Malli Raava Review
'Malli Raava', starring Sumanth, Aakansha Singh, Preethi Asrani and Master Satthwik in lead roles, hits the screens. Here is our review.
Karthik (Sumanth) is a morose corporate employee brooding over his lost love. Five years ago, his childhood sweetheart Anjali (Aakansha Singh) walked out of his life when he was about to tie the knot with her.
It has always been a bumpy ride for them since childhood. As tender lovers in Standard IX, Karthik (played by Master Satthwik) and Anjali (played by Preethi Asrani) were separated by circumstances. But when they tried to turn a new leaf 13 years later, their story once again falls on the rocks.
Cut to the present day, Anjali and Karthik have one more chance to unite and live happily-ever-after. But will they?
The novel love story touches upon the aspect of what happens when your troubled past haunts you into your present, and threatens to affect the choices you make. It's not often that we get to see stories weaved around life's tragedies or accidents and how they affect our behaviour. 'Malli Raava' comes effectively with such a point.
The childhood track and the tracks pertaining to 2012 and 2017 are narrated in parallel, tracing the evolution of the lead pair's story. We are told that the 14-year-old Anjali saw her classmate, Karthik, at a time when she was pining for parental love and attention at home. "More than him, I liked the attention he gave me," says the Standard IX girl. By and by, the children grow closer. And like most childhood love stories since time immemorial, it ends abruptly. Karthik has to live with memories, while Anjali, two years later, has to make a choice between her mother and father.
The singularly big complaint about the childhood track is that it borders on the unbelievable as far as the dialogues spoken by the children is concerned. They can be Sekhar Kammula's elders actually! Had they been shown as college students in their 17s, it would have made the same impact without looking like an exercise in over-smart conversations. One wonders why they had to be uniform-wearing 14-year-olds!
It makes perfect sense when a grown-up Anjali discovers that she felt like a women when Karthik swooned over her at first sight years ago. But it doesn't really seem quite settling when Master Sathwik and Baby Preethi talk like consummate elders.
Debutante director Gowtam Tinnanuri resorts to no more than situational comedy for the most part in deflecting from the story. Karthik and gang are moochers at office and they hardly work. It's quite funny to see the corporate employees laze around. However, when he overplays the funny travails of Karthik's boss (played by Mirchi Kiran) at office, it can test your patience for the simple reason that the one playing the much-indulged character is no Vennela Kishore!
Shedding such hiccups, the drama again comes into its own in the pre-climax phase where it's heart-touching to learn about Karthik's mental state through his best friend. "He doesn't yet understand why you left him," the friend tells the heroine. "You know how he is when he is with you, but only I know how he is when you are not with him," so goes another line. "Men think of how to marry his lover, whereas women think of the life after marriage", so goes Annapurnamma's line. The monologue of Anjali's father in the climax is another high-point.
Having been through enough agony, Karthik's mindset is never the same. So, when life gives him another opportunity, he goes through a new emotion. It's such elements that convince you that the writer-director has studied his characters incisively.
The way the male bonding between Karthik and his friend is packaged is mature for Telugu cinema.
Sumanth shines in the role of an "underachiever" who doesn't really seem to be suffering from low self-esteem. His performance is nuanced. Aakansha Singh has got expressive eyes and she is a treat to watch in the role of a woman who takes her decisions, right or wrong, understandable or otherwise. Master Sathwik is OK, while Preethi Asrani of IndiaGlitz's Fidha (short-film) fame is earnest.
Shravan Bharadwaj's music is lilting, but it's Krishnakanth's lyrics which go into making the songs that special. Sateesh Muthyala's cinematography and Sathya Giduthoori's editing are just about OK.
A coming-of-age love story that caters to the tastes of multiplex audiences in good measure. If you like mature dramas that have an inkling of the ways of the human mind and life, you will love it! Look out for the neat performances and some stirring dialogues.