is relatable to anyone in the world.

“Mallesham” is biopic on Chintakindi Mallesham who won Padma Shree for inventing ‘Aasu’ machine that eased the life of women in weaving community. The film is mostly set in 1990’s in Pochampally, a village 50 kms off Hyderabad.

In recently released Bollywood movie “Padman”, we have seen the story of a commoner creating affordable sanitary napkins for rural women. He went to be honoured by international organizations. The story of Mallesham is similar.

His aim and his struggle is to invent ‘aasu’ machine as he saw how his mother suffered with shoulder ache. This story is needed to be told. Many of us do not know this great rural inventor who comes from our Telugu land. His TEDx speech in Youtube is highly inspiring.

The director has used Mallesham’s childhood episodes to make us understand what the problem is - his mother suffering from pain by doing aasu, the incomes of weavers are shrinking. Then he moves on to 90’s where the main story of Mallesham’s life and struggle happens.

If we have to say this movie in line, it goes like this: a class VI dropout inventing a machine like an engineer, or an extraordinary journey of an ordinary man.  So, the plot is pretty simple.

Such villain-less and plain stories require better screenplay writing with engaging moments and high emotional sequences. But director Raj has opted realistic approach that has given documentary feel.

He takes us into the mood of the movie but once the story moves to Hyderabad it doesn’t move us much. Also the director has wasted lot of time on unnecessary sequences.

Mallesham invents machine but his wife tells him that there is a fault, he has failed to recognize how women actually do work on Aasu. When this twist comes, we should feel emotional with his failure but this is told in a passive way.

However, the story of Mallesham has many interesting moments too. His story is inspirational as well. Despite sluggish pace, not-so-gripping narration and lengthy runtime, “Mallesham” holds interest due to the sincere performances of all actors, the inspirational life of the protagonist, and sincerity.

On the whole, “Mallesham” is an off-beat film that appeal to very limited section of audience, but its honest effort can be appreciated despite many flaws and uneven screenplay writing.

Bottom-line: Dream Weaver!

(Venkat Arikatla can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com)

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