Maruthi Dasari’s Mahanubhavudu (2017) Movie Review
Cast: Sharwanand, Mehreen Pirzada, Vennela Kishore, Nassar, Raghu Babu, Seenu and Bhadram
Directed by Maruthi Dasari
Music by S Thaman
Cinematography by Nizar Shafi
Edited by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Censor Certificate: U/A & Run-time: 151.08 Minutes
“It’s not the idea but the path that differentiates you from the pact“
It is easy to poke fun at a patient or a person who is odd from all of us. Even though they behave in a certain way, they are human too. They tend to feel the pain like we do and hating them is easy than understanding them. When we come across such characters we tend to overlook the basic humanitarian sensitivities and try to poke as much fun as possible at them. Here even in Mahanubhavudu, Director and writers, miss that sensibility and expect us to carry with the emotions that are highly at the surface level rather than immersing us.
“Make your voice audible even in the crowd”
Anand becomes Mahanubhavudu for Meghana and her family with extreme love, despite his OCD. This is the crux of the plot. When you simplify the things everything looks highly superficial and routine but one needs to do it in order to achieve the ultimate goal that we are set out to reach. Here director simplified the point in the said way, but what his original line is, ” Despite their shortcomings love a person and try to grow closer to them with humanity rather than making them laughing stock” If you take a closer look at the two plot lines, they are similar but there is a vast difference.
The difference between the two is what Mahanubhavudu could have been and what it ended up being. If a person who is highly hated due to his odd behaviour falls in love and he has to overcome his problems like OCD, the movie could have easily become a North 24 Kattham. Well, you might be thinking this person/critic/reviewer is just in love with everything that is not Telugu but just hear me out ONCE.
As a Telugu guy, all I want to see is a good movie that has a great potential to raise it’s full potential than end up being just a middling fare. Mahanubhavudu had all the ingredients to become a sensible love story discussing the problem of an OCD patient in general. But it tries hard to poke fun and kills the joy of watching a person falling in love. Rather than forcing someone to fall in love, why can’t it be generic? Why can’t someone get closer to each other by not falling into the traps of common hero friendly or heroine friendly tropes?
“Set your goal higher than your normal aim and enjoy the journey“
In a movie like North 24, we see a love story gradually progressing and a protagonist who is hated and too anxious slowly getting rid of those tropes and trying to appreciate the common joys of life. But our Mahanubhavudu right from the first shot is designed to please audience rather than show the characteristics of a person suffering with OCD. We never see him being highly anxious even in daily life. Until and unless, there is a cleanliness problem he is quite calm and cool. That is not the exact depiction of an queasy individual. If there is no anxiousness, there is no OCD.
Even if we overlook that factor, writer and director just depends on audience reaction to certain scenes and try to use those highly common cliches once again with this character but doesn’t really push the envelope in terms of story telling or trying something fresh with the characters at their disposal. When you look to several scenes in the movie they look completed forced or majorly, after thoughts because, the director tries to play it safe by following the worked out template. It is not wrong but there is nothing in wrong in trying to go out of comfort zone just a little bit. Due to his superficial approach the characters loose their genuine emotions to become part of sketch comedy one at a time.
Here we see sketches rather than a screenplay. The first sketch, a guy with OCD is introduced; second sketch, a guy with OCD falls in love; third sketch, a guy with OCD meets girl’s parent; fourth sketch, they break up. Like this it goes on and on rather than trying to establish a genuine emotion between the characters. We can’t really fall in love with either Meghana or Anand, as we don’t know more about them rather Anand is a guy with OCD and Meghana is a village girl, who has a huge loving family. What are they more than that? Only Maruthi’s pen knows it.
Nizar Shafi‘s cinematography is good in parts but he needs to improve on giving the film a consistent tone. Editing could have been crisp and production values are good.