The latest Dharmatic release from Netflix, Meenakshi Sundareshwar stars Abhimanyu Dassani and Sanya Malhotra in lead roles as a South Indian couple in Madurai. Why? We don’t really get an answer to that question.
Because while the plot of the film is the budding romance of a newlywed couple in a long distance relationship, there is absolutely no reason why the film is set in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Aside from the fact that the couple is named Meenakshi Sundareshwar, after the famous temple, the story doesn’t justify the city it’s set in. It does, however, cash in on the ‘South Indian’ aesthetic. Our leading couple met through an accidental arranged marriage and because of their destined names, they are considered a great match. They get married at Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple in veshtis and Kanjeevaram saris, in a simple ceremony.
The trouble begins, however, when these two can barely have time alone and are forced to live apart because our wafer-thin personality Sundar gets a job in Bengaluru. In a company that only hires singles. So he has to hide in Madurai his wife, who wants to make a difference with her work, but never really does anything other than going out for dinner and watching movies.
Their long-distance relationship feels like a teen novel as they try to avoid miscommunication and make time for each other. Even Meenakshi’s abrupt arrival in Bengaluru feels half-hearted when accompanied by family (who didn’t travel with her? Because they just show up and disappear in Bengaluru). Honestly, Small things did this better and the movie just seems to slide over the mushy parts with a cute montage number.
Coming back to the ‘Tamil’ aspect of this movie, while our problem with the trailer was the Tamil stereotypes like the Rajinikanth obsession and the fact that this entire movie is shot in Hindi, the issues the movie raises are different .
The women of the household are always dressed in silk saris and gold, they oil each other’s hair together and everyone likes bananas. The film is a visual delight, you get beautiful images of the food, the house and the city.
And although someone did their research during the making of the film, it failed at the execution due to the inconclusive language barrier and the fact that the culturally inaccurate actors’ accent often slips. The film is set in a fairly well-to-do household, which offers every chance to pray, and that’s about it. Meenakshi Sundareshwar tries to be no more than that, basking in its privilege.
All images are screenshots from the movie on Netflix.
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