‘Meeku Maathrame Chepta’: Cleverest black comedy of the year (Review; Rating: * * * and 1/2)

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“Meeku Maathrame Chepta” (Telugu); Cast: Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam, Abhinav Gomatam, Naveen; Direction: Shammeer Sultan; Rating: * * * and 1/2 (three and a half stars)

A wild ride across a rapidly undulating cyber space… Wait, that sounds like science fiction, which this delightfully disheveled comedy, about the smartphone acting way too smart, is not.

So what is this?! It’s hard to define “Meeku Maathrame Chepta”, Telugu superstar Vijay Deverkonda’s first production. Two years ago Vijay cracked the glass ceiling in “Arjun Reddy” (a film lifted from its morass of misogyny by its lead actor’s iconoclastic performance). Now, Deverakonda shatters the ceiling as he steps into production with a film that is at once strange, droll, wicked and delightfully irreverent.

Writer–director Shameer Sultan follows no rules of conventional filmmaking. His wild rollercoaster of a screenplay seems to have been written under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. It wacks you hard on your bum with its sheer temerity bordering on a near-suicidal propensity to flip the lid as far back as possible.

On seeing the trailer I had no clue what “Meeku Maathrame Chepta” was about. After seeing the film I find it hard to give away the plot, not because there are twists right till the end (so do not move from your seats until the end-song), but because this is a plot that has no patience with formalism. It just tumbles out in a weedy haze grabbing us by our, errr, jowls. Or whatever it can grab.

Picture this. Just hours away from his wedding to his suspicious unforgiving Catholic girlfriend, Rakesh (filmmaker Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam, making an impressive acting debut) discovers himself going viral in a video where he is shown celebrating his ‘honeymoon’ with a girl. All right, I will say it. He is seen sleeping, literally, with a woman who is not his fiancé. With his best friend Kamu (Abhinav Gomatam) by his side, Rakesh sets of on a panic pilgrimage across the digital platform.

Pandemonium ensues, and how! Director Shameer Sultan is skilled at controlling the chaos. He harnesses the anarchy of the digital era where the iPhone runs our lives. The narrative is leonine and foxy, always staying super-sleek as it manages to stay steps ahead of us right till the end.

The performances do their trick. Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam and Abhinav Gomatam are so credible as friends in a frantic crisis they are akin to Jai and Veeru plunged in a technological era that they understand as scantily as Gabbar’s devious mind. The female characters could have been more sympathetically sketched. All the women in this boyz-will-be-boyz satire are either plotting against the men or screaming at them, admittedly for wrongs they have committed though not admitted.

There is a sneakingly sinuous feel of a Guy Rithie crime thriller in this Telugu gamechanger of a film. Except that Ritchie’s characters are more laconic. These cyber victims in “Meeku Maathrame Chepta” are driven to despair by forces they cannot control. If you are a diehard fan of the traditional Telugu super-hero who obeys his parents, adores his sweetheart and brutalises the baddies, then this film will jolt you.

Heroes are no longer what they used to be. Sometimes they are just human. With hilarious consequences.

–IANS

skj/vnc

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