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'Martin Luther King' Review: Good Concept- Weak Narration

'Martin Luther King' Review: Good Concept- Weak Narration

Title: Martin Luther King
Rating: 2.25/5
Sampoornesh Babu, Naresh, Venkatesh Maha, Saranya Pardeep, Goparaju Ramana etc
Cinematography: Deepak Yaragera
Editor: Puja Kolluru
Music: Smaran Sai 
Producer: Chakravarthy Ramachandra, S. Sashikanth
Director: Puja Kolluru
Release Date: 27 October 2023

This is the Telugu adaptation of the Tamil movie "Mandela," which captivated online audiences upon its release on the OTT platform. While Yogi Babu portrayed the lead role in the Tamil version, Sampoornesh Babu assumes the same character in the Telugu version.

Now, let's delve into the specifics.

Smile (Sampoornesh Babu) is an orphan who resides as a cobbler in a remote village called Padamarapadu. He has a teenage friend and assistant named Bata Babu. 

The village is split into two zones: the North and South. While Lokamanya Tilak, also known as Loki (Venkatesh Maha), heads the South Zone, the North zone is led by Jagajjeevan (Naresh). These two are half-brothers to an elderly man who is the village chief.

Smile encounters Vasanta, a postal employee who encourages him to save his money through postal deposits, thus fostering a friendship between the two. She even assists him in acquiring a Voter ID Card, adopting the name Martin Luther King.

The villagers and both zone inhabitants ill-treat Smile, constantly subjecting him to insults. 

As the elections draw near, it is revealed that Smile, aka Martin Luther King, possesses a voter ID, making him a significant figure. 

The main plot revolves around how both zone leaders attempt to entice him with freebies to secure his vote, realizing his pivotal role in the election.

Artiste's Performence:
Sampoornesh Babu delivered his role commendably and met the expectations. While the original character portrayed a barber, in the Telugu version, the character is depicted as a cobbler.

Naresh's engagement in his role is notable, significantly enhancing the overall appeal of the film. As the only senior and renowned artist in the movie, his presence adds some value to the movie.

Venkatesh Maha's performance comes as a pleasant surprise. He embodies a body language and appearance reminiscent of Vijay Sethupathi. His natural ease suggests that with persistent effort, he could excel as an actor.

Saranya Pradeep gave a decent performance as a rural post office employee. 

The other characters like Bata Babu are performed adequately, with nearly everyone demonstrating a level of skill expected of an artist. 

The actor who portrayed the village head was particularly intriguing, effortlessly and subtly carrying out his role.

Technical Excellence:
The film's setting and artistic design leave a strong impression. The song titled "King..." in the latter half of the movie is captivating and holds the audience's attention.

The thoughtful integration of Sree Sree's poem, voiced by the poet himself, into a scene adds an extra layer of depth.

Cinematography and editing closely mirror the original Tamil version, maintaining a consistent and faithful adaptation.


Not on par with original
Less humor in dialogues
Overall Background score

This film serves as a satirical reflection of the contemporary Indian election scenario, the mindsets of the people, and the greed of politicians.

The portrayal of how people often sell their votes and how politicians stage dramas solely prior to elections is skillfully depicted, allowing laymen to comprehend the intricacies of the current electoral system.

Its release during the election season is perfectly timed. 

That being said, the Tamil version of the film, watched on the OTT platform, proved to be engaging primarily due to the believable portrayal of character by Yogi Babu. However, Sampoornesh Babu's performance, although sincere, didn't quite match up to the same level.

While the majority of the storyline and narrative are engaging, there are moments when the plot feels contrived and forced, as characters seem to act according to the director's convenience rather than naturally. For instance, the sudden transformation of all the village voters, regardless of their affiliation with the North or South zones, into sincere and honest individuals followed by a Burrakatha and Martin Luther King's revolution appears implausible. It would have dealt with more attention and grip to make the drama more convincing. 

The lack of consistency in dialogue writing is apparent, with some characters speaking in a Telangana accent, others in a Rayalaseema accent, and some in Andhra slang. If this is an intentional effort to emphasize the story's universality across various Telugu regions, then it can be considered a thoughtful attempt though not convincing. 

However the overall dialogue writing is average, failing to provide sufficient entertainment or humor.

Similarly, there's a noticeable confusion concerning the timeline within the film. While the villagers are seen using smartphones, they are also depicted showing great interest in and drawing inspiration from the outdated Burra Kathas.

On the flip side, here is some engaging stuff- The character of Loki bears a resemblance to Nara Lokesh, frequently using lines like "Tiyyagundi" and "Tiyyagundaali." On the other hand, the character of Jagajjeevan echoes Jagan Mohan Reddy, often embracing and kissing his supporters while saying "nenunnaanu."

Furthermore, the deliberate use of light blue flags for Jagajjeevan and a combination of light yellow and pink for Loki suggests the filmmakers' intention to amalgamate the major Telugu political parties from both Telugu states.

On the whole, the film offers a reasonable level of entertainment with a significant focus on delivering a message. 

However, the slow-paced narrative, perhaps attributed to the background score, might not resonate with all viewers. While it's an ideal film for release during the election season, whether audiences will truly grasp the message conveyed remains a pertinent question.

Bottomline: Message To Voters


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