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MR MAJNU Review
Movie: Mr Majnu
Mr. Majnu happens to be the first release for the Akkinenis in 2019. Akhil Akkineni, Nidhhi Agerwal pair up for this outing that promises to throw new light on modern-day relationships. With an ensemble cast, impressive music and picturesque visuals ensuring it a good buzz prior to the release.
At the core of every good rom-com is a misunderstanding, a conflict that drives a wedge between two jilted lovers. How believable that conflict is, is what endears the rom-com to mush-lovers. Venky Atluri, with Tholi Prema, showed us that he understands what it takes to make a good romcom - a breezy entertainer that has sensibility at its core. That intention to address a sensitive issue without being derogatory or chauvinistic is what stands out even in Mr.Majnu.However, the movie isn't pure gold either, largely because it still struggles with the fact that Telugu movie-makers don't understand romance in its entirety, and have a dry, siloed, myopic way of looking at things, even the better ones like Venky Atluri. Mr. Majnu is heavily reliant on Akhil, who plays Vikram Krishna (Vicky), a playboy who has women swooning for him everywhere. Nikki (Nidhhi Agerwal) falls for him too and convinces him to give love a shot.
Akhil, playing Vicky, is a Casanova and every girl in town is in love with him for his charm and handsomeness. Vicky meets Nikki (Nidhhi Agerwal) in an unexpected (but predictable) situation in London and the two have a distasteful encounter which leaves an unpleasant impression on the girl. Turns out, Vicky's sister and Nikki's brother are soon getting married and the latter is annoyed to be related to him. But over a period of time, Nikki is impressed with Vicky's personality and without realizing, falls in love with him. The Casanova in Vicky doesn't allow him to be in a long relationship with Nikki and the couple breaks up. What happens next forms the crux of the story!
Akhil Akkineni is excellent in action sequences and danced energetically. He looks very natural and extremely confident. There is finesse in his acting and elegance in his body language.
Nidhhi Agerwal fulfills her part as a glamorous heroine. Each and every character in the film is written and cast properly. Priyadarshi as Akhil's friend is okay.
Jabardasth fame Hyper Aadi in the role of a person who runs an illegal online piracy business performed well.
Nagababu in the role of Nikky’s father justifies with his role. Jaya Prakash as Mr. Krishna Prasad is fine. Rest of the cast performed accordingly.
Director Venky Atluri chose a wafer-thin story and mostly banked on fresh treatment to drive the point home. But then, the story does not have the depth to stay afloat throughout. Things go predictable and routine in the second half. The director struggled to handle the pace at a uniform rate.
Thaman once again did a good job with both the music and the background score.
George Williams Cinematography is colorful and Production Values are grand.
Editing has been patchy.
Vikram is the typical Telugu movie hero - he bashes up anyone who touches his family, he is the embodiment of love and happiness and he is the star of the family, something that enchants Nikki. Kudos to Akhil for pulling off the charmer convincingly, even bringing out lovely camaraderie with other actors with whom he shares the screen - whether it is Jayaprakash, Pavitra Lokesh, Vidyullekha, Hyper Aadi or Subba Raju.
From a guy who breaks a woman's heart unintentionally to someone who wants to do everything to put those pieces back, his transformation is the essence of the movie. That part, though, isn't well sketched out, and between needless fights (in London, where, unlike in India, things like these aren't brushed off so easily) and some preachy phases (where the heroine and the hero spend time explaining love to others), the movie meanders.
The romcom could have been so much more, had the wasted time invested in inflating the hero's ego, been used to establish a few more scenes that underscored Vicky's willingness to do what it takes to make his woman happy. That she is impressed a little too easily all the time, is such a downer - low expectations, ya?!
Nevertheless, Mr. Majnu is watchable. Part of the reason is a bunch of creatively, subtly done pieces that gel well. Priyadarshi, as Vicky's best friend, for example, gets injured every time Vicky lies, a hilarious side-note that has the audience in splits. Naga Babu pouring his wife's coffee into the flowerpot, reluctant to tell her how bad it is, was funny. So was Hyper Aadi's movie pirate, with his accent and timing. (If only we showed as much creativity in sensibilities as we do in comedy!) An animated - no, literally animated - 2-year old Konda Babu (Subba Raju's son in the movie) brings comic relief too.
But, make no mistake, it is Akhil's movie. Akhil comes into his own, finally realizing the potential everyone felt he had. He is a good dancer and has a thing for the camera, you can see. In Nidhhi Agerwal, he gets a fine co-star and their chemistry is enchanting at times. Nidhhi, much like Rashi Khanna's role in Tholi Prema, isn't sidelined despite the flamboyance of Vicky's character (I mean, not as sidelined as usual, low expectations, remember?). She is emotional, sentimental, and possessive, part of the reason why she loses the guy she loves.
It was nice to see Venky bringing out once again the fact that in relationships, it is hard to blame one and exonerate the other. It was also refreshing to see that the movie entirely avoids the boys-are-like-this and girls-are-like-that stereotype Telugu movies revel in. It was refreshing to see a protagonist who respects his exes and is friends with them, instead of blaming them for his broken-heartedness. If only the love story was built a little better rather than depending on wasted pieces of macho-ness the movie didn't need. Despite the weaker plot and a predictable second-half, the movie gives you a decent experience because neither the hero nor the heroine plays a heavy victim-card.
With a cast that plays its part well, Mr. Majnu has something warm to offer. It is the story of good families, full of good people and as unrealistic as that could be, it is nice to see it shown subtly without overdoing the relationships. Mr. Majnu also benefits from Thaman's music and George Williams' cinematography - the bright colors infuse a sense of coziness that mushy stories need. The OST isn't overdone and has enough to pull the right chords in your head and heart.
All in all, it is not a Khushi or Tholi Prema, but it entertains. It isn't a heartwarming romcom or a tearjerking romantic drama. But, with the low benchmark our romcoms usually start with and the comic overdose we demand from our moviemakers, the movie will not be a bore.
Screenplay not gripping enough
A few dragged scenes in the latter half
Artificial family emotions
Verdict: Mr. Majnu leaves you with a smile at the end, but with a sense of disappointment. 😒
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