It is not an easy task to make a good female centric film, the reason being you need a lot more than just a strong protagonist. When done well it gives good results like Keerthy Suresh’s ‘Mahanati’ which was a satisfying cinematic experience, or other films like ‘Kahaani,’ ‘Fashion,’ ‘Dear Zindagi’ and others. However when not directed well the results are like Miss India starring the national award winner Keerthy Suresh.
Miss India narrates the story of Samyuktha who is convinced that she is born to do business and this is established very clearly early on. The problem is that her mother and brother are horrified with her decision. They tell her in no uncertain terms good girls only need education in order to get a good groom while only bad girls step out. The rest of the journey is about how Samyuktha achieves her dreams by going against her mother and brother. Nadia plays the mother and Naresh plays the father. The father is pretty inconsequential in the scheme of the things as he has Alzheimer’s. Rajendra Prasad plays the grandfather who dies very early on in the film.
The biggest problem with Miss India is its treatment. All achiever stories have a predictable arc but as a director you can make it interesting with the treatment. But here the director squanders the opportunity in spite of having a national award winning actress and also Nadia and Naresh who were very successful together in ‘Drishyam’ and AA. The silliness of the film can be seen in every frame. For example Samakyukta gets an MBA degree from a San Francisco college without attending any class. The way she wants to spread the benefits of Indian Chai is very comical to say the least.
It also doesn’t help that her encounters with men aren’t executed with much flair. If done well they could have been interesting but the flair and wit are completely missing. Also the male characters are too one-dimensional, whether that is Naveen Chandra in the beginning or Sumanth Shailendra in the later portions.
A strong antagonist is a very important thing in a film like this but here again the director Narendra Nath misses the mark in spite of having Jagapati Babu who has built a strong reputation for himself with negative characters in ‘Legend’ and ‘Aravinda Sametha.’ It is a track which starts decently but soon dissolves into something which is utterly stupid.
The schemes of Jagapati Babu are hair brained to say the least and each plan is sillier than the other. His redemption at the end is also done for the sake of it more than anything else. The movie was released on Wednesday on Netflix.
While it wouldn’t be entirely right to blame Keerthy Suresh she also doesn’t help her cause with her rather dull acting. Honestly none of the acting performances register which tells a lot given that even bad films have at least one redeeming quality.
In totality Miss India has a decent storyline where it wants to show a strong woman but it misses the mark by miles. Best avoided even if you like Keerthy Suresh’s acting in Mahanati.