Mayabazar Movie Review: The good, bad, and ugly side of money
The content and the commendable acting make the film an engaging watch
The after-effects of the demonetisation in 2016 still echo across the country almost three and a half years later. The immense discussions that have surrounded the decision have not escaped the attention of filmmakers, a handful of whom have cashed in on the hot subject. Bengali film Shunyota, Tamil film Mersal, Telugu film Jai Lava Kusa are some examples. Now, a Kannada filmmaker, Radhakrishna Reddy has attempted something similar to capture the aftermath of demonetisation and its effects on life.
Mayabazar: 2016 is mostly woven around three people — Joseph (Achyuth Kumar), an honest police officer promoted to a higher post, professional thief Kubera (Raj B Shetty), and Raaji (Vasishta Simha), a middle-class youth who is in love with a rich girl. The police officer, Joseph is known for his loyalty, but circumstances lead him to take advantage of the note ban, and he makes use of Kubera and Raaji to make a fast buck. His reasons, the corruption, and the end consequence leave you with the question — will this work out to their benefit?
Director: Radhakrishna Reddy
Cast: Achyuth Kumar, Raj B Shetty, Vasishta Simha, Prakash Raj, Sadhu Kokila, Chaitra Rao
Production: PRK Films (Puneeth Rajkumar)
This forms the crux of Mayabazar: 2016, which in general, also looks at the flip side of being an honest person. A conversation debutant director Radhakrishna Reddy had with a policeman led to the story of Mayabazar 2016, which offers an absorbing portrayal and is moderately interesting and technically rich, with decent performances.
Rather than a thriller, however, this works more as a comedy, as the director has made an effort to add humour to the serious subject. There is also a message — the avarice for money will force even an honest person to steal, hide, and lie. This is portrayed very well through Achyuth Kumar's character. The conversation between the helpless husband and his wife Usha (Sudharani) at the hospital makes you tear up.
Raj B Shetty draws equal attention with a neat performance and the two share a good rapport. Vasishta's role as a lover boy works out in his favour and he is able to charm the audience, while the presence of Prakash Raj as ACP Ashok and Sadhu Kokila as Corporator Pataki Pandu makes this a thorough entertainer.
A couple of medleys by music director Midhun Mukundan are soothing. The song local Mayabazaaru, featuring Puneeth Rajkumar and sung by SP Balasubrahmanyam, stands out.
Overall, the content and the commendable acting make this film an engaging watch. However, there is scope for improvement for the director in his future projects.
With rumours of 2,000 rupee notes getting banned, Mayabazar 2016 can be a timely reminder of the good, bad, and ugly side of money.