Mangalavaaram Movie Review Rating:

Star Genre: Horror, Mystery & thriller

Star Cast: Payal Rajput, Nandita Swetha, Divya Pillai, Ajmal Ameer, Ravindra Vijay, Chaitanya Krishna, Ajay Ghosh

Original Language: Telugu

Director: Ajay Bhupathi

Writer: Ajay Bhupathi, Kalyan Raghav Pasapula, Tajuddin Syed

Dubbed languages: Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam

Review of Mangalavaaram: A Blend of Ambitious Storytelling, Impressive Visuals and Controversial Theme
Mangalavaaram Movie Review Out!(Photo Credit –IMDb)

What’s Good: The film’s captivating world is filled with diverse and intriguing characters, impeccably portrayed by a commendable cast, including Ajay Ghosh, Meesala Lakshman, Chaitanya Krishna, Divya Pillai, Ravindra Banerjee, Nandita Swetha, and Payal Rajput. Dasharadhi Shivendra’s cinematography, especially in night scenes, stands out, complemented by Ajaneesh Loknath’s impressive musical score. The eerie atmosphere created by the sound design and the utilization of folk elements add depth to the narrative.

What’s Bad: Mangalavaaram ventures into ambitious territory, tackling societal sexual identity, but loses its way within the intricate narrative. The overt display of hypersexuality, especially in a conservative setting, may overshadow the intended message. The film, as an adult-rated (certified A) experience, is unsuitable for a universal audience and might face criticism for its bold approach.

Loo Break: A song plays at the one-hour and 39-minute mark. It lasts about 5 minutes. If you need a break, consider taking it during this time. However, return promptly as important scenes follow immediately after the song.

Watch or Not?: Mangalavaaram offers an exhilarating ride, delving into daring and controversial themes while maintaining exceptional production quality. Given its adult rating and bold content, it’s not a film for everyone. If you appreciate audacious storytelling and are comfortable with mature themes.

(Author’s note: Remember that the impressive nighttime shots are best enjoyed on an OLED screen with enabled High Dynamic Range (HDR). The panel should also have a high peak brightness to ensure good contrast for some aspects, like fire against a pitch-black night background.)

Available On: Hotstar

Runtime: 2h 24m

User Rating:

Plot Summary:

Director Ajay Bhupathi guides us through the intricate narrative of “Mangalavaaram,” set in the village of Mahalakshmipuram in Andhra Pradesh. This Telugu period thriller opens with the pure friendship between young Shailaja and Ravi, shattered by a tragic incident. Jumping fifteen years ahead, the village becomes a web of illicit relationships, forbidden affairs, and mysterious deaths, triggering a relentless Sub Inspector to dig deeper. As the film boldly exposes societal double standards and hypocrisy, Shailaja’s destiny emerges as the pivotal anchor of the story.

Review of Mangalavaaram: A Blend of Ambitious Storytelling, Impressive Visuals and Controversial Theme
Mangalavaaram Movie Review(Photo Credit –IMDb)

Mangalavaaram Movie Review: Script Analysis

Ajay Bhupathi’s script for “Mangalavaaram” boldly attempts to delve into societal complexities, focusing on themes of faith, relationships, and morality. The narrative structure, with an intriguing prologue set in the mid-1980s, lays a solid foundation for the events that unfold in Mahalakshmipuram. The film ambitiously intertwines intricate, morally ambiguous characters with the unfolding mystery of forbidden relationships and untimely deaths. However, the script’s effectiveness in conveying its intended societal commentary needs to be improved.

The exploration of societal double standards and hypocrisy surrounding unconventional sexual relationships is a central focus. Ajay Bhupathi’s attempt to push boundaries further overshadowed the movie, causing the societal message to become obscured. The script introduces wall inscriptions detailing forbidden relationships, creating a web of uncertainty and suspicion. While the film aims to address bold themes, the weight of surpassing its expectations may have compromised the clarity of the societal commentary.

The script’s strength lies in its diverse characters, each impeccably fitting into their roles. As the narrative unfolds, the script attempts to answer pivotal questions, shaping the remainder of the story. Despite facing challenges in conveying its intended message, the hand skillfully portrays Shailaja’s story, exploring her se*ual awakening and desires symbolized by butterflies, adding layers to the central character. The script offers a mix of ambitious storytelling, controversial themes, and moments of genuine emotional depth. Still, its impact may vary based on the audience’s interpretation and acceptance of the bold narrative choices.

Mangalavaaram Movie Review: Star Performance

The cast of “Mangalavaaram” delivers impressive performances, particularly Payal Rajput in the central role of Shailaja. Rajput skillfully navigates the complexities of her character, portraying a wide range of emotions and adding depth to the narrative. However, her portrayal raises a potential concern regarding cultural appropriation, as her skin tone appears reddish, reminiscent of a Native American, in contrast to her actual fair Indian white complexion. This nuanced performance, while commendable, introduces an aspect that might have faced challenges in a different cultural context, such as the United States, due to negative connotations associated with cultural appropriation and blackface issues.

The supporting actors, featuring talents like Ajay Ghosh, Meesala Lakshman, Chaitanya Krishna, Divya Pillai, Ravindra Banerjee, Nandita Swetha, and others, significantly strengthen the film. Their impeccable performances bring authenticity and conviction to the diverse characters in Mahalakshmipuram. Ajay Ghosh stands out by infusing humor and depth into the narrative, offering a refreshing contrast amidst the film’s darker themes. Particularly unforgettable is Divya Pillai’s commendable portrayal of Lakshmi, a memorable and integral part of the village’s tumultuous events. The chemistry among the cast enhances the overall viewing experience, crafting a believable and immersive depiction of the village’s cataclysmic events.

Despite the script’s challenges in societal commentary, the star performances play a crucial role in captivating the audience and adding authenticity to the narrative. The collective effort of the ensemble ensures that each character, no matter how peculiar, becomes an integral part of the mysterious and intriguing world crafted by Ajay Bhupathi.

Review of Mangalavaaram: A Blend of Ambitious Storytelling, Impressive Visuals and Controversial Theme
Mangalavaaram Movie Review(Photo Credit –YouTube)

Mangalavaaram Movie Review: Direction, Music

Ajay Bhupathi’s direction in “Mangalavaaram” crafts a visually captivating world, immersing the audience in the intricate narrative. The film begins with a prologue that effectively sets the tone for the events that unfold much later in Mahalakshmipuram. Bhupathi dedicates the initial hour to establishing the village’s setting, allowing viewers to absorb the essence of the place. His skillful combination of folk and contemporary elements creates a unique atmosphere, complemented by Dasharadhi Shivendra’s cinematography. Particularly noteworthy are the night scenes, where Shivendra’s vibrant reddish-orange hues add a haunting quality to the visuals. The director navigates through fields and jungle areas rapidly, enhancing the eerie ambiance that underlines the film’s mysterious elements.

Ajaneesh Loknath’s music score stands out in “Mangalavaaram,” adding another layer to the cinematic experience. The composer skillfully combines folk and contemporary elements, aligning with the film’s themes. The musical score enhances every mood with unwavering intensity, creating an immersive backdrop for the unfolding narrative. Notably, Loknath’s contribution becomes pronounced at the intermission point, where the actual history takes center stage. The music and practical sound design elevate vital moments, making them resonate with the audience. The film’s ambitious narrative relies on the synergy of direction and music to create a compelling cinematic journey, and both aspects contribute significantly to the overall impact of “Mangalavaaram.”

Mangalavaaram Movie Review: The Last Word

Mangalavaaram is a bold attempt at exploring controversial themes in a period thriller, offering a mix of thrills and challenges. While it may not be suitable for a universal audience, those seeking a daring cinematic experience with top-notch technical aspects may find it intriguing. Ajay Bhupathi‘s storytelling ambition is evident, but the film struggles to balance pushing boundaries and maintaining coherence in its societal commentary.

Mangalavaaram Trailer

Mangalavaaram releases on November 17, 2023.

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