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'Ye Mantram Vesave' review: Backlog best forgotten

From its title to the way it looks, everything about this film is dated. The title tries to capitalise on the 2010 hit Ye Maaya Chesave, considering that this film was reportedly shot sometime in 2013.

The story behind the film’s delayed release is as dismal as the film itself. The project was among Vijay Deverakonda’s early outing, way before we saw him in Yevade Subramaniam and Pelli Choopulu. With the actor steadily rising to fame and hitting a crescendo with Arjun Reddy, this backlog (as the actor termed it) found its way to the screens.

The opening scenes act as a cue to what will follow — a cartload of amateurish, tacky filmmaking. A young woman scrolls through Facebook, passes snarky comments on photos even though she ‘likes’ them, and in a few minutes tells her friend about a good looking guy she found online. It turns out that this guy has befriended both these women. The guy is Nikki (Vijay Deverakonda), a gaming addict who can spend a week locked up in his house hooked to online games. ‘I am the best; I am the freaking best’ he yells to his friends who are equally lost in the online world. His parents desperately try to get him to embrace the real world.

Sounds like a story relevant in an age of gaming/social media addiction, isn’t it? The biggest problem is the filmmaking that’s just a shade better than an amateur home video. Most of the actors in the supporting parts have neither screen presence nor any performance streak. The scenes progress in a haphazard manner, every now and then throwing in messages about online addiction.

Somewhere along the way enters the leading lady who’s called Rags (Shivani Singh). She’s a gaming professional who finds peace in the big, beautiful outdoors and doesn’t like the idea of hooking gamers with themes of violence. Shivani Singh resembles Katrina Kaif, is styled like her and, perhaps, was made to watch Kaif’s videos in a loop to imbibe her body language.

The plotline, of making a youngster part of a large real-life game, is not original. There’s a half-hearted attempt to localise it and set it in social context. So in come other creepy characters that lure gullible women who trust online chatrooms more than real-time friends and family.

Enduring this film is an ordeal and looking back, the pieces of the puzzle don’t add up. When the gaming truth is revealed and some more messages about online and offline worlds are doled out, I walked away thinking the entire film could have been summed up in a social media de-addiction statutory warning along with no smoking/no alcohol. Why waste two-plus hours?

As for Deverakonda, let’s not debate whether he has to own up to a film that he did in his struggling days, but solely going by viewing experience, this backlog is best forgotten.

Ye Mantram Vesave

Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Shivani Singh

Direction: Shridhar Marri

Storyline: A gaming addict is caught in a real-life game that turns murky

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 9:55:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/ye-mantram-vesave-backlog-best-forgotten/article23000492.ece

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