Mallesham happens to be the biopic of Padma Shri awardee Chintakindi Mallesham who invented the path breaking and famous Asu machine. In a trend where biopics aren't delivering fruitful results, is this biopic made in a convincing manner? How different is this from other biopics? Let’s see
Mallesham is all about how a Pochampally weaver’s son Mallesham (Priyadarshi), 6th grade dropout invented Asu Machine to make life easier not only for mother Lakshmi (Jhansi) but for many other weavers. He even won a Padma Shri for this greatest achievement and serves an inspiration especially for everyone in this generation.
Unlike many recent biograpics, Mallesham did not completely emphasize on protagonist. It doesn’t just show how Mallesham succeeded at completing the prominent Asu machine. The film well showcased hardships of deprived Pochampally handloom weavers, Telangana rural culture, weaver sufferings, suicides and much more the focus was on Telangana dialect, life style decorated with heart touching emotions. Every character including the mechanical handlooms emulate certain content to strike a chord at audience heart.
In non commercial terms, Mallesham is actually enjoyable for zero exaggeration of real incidents. It lets us immerse in the narrative in an unhurried way. Despite a fact that story telling goes on sine wave dipping to bottom at times, director Raj should be appreciated for the kind of honesty, genuinity with which he approached the subject believing in content. Everything looks realistically raw and characters too behave so authentically getting into soul.
Balu Sandilyasa’s camerawork helped solidly bring out the nostalgia factor while Mark K Robin’s music filled with local folk is superbly intriguing. Songs flowed in sync with storytelling. Editing though has lapses, excusable. Production values are fine.
Onto artists, Priyadarshi managed to pull off the role which needed him to show lots of variation with zero faults. He makes us laugh at times with lighter humor and turns us emotional in crucial scenes. This guy did a tremendous job and Mallesham will be long remembered. Ananya brought in the chastity required and made an impressive debut. Jhansi is brilliant as Mallesham's mother. My Village Show fame Gangavva will through us in spits in a brief role.
The kid who did childhood Mallesham or Mallesham's friend, father need a special mention. Every artist made their presence felt and will haunt even after leaving the cinema hall.
Few Parts in Second Half
It’s not an easy job to re-establish a person’s life in a novel, engaging manner... especially when the story is known to all. It’s even trickier when you aren't ready to take cinematic liberties just not to deviate from core. But Mallesham manages to succeed.
Film opens on emotional note. A weaver's family, including two kids commit suicide as they are unable to pay back debts. Mallesham in his childhood promises mother Lakshmi a better future than the one they live in. Director laid strong seeds for Mallesham character here itself and took us on a pre determined ride. The grown-up Mallesham (Priyadarshi) meets love of his life Padma. We here shown with real village life in Telangana, everything from local festivals to movie talkies to serve us many nostalgic moments. Interval generates an emotional heap and promises same tempo in second half.
Nonetheless, the second half is not so lively and engaging as first half. Here on narration turns bit serious and complete focus is on Mallesham accomplishing his mission. Fortunately, Mallesham finds his wife Padma by side in every step supporting him in accomplishing the dream of inventing Asu Machine. The last moment of Mallesham’s achievement is emotional as well as fun, thanks to Gangavva. The way Mallesham learns the nuances of Engineering is a part of unbelievable liberty but ok.
All in all, Mallesham is a fitting tribute to an unsung hero who inspired generations to fight for their goal. This is far better to the biopics of few legendary personalities in recent times. CJ goes with 3 stars. However, we need to wait and see how audience receive it because films of this documentary flavour obviously receive more critics applause than commercial success. Definitely a movie recommended for viewers of all age groups.