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MANDELA (Tamil / 2021) - One of the best Indian political satires that makes you smile, laugh and feel the shame at the same time. (Review by Bobby Sing) (Movies To See Before You Die – Comedy/Drama)

15 Apr, 2021 | Movie Reviews / 2021 Releases / Movies To See Before You Die / Comedy / Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi)

Written and directed by Madonne Ashwin, MANDELA is a praiseworthy directorial debut, as a comic political satire that deals with everything our democratic elections are known for involving the parties, leaders and voters altogether. Titled after the world icon Nelson Mandela (Late South Africa President), it stars Yogi Babu as the protagonist, whom we have earlier seen playing typical kinds of roles in many films as a supporting comic actor. In MANDELA he has unarguably given the best performance of his career along with a fabulous cast wherein every single character excels in his or her given role.
As an unconventional, experimental film revolving around the village election between two groups, MANDELA is a pleasant surprise with a wide range of realistic references, intelligently incorporated in the script from its very first scene to the last. It begins with people openly defecating and a single toilet built for the entire village waiting to be inaugurated by an elderly leader. The ladies silently watch the event being held from a distance and this complete sequence brilliantly sets the premise raising the expectations. 
Moving ahead, it then showcases everything we are well familiar with about our Indian electoral process from a new Voting card being made to people being brought from other cities who had shifted, fake declarations of assets by the candidates, promising freebies, studying every family and vote, counting the favourable ones as per the caste, looking after the people/votes lying on the deathbed, making fun of NOTA, the rivalry, the violence and then bribing the voters as the last resort to win.
Am not revealing anything about the key plot of the film keeping the suspense alive and would request not to read about it anywhere else too before you watch the film. For instance, the magic will not be there if you already know why the film is named so and what does the protagonist say listening to this foreign name revealing his suppressed mindset.
To give you an idea, MANDELA is about a nobody in the village who doesn’t remain a nobody as the circumstances change. The film is a hilarious satire but is also sensitive enough to make us feel the shame, watching the on-screen proceedings. Instantly establishing a beautiful connection with its viewers, it makes you feel for the protagonist, watching the way he gets treated by the entire village. The narration also works because of its well-shot visuals, sharp editing, and thoughtfully composed music playing in the backdrop, including a few songs. Plus, it keeps you guessing, maintaining a delightful suspense, and the viewer remains eager to know how is this going to conclude.
Conitnuing with the praises, MANDELA is a clean and honest film, sincerely made by a talented team featuring one of the earnest performances, the best by Yogi Babu to date. It is also an important film as it understands and represents our interiors, culture, people, and the caste difference so well, forcing us to think about the living conditions and interactions, we are still dealing with, in this third decade of the new millennium, over 73 years post our independence.  
Sharing the personal experience, I had a great time watching the 2 hours of its novel and well-executed content. But what came in its final 20 minutes gave me a blast, and the way Ashwin ended the film, forced me to include it in BTC list of Movies To See Before You Die right away. 
So, taking the hint, watch it at the earliest and give it a serious thought too with smiles on your faces.
Rating: Movies To See Before You Die.
Fun Share: The film has a character who keeps taking off his sleepers/sandals before every fight or tense situation of a clash. That hilariously reminded me of Sudhir Mishra’s IS RAAT KI SUBAH NAHIN (1996), in which a goon has just bought a new shoe and that also keeps pinching him throughout the film. Do essentially watch Mishra’s classic too, if you haven’t seen it yet.
The other classic Indian regional film made on a similar subject that deserves to be seen as a must is JOKER (Tamil) which also won the National Award for the Best Tamil Film in 2016The review of the film can be read at the following link:


NOTE : The article in a short edited form was also published in THE FREE PRESS JOURNAL Newspaper (Mumbai Edition) on 15th June 2021.

Tags : MANDELA (Tamil) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Tamil Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Indian Regional Cinema Gems, Must Watch Regional Films, Movies To See Before You Die List at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Regional Films Reviews by Bobby Sing
15 Apr 2021 / Comment ( 0 )
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