Director: Shiva Nirvana
Cast: Akkineni Naga Chaitanya, Samantha Akkineni, Divyansha Kaushik, Rao Ramesh, Posani Krishna Murali , Atul Kulkarni
Shiva Nirvana’s Majili, which marks the industry’s most loved couple’s first on screen collaboration after their wedding, is a complex but beautiful story of love and separation that has its heart in the right place. This is the story of a man – Chaitanya’s character Poorna – seen through the eyes of three women who play very crucial roles in his life. Even though the film treads a very familiar path of love, heartbreak and acceptance, there’s something really refreshing about its characters that makes this film work.
The film is centered on Poorna, a failed cricketer who is struggling to move on in life after separating from his first love, Anshu (Divyansha Kaushik). As years pass by and in order to please his aging father (Rao Ramesh), Poorna is forced to marry his neighbour’s daughter Sravani (Samantha), who has loved him for many years and was hell-bent on spending the rest of her life with him.
Watch the Majili trailer here:
Poorna finds it difficult to forget Anshu, and he gets consumed in her memories as he drowns himself in alcohol. On the other hand, the high-spirited Sravani doesn’t give up on her husband as she surrenders herself to his service. She looks after him like a mother; runs and gets a glass of water when he gets hiccups. 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.
For a story about a cricketer and his first love, Majili doesn’t quite make us invest in either of the stories. When it comes to the cricket sequences, one can easily guess that Chaitanya didn’t take any formal training to play the character. From the awkward swing of his bat to his rigidity in holding it, it’s quite evident that little to no effort was taken to actually play cricket while filming. Most shots of Chaitanya playing cricket are edited in such a way that we only see him play the ball but never see it get released from the bowler’s hand.
Poorna and Anshu belong to very different economic backgrounds. Anshu’s father is an officer in the Navy; Poorna’s father works as a ticket collector in the railways. She’s a north Indian and can barely speak Telugu; he can understand neither English nor Hindi. They still fall 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.
More than the story of Poorna and Anshu; it was the relationship of Poorna and Sravani that really got me invested in Majili. Even though most of the first half is complicated, the film really redeems itself beautifully in the second half, courtesy a terrific Samantha, who breathes life into the story with her understated performance. Majili would’ve worked even better if it had decided to focus only on the story of Poorna and Sravani. Samantha’s wordless expressions throughout the film speak volumes about her character and her feelings.
Majili might be the story of Poorna and how his wife made him believe in love all over again. In reality, it’s actually the story of Sravani and how she makes her husband realise her unconditional love for him without actually saying it in words.