Mandela Movie Summary
Debutant director Madonne Ashwin possesses esoteric knowledge about the caste dynamics and a clear vision about what he wants his film to do. He does not waste any time to establish the tone of the flick. He gives us an augury to what to expect of his film right away when he opens the drama with a group of people defecating in the open space, and up on realizing that a new toilet has been build in their village, starts a war over which social group gets the privilege to use it first. He cracks the very back bone of the caste structure – privilege. He beautifully depicts how privilege could extend to, privilege even in defecating. Also, he smartly compares privilege to defecating obliquely.
- Mandela Movie Rating
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In Tamil cinema, not often we can treat ourselves to a quality political satire drama. Demised actor and director Manivannan was a master of crating political satire flicks and use satire even in his comedy scenes. It has been a long, long time that even we could not recall when and which was the last decent political satire film we have had. Did you just begin to wonder, which was the previous film under the genre? You are not alone. Actor RJ Balaji’s LKG was spun around that genre but it was part satire and part generic comedy. But Yogi Babu’s Mandela is what you would call a proper political satire film. Yogi Babu the busiest star in the industry right now has yet another release as a lead hero. It is unfortunate that the film could not have a theatrical release. So, is Mandela solid enough to acquire a good number of views? To know that let us get in to the movie review.
The entertainer is set in the backdrop of a remote village located in Soorankudy where the people of the village stand as two groups, the vadakkorans and therkkorans. The sons of the panchayat head (Sangili Murugan) spearhead the two groups, the vadakkorans by Rathnam (G. M. Sundar) and the therkkorans by Mathi (Kanna Ravi). They are half brothers. Struck between the two groups is Illichavaayan aka Mandela (Yogi Babu), a barber in the village whom the villagers often subject to mockery. Mandela does not take sides as he does not belong to either of the castes. One day, the panchayat head falls ill but would not declare any of his sons as his successor. The local body elections are declared. The brothers decide to take their fight to the elections. Meanwhile, a corporate boss places a proposition to offer the next village president a huge sum if he facilitates setting up of his company in the village.
Fuelled merely by vengeance and greed the brothers would go to any extent to emerge victorious. They do everything in their power to sharpen the caste pride among the people and further deepen the hatred for one another. In the election Mandela hits the jackpot when his vote becomes the deciding factor. The brothers try various cunning methods to entice Mandela and get his vote. To who will Mandela cast his vote, and will Mandela understand the value of his vote, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Making a film on satire genre is considerably difficult. It requires proper understanding of the subject that one wants to subject to a satire. If not the jokes would not land properly. Debutant director Madonne Ashwin possesses esoteric knowledge about the caste dynamics and a clear vision about what he wants his film to do. He does not waste any time to establish the tone of the flick. He gives us an augury to what to expect of his film right away when he opens the drama with a group of people defecating in the open space, and up on realizing that a new toilet has been build in their village, starts a war over which social group gets the privilege to use it first. He cracks the very back bone of the caste structure – privilege. He beautifully depicts how privilege could extend to, privilege even in defecating. Also, he smartly compares privilege to defecating obliquely.
He exhibits his excellent writing prowess throughout the movie. He takes up things that constitutes to maintain the intricate deceitful political system in a village set up, creams them with apt situations with his clever writing, and bang, he crushes it with his satire effectively without going out of line. He has worked on even minute details. Even the names of his characters and things hold our attention. There is satire in every space possible. Despite all these factors what makes Mandela a solid entertainer is the newbie director’s craft to deliver a hardcore message in a subtle way. Not for once he walks down the aisle of sentiments or emotions. Yet successfully he manages to present how the politicians are greedy, cunning, insensible about the plight of people and how valuable our vote is in instigating a change to hold these men accountable.
Actor Yogi Babu has bagged a substantial role for the first time in his carrier. Whenever a good opportunity to showcase him as a performer is presented, the star comedian has always delivered. In Mandela he once again shows us what a good artist he is. Actress Sheela Rajkumar has a limited screen time but despite that she makes an impact with her performance. Veteran actor Sangili Murugan makes his presence felt. Actors G. M. Sundar and Kanna Ravi are effective. The rest of the cast have delivered a decent performance.
On the technical front, music director Bharath Sankar’s background score enhance the mood of the scenes and his songs are good. Cinematographer Vidhu Ayyanna’s frames have added strength to the flick. Editor Philomin Raj elevates the work of his associate with his sharp editing.
On the whole, Mandela is a must watch, one of its kind political satire drama that not only educates but also entertains.