Duration: 137 mns
Cast: Asif Ali, Varsha Bollamma, Jacob Gregory, Arjun Nandakumar, Vineeth Viswam
Director: Vijesh Vijay
The movie begins with the popular ‘I love you’ scene from the Mohanlal-starrer Vandanam. Little Rajesh (Asif) who watches the movie on television with his friend gets curious about the phrase and sets out seeking its meaning. He asks his peers, parents, grandparents and even checks dictionary to find it.
He gets the first dose of love during his school days. But, it withers with time and, like all lovelorn teens, Rajesh decides to stay single forever. But he falls in love again when he meets Charu (Varsha) during his college days in Bengaluru, only to fail once more. Then his life is changed forever.
In a nutshell, Mandharam is Rajesh’s search for his right partner.
Though the movie deals with a universal emotion, it fails to strike a chord with the audience. The characters, especially sidekicks, are not properly established, and the plot drags at many places testing the viewers' patience. Hence, the sentiments do not work at most of the places. Also, the audience cannot be blamed if they find shadows of George (Premam) and Jordan (Bollywood movie Rockstar) in Rajesh.
Asif Ali has done justice to his character, but he has nothing exceptional to contribute to Rajesh. In fact, Asif rocked as an engineering student living in Bengaluru in the movie BTech. The sole difference in Mandharam is that he sports a new getup in the second half. Varsha is a delight to watch on the screen, but Charu falters in her hands. However, Anarkali Marikar, who walks into the plot towards the end, gives a memorable act. Arjun Ashokan, Jacob Gregory and Vineeth give the much-needed comic relief in the whole journey. Arjun Ashokan too reprises his buddy role from BTech in Mandharam. Indrans and K.B. Ganesh Kumar appear in small roles.
On the bright side, Mandharam has a few good songs and visuals. As Rajesh travels to different places for salvation, you get to see those places in bits and pieces.
For the protagonist, the journey might be life-changing, but for the viewer, it is a bumpy ride....