The story Mangalavaram unfolds in Mahalakshmipuram, a quaint village nestled amidst the countryside. The narrative spans the 1980s and 1990s, intertwining the lives of two childhood friends, Ravi and Shailu (portrayed by Payal Rajput). Tragically, Shailu believes that Ravi perished in a farm accident during their youth.
Years later, an eerie pattern emerges: a series of inexplicable deaths plagues the village, occurring every Tuesday. The names of those involved in illicit affairs are mysteriously scrawled upon the village walls. These spectral warnings leave the villagers in a state of perpetual fear and suspicion.
The newly arrived SS Maya (Nandita Shweta) becomes the subject of intense scrutiny, her presence casting a shadow of doubt upon her intentions. The village’s prominent figures, including Prakasam Babu, Vasu, Kasiraju, Guraja, and RMP Viswanatham, find themselves entangled in a web of suspicion and distrust.
Amidst the escalating tension, a young man named Madhan (Ajmal Amir) enters Shailu’s life, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness. As the villagers grapple with the identity of the enigmatic figure behind the deaths, they must confront their own inner demons and the consequences of their actions.
The film culminates in a startling revelation, exposing the root cause of the village’s misfortune. The villagers are forced to confront the truth about themselves and their community, embarking on a path towards healing and redemption.
While “Mangalavaram” doesn’t break new ground in terms of its storyline, it succeeds in weaving a captivating tale that explores themes of superstition, fear, and the consequences of human actions. The film’s strength lies in its ability to keep the audience guessing until the very end, skillfully casting doubt upon various characters and maintaining a sense of suspense throughout.
However, the film’s depiction of women as villains raises concerns. While the portrayal of a female antagonist in “RX 100” was groundbreaking, the repeated use of this trope in “Mangalavaram” reinforces harmful stereotypes about women. It’s crucial to avoid perpetuating such harmful generalizations and explore more nuanced and diverse representations of female characters.
Overall, “Mangalavaram” is an engaging and suspenseful thriller that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. While its reliance on certain tropes may be problematic, the film’s strengths in storytelling and character development make it a worthwhile watch.