MCA (Middle Class Abbayi) movie cast: Sai Pallavi, Nani
MCA (Middle Class Abbayi) movie director: Venu Sree Ram
MCA (Middle Class Abbayi) movie rating: 2.5 stars
Just before the interval, Nani (Nani), a middle-class guy turns into an action hero. His sister-in-law Jyothi’s ( Bhumika) life is in danger as she refuses to give into the threats made by bad boy Shiva (Vijay Varma). As Shiva is about to squeeze the trigger of his gun pointing at Jyothi, Nani jumps in. He stands at the point-blank range of Shiva’s gun. This small bit of screenplay sums up the entire film. Nani is ready to take a bullet for his sister-in-law and at the same time, if Shiva wants to hurt Jyothi, he has to first deal with Nani.
Before we arrive at this scene, director and writer Venu Sri Ram keep us engaged with Nani’s unambitious day-to-day routine. He is smart and intelligent and has a functioning photographic memory, which he uses to make money in clubs through wagers. But, he is still not ready to do something with his life. Nani is a typical middle-class hero that we have seen in more than hundred films that were made in the South Indian film industry over the years. Nevertheless, there is always a charm about such characters that manages to strike a chord with the audience, irrespective of how many times we have seen them on the big screen.
Nani says to a rich kid that middle class is a mindset. Venu believes that majority of the middle-class people, if not all, are content with not being ambitious and this is very evident in his writing. Venu makes sure Nani repeats that he is a guy from a middle-class family more times than we can actually remember. Not just him, every other character that has an emotional dialogue, begins with the prelude, “We, the middle-class people.”
Nani, in the beginning, gives the impression of a guy, who wants to emancipate himself from the conventional confines of “middle class” life and hence he is not ready to do a 9-to-5 job. But, as the narration progress, we understand he’s actually aimless and not interested in doing any job. He is happy as long as he gets to watch a movie every Fridays and have a few drinks on Saturdays. Nani comes across as a shallow character. But, he is very attached to his family. He despises his sister-in-law because he thinks she drove away his brother (Rajeev Kanakala) from him. And he begins to worship Jyothi after he understands there is more than what meets the eye. Nani is a sentimental guy, who likes grand emotional gestures. This is the only thing we learn about the protagonist at the end of the nearly 150 minutes narration.
Pallavi aka Chinni (Sai Pallavi) is more interesting as a character than Nani. Nani sees Pallavi for the first time while passing by a bus stop and makes a U-turn to see her again. Pallavi notices Nani is watching her and walks straight up to him with a rose and asks him to marry her. And they get into a relationship. Venu makes the job of being a romantic hero very easy for Nani, so that he can focus on building the narration to the protagonist’s transition into an action hero.
Pallavi is straightforward, go-getter, rebel, and she also has it sorted career-wise. The refreshing chemistry between Pallavi and Nani keeps the audience entertained for the better part of the first half. It is also the most interesting stretch in the film.
Shiva, who is now probably in his late twenties or early thirties, is still the same juvenile, who killed his friend because he got bowled out in a cricket game. The way Venu has handled the main antagonist is as juvenile as the character itself. While we expect to learn more about Bhumika’s Jyothi as from the beginning we are told that she is more than she actually lets on. But, after Nani becomes the action hero, the director finds it not important to delve into her character any further.
Venu has banked heavily on the charming performances of Nani and Pallavi to make MCA click with the audience, as his writing is unambitious and mostly filled with clichés like his idea of middle class.