Review 'Radha Madhavam': Lovers navigate a violent landscape

'Radha Madhavam', produced by GVK Creations, stars Vinayak Desai, Aparna Devi, and Meka Ramakrishna in main roles. The film hit the screens today (March 1). Let's find out what to expect from the latest box-office release.


The story is set in a bygone era in a Telugu village. Radha (Aparna Devi), a Good Samaritan, runs a care centre to tend to the needy. The centre doubles up as a de-addiction and rehabilitation house as well. She falls in love with Madhava (Vinayak Desai), the village's most composed guy, without her knowing. Meanwhile, Veerabhadram (Meka Ramakrishna) escapes from prison and finds refuge at the centre, only to realize that Radha is none other than his daughter. Veerabhadram, who has political ambitions, has a ploy to drive a wedge between the upper-caste Radha and the lower-caste Madhava. And this game has grievous consequences for different characters.

Performances & Technical Departments:

The lead pair look vulnerable and make the viewer feel for their plight. This is despite the low-scale production on display. Meka Ramakrishna and others fit the bill.

Vasant Venkat Bala has penned the story, dialogues and lyrics. Music director Chaitu Kolli composed two tuneful songs. Cinematographer Taj (GDK) and fight master Rabin Subbu are crippled by lack of scale.


Director Eshaku Dasari relies on a tried and tested formula in telling a story whose events are identifiable. Since the story is set in a village, you expect a dose of familiar conflicts. The elders are regressive and vile, youngsters are trying to break free from societal obligations, regressive mindsets lead to palpable tension and grief, while conciliatory stances invite peace.

Madhav is the kind of protagonist who can do gravity-defying fights to protect himself. But when he is overwhelmed on the rare occasion, he is rendered helpless. Radha, the other titular character, is suffering from internalized casteism. This element is used well in the initial portions of the film. Her father's behaviour in the presence of a Minister opens her eyes to the reality of status trumping so-called convictions. Her arc is not routine.

The film should have explored the social solidarity angle in a believable fashion. Tamil films that have dealt with caste-based social hierarchies within their plots and subplots have done this with clarity. On the other hand, 'Radha Madhavam' is content with focusing on the love story. It helps that melodrama has been eschewed in favour of a more realistic portrayal of the Radha-Madhava love in the pre-smartphone era.

The sense of dismay at realizing the true nature of otherwise smooth-talking elders, the main leads toying with the idea of subjecting the violent patriarch to shock and awe, Madhav's joy of landing a well-paying corporate job... These elements are integrated into the story.

The election-time restraint shown by Veerabhadram in the face of his rival Kaali is portrayed with conviction. The political plot doesn't overstay its welcome although the conflict is depicted in a simplistic manner. The antagonist makes his vileness public in every other scene. This old-school villainy doesn't work. Somewhere, the film missed the musical romance bus.

Vox Verdict:

'Radha Madhavam' is an emotional romance with inspirations from films like 'Jayam', 'Premisthe', etc. It may not be nuanced like some of the acclaimed films anchored in social conflicts but it does have its moments.

Rating: 2.5/5


Also Read>>