Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5
Jayamma Panchayathi Movie Review : An impressive film with a soul
Review: Be it C/o Kancharapalem, Raja Vaaru Rani Garu or the recent Skylab, village dramas tend to capitalise on the local culture, slang and innocence of characters. Jayamma Panchayathi too manages to tick all the right boxes.
Jayamma (Suma Kanakala) is a fierce woman who lives in the remote village of Pedda Kotapalli in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh. She belongs to a well off family but her husband’s heart surgery drains her dry. Director Vijay Kumar introduces the culture of ‘eedlu/chadivimpulu’ in the film, the culture of gifting money whenever someone attends a ceremony. This ritual has an interesting back story and he manages to weave a beautiful tale out of it.
Jayamma expects to rake in a good sum when her child hits puberty and she hosts a half saree function. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get the amount she had expected. Even as Jayamma now looks to collect the required amount from the villagers, the film makes you understand why she had to do it. The other characters are somewhat related to her but they have their own battles to win. These trials might seem minor to an urban dweller but for someone in their village, it’s big.
Plot points like a Brahman boy falling for an ostracised Dalit girl, the village president getting cobbled in small time cases due to naxals, a teenager’s infatuation that finds him in trouble with his father, all sound familiar because they have been done and dusted by commercial cinema. But the way the director keeps you invested in the drama is refreshing. The scene that Jayamma creates in the village is one of the best scenes in the film. The other characters are so innocent and hilarious; you can’t help but root for them. From Dalit atrocities to caste hierarchies and medical burdens, Vijay addresses how North Andhra still suffers. If this were not cantered on Jayamma, the film would’ve been a good anthology too. Suma Kanakala’s comeback to cinema is definitely with a bang and not a fizzle. She shines as Jayamma and her slang is bang on. All the other artistes too deliver good performances.
Films like Jayamma Panchayathi are rare in Tollywood and it’s on the audience to not let such stories bite the dust. If you’re up for a feel good film, this one’s for you.