Two National Awards, six Filmfare-South and two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards besides an entry in several international film festivals… Paruthiveeran (2007) has served as a perfect launch pad for Karthi in Kollywood. Now, releasing into Telugu as Malligadu, the flick is expected to get the actor a hat-trick in Tollywood and revive the limping career of Priyamani as well.
Malli Babu ( Karthi ) is a ruffian and a rowdy sheeter who keeps getting into trouble with the law on a daily basis. Together with his uncle Sivayya ( Saravanan ), Malli Babu roams around the countryside, looking for entertainment as well as trouble. He is adored by Malli ( Priyamani ) who happens to be his relative, but he does not reciprocate her feelings. On the other hand, Malli’s father Nagayya ( Ponvannan ) hates Malli Babu for his behaviour and for mixing with low caste people.
As the story keeps moving back and forth to showcase the struggle of human emotions and caste equations, Malli Babu begins to understand and reciprocate Malli’s love. All hell breaks loose when he decides to marry Malli and he becomes the most hated man in the village. Will Malli Babu and Malli be able to realize their dreams? Will the villagers allow them to have a life together? That forms the rest of the story.
Karthi is simply outstanding in the role of Malli Babu. He swears and staggers across the screen with the ease of a senior actor and that is impressive for a debut movie. Priyamani has a lot of scope to perform in a powerful role and she shines through. When we look at Priyamani now, we can’t help but wonder ” What happened to the actress in her?”.
Ponvannan and Saravanan are good in their respective roles. From an acting perspective, everyone justified their presence and there is nothing to fault here. There are some memorable scenes in the second half that will stick with you. In fact, the movie turns slightly enjoyable once Karthi reciprocates Priyamani’s love.
The movie maybe an award winning flick, but it is too raw and too shocking for regular Telugu crowds. There is too much Tamil nativity in the movie and it is just impossible to connect with the scenes. The costumes, the look of the actors and the village scenes will not stick with Telugu people. Priyamani’s looks are deliberately toned down and she is actually seen in a dark skin tone. Karthi’s look and costumes may be authentic and good for jury awards, but for regular movie goers here, they will be a major turn off.
Scenes like the one where a dying woman ( who is bleeding to death ) is gang – raped, will be extremely hard for people to accept here. The narration is also very slow and can get extremely boring at times. The climax will make many people squirm in their seats.
Cinematography is outstanding and some of the scenes, where black and white effect has been used, will stay in your mind. Background score is very good but the songs are just about average. Editing is below par. Dialogues could have been better.
Malligadu comes on strong like the performances of the lead pair!