Malli Pelli: An Autobiographical Movie Worth Watching For Its Theme And Performances

After two directorial debacles, MS Raju delivers a much better film. The film is one-dimensional but still, there is a lot to ponder.

Malli Pelli (Telugu)
  • Cast: VK Naresh, Pavitra Lokesh, Vijaykumar, Jayasudha, and late Sarath Babu
  • Director: MS Raju
  • Music composers: Suresh Bobbili and Aruldev
  • Runtime: 2 hours and 10 minutes

MS Raju, as we all know, has produced many blockbusters, including Varsham, Okkadu and Deviputrudu.

In 2008, MS Raju made his directorial debut with the film Vaana; however, true to its title, the film was a washout.

But that didn’t stop the producer from directing films. He made his next film Tuneega, starring his son Sumanth Ashwin. But the result was the same.

Back with Malli Pelli

After staying away from the big screen for some time, Raju is now back with his third big-screen directorial Malli Pelli.

The film has created quite a buzz, thanks mostly to the real-life couple VK Naresh and Pavitra Lokesh. Their real-life relationship has been making headlines for a long time.

A film starring a real-life couple has a different charm about it. Not surprisingly, the biggest strength of Malli Pelli is the chemistry that the lead actors share and the solid emotional moments that the director created.

Narendra (Naresh) is a prominent Telugu actor with a vast amount of wealth and respect. However, his personal life is going through huge turbulence because of a broken marriage.

Soumya Sethupati (Vanitha Vijaykumar) plays Narendra’s psychotic third wife.

One day he meets a Kannada actress Parvathy (Pavitra Lokesh) and develops feelings for her. He communicates the same to her despite knowing fully well that she is a married woman.

Story of two people with broken marriages

Parvathy’s marriage is also on the rocks although she presents a picture of a happily married woman. Parvathy also has feelings for Narendra but she is apprehensive about how society would react, particularly the media.

The rest of the story deals with the complexities of their relationship and how it develops in the end.

First and foremost, the story is designed in such a way that the viewers completely empathise with the couple.

The respective spouses of Narendra and Parvathy are portrayed as one-dimensional, with no redeeming quality. This does get bothersome after a while, particularly in the second half.

But still, the emotional quotient is strong. As a result, you are willing to overlook the soft spots.

The story has been narrated in six chapters, a technique that is well used by MS Raju. This format enhances the drama.

Mix of light and dramatic moments

Malli Pelli has a good mix of light and dramatic moments. The scenes of Narendra flirting with Parvathy do bring a smile to your face. Their romance is treated maturely with no vulgarity.

The concept of an older couple finding solace in each other has been dealt with with the right amount of sensitivity.

Stories like this are always a welcome break given that this genre is mostly associated with younger actors.

Raju is also successful in portraying the moral dilemmas that Narendra and Parvathy go through before they decide the direction in which they should take their relationship.

The flashback portion of Parvathy, though abrupt, has its moments. There is a caste angle that the director added to the spouse of Parvathy.

Performance of the actors

Jayasudha plays a character modelled on Vijay Nirmala, Naresh’s real mother.

Even though her scenes with Naresh are few, there is a lot of warmth in those scenes.

The same applies to the ones featuring Sarath Babu as Superstar Krishna. Watching Sarath Babu on screen evokes a lot of nostalgia given that he passed away recently.

However, it is VK Naresh and Pavitra Lokesh who shoulder the film majorly. He does a swell job of bringing his real-life persona to the character. The senior actor is having a splendid second innings and this is another worthy addition.

Pavitra Lokesh also lends wonderful support. She does a good job of portraying the character’s transition.

Coming to the flaws Vanitha Vijaykumar comes across as very irritating both character-wise and acting-wise. A more nuanced characterisation would have made it more real.

The same applies to the portrayal of the media. It is not only caricaturish but also highly offensive.

A middle-aged romance and Naresh’s performance are the best things about this film.

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