Anand (Sharwanand) is a cleanliness freak, someone suffering from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). What happens when a man like that falls in love? Will the person he loves learn to live with his quirks or will he have to change?
Director Maruthi has, in the past, come up with gems like 'Prema Katha Chitram' and 'Bhale Bhale Mogadivoy', so when he announced his next project, expectations were naturally high. When this film's plot was revealed, many drew comparisons with the 2013 Malayalam film 'North 24 Kaatham'. Just like Anand, the protagonist of that film was a software professional with OCD who was forced to travel to a village and put aside his paranoia. Finally, it was love that helped him fight his OCD.
But comparisons aside, 'Mahanubhavudu' is a case study in how it is to live with OCD and love a person with OCD. The love of his life, a village belle Meghana (Mehreen) has an affinity for cleanliness and is Swachh Bharat-oriented, but that's where her obsession ends. Her character personifies every layman who comes across an OCD-stricken person and fails to understand what the disorder is really like.
The character of Anand delivers a few laughs through the film due to his obsession, especially in the bathing, open defecation and
scenes after the interval. But the more one laughs at him, the more they begin to feel bad for him. He suffers from something that makes him anxious and even have a panic attack in a key moment, causing his love to desert him in a heart-breaking scene. He is misunderstood by his mother, cousin and colleagues too. But he suffers it all in silence, except in the end.
Through the duration of the film, his love, masculinity and sanity is questioned constantly through those around him, especially Meghana, and by the end, he's forced to do something he isn't comfortable with, just to prove his love to her. Nassar plays Meghana's father, and he seems to be the only person in the film who understands Anand's issues — except when he comes up with a solution to 'cure' Anand that would definitely not work in real life.
Then again, this movie isn't real life, it's a light-hearted film and that's all it's meant to be. Despite the protagonist being crippled with OCD, there's no responsibility on the part of the director to deal with it in a more sensitive manner and maybe deliver a solution or an understanding to his problems. The film is a comedy about a man with OCD and how he deals with various situations in life, and that's all it aims to be.
Sharwanand plays Anand to the T, owning the character. After a point, one forgets it is an actor merely essaying a part. He just turns into a man suffering from a problem that no one seems to understand or knows how to deal with it. Mehreen is good enough in the role of a beautiful girl who seems torn between her love for him and her disgust at his obsessive behaviour. Nassar and Vennela Kishore essay their roles well enough, but there's not much scope for them to perform. The same stands true for debutant Kalyani, who plays Anand's loving mother.
Sharwanand, unarguably, is the star of this show, so go watch the film for him.