Ajay Bhupathi’s 2023 film, Mangalavaaram (Tuesday), is a story that tries to fit in both the social and the religious aspects, and the hooks seem to be the horror elements. Recently, there was Kantara, which blended mythology and horror together, and Mangalavaaram, which has a totally different story, but it does share some similarities with Kantara in its storytelling. Mangalavaaram derives its story from various sources, it seems, and mixes them all together to come up with a gripping tale about a woman who had a troubled life. But the film isn’t too straightforward with its plot. It begins as a murder mystery, and it’s only later that Sailu’s story comes into the picture. The challenge then becomes to organically connect the subplots, and editor Gullapalli Madhav Kumar does a fabulous job, but there were moments where the topic of infidelity seemed forced into the story. Despite the little hiccups, Mangalavaaram entertains the viewer by always keeping them guessing.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Mangalavaaram, or Tuesday, is the auspicious day of Goddess Mahalakshmi, but in a small Andhra village, the Tuesdays were not bringing good fortune. People were being found dead, and everything was related to the writing on the walls. Someone was revealing the illicit affairs people were having in the village, and it was deemed as if the people whose names had been mentioned on the walls were committing suicide out of shame. When four bodies turn up over the course of two Tuesdays, the villagers understand that someone may be harboring a grudge and they have found a novel way to get away with the murders. The villagers take matters into their own hands and try to find the murderer who is perhaps leaving the messages on the walls.
Why Did Nani Try To Write On The Wall?
The villagers were under the impression that whoever would be found writing on the wall had to be the killer. On a random Tuesday, the writing on the wall revealed Daniel’s wife, Mary, to be having an affair with Shyamla’s husband Machiraju. Daniel lost his cool and went in to murder Mary. But Machiraju and Mary were found dead. It seemed that both of them had ingested poison to commit suicide. Next, it was Nagamani and Krishna, whose secret affair was made public by the writing on that wall, and they were found hanging from a tree. The senior inspector, who had just arrived in the village, wanted to conduct a post-mortem, but the landlord, who was known as The Elder, had refused to do so. Even he couldn’t stop the inspector from investigating the case, and she sent the bodies for a post-mortem. Nagamani’s body was hanging from a branch too far above the ground, and there wasn’t a stool for her to hang herself from that height. There was enough evidence indicating that they were being murdered, and the villagers were not going to let anybody else get murdered by depending solely on the police. That’s why they conducted a vigil the following Tuesday and caught a local man named Nani, who was about to write on the wall. He pleaded with the inspector to let him go, as he wasn’t the killer. He had no grudges against anyone, but he was in love with Gurza’s sister. He figured that Gurza would have to approve of their union if his sister and Nani’s name were seen on the wall. The senior inspector had received the post-mortem report, and she knew a secret that pointed toward village doctor Vishwanadham as the killer, which is why she let Nani go.
How Was Vishwanadham Connected To Sailu?
Vishwanadham was a drunkard, but he had his reasons. People didn’t expect him to commit a heinous crime, but his story was connected to Sailu’s life. To understand why and how he did what he did, we have to take a look at Sailu’s life. Sailu’s life was that of a simple village girl, and her only fault was that she had grown so beautiful in a village that didn’t know how to control its lust. First, she was deceived by her teacher, who seduced her into sleeping with him, and then married someone else and left for the city. When Sailu lost her guardian, Suramma, she gave away the property Sailu’s father had been fighting to gain for a decade. Sailu was left with nothing. She didn’t get her parents’ love and affection, and every other relationship other than what she had with Suramma had been a failure. Her best friend Ravi had died in a fire many years ago, and the worst news for her was that she had developed a hypersexual disorder due to mental illness and an interconnected hormonal imbalance. Vishwanadham found her in a dire condition after she had been raped by the village delinquents.
Why Was Sailu Killed?
Vishwanadham was the one who took care of her, as he had lost his own daughter to the cruelty of the world. He saw Sailu as her own daughter and was trying to find the root cause of her mental and physical ill health. A renowned psychiatrist had told him that her condition might be connected to her past traumas. Vishwanadham found that Ravi was alive and reunited Sailu with her true love. She was transformed, but she had to overcome the trauma that Vishwandham wanted to find out about. Years ago, when Sailu was just a kid, Ravi’s father attempted to rape her, and Ravi killed his father after seeing Sailu’s condition. Ravi then burned his house down and ran away, making everyone think that he too had perished. It’s a bit of a plot hole, as there had to be two bodies in the house for the villagers to think so.
Sailu was the happiest to have Ravi back in her life. But she was killed because she had seen something she wasn’t supposed to see. Vishwanadham and Ravi had gone away from the village to get gifts for Ravi and Sailu’s marriage, but when they returned, they were told that as Sailu was a woman of loose character and was corrupting the village men with her lust, and the Elder had ousted her. Later, she couldn’t bear the shame and committed suicide. Pilu, a man feigning blindness all through the plot, was the one who knew the truth and told Vishwanadham that Sailu was murdered by the Elder’s wife and her minions: Machiraju, Mary, Nagamani, and Krishna. The Elder’s wife was having an affair with village photographer Vasu, and when Sailu saw them together, she just couldn’t let her live. Her reputation in the village was almost like that of Goddess Mahalakshmi. She couldn’t let that image be tarnished, which is why she and the others cornered Sailu one day, killed her, and threw her body in the village well, making it look like a suicide.
During Mangalavaaram‘s ending, the senior inspector caught Vishwanadham trying to scare people by mentioning Sailu’s ghost and then trying to write his next victims’ names on the wall. Vishwanadham used the same chloroform on the inspector that he had used on his other victims and saved himself from getting arrested. He told her Sailu’s story and why he and Ravi had murdered Machiraju, Mary, Krishna, and Nagamani. Ravi had already taken care of Vasu, and Vishwanadham was going to write the Elder’s wife’s name on the wall when he was interrupted by the inspector. All this was heard by the Elder, who perhaps had visited the doctor to get his fever treated, but he found out about his wife’s true nature instead. He went home and killed her, but the following day, he told the villagers that his wife had acted as Goddess Mahalakshmi’s martyr, for she wanted the village to be rid of the heinous crimes and all the illicit affairs. Vishwanadham knew that couldn’t have been the case and asked him why he made her into a martyr when she was a murderer. The Elder answered that the whole village trusted and revered her. Their trust in the goodness of humans and belief in their deity would be shattered if they came to know that she was an ordinary woman who couldn’t even stop herself from committing adultery. Vishwanadham was let go by the inspector because she had no concrete evidence, and she left the village believing that Goddess Mahalakshmi was making the villagers pay for their sins of mistreating Sailu’s pure soul. Ravi had suffered some injuries fighting Vasu, and he jumped into the well where Sailu’s body was found. The film promises a sequel and hints that Vishwanadham wasn’t lying when he said he saw Sailu’s ghost. Perhaps Ravi and Sailu will return as ghosts to write many more names on the walls in many other villages and punish those who have lost all sense of morality.