Home > Entertainment > Cinema > Market Mahalakshmi Review

Market Mahalakshmi Review

Market Mahalakshmi beats around the bush endlessly and leaves you fatigued with its conservative outlook towards marriage, writes Srivathsan Nadadhur

Telugu cinema has witnessed a distinctly strange phenomenon in recent decades, where a younger crop of filmmakers are so heavily inspired by yesteryear thespians that they’re quite comfortable not having a distinct voice. A lot of their cinematic understanding – the writing in particular – is derived from commercial potboilers. Its regressive, done-to-death tropes subconsciously influence them and it’s unsurprising why their work is so distant from reality.

Market Mahalakshmi falls in the same category and is born out of an obnoxious creative fantasy. A corporate employee, in the hunt for a bride, rejects matches where he could receive dowry in crores, and falls for a rowdyish vegetable seller instead. The high society matches, suggested by his father, don’t align with his value system. He rejects a woman because she discusses sexual compatibility in the first meeting and he says no to another because of her supposedly loose morals.

Just as he buys vegetables in a local market and witnesses a fearless girl standing up on her own feet, it’s love at first sight. He can’t resist an independent woman. As implausible as the premise may seem, first-time director VS Mukkhesh doesn’t give us a firm reason to invest in the story. There’s no common ground between the lead characters and it’s not hard to understand why Mahalakshmi lands the guy a tight slap when he proposes out of the blue.

The guy doesn’t learn his lesson and chases her persistently. The script moves at the convenience of the writer-director. When the software employee wants to spend more time with Mahalakshmi, he’s offered a work-from-home option and a few scenes later, he takes the opportunity to turn into a vegetable seller. Mahalakshmi is another variant of Anthuleni Katha’s Jayaprada with a drunkard brother, a motionless father who’s confined to a bed and a vulnerable mother offering her company.

Adding more drama to the proceedings, there’s a goon (who has no connection to the plot) in the market who regularly comes up with suggestive remarks and Mahalakshmi gives him the treatment he deserves. Time and again, she is portrayed as a stone-hearted rebel who won’t melt, come what may. With the drunkard sibling, the hero’s overactive sidekick and the banters between the protagonist and his parents, the screenplay is stuck in a circular loop and no progress in sight.

At a time when you have given up on the film, the script borrows a leaf out of Bommarillu. The girl agrees to a ‘test drive’ and stays in the protagonist’s house. Market Mahalakshmi takes on dowry harassment and surprisingly questions the protagonist’s male ego. The screenplay beats around the bush for a long time that these ‘right intentions’ just don’t suffice. Like a typical Telugu film, there are sermons about a woman’s character assassination, right parenting and relationship advice.

It’s completely alright to conceive a story like Market Mahalakshmi, but it at least needs to be sensible or tread the slapstick route with conviction. This one does neither. Parvateesam is a good actor though he has his limitations in shouldering an entire film behind his back. With the amateurish writing, Market Mahalakshmi doesn’t even get to bank his strengths in comedy. In a one-note role, debutante Praneekaanvika struggles to make an impression.

The generally reliable Kedar Shankar is jarringly over-the-top as the hammy father while Mukku Avinash is denied much scope to prove his mettle. Harsha Vardhan, after a rather forgettable appearance in Bharatanatyam, is wasted again. The background score, at many instances, feels out of place and goes against the mood of the scene. The film is poorly edited too, several sequences overstay their welcome as if the director refused to say ‘cut’ in between the scenes.

You may also like
Director VS Mukkhesh Interview – Market Mahalakshmi