ABO Review: Malli Pelli


`Malli Pelli` is A Middle-Age Celebrity Duo Discovering the Formula for Happiness!


Cine actor Narendra (VK Naresh) is known for glamour and a nearly bindaas lifestyle. After all, his net worth is Rs 1,000 Cr. His marital life, though, has never been free from pain. Married thrice, his life has been made hellish by his worst-ever wife, Soumya (Vanitha Vijaykumar). 

Enter the Kannada actress Parvathi (Pavitra Lokesh), who appears like an angel to him. Their friendship blossoms on the sets of their upcoming movie. Soon, they are de facto lovers. Ther extra-marital relationship antagonizes Soumya and Phanindra (Ravi Varma), the spouses of Narendra and Parvathi, respectively. 


VK Naresh and Pavitra Lokesh lead the pack. Almost every single scene has one or both of them. It`s commendable on their part to have dared to steward a film on the casting front despite being too old enough for playing lead roles.

Vanitha Vijaykumar aces her part of an insensitive, villainous wife. Jaya Sudha is impressive as a mother who is sad for her son`s unsteady marital life. Late Sarath Babu appears in an extended cameo as a yesteryear superstar. Jaya Sudha and him, respectively, are Vijaya Nirmala and Krishna in the real world.

Ananya Nagalla of `Mallesham` and `Vakeel Saab` fame plays a young woman suffering from repressed sexual desire.

Technical Departments:

Music (songs): Very good!

Background score: Average.

Editing: Well done!

Cinematography: Carries its brief.


The story starts with visuals of a distraught Parvathi and a seemingly agonized Narendra travelling via the Bengaluru Highway. The former is physically bruised too. Then begins a chapter-wise narration of the story, sometimes attended by shifting timelines. Chapter 1 is titled `The Flirting`, and another chapter is titled `My Story`... While there is nothing poetic about the titles, the division builds a sense of seriousness. In the recent `Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi`, the chapters were really confusing but that was because the film was a more complex relationship drama. When the second chapter begins, the film takes an 11-year leap backward.

MS Raju`s writing may not be perfect, but it is not silly either. Narendra and Parvathi behave like professionals on the film set. They exchange furtive glances fast but take days to exchange their phone numbers. Parvathi gets to meet Narendra`s mother, a veteran actress, before she gets to know his phone number.

Narendra is capable of taking ageist jokes and all. His wife Soumya appears to come with an ulterior motive right in her very first scene. She calls Narendra `discreet` while appearing to be overtly honest in a relationship. Deep down, she is a drama queen and a blackmailer to boot.

The film should have brought out the high culture associated with rich people in a better way. That said, it presents some apparently real incidents with genuineness. When Soumya physically abuses him, Narendra asks her, "Evaru anukoni tannav?" This is what a star hero from a privileged background can be believed to say in real life.

How would a pseudo-feminist react to the first half? Probably with loads of outrage at the pro-husband and anti-wife narrative. But when the second half takes an about-turn, with the narrative being pro-wife and anti-husband, the same pseudo-feminist might view the film as an embodiment of honesty.

At its core, the last 30 minutes is about two public personalities going through social anxiety about their public image and trying to lead an unshackled life. You can say anything you want about the film. But one thing is for sure. This is not a cheap film.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Box-office Verdict: Not meant to be a Theatrical success.

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