Mallesham - Movie Review

Friday, June 21, 2019 - 07:30
Mallesham (2019)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Mallesham
Cast: Priyadarshi, Ananya Nagella, Jhansi, Gangavva and others
Dialogues: Ashok Peddinti
Music: Mark K Robin
Lyrics: Gorati Venkanna, Chandra Bose, Dasarathi
Cinematography: Balu Sandilyasa
Production Design: Laxman Aelay
Sound Design: Nithin Lukose
Editing: Raghavendra V
Producers: Raj R, Sri Adhikari
Executive Producer: Venkat Siddareddy
Screenplay and direction: Raj R
Runtime: 126 min

Ikkat Silk Sarees or Pochampally Sarees date back its history to 100 years. These handloom sarees provided livelihood for many families of weavers in 100’s of villages in erstwhile Warangal and Nalgonda districts in the then Andhra Pradesh. Soon handlooms paved way for power looms and the lives of artisan weavers were changed forever. The manual Asu machine that required women to wind meters of silk yarn was another reason that led weavers to leave ‘maggam’ work as it affected the women’s shoulders.
This is the backdrop one should keep in mind to understand ‘Mallesham’, a biopic on Chintakindi Mallesham, who was awarded Padma Shree in 2017 for inventing the ‘Asu machine’, which processes yarn mechanically, and that bettered the lives of many women in and around Pochampally.
Priyadarshi starrer ‘Mallesham’ is a biopic directed by newcomer Raj that highlighted how a class 6 dropout invented ‘Asu machine’. Mallesham has no formal education background to invent this, nor does he have deep pockets. Added to this, people termed him as mad guy as he’s obsessed to invent this machine from his teenage.
Director Raj begins the film in 1980’s and depicts the rural Telangana’s milieu with the scenes of kid Mallesham playing ‘golilu’ with other kids, watching Chiranjeevi’s movies, etc. After establishing why the kid was forced to drop out from the school, the story has shifted its gears to 1990’s when he grows into a man! Then the film focusses on his love, marriage, his various attempts to develop mechanical Asu machine, failures and his money issues. Frustrated with lack of support from anyone, he even thinks of ending his life. With penury all round, with an environment not conducive enough for invention, how he achieves his dream with grit and determination forms the rest of drama.
This is a biopic. But the director has focused more on documenting social and cultural life of rural Telangana in 1990’s. We get to see “Peerila Panduga”, a Muslim festival in which Hindus participate in a big way. However, all these are narrated in a slow pace. There is hardly any emotional grip in the first half. Towards penultimate the movie evokes required emotions rightly.
Priyadarshi’s performance as Mallesham is the main highlight. His heft and sincere act has made a huge difference. His body language is perfect. Newcomer Ananya has expressive eyes and she has got that innocence of rural Telangana women of that generation. Jhansi as the mother who suffered her health due to manual processing of yarn has given riveting performance. Gangavva evokes some laughter with her funny lines. Mark Robin's songs are good. Editing is a huge drawback as the length is a major issue.
Dialogues by Peddinti Ashok Kumar are thick with authentic Telangana accent. However, majority of today’s generation may not grasp every word of such rustic dialogue. As writer and director, Raj has put in sincere effort though his screenplay writing should have been better.
Bottom-line: ‘Mallesham’ is a biopic on Padma Shree Chintakindi Mallesham, a weaver’s son and a class sixth dropout who became the inventor of Asu machine. The film is document of his life as well as of rural Telangana of 90’s.