Mandela review – Neatly written and executed satirical political drama

Title: Mandela
Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Sai Nikhil
Cast: Yogi Babu, Sheela Rajkumar, Sangili Murugan, GM Sundar, Kanna Ravi
Director: Madonne Ashwin
Streaming on: Netflix
Language: Tamil

Story: There are two rival villages in South Tamil Nadu and there is a local body election approaching for the villages. Both the rival groups separate the voters on the basis of caste and buy their votes both my money and force. Then, both groups realize that they have equal number of voters and both groups need 1 extra vote to win. Just then, Nelson Mandela (Yogi Babu) receives his newly applied voter card and both groups are ready to do anything to make him vote for them. Who did Mandela vote for and who won the election forms the story.

Performances: Yogi Babu, who usually appears in loud comedy roles has done a serious role this time. He has underplayed well and has proven that he can be used for strong and serious roles too. Sheela Rajkumar, Sangili Murugan and all supporting actors got good screen space and well written roles and each one of them has done extremely well.

Technicalities: Camerawork is good and captured the essence of remote rural south Tamil Nadu perfectly. Bharath Shankar’s songs are pleasant and background score played a major role in many crucial scenes. Editing is good. Dialogues are neat and according to the local slang spoken there. Casting is excellent and even the smallest of characters have been casted with the right actors.

Analysis: Mandela is a satirical political drama. It stresses on the importance of every vote and reminds us to never take for granted the power of our individual vote in the whole scheme of things in a democracy. The film starts off with the introduction of the two rival villages and their groups. It slowly progresses ahead with no dips or dull moments. The writing is the hero of this film. All the characters and scenes have been written with a purpose and meaning. This film stands out from all other political films made so far by never being preachy and never directly attacking any political party or the system. The movie gets more engaging as it progresses. The climax is apt and thought provoking. There is subtle humour throughout the film and reminds us about the small mistakes we make as voters which ultimately lead to major problems for the society and country. There are no major negatives in the film. It is a bit slow paced but it won’t be felt once we get involved into the story. This film is not racy, does not offer any usual entertainment in the form of comedy or romance and is completely set in a remote village in south Tamil Nadu. If you are okay with all this, then this film will surely not disappoint.

On a whole: Mandela is one of the best political films made in Tamil and surely deserves a watch as it sends a strong message for all the voters.

Rating: 3/5

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