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Yashoda Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Yashoda Movie Review : Samantha ‘delivers’ a stellar performance

Story: Looking to save her sister, a desperate woman agrees to be a surrogate and move in to a plush facility – but nothing is as it seems.

Review: Survival thrillers are not a new genre but Tollywood does one of them so few and far in between that it’s a delight to see- especially when done well. Hari and Hareesh’s Yashoda takes a very real-world situation, ups the ante and on top of everything, bank on a dependable actor like Samantha to carry it through.

Yashoda (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) is a surrogate in desperate need of money. Instead of carrying out her pregnancy in the basti she lives in, she is urged to move to the high-end facility Eva, owned by Madhu (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar). It also helps that she has Dr Gowtam (Unni Mukundan), who’s easy on the eyes, looking after her health. While the clinically white rooms, pastel outfits, luxurious food and great company seem like a dream-come-true for any pregnant woman, cracks soon form on the surface. A disappearance here, a glitch there and soon Yashoda finds herself unravelling the mystery behind it all.

On the other hand, in the world outside Eva, we also have a murder mystery unravelling. A Hollywood starlet dies under mysterious circumstances, so do a tycoon and a super model. An unknown drug (apart from a fairness cream!) seem to hold the key to the whole mystery. Secret codes, dead policemen, loose ends – how does it all connect to the facility?

The first half of Yashoda banks heavily on comedy and emotion. The scenes where smart-mouthed Yashoda flirts with Gowtam, pulls pranks on the facility workers and banters with the many women like her there makes you chuckle. Every woman there has a story and more often than not, it’s much more to do with than just being a vessel to help childless parents. The more Yashoda seems to find out about the facility, the more a team of police men (Murli Sharma, Shatru, Sampath Raj) seem to lose track of their investigation, stumbling upon road blocks.

A fight scene right before the interval sets the tone for what’s to follow – an edge-of-the-seat thriller that sees Yashoda claw and fight her way out of the situation she’s in. If you’ve seen the 2004 Hong Kong horror film Dumplings you can kind of guess the secret behind it all. That’s not to say Hari, Hareesh and Samantha don’t make the ride as interesting as they can. There’s something visceral about the way Samantha’s character is hunted and even more so in the way she fights for survival. Even if you’re able to predict what happens next (which is rare), the film ensures to keep you engaged.

Where it doesn’t work is when it gets hammy with some of the dialogues regarding Yashoda, mother’s love, pregnancies and deliveries. The film could have done even without them because they just seem to add to the run time and don’t land how they’re expected to. The VFX could’ve also been much better in order to sell the story completely. And if we’re really picking at the nitty gritty, characters of the other girls at the facility could’ve also been fleshed out better. Few key scenes depend on it and it’s not as immersive as it should’ve been. Art director Ashok, M Sukumar’s cinematography, Mani Sharma’s score and Yannick Ben’s stunts aid the film well.

Samantha steals the show as the titular Yashoda. This is her film through and through. She even draws whistles with the way she kicks butt and delivers punch dialogues with ease. The more she gets into action mode the more you both have fun and flinch at the same time. Varalaxmi and Unni Mukundan sell their roles well. You just know there’s something simmering beneath the surface, waiting to come out. And when it does, it comes out well. However, Varalaxmi struggles a little with her dubbing and you wish it was better. Rest of the cast, including Rao Ramesh, Murli Sharma, Sampath Raj and co play their parts well.

Yashoda is the film to catch this weekend if you’re looking for something beyond the usual masala fare or love stories. Watch it especially if you’re a fan of thrillers or are a fan of Samantha. You won’t regret it.

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