In the trend of biopics, most of the filmmakers are trying to cash in on the popularity of legendary leaders and actors. But Raj R has made a biopic of a lesser known great man called Chintakindi Mallesam, who has transformed the lives of weavers forever.
What is it about?
Mallesham (Priyadarshi) belongs to a weavers family that couldn’t afford education for him. He takes up weaving as livelihood, but learns that his mother is having chronic shoulder pain because of doing the weaving work. Every weaver woman in his village has same problem and Mallesham decides to find a solution for it. He decides to make an Aasu Machine by hook or the crook. But his lack of education and resources come in the way. Despite many hurdles, Mallesham goes onto achieve his dream.
Priyadarshi is perfect as Mallesham. The story doesn’t need a star and Priyadarshi is aptly cast as an ordinary rural youth. He also got the dialect right as he is from Telangana. Ananya is wonderful as his beloved and supporting wife. She is a natural. Jhansi who used to play comedic characters is slowly evolving as a bankable female character actor. Rest of the star cast have done their bit. The actors who played Mallesam’s friends and the actor that essayed Mallesam’s father character are very good.
Raj R has a terrific story on hand to tell. He has totally banked upon it without adding any gloss or cinematic masala. He made sure to tap into the culture of rural Telangana. He didn’t even compromise on the authenticity of the dialect used, albeit hard to follow at times. He did his best to bring the extraordinary tale of an ordinary man on to the screen, but could have done better especially in the latter half of the movie. Background score is good and camera work is alright given the budget constraints. Dialogues are raw and impressive with pure Telangana dialect.
Decent First Half
Weak second half
Chintakindi Mallesham’s story is an inspiring tale of dedication and self confidence. A school dropout going on to become an engineer and inventing a machine that has changed the lives of many forever is not an ordinary story. The makers of Mallesham should be lauded for choosing to make this inspiring story into a film. It neither has the commercial appeal nor has the elements that will please the majority of ticket paying public. One should have extreme courage to make an authentic biopic without deviating for commercial purposes.
Mallesham is an honest attempt to tell the story of an lesser known ‘Hero’. The setting is perfect. The story moves at a slow pace, but it takes off beautifully giving an insight into the people and culture of rural Telangana. It shows the plight of weavers, the talented people who doesn’t get paid as much as they deserve. The film is all about the journey of Mallesham, who has succeeded against all odds. First half of the film is neatly packaged and well narrated without any addressable issues, albeit pacing problems here and there.
Second half turns monotonous and largely one-dimensional. The director failed to tap into the research that Mallesham had done to make the machine. There isn’t much information about how he gains knowledge on inventing something given his limitations. Second half fully focuses on how Mallesham has led his life by doing petty jobs before reaching his goal. The biggest problem with Mallesham is its climax, which is hurried and abrupt. There isn’t proper buildup to the final scene and it cuts to the original Mallesham’s speech before it sinks in. Sometimes drama is so essential to elevate such scenes and the director’s casual approach to it leaves us with mixed feelings in the end.
Mallesham is a genuine and honest attempt to celebrate an unsung hero. It is fairly well-made within its limitations, but the second half could have been better to make it a memorable viewing experience for its audience.
Verdict: Extraordinary Tale, Ordinary Execution!