An Inspiring Tale Worth Visiting
What Is the Film About?
Mallesham is a biopic of the inspirational person Chinthakindi Mallesham who won a Padma Sri award from the Indian government for the invention of the machine which could weave hand-loom silk a specialty of the community. What are the hardships he faced while achieving his goal and how he triumphed in the end, is what the movie is all about?
How Is Priyadarshi’s Performance?
Priyadarshi switched from his usual comedic parts and sometimes supporting roles to a full-fledged lead. It is a unique and special film, and hence, his choice and selection is an inspiring choice.
The actor clearly understanding the importance of the role gives his hundred percent and delivers a performance that anchors the whole narrative emotionally. Priyadarshi’s flair for comedy is known to all and is utilised well, most of the sequences with Ananya highlight that, but it is his deeper emotional self that takes one by surprise.
The ‘frustration’ and helplessness part of the character of Mallesham is genuinely portrayed. As an audience, we become desperate to see his success and feel happy whenever a breakthrough is made. It is the power of good acting and proper characterisation.
Needless to say, Priyadarshi will be remembered for a long time to come through the character of Mallesham and how it broke stereotypes associated with comedians turning into lead actors.
Direction by Raj R?
Raj R has picked up an inspirational tale for his debut as a director. While the subject itself offers a lot of depth, narratively it is a simple tale of an underdog emerging winner against all the odds. And as we know, it is often the simplest tales that prove to be extremely difficult to execute. If it is too simple, then it appears flat, and on the opposite, the narrative feels unnecessarily dense for a more straightforward narrative. In Mallesham, Raj R flirts with the dangers of both ends but still manages to hold the story together.
The pace of the movie is slow, taking an art film vibe. The narrative takes a more profound interest in the cultural aspects of its people as much as their journey. The director imbues the nativity touch out and out via all modes available and integrates it such that they cannot be separated from the ‘real’ happening that matters. It is a choice that Raj R has made, which drives the story. The double-edged sword, when works, generate a killer impact, but at times it also comes across as overindulgent and shorn the narrative of, its reel potential.
The first half has a smooth flow of emotions beginning from childhood. The period setting and the mood related to the ’80s and early ’90s are brought-alive decently. However, it could have been much better as a sense of time passing by is mostly felt through Megastar Chiranjeevi and his music and change in the look of characters rather than the visual transformation of the space. The characters, their issues, the organic flow, everything feels right in this half. The pre-interval and interval mark create a genuine emotional connect and raise hopes on the second half.
However, unlike the first half, the second half lacks the dynamic narrative. It comes across as one-dimensional as the focus is entirely on the goal, with good emotional and engaging entertainment punctuating the flow from time to time. The whole thing is held together by writing and reliable performance by Priyadarshi who successfully manages to make the audience root for his success.
The eventual invention appears a bit rushed and formulaic the way it is structured as certain moments seems to appear once too often and turn repetitive, and dense but, the job is done by then, and the dangers seem unfounded. Raj R has successfully brought the viewer to the glory moment with a set of relatable characters and human emotions that leads to a bright smile and relief at the end when Mallesham finally succeeds. The fact that it (success) matters and one feels it, is how Mallesham wins us over.
Overall, despite a sluggish pace and repetitiveness in parts, Mallesham is an engaging watch for its beautiful inspiration ‘real-life’ story and performances. It is an attempt that screams honesty and emotions are palpable, making it a good one-time watch.
Ananya Nagalla and Others?
Mallesham team has done great work in casting departments. Each actor, be it the younger version or, the older self, have done their parts well. Ananya, of course, comes after a point in the first half and forms a pivot that is crucial to driving the story forward. She has done a commendable job. Jhanshi stands out next playing the mother role. Her work on the dialect and body language can’t be missed. The two actors playing the friends of Mallesham are superb. The various recurring characters from the village like the weaver farmer supporting Mallesham or the older women always bitching are so rooted in reality. The latter shines instantaneously.
Music and Other Departments?
Barring a couple of original compositions by Mark K Robin, the music of Mallesham is filled with local folk numbers used sparingly. Both the original and folk parts are neatly woven into the narrative. The cinematography by Balu Sandilyasa is decent. The rural parts are captured well. Raghavender V’s editing gives the movie a laidback feel. The dialogues by Ashok Peddinti is excellent. The real essence of the local and its unique original flavour are finely encapsulated through it.
A Few Parts Of The Second Half
It is not an alternative take, but instead, a suggestion, watch the TEDx Hyderabad video featuring the man, Mallesham himself.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Mallesham Review by Siddartha Toleti