Mandharam Review & Rating
Mandharam Review: A Timepass Watch
Mandharam is old wine in a new bottle or rather new wine in an old bottle. It can be the same either way. That is the funny thing about this movie. Following the footsteps of the widely admired and phenomenally successful Premam, this Vijesh Vijay directorial deals with the various phases of a love-lorn youngster played by Asif Ali.
Asif Ali plays Rajesh who, like a typical hero of this genre is attracted to his schoolmate at a very young age. Like a girl love of such heroes, she comes to him and tells that she is already engaged or some other variation of it. Heartbroken, the hero takes the decision of remaining a bachelor for the life. That, until he meets another girl.
The cycle goes on forever with a little bit of character development of the hero until when finally he reaches the maturity levels to keep hold of his relation or he finds the soulmate he has been searching for the last two and a half hours of the screen time. Mandharam follows the same. Here the girls of his affections are Varsha Bollamma, Megha Matthew, and Anarkali Marikar of Aanandam fame.
The differences between Mandharam and the recently released such film is the setting is changed fro the rural and semi-urban background is changed to the urban setting. It is in an engineering college in Bengaluru that the majority of the second half happens after the too predictable first half sprawls over an hour.
Devika, a fashion designer played by Anarkali is professional in the role of a modern urban young career woman. He doesn't hesitate to drink just like the hero who goes on long bike trips to North Indian temples with instantaneous decisions. Their chemistry or lack of it worked big time. Asif Ali who is labeled as the Charming Star by the makers of this film has shown a marked improvement over his previous outings.
Varsha Bollamma as Charu appeared cute as she was instructed to. Nothing more to write about her role. It is the hero's friends played by Arjun Ashokan and Jacob Gregory who steal the show in the second half. The involved in some of the best comedy scenes in the movie and keep things lighthearted in the relatively dark and sombre atmosphere of the second half of the film.
The music and cinematography don't stand out like in the case of Premam or even the decade and a half Autograph. But they are decent. The hero's bike journeys and the scenes that involved bike journeys are canned well though. The production values are good. Editing could have been better in certain places.
All in all, Asif Ali's Mandharam doesn't stand out in the films of this genre but it's not a bad effort. The film has its moments and the director tried to keep the narration grounded rather than taking the fairytale route. But we get a feeling that something is missing in the film by the time the credits roll. A time pass watch if you have time to kill.
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What is Mandhaaram about?
Do you know Premam? You must be living in a cave under deep rocks in a remote Amazonian first not to know that absolute classic of coming of age romantic drama. At least you sure know Malar as a Malayalam Cinema fan. Now, Mandhaaram is another variation of the similar theme, directed by the debutant Vijesh Vijay.
Young hero Asif Ali and Anarkali Marikkar play the lead roles in this film which is about how love changes the life of a person and his family and friends influence his love life. Asif Ali is said to be in appearing five different get-ups in the film. Jacob Gregory, Arjun Ashokan, and Bhagat Manuel round off the rest of the players.
What to expect from mandhaaram?
A beautiful multi timeline romantic drama
The movie is going to be a romantic drama which depicts the romances and miss-romances in the life of the character played by Asif Ali over various phases of his life. It appears that in every phase of his life, Asif Ali will sport a different look. It is sad that he will sport five different getups and it may mean a getup each for every phase or so. The film is surely going to invoke nostalgia like Premam and other similar genre films did. From what is evidenced by the trailer, Mandhaaram unravels in a leisurely pace. So, expect to get wet in the showers of love.
Asif Ali proved himself to be a talent to reckon with right from his debut with Shyamaprasad's Ritu. In the ten years since he played various roles and made himself a name with subtle performances. Mandharam sees the life of his character narrated from the childhood through the adolescence to the mature age of 32. We can rest assured that he will deliver a solid performance in this romantic drama.
The director and his team
Though Vijesh Vijay is a debutant, from what he said in the interviews in the lead up to the release prove he is a good enough filmmaker with clarity. The music of this film is composed by Mujeeb Majeed. Songs and background score form the heart and soul of any such film and Mujeed is up to the challenge and composed a very good score as evidenced by the trailer. Same is the case with cinematography. Apart from bringing a natural look to the film, it appears that Bahul Ramesh brought a verve to the visuals.
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