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Yashoda Review: Surrogacy drama throws the weight of ordinary narrative on extraordinary Samantha Ruth Prabhu

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Film: Yashoda

Cast: Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Unni Mukundan, Rao Ramesh, Murali Sharma, Sampath Raj, Shatru, Madhurima, Kalpika Ganesh, Divya Sripada, Priyanka Sharma and others

Director: Hari and Harish

Rating: 2.5 Moons

Samantha Ruth Prabhu, the one-woman army, has sky-rocketed my respect for her as an actor after getting a chance to watch her latest film Yashoda. Carrying an entire film on her shoulder effortlessly is a mammoth task in itself and she never lets her audience down. Yashoda, directed by Hari and Harish, is originally a Telugu film that has been dubbed into languages like Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.

As indicated in the trailer, Yashoda is a semi-medical drama revolving around a surrogacy scam. The film centers itself around Yashoda (Samantha Ruth Prabhu), a poor village girl making ends meet by working as a food-delivery volunteer. She has to collect a fat amount of money for her younger sister's operation. In order to make quick money, she agrees to become a surrogate for a rich couple. Just a few months before her due date, Yashoda is forcefully sent to Madhu's (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) lavish Eva clinic where she's pampered with the best possible facilities in the world. However, there's something foreboding about the clinic. As she begins scratching off the surface to dig out details, troubles unite to form an army against her.

Undoubtedly, Yashoda has an interesting and unique premise. A surrogacy drama reportedly inspired by real-life events is rare to see in the era of remakes and sequels. While directors Hari and Harish score well there, they fail to hold the attention of the audience for 2 hours and 14 minutes. The first half of the film is invested in establishing the characters, and the clinic and making the audience believe that the protagonist is in grave trouble which is what everyone knows. It takes too long to reach the good part where Samantha brings her powerful guns of acting and fires with her entire might. It is only closer to the interval when Yashoda begins picking pace and but scatters into pieces pretty soon.

The investigation portions are laughable despite full efforts from the background score team to create the right amount of tension. Less is more; this is a lesson for the sound team who are fully prepared to make ears bleed with a jarring background score. It is so loud that some dialogues are not audible. The thrill and nervousness one must feel while watching a chase sequence are completely missing because we know what's happening a second later.

A hand-to-hand combat sequence between Yashoda and Eva clinic's member is like a respite. Samantha pulls it off brilliantly and whistles should be echoing in theatres. But otherwise, it is a lackluster affair. The revelations and twists that are expected to make you go 'wow', are strictly 'huh'-worthy. You have seen such plots infinite times in films of all languages. The only change here is Samantha and her ability to enhance a weak film.

Yashoda is a celebration of Samantha's acting abilities and power to pull people towards her with her screen presence. She looks stunning throughout and performs action sequences effortlessly. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar as Madhu comes across as funny over diabolic. Who reveals the secrets and crimes committed by her clinic to clients who also (stupidly) agree to make a deal with her? Blame the poor character sketch and not the actress. Unni Mukundan is charming as Dr. Gautham but just like Varalaxmi, he falls into the trap of a convenient character graph. The rest of the supporting cast is comical even when the genre doesn't demand them to be.

Yashoda puts the entire weight of the familiar narrative on Samantha, making her carry a lackluster film solely on her dependable acting skills and popularity. She certainly deserves better than Yashoda.

PeepingMoon.com gives Yashoda 2.5 Moons

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