MLA movie review: Nandamuri Kalyanram’s film leaves critics appalled

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Critics are still reeling under its aftermath.

Remember Nandamuri Kalyanram? The actor who apparently got producers to pay Tamannaah more than Rs 1.5 crore just to have her in his film? Yes, the same guy had a release this Friday called MLA or Manchi Lakshanalunna Abbai which has left critics in coma. They are still trying to figure out what they saw. The film is about a man, played by Nandamuri, who is obsessed with  ‘magical bonding’ between him and the heroine of the film played by Kajal Aggarwal. Why? Just because she unfortunately and accidentally features in all the selfies that he was taking in Bangalore. So you have the man stalking her into believing they are a match made in heaven and despite Kajal telling him repeatedly she doesn’t believe in such things, he is adamant. Guess he needs to watch Amitabh Bachchan Pink… we will wait for a Telugu version of the same. Guess the director and the writer of the film only then will get a better idea about why Naa apne aap mei ek pura vakya hain. Anyway, check out the reactions of the critics to figure out why we think they went in shock after watching the movie.

Indian Express awarded it 1 star saying, “What makes us cringe more about the film is Posani Krishna Murali’s character of a lustful boss, who exploits every woman in his office. And Upendra has used his character for comic relief. What’s so funny about a boss sexually exploiting his employees? No, the hero doesn’t do anything to stop sexual harassment at the workplace. Instead, he ingratiates himself with his sinister boss to keep his job. It’s a forgettable film. When all a reviewer can write is only an approximation of the film’s story, it usually means there is nothing else to write about.”

Hindustan Times could only give it half star saying, “Indu (Kajal) somehow features in all the selfies that Kalyan (Kalyan) and his family take in Bangalore. When Kalyan comes face to face with her, he concludes that they have a magical bond, and that they are destined to be together forever. He then tries to convince Indu of the same and fails initially. Here director Upendra Madhav inserts songs shot abroad. What has to be pointed out here is that stalking is stalking even if it is done abroad in a romantic locale. Indu meets Kalyan again in a professional surrounding. She is the boss’ daughter who is frustrated with Kalyan who keeps babbling about magical bond. As a last ditch effort, she tells him that if he can solve the land grabbing issue that the company is currently facing, she will tell him that she loves him. So far into the film, all we see is cliches and a man who cannot take no for an answer. The villain takes a back seat until the director is done churning out a couple of romantic numbers. Just before the intermission comes a shocking reveal about Indu, but this is not new either.”

FirstPost sums up the film in just one line, “There are two kinds of films – the ones you watch, and then, there are those which you truly experience. But MLA falls into a different category. It’s the kind of film that you stare at with a blank expression” but gives it 2.5 stars because “It tries to find its feet on the ground, finally, when the story moves to the village, but there are absolutely no surprises even there too. Whatever emotion it tries to milk while talking about child labour, it’s not enough to make you forget the rest of the experience. MLA might be the story of a manchi abbayi (Good Boy), but as a film, it is – Movie Lifeless Anta.”

Hindu however didn’t bother to give it any stars saying, “Films like MLA, with the tagline ‘Manchi Lakshanalunna Abbayi’ (which you’re not likely to forget since they keep repeating it), bring us back to the ground reality that nothing much has changed with a section of mainstream commercial cinema. Watching MLA felt like a journey back by a few decades, not a pleasant nostalgia trip, but like bringing to the fore certain aspects of filmmaking that are best forgotten.”

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