'MLA' review: This Telugu film offers a few smart tweaks to a routine tale

While the film doesn't go beyond the template, it manages to be mildly entertaining.
'MLA' review: This Telugu film offers a few smart tweaks to a routine tale
'MLA' review: This Telugu film offers a few smart tweaks to a routine tale
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MLA starts with an Apache bike ad (smart, huh?!). The film (MLA stands for 'Manchi Lakshanalunna Abbayi') is the classic Telugu version of the Marvel superhero movie – a marauding villain, a hero with brain and invisible brawn, a love story and an ethical dilemma before the end. The hero is introduced as the omniscient, omnipotent brother who understands his sister’s love story and gets her married at the cost of his relationship with their father (He fixes that problem, later. What’s so difficult for a hero?)

He comes with his sister to Bengaluru, where his brother-in-law (Vennela Kishore) gets him a job in the firm he works for. Plus five for the sarcasm on a boss who constantly sexually harasses every woman in the office! A series of coincidences, which the hero, Kalyan (Kalyan Ram) dubs ‘magical bonding’ (the routine excuse to harass the heroine, Indu (Kajal Aggarwal), before she falls for him) brings the lead actors together.

Brahmanandam comes in a 2-minute act as part of a side plot, even as the villain, a ruthless psychopath who runs a factory powered by child labourers kicks into full fear.

MLA is not a bad movie. It is watchable. But, should you spend your last rupee on it? Definitely not. It is predictable with the usual one-man-beats-up-100-with-punch-dialogues-served-as-dessert routine. Yet, it just about manages to do something mildly interesting, before you start yawning.

Kajal Aggarwal by now, can play these roles in her sleep – charming, with barely an opportunity to mouth a few dialogues. She brings grace to that role. Kalyan is hot at times, and cold at times. He gives the impression that he is shedding his natural and more comfortable self (where he does well) to become someone else (the usual mass-hero syndrome most Telugu heroes lug on their shoulders). Prudhviraj continues to be the fine, adorable comedian we all want more of.

The movie, intentionally or unintentionally, demonstrates the idiosyncrasies of the common vote bank that politicians play with. The music by Mani Sharma doesn’t serve up any hummable tunes. This is Upendra Madhav’s debut directorial venture, and for that he does a decent job. It is a tough industry to be innovative and somewhere, the movie gives you the impression of starting with newness and then blending into the ocean of clichés.

MLA is more of a montage movie we make in weddings – bits and pieces of everything. A few comedians, the usual villain with the usual dubbing artist (I for one am tired of all these villains having the same dubbing artist), the usual 3-fight, 5-song template and the hero playing Ramudu manchi baludu – this is a good summation of the movie. What is likable is that it talks a little about education and its importance for children. Will the movie reach the audience that needs to listen to this message – a question we can ponder. And thank god, there was no item song!

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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