One of the easiest things to do in the world is to preach about the beauty of life to people who want to kill themselves. Somehow, somewhere, most people believe that life is a gift. And they show misty valleys, a young couple blissfully cuddling on a park bench, and children merrily frolicking in the rain, to prove it. The same people then appreciate the Gita, whose summary, effectively, is that if you are born, it's too late. And that you should spend all your life ensuring the mistake doesn't happen again.
Yes, arguably, all those people who want to stop someone from killing himself by telling him that life is beautiful and precious and worth it, have no clue why they are doing it - it just randomly seems like the right thing to do.
Add Rajaji (Rajendra Prasad) to that list.
At first glance, Mee Sreyobhilashi seems like quite an innovative film. It deals with a retired professor, Rajaji, who aggregates 10 people who want to kill themselves, and gives them a plan of action to accomplish that, by putting them on a bus that will travel 200km from Hyderabad and then go crashing down a mountain near Srisailam (the driver is one of those who want to kill themselves, too).
His rationale for this rather complicated approach is that the suicides will then look like an accident, and save the families of the people from ignominy, aside of ensuring that any insurance money is not jeopardized. Sound indeed, and perhaps the only really intelligent part of the movie (at least the first reason).
The film then, as you might have guessed by now, showcases some experiences that the people have on the journey, and how they are all finally persuaded to change their minds by the time they reach the point.
Mee Sreyobhilashi's failure is primarily a lack of ability to do justice to an idea like it comes up with - it's bad scripting. The whole deal with a concept like this is the writing - how the experiences the people have on the journey are conceptualized, and how they all coalesce together to create a powerful change of perspective in people who've lost all reason to live.
Alas, writer/director Eeshwar Reddy can only come up with clichés, like showing a person with no legs dancing to earn a livelihood, and an old couple deserted by children cleaning dishes to feed themselves, to showcase people braving adversity. Now clichés by themselves are not reason enough to criticize an effort, if they do the job. Which is the problem - they don't do the job.
Firstly, these are the only two - and brief - experiences that the film shows in that bus journey, which by itself should have formed a much larger part of the film than it does. Then, there's a lot of wastage of footage on Brahmanandam, in that it is an effort to forcibly insert comedy at the expense of the main purpose of the film. Finally, there's some meaningless stuff, like Rajendra Prasad throwing notes into people's laps, which makes no sense at all even at the end.
Also, the climax (an accident) is totally out of sync with the main context of the film, seeming like an effort to have a proper climax rather than anything to do with the film. And that whole media hullabaloo is pretty unrealistic.
At a deeper level, the film, like we said, simply doesn't justify the raison d'etre
for why people who want to die should not be allowed to. Yes, if your life belongs to several other people as well, who'll all be traumatized and scarred by your death, then there's a case. But for almost all of them in the bus, that is not the situation.
Mental trauma is the same as physical pain, and the tragedy of the world is that most people can see and understand only the latter. If Euthanasia is a popularly accepted solution (even if not always legally) for people in severe physical agony due to disease, then the question is abegging: why is suicide wrong for people who are unable to deal with their heads? And why the social stigma? At least physical ailments are caused mostly by nature or accident - almost all mental problems are caused by other people, by society, and deserve sympathy rather than stigma.
The film, of course, shows Rajaji only trying to show them a different picture (i. e., rather than argue that it's unethical for them to kill themselves), which, effectively, in the equivalent of physical pain, is an attempt to first administer them medicine to reduce the pain before them taking the irreversible step. However, the argument that you have to boldly continue to live on in enormous mental trauma - i. e. even if the medicine does not work - makes no rational sense if you have no reason and no dependants.
Mee Sreyobhilashi is, despite its intentions, unfortunately not another Aa Naluguru
. It may win a few awards simply due to lack on any competition in the social filmmaking genre, but if you are seeking great story-telling, this is not a choice.