'Jayamma Panchayathi' is playing in theatres from today. Produced by Balaga Prakash on Vennela Creations, the film is presented by Smt. Vijaya Lakshmi.
The story is set in a small village somewhere in the Srikakulam district. Jayamma's small world is deeply disturbed when her husband needs an open heart surgery, which costs Rs 4 lakh. This is also when Jayamma's elder teen daughter hits puberty.
Jayamma counts on the entire village to enrich her with Rs 4 lakh in the form of 'eedlu' (a local term for gifts during special occasions). To her shock, only a paltry sum is received despite the fact that she hosts a grand half-saree function. Jayamma takes an unconventional decision in order to save her husband's life. What is it? That's what the film is about.
Suma Kanakala essays her character without imitating anybody. Her spontaneity finds its way into her performance in a few scenes. It is as if she is mouthing her lines without a rehearsal. Devi Prasad, who has played her husband, is adequate.
Shalini Kondepudi and newcomer Dinesh Kumar, who have played a young love couple, make us sympathize with their characters to an extent. The rest of the cast are unfamiliar faces. They fit the bill.
MM Keeravani's music is unassuming and sits pretty with the quiet nature of the film. Anush Kumar's cinematography is passable, occasionally transporting us to the village backdrop. Dhanu Andhluri's art direction and Ravi Teja Girijala's editing are inconsistent.
Debutant director Vijay Kumar Kalivarapu has penned the story, screenplay and dialogues. To be fair to him, the premise of 'Jayamma Panchayathi' is interesting enough even in the age of big-spectacle movies and Netflix-type thrillers. We all have this urge to watch humble movies, don't we?
But the film's merits are limited. The writing is weightless in the second half, to put it mildly. After the conflict plot point is introduced, a host of characters wade into the story. Their own problems are narrated in detail. This is not a flaw in itself. Several village-based dramas do that.
But this film fails in the way Jayamma's central conflict is sidelined in the second half at the altar of other characters and their issues. There is nothing emotionally stunning about Jayamma, especially because of the way the character design turns simplistic.
In order to make for the inadequacy in Jayamma's track, the director introduces a few other tracks that randomly tie into the main track. The love story between the local priest and the daughter of another priest is watchable. But the rest of the tracks lose their sheen soon enough.
The final act is overlong, and the climax is laughable.
'Jayamma Panchayathi' is not enjoyable even though its performances are good. It is not emotionally satisfying either.