Mallanna - Big Budget Show on Black Money!!!
Release date: 21 August 2009
User Rating: 2 / 5
Director : Susi Ganesan
Music Directors : Devi Sri Prasad
Producers : Kalaipuli Thanu
Starring : Vikram, Shriya, Krishna, Indrajit, Prabhu Ganesan, Ashish Vidyarthi, Vivek, Santhanam, Vadivelu ...
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Mallanna finally released post many months of a huge publicity blitz which resulted in sky-high expectations from this mega-budget bi-lingual Vikram starrer. Unfortunately, while the makers spent many crores on making it on a grand scale, they probably didn’t pay enough attention to developing a strong storyline that should have kept the audiences engrossed. This could be the reason why Mallanna might not set the box-office on fire and justify its pre-release hype!

What is it about : Mallanna (Vikram) is a senior CBI officer who wants to flush out the black money floating around to help the poor. To do this, he adopts an alter-ego of secret masked crusader called Mallanna who answers all the requests that devotees leave outside the famous Mallanna temple. This masked Mallanna has a loyal crack team who help him in these Robinhood adventures. The movie starts off with him raiding the powerful PPP (Ashish Vidyarthi) who decides to get even with him by using his daughter Subbalakshmi (Shriya). Soon, Mallanna and Shriya are singing songs while another DIG Prabhu is trying to unravel Mallanna’s secret identity. The second half is about how Mallanna joins PPP to unravel a money-laundering ring that operates out of Mexico while being chased by Prabhu. By the end of the movie, he has exposed all the corrupt elements alongwith his identity as the masked Mallanna. All through the film, Mallanna keeps talking about how black money can help out in the nation’s progress.

What is Good: This is a Vikram show all the way and he lives up it despite the masked Mallanna’s character having shades of his previous film “Aparichitudu”. He shines as the honest CBI officer as well as the masked Mallanna who models his character’s look and movements on a rooster. Apart from his act, Shriya provides the glamour in the meaty role she gets. Ashish Vidyarthi also stands out as the bad guy in his limited role. The other strong points are the production values that include exotic locations and neat cinematography. One of the songs “Excuse Me Mr. Mallanna” stays with you thanks to its catchy lyrics.

What is bad: The weakest link in the movie is the flimsy storyline and the pace at which it unfolds. The first half just moves without anything consequential happening. The surprise element is lacking since you know about Mallanna’s double identity in the first frame. Apart from Vikram, there are far too many people who walk in and out of the frames without taking the story forward thanks to their sketchy characters. An example being Prabhu’s character who almost disappears in the second half without convincing the audience on how he unraveled Mallanna’s secret identity. The songs only add to the slow pace of the movie with Mumaith Khan’s forgettable item number coming in at the worst possible time. Brahmanandam’s name was mentioned in the initial credits but he was nowhere in the film!!!

Me Thinks: Thanks to the hyped-up publicity, I expected something on the scale of Maghadheera or Aparichitudu but unfortunately it did not live up to those expectations. This theme of a modern-day Robinhood that so successfully worked with Gentleman, Sivaji, Bharatiyudu and Aparichitudu seems to have failed here thanks to a weak storyline.

Tailpiece: The most irritating technical aspect was the jumpy thanks to over-usage of the white-outs between almost every cut in the film. It probably has set a record in the usage of this technique!!!

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Legend:    5 - Flawless
                4 - Must Watch
                3 - One Time Watch
                2 - Wait for the DVD
                1 - Stay Away
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