2 Hour 24 mins | Suspense - Thriller | 17-11-2023
Cast - Payal Rajput, Ravindra Vijay, Ajay Ghosh, Sritej, Shravan Reddy, Nanditha Swetha, Krishna Chaitanya, Divya Pillai, Lakshman and Others
Director - Ajay Bhupathi
Producer - Ajay Bhupathi, Suresh Varma, Swathi Gunupati
Banner - Mudhra Media Works, A Creative Works
Music - B. Ajaneesh Loknath
Ajay Bhupathi scored a surprise success with RX100 and the movie went on to become a sensation. The director’s next, Mahasamudram did not fare well and now he joined hands with his RX100 heroine Payal Rajput again for a thriller, Mangalavaaram. The trailer hinted at many suspenseful visuals and a curious plot. The movie was released today in theaters and let us see if Mangalavaaram is scary and enthralling. Here is the review from the US premieres.
What Is It About?
The writings on the wall in a small village reveal the illicit affairs every Tuesday night and people with names on the wall end up dead. So the whole village and the police are determined to find who is behind these deaths and writings. What did they find? Who is Shailu (Payal Rajput) and how is she related to the deaths? The answer to these questions is Mangalavaaram.
Payal Rajput gets a role with substance in Mangalavaaram after her RX100. She performed well in the bold role. Ravindra Vijay excels as the doctor and his role picks up prominence towards the latter half. Ajay Ghosh, Sritej, Shravan Reddy, Nanditha Swetha, and others did fine. Chaitanya Krishna and Divya Pillai did well in their respective roles. Chaitanya Krishna got a good role after a long time and he gives an excellent performance towards the climax.
Mangalavaaram is technically excellent. To start with, the cinematography is top-notch. It has gripping visuals, particularly in the sinister episodes. The background music deserves appreciation more than anything else in the movie. Ajaneesh Loknath’s BGM is the soul of Mangalavaaram. The screenplay is good. There were some boring sequences like the chaos at a local function and dragged sequences in the second half.
Twists And Revelations
Slow First Half
The audience always has a curiosity for the thriller genre films. If executed properly the thriller and suspense films enthrall the most. Mangalavaaram is one from the genre and the movie mostly satisfies a suspense-loving audience.
Mangalavaaram quickly sets the plot and establishes most of the characters, but has its own slowdowns until the interval. The interval bang is well shot and it gives a good opening for the second half.
The second half has a lengthy flashback which is partly boring. The dragged flashback episodes give the feel of a lazy Sunday afternoon instead of crazy Mangalavaaram midnight. The director picked a rare and bold concept for the lead actress portrayal and Payal Rajput justified the said role. Any other heroine might not have agreed to do this role.
The main plot with Mangalavaaram deaths maintains the suspense and mystery without jump scares and horrid visuals. Especially the last half hour scores well in leaving the audience intrigued. The twists and startling revelations that come in the last 30 minutes remain the most interesting highlights of the film.
Though the core plot could be vaguely guessed, it is the setup, execution, and cinematography that make it engaging. The background music is the highlight and Ajaneesh Loknath pushed the gripping scenes to many levels up with his score.
Most suspense mysteries have many suspects with misleading mannerisms and Mangalavaaram is not an exception. While Mangalavaaram reminds Kantara in many frames, the plot seems to be heavily inspired by yesteryear’s famous thriller Anveshana in most aspects.
Overall, Mangalavaaram is a decent watch for a good theatrical experience although it has its own flaws. It has to be seen how it fares at the box office.
Bottom Line: A Rustic Thriller