Nandamuri Kalyan Ram is of late doing good betting on novel scripts. On the other hand he kept his touch with mass and commercial scripts like that of Patas. Though promoted with a political flavored titled, MLA is a commercial film from debutant director Upendra Madhav with Kajal as heroine. Let us get into the review portion.
Kalyan (Kalyan Ram) is thrown away from house by parents for helping his sister (Lasya) to elope and marry boyfriend (Vennela Kishore). Shifting to Vizag, Kalyan falls in love at first sight with Indu (Kajal Agarwal). However, Kalyan has to wage a big election battle with Veerabhadrapuram sitting MLA (Ravi Kishen) to win his lady love. How Kalyan’s fight for Indu turns into a political game with education and welfare of voters form the rest.
Title of MLA is a misnomer because till mid second half, this film hasn’t got any political touch to its narrative. Though director tried to press more on Manchi Lakshanalunna Abbayi as his title’s full form, it is only the political coloring helped film in promotions. Debutant director Upendra Madhav had a sensible message to deliver an eye opener for present day politicians who never care for people but it was too late for actual plot to unlock as audience lost patience. His thought was good and execution misfired as the script and direction fell into an unappealing commercial template. Except couple of emotional scenes in second half and fight sequence, nothing worked in film’s favor including the romance with Kajal and side villain track of Marthalli (Ajay). Camera work by Prasad Murella is colorful and followed a system full of regular frames elevating heroism. Thammi Raju’s editing should have been far better in first half. Mani Sharma’s musical score stood out in background and songs were fine. Production values from Blue Planet Entertainments are good.
About artists, Kalyan Ram had stylish makeover and has done good job. His dialogue rendering and action abilities need to be highlighted. Confrontation episodes with Ravi Kishan are powerful. Kajal is central key for story but left alone for songs and glamour show. Ravi Kishan continued his Race Gurram essence. Vennela Kishore, Lasya showed their presence. Brahmanandam, Posani, Prudhvi, Prabhas Srinu and others entertained. Nagineedu, Jayaprakash Reddy, Shivaji Raja and others did their part.
After Patas and Ism, this film of MLA actually has a perfect blend of commerciality and political message for NKR. Unfortunately, poor screenplay and major deviation from core point in first half made MLA to suffer. Director Upendra if opened the crux political conflict much before interval, final output could have varied.
First half opens with routine hero introduction and establishing his family members. Before entering into other substantial element, heroine Kajal joins and romance takes driver’s seat. Posani and fun in software office goes on with songs in between. Entire track of Ajay and his encroachment into Kajal’s company lands followed by silly court room drama on Brahmi as Pattabhi appeared like mere gap filling. Interval fight is ritual and a small twist in tale.
Second half immediately shifts to Veerabhadrapuram throwing Jayaprakash Reddy, Ravi Kishan in political net. Of course, it’s pure cinematic liberty to push Kalyan Ram in election battle. From here on next 30 minutes is a roller coaster of emotions and undoubtedly best part of the film. Finally, NKR winning the polls is a proper commercial slate.
MLA had few good qualities but most of the part is filled with boredom. Those who are fond of formulae commercial entertainers might enjoy few portions. While Kalyan Ram did a good job, first time director Upendra left much more to ask. CJ rates MLA with 2.5 stars.