Chennai, 09 Apr 2019 12:42 IST
As a story, Majili is centered on Poorna (Naga Chaitanya), who is torn between his lost love and his passion for cricket.
Shiva Nirvana’s Majili, a story about love, heartbreak and acceptance, is both complicated and beautiful, making it one of the most mature love stories in recent years.
It’s the story of a man’s longing for love seen through the eyes of three women in his life. Even though Majili treads a very familiar path of love and drama; what really make the film refreshing are the performances of its lead actors, especially Samantha Akkineni, who breathes life into her character with an understated performance.
As a story, Majili is centered on Poorna (Naga Chaitanya), who is torn between his lost love and his passion for cricket. When life takes an unexpected turn, he gets separated from his first love Anshu (played by Divyansha Kaushik) and also loses his opportunity to play cricket for the Railways.
As years pass by, he finds solace in alcohol and he drowns himself in Anshu’s memories, losing grip over his life. Worried about his son’s welfare, Poorna’s father (Rao Ramesh) forcefully gets him married to neighbor’s daughter Sravani (Samantha), who has secretly loved him for many years.
Poorna, unable to get over Anshu, distances himself from Sravani, despite her earnest efforts to win his heart. As much as Sravani dedicates herself to look after her husband and work in the Railway department, Poorna fails to acknowledge her efforts and unconditional love. Whether Poorna accepts Sravani and they live happily ever after forms the crux of the story.
For a story about a man being destroyed by his first love, Majili doesn’t quite invest in the love of Poorna and Anshu. Poorna and Anshu come from very different economic backgrounds. She’s a north Indian who can barely speak Telugu; he can’t understand any other language other than Telugu. Poorna and Anshu still fall head over heels for each other and it’s perfectly alright to not judge them. However, we don’t ever see their love blossom to a stage where it can actually destroy a man’s life.
Also, for a story about a cricketer and his love for the sport, very little time is actually spent on showcasing Poorna’s talent as a cricketer. It’s understood that this isn’t a sports drama, but as a story that unfolds against the backdrop of cricket and the sport is used to elevate Poorna’s character, it’s quite disappointing to see that the makers took very little effort to make the cricketing portion look authentic on screen.
Samantha enters the film minutes before the interval and from that moment onwards she really holds the film together. More than the story of Poorna and Anshu, it’s the relationship of Poorna and Sravani that makes Majili really beautiful, saving it from ending up as yet another generic story of love and heartbreak.
Post her entry, the film belongs to Samantha and she’s a joy to watch. Her unspeakable expressions throughout the film speak volumes of her character and its feelings. Majili would’ve worked even better if it had decided to focus only on the story of Poorna and Sravani.
Naga Chaitanya shines better in the second half than the first. Playing a brooding version of Poorna, we see him bring forth the kind of performance he hasn’t displayed in his career so far. However, he’s painful to watch in the first half, especially when he gets to emote. Rao Ramesh as the ever reliable character artiste gets better and better with each film. Playing a concerned father to Naga Chaitanya, he makes his character memorable with his inimitable wit and pathos.
Majili is complicated in parts but it redeems itself beautifully with a very powerful and mature second half, courtesy a terrific Samantha, who is in her element.
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