Packed With Style, Thrills in Parts
A, 2h 25m
What Is the Film About?
On a Tuesday, someone writes about an illicit affair between two individuals in the village, and they meet suspicious deaths. This happens again on another Tuesday, leading to the tragic fate of two more people. Who is responsible, and what is the connection to Shailu (Payal Rajput) in this mysterious story of Mangalavaaram?
Mangalavaaram features numerous character artists, but they hardly make any impact. Payal Rajput portrays Shailu and is introduced only at the interval.
She manages to pull off what the role demands, but the lack of shock value and slow pacing dilute her impact. She deserves praise for embracing this unconventional role and performing it. If her character had more substance, it could have been a memorable performance for the actress, but it remains a decent act as it stands.
The surprise character revealed before the climax also fails to make an impact, lacking both in performance and in how the role was written.
Mangalavaaram, directed by Ajay Bhupathi of “RX 100” and “Maha Samudram” fame, returns with another village-centric story, this time with a fresh and core idea at its core.
The film begins in 1986, set against a village backdrop. Once the quick episode involving kids concludes, it immediately grabs our attention with its superb visuals and score.
The first murder unfolds, diving deep into the core plot, but after that what seems like a lot happening but, in reality, lacks substance. Technical brilliance drives the narrative more than the actual storytelling.
A prolonged fight sequence appears more about showcasing technical skills than serving the story’s purpose, with multiple cuts, pauses, and jump shots seemingly borrowed from recent films, rendering it unnecessary and ineffective.
The scarce humor injected mainly through Ajay Ghosh’s character works well, adding a light touch to the serious mood, until another murder disrupts the tone. The interval’s reveal builds anticipation for the second half, making the overall first half a decent affair.
The second half kicks off with an intriguing flashback that initially captures attention but soon drifts into an uninteresting and prolonged episode. Additionally, the placed song adds to the already sluggish pace.
Once the core issue surfaces, the organic flow and character consistency take a hit. Several important scenes appear artificial. For example, the villagers beating Payal with stones and bricks, while Jamindar Prakasam Babu abruptly transforms into a good soul, preaching morals.
The bigger issue lies with Shailu’s character. When her issue is revealed, it should make a strong impact and create shock value for the audience. However, the way her character is written fails to achieve both.
Furthermore, the introduction of a surprise character before the climax feels forced and out of sync with the narrative, failing to make a substantial impact.
The climax presents multiple twists, some appearing forced for the sake of creating twists. Despite the second half’s shortcomings, it manages to connect with a certain audience section attracted to this genre, mainly due to these twists.
Director Ajay Bhupathi deserves praise for extracting the best technical work from his crew in the film.
Overall, Mangalavaaram offers solid camera work and a background score, and most characters are passable. However, the fresh core idea makes it a decent one-time watch for the target audience.
Performances by Others Actors
Mangalavaaram features a truckload of actors, and most fulfill their roles, but very few linger in memory after leaving the theater, primarily due to how their characters were scripted.
Among them, Ajay Gosh shines in the first half, while Nanditha Swetha’s performance feels lacking despite effort. Ravindra Vijay aptly fits his village doctor role, yet Muralidhar Goud’s potential is wasted entirely. Others like Ajmal Amir, Srithej, deliver their parts, but their presence fades qucikly. Chaitanya Krishna’s portrayal as a jamindar lacks clarity and seems out of place.
Music and Other Departments?
Music director Ajaneesh Loknath presented a couple of songs that disappoint both visually and in their audio quality.
However, Ajaneesh, along with sound mixing by M. R. Rajakrishnan, delivers a robust background score that makes a significant impact.
Sivendra Dasaradhi’s camera work and Mohan Talluri’s artistry inject a breath of fresh air into every frame of the film. Together, they compensate for many flaws in the script and elevate simple proceedings through their solid technical prowess. They deserve major credit for the film’s quality output.
Madhav’s editing is decent, and the production values, surprisingly strong for a relatively unknown production banners— Mudhra Media Works, A Creative Works.
Fresh core idea
Overall set up
Few unconvincing characters
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, as a one-time watch
Mangalavaaram arrives with a fresh core idea but doesn’t fully leverage it to create a strong impact or shock value. Solid sound design and camera work make it a one-time watch for its target audience, though some added twists may seem artificial. Full review coming shortly.
First Half Report:
The major intrigue comes from superb technical work, visual aspects, and sound design more than the narrative. The interval reveal builds anticipation for the second half. Overall, a decent first half.
Mangalavaaram is directed by Ajay Bhupathi, known for his previous works “RX 100” and “Maha Samudram,” and is now bringing forth another rustic thriller. This film is crucial for the director to make a significant impact.
Mangalavaaram Review, USA Premiere Report shortly. Show begins at 4.30 AM IST.
Cast & Crew: Payal Rajput, Nanditha Swetha, Divya Pillai, Ajmal Amir, Ravindra Vijay, Krishna Chaitanya, Ajay Gosh, Shravan Reddy, Srithej and others
Story – Screenplay – Direction: Ajay Bhupathi
Banner: Mudhra Media Works, A Creative Works
Producers: Swathi Reddy Gunupati ,Suresh Varma M
Music Director: B Ajaneesh Loknath
Cinematography: Sivendra Dasaradhi
Executive Producer: Saikumar Yadavilli
Production designer: Raghu Kulakarni
Editor: Madhav Kumar Gullapalli
Dialogue writer: Tajuddin Syed, Kalyan Raghav
Mangalavaaram Movie Review by M9