At a time where biopics are turning into hagiographies, it will be refreshing to see something undramatic, raw, rustic, and more importantly that is real. Mallesham is an extraordinary story of an ordinary man told in an impressive way.
The movie opens with the suicide of a handloom weaver’s family as the lady in the house who makes ‘aasu’ which forms an essential part to weave handloom is bedridden and couldn’t help her husband in continuing their art which earns them bread and butter. The very first sequence of the movie sets the tone right and tells us that the story is intricately weaved with ‘aasu’.
Mallesham, a kid from weaver’s family, right from his childhood observes her mother’s ordeals in making ‘aasu’ which requires intensive hand movement. Whenever he sees his mother undergoing pain, he gently massages her shoulder joint and promises her that he would take care of her well in the future. And very little his mother, played by actor Jhansi, knows that his son would invent a machine to completely eliminate human interference in making ‘aasu’.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, but for Mallesham (Priyadarshi) his mother’s necessity is the reason for his invention. And this biopic is based on the life of Padma Shri awardee Chintakindi Mallesham hailing from Sharajipet in erstwhile Nalgonda district who invented ‘Laxmi aasu machine’.
There is a conversation between Mallesham and his mother in his childhood after the death of the weaver’s family to whom they are related. When Mallesham asks his mother ‘will we also commit suicide, if you stop making aasu’, she answers that sorrows are a part of life and one should not die but fight. When life is filled with darkness and all doors seems closed, she says, there will be one door which leads to the solution.
This conversation is the driving force of the movie which impressively depicts the hardships Mallesham endured in making the machine a reality with a never-give-up attitude. Though put down by his villagers, warned by his friends and family, he goes all the distance in making the machine to gift to his mother and see smiles on the face of his villagers who predominantly are dependent on weaving.
Full credits for director Raj R for delving deep into the lives of weaving community and presenting their pains on the big screen. ‘Peerla panduga’, ‘Sakinaalu, ‘Sarva pindi’, ‘Dappu chaatimpu’, etc., which forms an integral part of rural Telangana are nicely used in this movie that is filled with rustic locales. One of the very few feature films which completely runs on Telangana dialect, it got the language of the artists as natural as it can without looking caricaturized anywhere.
The character Padma played by Ananya Nagalla as the wife of Mallesham, deserves special mention for her continuous support in bringing out the machine.
Though the pace is a bit slow, as the director tries to make us travel with Mallesham from his childhood, Mallesham is more than a mere movie. It is a slice of the life, life of an ordinary person told in an extraordinary way, and an inspiring tale which warms your heart by leaving a message that any goal coupled with grit will always lead to glory.