Vivek Athreya’s Mental Madhilo (2017) Movie Review
Movie Name: Mental Madhilo
Star Cast: Sree Vishnu, Kireeti Dharmaraju, Nivetha Pethuraj, Amrutha, Shivaji Raja and Anita Reddy
Music Composed by Prashant R Vihari
Edited by Viplav Nyshadam
Directed by Vivek Athreya
Can you expect to escape a conundrum of life that doesn’t last for more than a bubble? Especially, when we don’t sit down to the way in our options and sacrifices we have to make? Well, one such bubble in love and marriage. Until you enter the bubble seems to be dangerous or fascinating depending on your perception. But once you enter the change is visible. The entire world will be new but being a bubble, can it last long? This is the discussion that Mental Madhilo tries to portray with the main lead character and we have him trying to pass off an 80’s movie as his own set of confusion.
My respect for 80’s and 90’s, mainly 80’s grew manifolds after watching films this year. The visionaries of 60’s gave way to easy going, remaking 70’s but 80’s started to evolve to a considerably revolutionary 90’s. The hero-centric 80’s also saw women-centric films and the heroes did not just have a villain to fight but courtesy of Gulzar and Basu Chatterjee, they had their own feelings to contemplate on whose base in 90’s Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Dilwale ran away with Dulhania. While Sunil shed tears thinking about his love in Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa (1994), Saajan (1991) showed the meaning of sacrifice. The basis for these come from 80’s where Mouna Ragam (1986) and many Tamil movies that have been re-made like Sadma showcased how tragic love can be.
Even in 2000’s and 2010’s those 80’s themes of confusion between love and friendship, choices between life partners remain the same. There is no shame in admitting that they were the second set of visionaries who did not get the similar respect like 60’s makers but now, I believe they should. Otherwise, an age-old theme of choosing between two young, smart and equally good women shouldn’t still be a worthy subject that too without any quality of enhancement.
Mental Madhilo sets up the character of its protagonist beautifully but then fizzles down with each scene as it tries to unfold a matured love story. Yes, this is a love story of two people told by adding confusion of the third wheel just for the sake of it. Had the third wheel existed from the first hour and the feelings have grown gradually than a sudden entry and exit, maybe the formula of in-digestiveness that we get for most of the sound hour could have been avoided.
Cleverly writer sets it up by letting his protagonist say in a probe of love, about his secret soulmate to his present soulmate. The desire to believe in him or his words lacks any solid foundation once he sets the journey of search for this secret one to just say a goodbye. What is the purpose of a character that is there to hear a goodbye? If it is for him to realize that own up your choice and don’t be confused then the manner in which it is delivered is highly absurd. When there is always a chance of a person falling over the line from start then you invest more in it just like Cocktail (2012). But when the chances are predictable and you drag to meet the norm of 120 minutes, it just doesn’t hurt the screenplay but the narrative to just jumps to the conclusion with even more silliness added to it.
Trust is not something that is built in a day. It is a fabric made of thin cloth and you can never tear it. But once it is torn you need more time to stitch it back. But NO, in a Telugu film a joke is enough to convince the other person and stitch it back. It is messy to even suggest that the world built here is real. The world here is set on the rules of the writers and that is acceptable until they stick to it. In the jumbled up second hour, the rules are broken. A person who is confused yet truthful doesn’t feel an urge to introspect if his actions are true to his words? It becomes more about choices and options rather than love and attraction. The feeling of being attracted to someone fatally while there is a person in our life who matters the most is the main story point, but here that is brushed under the carpet in the name of a person who cannot choose. What is there to choose in love? Isn’t it more about realization between love and attraction? Had this aspect brought to the forefront may be a classic was awaiting for us with the kind of characters that we see in the first hour.
Nivetha Pethuraj as the lead is a revelation. She deserves to be here and her performance is extraordinary. She oozes life into the first hour that is derailing and even saves the day in the end. Sivaji Raja is commendable and Sree Vishnu did try his best. Must say even though she seemed annoying, Anitha Reddy did steal a scene.
The camera work by Vedaraman is good indoors than outdoors. A bit more care with the lenses would have helped in bringing more consistency to the film. Musician Prashant R Vihari‘s trendy score do not interrupt the flow of the film and provide ample scope for the director to express what he had in mind.
All in all, this is a film that needed to explore the themes of love and attraction. But it sets out to make it more about hero’s confusion of choices than his realization of the mess that he welcomed into his life by choice. There is a thin line of difference between a choice existing and you welcoming it involuntarily. Had makers understood that they could have said an even more clear-cut story without confusing about a confusion master. Amen!!