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Meenakshi Sundareshwar Movie Review

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The Dharmatic Entertainment film ‘Meenakahi Sundareshwar’ tries to depict the South Indian culture. As the plot unfolds we get glimpses of South Indian customs, cuisine, attire, the famous Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple of Madurai, beautiful tea gardens of Nilgiris but it fails to showcase the storyline with realism and clarity.

Meenakshi (Sanya Malhotra) and Sundareshwar (Abhimanyu Dassani) are wedlocked because their names match the famous Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple of Madurai. Meenakshi is confident, ambitious, and talented whereas Sundareshwar is honest but lacks self-confidence and to some extent is bland. The movie is about their arranged marriage and the complexity of their relationship.

Meenakshi adjusts in the new household and supports her husband in everything, be it a job interview, fixing a leakage, shifting to Bangalore for a job within two days of her marriage, or introducing her as his cousin in front of his colleagues. Sundareshwar, on the other hand, has a huge problem in prioritizing her, although he genuinely likes her. He is shown as a man who is too spineless to take a stand for his wife and too dumb to understand her.

After Sundareshwar shifts to Bangalore, they talk for hours over the phone getting to know each other, role-playing as horny teenagers, sending gifts to each other but their long-distance relationship lacks communication. The movie deals with the problem of long-distance relationships and the importance of communication in it.

In the end, Sundareshwar developed an app and had to present it to the jury. Minutes before his presentation, Meenakshi reaches Bangalore to sort out the fight they had but instead of greeting her, Sundar behaves extremely unreasonably and sends her back.

The subplot shows Sundar’s boss Senthil (Sukhesh Arora) who hates marriage and forces his employees in a rat race of being productive. His orientation speech and getting his hair trimmed scene takes us back to the speech of ViruSahastrabudhhe (Boman Irani) also known as Virus in ‘3 Idiots’ (2009).

The movie is set in an extremely patriarchal society, where time and again Meenakshi (Sanya Malhotra) calls out sexist and inappropriate behaviours. However, the message is never clear. The real problem is never addressed and she is shown in a bad light as someone who argues with in-laws rather than someone who takes a stand for herself against sexist, misogynist behaviours. Meenakshi’s father-in-law always chided Sundar for not doing something good enough professionally and even taunts his elder son for not being a good student. On the other hand, he has a daughter who is to be a dentist but he is never seen praising her. He also stops Meenakshi from taking up a job but at the same time, he wants Sundar to become confident and talented like her. The ladies of the house on the other hand have no say in any decisions and are always busy with daily chores. The movie terribly fails to acknowledge the problems in that household, let alone calling it out.

Helmed by Vivek Soni, the movie tried to capture South Indian aesthetics but at the same time couldn’t break the stereotypes. The mundu, filter coffee, love for Rajnikanth, and heavy silk sarees are not all about South Indian families. Debojeet Ray did a fabulous job as a cinematographer, with the colour palette of each scene so equally balanced.

Justin Prabhakaran places the songs at the right moments and that’s the only good thing in the movie apart from the cinematography. If compared to the other movies or originals of Netflix this is a complete mismatch as an OTT release.

‘Meenakahi Sundareshwar’ is currently streaming on Netflix.

Rating 2.5/5

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