Mandharam review: an average film with a mediocre story
When you try to make a movie that is based on the self-exploration and reinvention of a character, the foundation and cause of that journey have to be solid. Mandharam directed by Vijesh Vijay is a movie that ambitiously tries to enter such a story. But the weak link of the script is its pretty ordinary foundation story. With a dragging second half, Mandharam is an underwhelming average experience.
Our hero Rajesh is a BTech student. He falls in love with a girl named Charu during the last year of college. The family of Charu was against the affair and it made things difficult for the couple. How that relationship affects Rajesh and how it eventually changes his life is what Mandharam dealing with.
There is a lack of layer in characterizations here. Hero has a childhood where he doesn’t know what I love you means. He decides to quit the idea of romance when his first love failed. And that hero falls in love immediately with a girl about whom he has no idea. This cheesy simple and silly romantic story is the base of the story that becomes a self-exploration journey filled with philosophy and deep thoughts. Because of the humor, the first half of the movie is watchable. But when it comes to the second half, everything is dragged and unnecessarily they have been a heft. The film sort of fails to utilize the concept of lag.
Asif Ali should reconsider his selection of characters. Rajesh may have a slight difference from some of the characters he has played. But ultimately Rajesh is also that aimless young man whom Asif has been playing frequently for a long time. It limits him as an actor. Compared to Kalyanam, Varsha Bollama uses the space given to her. Arjun Ashokan, Vineeth Vishwam and Jacob Gregory are the ones who portray the roles of the friends. Ganesh Kumar, Nandini, Indrans etc are there in other small roles. Anarkali Marikkar needs a bit more grace to be Devika and her dubbing was a wrong choice.
The script and the story is ambitious. But Vijesh Vijay couldn’t really make the first love story work in a rooted way. That story just feels like one more to the series of female bitching that has been happening in the industry for a while now. Writer Sajas is mainly trying to save the movie by making the dialogues sound classy. But he also fumbles with the politics of the movie that never dares to answer one crucial question about love marriage. As already said, the writing gets stuck in the second half to move on. Frames are impressive and so were the songs. The earnestness the technical side has shown was not there in the writing part.
Mandharam needed a better first love story. The ordinary feel and lack of layers of that story seriously reduce the impact of the third act here. Rajesh’s evolvement doesn’t get the support of serious tragedy and thus this wannabe deep romance ends up in an underwhelming way.
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