‘Madha’ hit the screens today. An independent film, this one was made on a small budget. After winning plenty of awards at film festivals, the psychological thriller is in theatres. Here we present its review.
Nisha (Trishna Mukharjee), a mental patient, is condemned to a torturous life in a mental asylum after she is described as a schizophrenic. Her boyfriend, Arjun (Venkat Rahul), is not around, having gone out on a work-related assignment.
Somewhere, a doctor (Appaji Ambareesha) is into Operation Brahma, a secretive and seemingly dangerous operation involving men and women.
Enter Ravi Varma (Anish Kuruvilla), a security guard, who has a large role to play in the story.
‘Madha’ plays out like a true-blue psychological thriller sans the frills and flamboyance associated with mainstream movies. As an independent film (that has been awarded on multiple platforms), it doesn’t go in for low-hanging fruits.
Characters come with longing looks and self-absorbed traits. Mentally-retarded people pop out suddenly and can give you jump scares. The suspense unravels in the climax.
‘Madha’ doesn’t rush through despite its run-time being just about 105 minutes or so. It takes its own time, playing out its own logic. Nisha trying to seduce a middle-aged man while in dire straits is heart-rending.
The film has got a strong storyline and this is not to say that it has a gripping story. An entire segment of ‘Madha’ goes into portraying the sadistic medical procedures at the mental asylum. The procedural is hardly mind-numbing, the visuals don’t deliver the intended shock value actually.
Yes, some shots are not for the faint-hearted. At the same time, most of the moments are indistinct and not-so-unique. The proceedings become painfully slow, and what is at stake for the female protagonist doesn’t become clear for too long.
Once you come to know of the motives of the different characters, some of the portions look misleading in retrospect. As and when ‘Madha’ assumes the shape of a suspense thriller, it comes off as an underdeveloped project. A test-tube baby, an explosion, an orphaned child – these and many more elements but they struggle to make for an edge-of-the-seat watch.
Anish Kuruvilla’s body language lacks a sense of urgency, so also that of other characters. The portrayal of a woman into mental despair lacks conviction. Amidst all this, a character falls in love with a woman just like that.
Naresh Kumaran’s background music is largely good. However, occasionally, he smuggles in his ‘Manu’ score. Abhiraj Nair’s cinematography is a plus.
‘Madha’ tells an interesting storyline as a psychological thriller. Its climax has its big merits. However, there are segments that could have been way too engaging.