Yet again, a Tamil film that had released in 2008 comes out in a dubbed format. The title is indeed strange, Malli and Ravi Teja are common names but even after watching the entire film one tends to wonder what that ‘Vs’ is all about. The story has an authentic village backdrop and realistic characters. It is a place and time when cell phones have just begun to become a fad but women still walk without foot-wear. Malli (Parvati) and Ravi Teja (Sriram) are consanguineous cousins and are good friends. The former has a deep affection for him and cannot see him upset, her only goal in life is to be his wife and the family is aware of it. She spends time working in a firecrackers factory with her friend and Ravi Teja on the other hand goes to the city to study engineering and is oblivious to her feelings.
Ravi Teja weds another rich woman with his father’s consent but they aren’t happy. The hurt Malli is married to a tea shop owner and appears to have moved on in life but is still yearning for him. She takes her husband’s permission and visits her village on some pretext to just see Ravi Teja and enquire about his well being. The film ends with Malli terribly hurt and upset that Ravi Teja is not happily married. What makes the film interesting are two aspects, one — a girl who has been nurturing love for her cousin since childhood doesn’t curb her feelings, her simplicity and her candid nature is endearing.
Next, Ravi Teja despite coming to know Malli’s fondness for him, let goes of her after a couple give him their example of how children born to consanguineous cousins suffer from some form of disability at birth.
The film is very slow paced and the entertainment comes in the form of Parvati trying to recollect Ravi Teja’s cell number. The movie begins with a song and ends with tears. The rural charm is beautifully elevated through Muthaiah’s cinematography, it is devoid of any DI and the director signs off making his point about hope, dreams, love, helplessness, sacrifices all going in vain very clear. Parvati shines and carries the film on her shoulders with her de- glamorised look. She comes up with an effortless performance. Sriram is restrained and does a convincing job within that short span. Inbanila as Malli’s friend who’s a foodie adds value to the story by just escorting her friend everywhere. This one is clearly an art house cinema and has a very Tamil nativity. People who appreciate meaningful cinema can watch but the others can simply give this gem a miss.
y. sunita chowdhary
MALLI Vs RAVI TEJA
Plot:A tale of emotional turbulence of a village girl
Bottomline:A plot driven story with great performances