The film is much like the recent web series 'Mana Mugguri Love Story'.

Mental Madhilo Review A fun romcom about a confused man
Flix Tollywood Friday, November 24, 2017 - 18:57

This film couldn’t have had a better title than Mental Madhilo as it clearly reveals the male protagonist’s psyche in two simple words.

Well, the title has directly been taken from the hit song Mental Madhilo from Mani Ratnam’s OK Bangaram. If OK Bangaram had its leads in a pickle when it came to pushing their “live-in” status to “married”, here, it’s about a man named Aravind Krishna, played by Sree Vishnu, who struggles to pick the best from an array of options.

To explain his two-state mind, I’m going to highlight one of the scenes from his early days where his relatives come to his house. The young Aravind Krishna, who’s about 4 or 5, is told to wear something by his mother, and come out of his room soon. Unable to choose what to wear, he walks into the living room naked instead. His relatives tease him for it, and, his mother, obviously, cuts a sorry figure.

This may seem like a hilarious scene in the beginning, but as the story progresses, we understand Aravind’s dilemma. Much like what happened in the recent web-series Mana Mugguri Love Story, the central character falls for the charms of two people. Mana Mugguri Love Story’s Tejaswi Madivada is replaced by Sree Vishnu. Tejaswi liked two men at the same time, in the series, and didn’t know what to do about it.

Mental Madhilo, on the other hand, feels like a stronger subject on the same theme as it gives its characters more power. Nivetha Pethuraj’s Svetcha comes across as a confident person who knows what she’s dealing with, at any given point of time, whereas Amrutha Srinivasan’s Renu is somebody we’ve seen on-screen numerous times (if you’re familiar with Imtiaz Ali’s heroines, then you’d know a handful of words to describe their features – ready-to-experiment, quirky, and talkative).

Aravind Krishna, as usual, is in a critical condition. The woman he’s about to get engaged to (Svetcha) is like the friend you’d call at 2 AM. Doesn’t it sound like a great match? Wait for it - there’s another woman in the picture. Renu is like the friend who’s with you at 2 AM. I’m not sure if Aravind agrees with my statements; however, this is how their characters appear in the movie.

We follow Aravind’s journey throughout Mental Madhilo. Svetcha and Renu pop up on the screen only when he’s there, or when they are on the phone with him, so it’s hard to guess their thought processes. Their voices aren’t cut off wholly, though. We see fragments of their dreams and problems via conversations with Aravind. And, since, this is a film that totally depends on the strength of the writing, it works to a considerable extent.

Snatches of guerrilla filmmaking can be found in the Mumbai portions. Sree Vishnu, Amrutha, Keshav Deepak, and Kireeti hang out at Mumbai’s favorite spots – Gateway of India and beaches – comfortably. These segments have some kind of a zest in them. The emotions and scenes look natural and believable.

Certain dialogues, especially the ones about life lessons (given by Sivaji Raja to Sree Vishnu) and the thankful message that goes from Kireeti to Amrutha, are heartwarming. Likewise, Prashanth R Vihari blends the songs and scores seamlessly. The difference between the two has been blurred in this movie perfectly. Some of the actors from Mana Mugguri Love Story (Keshav Deepak, Avanthika, and Bindhu) are present in Mental Madhilo, as well. I suppose the association extends beyond the core of the story, too.

Mental Madhilo has given Sree Vishnu a break and Nivetha Pethuraj a fantastic debut in Telugu cinema. And, Amrutha Srinivasan, the shining light in the corner, will make headway into the heartland of Telugu and Tamil cinema from here onward.

Vivek Athreya’s directorial debut stands alongside 2016’s Pelli Choopulu as poignant romantic dramas that we can keep going back to. If producer Raj Kandukuri, who’s behind both these films, continues to support first-time filmmakers, we may end up getting more such wonderful films.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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