Maheshum Marutiyum movie review: While the poignant moments hit the mark, the film suffers from flat storytelling due to predictable sequences
Story: Mahesh Padmanabhan’s life is tied closely to one of the first-ever Maruti 800, which was handed over by Indira Gandhi to his father. For close to two decades, the car has been a constant companion. After a childhood friend enters his life, he is now faced with a plethora of choices – most of which leads to a life without the car. Which road will Mahesh take?
Review: Sentimental attachment is probably what comes to the mind of every person, who is faced with the choice of bidding adieu to their first car. In director Sethu’s Maheshum Marutiyum, the car in question is even more special as it’s one of the first-ever models and also personally handed over to the titular character’s father by Indira Gandhi. The legacy of the car as well as Mahesh’s emotional attachment to it forms the core of its love story, which is ultimately about choices and hanging on to the familiar.
The movie’s protagonist Mahesh’s life is defined by a Maruti 800. It’s his first love, and in fact, a girl who loves him tells him that she knows how devoted he can be to a person just by seeing his attachment to an automobile. Maheshum Marutiyum is essentially a love story between Mahesh and his car, and how the dynamics change when his childhood sweetheart, Gauri, comes into the mix.
Sethu, who has also written the movies, beautifully fleshes out the moments every time a financially struggling Mahesh is faced with the choice of selling his car. These scenes ably define the protagonist’s attachment to the vehicle, even without the filmmaker focusing too much on the car. But where the film does struggle is in defining the protagonist or his relationship with Gauri.
While the poignant moments hit the mark, the film suffers from flat storytelling due to predictable sequences that slow it down. The movie begins by showing that Mahesh is already a ‘business icon’ and him recounting his story – how he overcame his problems and the roles that the car and Gauri played in this journey should have been the focus. But instead, the first 25 minutes is dedicated in fleshing out what makes the car special to Mahesh through his dad’s story and for a major portion, the script aimlessly changes lanes between Mahesh’s predicaments and his romance with Gauri – all of which goes nowhere fast.
The flat first half is somewhat salvaged by the breezy second half of the film, but it could have been trimmed by a good 10-15 minutes by eliminating scenes such as Mahesh’s hesitance to reach out to Gauri or even the angles with his friends. Some of the sequences such as when the car is stolen were aimed to show what the car means to him, but this needed better writing as it doesn’t quite stand out. The ending also doesn’t seem too convincing.
Asif Ali, who keeps getting better as an actor, nails the emotional scenes. There’s a control to his process and also a simplicity, which benefits the character a lot. Mamta does what’s required of her character but you do feel the chemistry lacking between the two actors.
Faiz Siddiq’s frames and Kedar’s background music makes this movie easy to sit through, but it could have done some trimming and better development of its central character, considering that the premise had promise.
Verdict: Maheshum Marutiyum has a simple and sweet story, but the storytelling is too flat except for a few poignant moments.