Mangalavaaram Review: A Thrilling Mystery in a Rustic Setting

In the realm of Telugu cinema, director Ajay Bhupathi’s latest offering, Mangalavaaram, emerges as a period thriller set against the backdrop of rural Andhra Pradesh. The film, with its blend of mystery, faith, and morality, had immense potential to delve into complex characters and gripping narrative arcs. Payal Rajput shines as Shailaja, the central character whose backstory becomes a pivotal element in unraveling the plot.

Mangalavaaram begins its true journey post-intermission, with a twist that shifts the narrative course. The first half is dedicated to crafting the world of Mahalakshmipuram, a village haunted by mysterious deaths linked to illicit affairs. Ajaneesh Loknath’s music, a fusion of folk and contemporary, alongside Dasaradhi Shivendra’s vibrant cinematography, elevates the film, especially in its weaker moments.

The village’s anticipation of the Mahalakshmi temple’s jatara introduces an array of folk-inspired characters, adding layers to the storyline. The narrative is peppered with red herrings, as the villagers, including the new cop Maya (Nandita Shwetha) and the atheistic zamindar Prakasam (Chaitanya Krishna), navigate through a web of suspicion.

While the film attempts to build suspense, it occasionally loses grip, resorting to predictable humor and clichéd characterizations. The central mystery surrounding Shailaja unfolds with clues that are too conspicuous, diluting the impact of the intended surprises. The exploration of the male gaze, particularly in the portrayal of female characters, adds a layer of social commentary, albeit with mixed execution.

The film’s climax, packed with twists, turns, and revelations, offers some theatrical thrills but falls short of delivering a compelling saga. The performances by the cast, particularly Chaitanya Krishna, Ravindra Vijay, and Nandita Shwetha, stand out, providing depth to their respective roles.

In essence, Mangalavaaram is a film that captivates with its visual and auditory flair, yet struggles to fully realize its narrative ambitions. It’s a cinematic experience that promises momentary excitement but doesn’t quite leave a lasting impact as a profound thriller.

Climaxahh Rating: 3/5

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