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Yashoda movie review: Samantha Ruth Prabhu’s good performance weakened by mindless narration

Yashoda movie review: Samantha Ruth Prabhu brings grace to the role. But, the film's grindhouse treatment negates the impact of Samantha's performance which has a lot of conviction.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Samantha in Yashoda.

Filmmakers Hari Shankar and Harish Narayan mock people’s intelligence with their latest film Yashoda, which stars Samantha Ruth Prabhu in the lead role. They have taken a fairly good idea that could have been a compelling popcorn entertainer and turned it into an insincere melodrama. Their treatment of the movie seems very much inspired by the drudgery of Indian soap operas and less influenced by passion, intelligence and artistry.

The movie begins with the death of a Hollywood actor under mysterious circumstances in Hyderabad. And enter two white people, who have no screen presence or acting skills, as the representatives of the US government. Their bad lip sync adds to the stink. The narration then jumps to another mysterious death. A supermodel and a rich businessman die in a car crash. At first, it seems a tragedy happened due to stupidity. The model tries to exchange a kiss with the businessman behind the wheels. The businessman indulges her, resulting in the crash. But, a hard-boiled investigator with an injured leg, Vasudev (Sampath Raj), walks in and declares: “This car accident is no accident. It’s a pre-planned murder!” “What? How?” exclaims the police commissioner, played by Murali Sharma.

With a lot of free time to kill, Vasudev is more than happy when he’s asked to assist in the investigation into the car accident. And then Vasudev begins to behave like a character straight out of C.I.D. He embodies the spirit of ACP Pradyuman as he makes it a point to state the most obvious things he sees at a crime scene.

Vasudev looks at a dead body and deduces, “Oh, he is dead!” Yes, we know what a dead man looks like. “He ate this food two days ago.” Yes, genius, we can see the date on the invoices attached to his food parcels. Do you have something better? “The dimensions of the freezer compartment are off.” Okay, that was an acceptable observation compared to all the low-hanging clues he picked earlier.

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Vasudev’s unintentionally hilarious investigation runs parallel to Yashoda’s (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) story. She is at the end of her first trimester. And she is packed off to an undisclosed facility, which she will call home until she delivers her baby. She leaves her poor neighbourhood in an expensive car. It’s a wonder that it didn’t raise the alarm among her neighbours. Yashoda is given a pill. “What’s this for?” she asks her bruiser escort. And the guy does what could be termed a poor man’s Morpheus (The Matrix). An approximation of his dialogue. “You take the pill, we can go to the wonderland. Or you can go back to your life.” She takes the pill and wakes up in a well-furnished room; comfy blankets, fancy clothes, a fridge stacked with food, everything that a pregnant woman ever needs to stay happy. And there she befriends other women who have also become surrogate mothers for financial reasons.

But, the swanky building and the promises of a better future stand on the corpses of hundreds and hundreds of innocent lives. Yashoda is about to discover what she has got herself into and Madhu (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) and Gautham (Unni Mukundan) are about to find what Yashoda is made of.

Hari and Harish have a slew of interesting elements in the movie. But, instead of blending all these elements in a clever narration, they resort to exploitation. Instead of making the audience feel something, this movie exploits their feelings towards expecting mothers and unborn babies. And the filmmakers have not even been smart about that. The information dump is juvenile and lacks any discernible intelligence.

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In the middle of a Mexican standoff of sorts, Yashoda feels it’s perfectly logical to recall her long-drawn sob backstory and explains why she came into this mess. And all the powerful guys involved in this large-scale, multinational, medical crime do everything by themselves. A corrupt cop video calls a central minister to live-stream the murder he is about to commit.

Varalaxmi Sarathkumar’s performance as Madhu is so convincing and lacks any basic merits of movie acting. Samantha Ruth Prabhu brings grace to the role. But, the film’s unintelligent grindhouse treatment negates the impact of Samantha’s performance which has a lot of conviction. She was especially brilliant in action scenes. It’s a classic case of a good actor shining in a bad movie.

First published on: 11-11-2022 at 04:00:17 pm
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