'Yashoda', produced by Sridevi Movies, was released in theatres today (November 11).
Yashoda (Samantha) comes from an economically-backward background. She opts for surrogacy in order to meet a pressing need for money. She is taken to an upscale surrogacy facility named Eva, where the inmates have no access to the outside world in any manner. And things are suspiciously evil over there. Madhubala (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), who heads the facility, is up to something. Meanwhile, Yashoda develops a bond with Dr. Gautham (Unni Mukundan), the ever-smiling doctor at the facility.
In a parallel track, a team of cops (led by characters played by Murali Sharma and Sampath Raj) is trying to crack the mysterious death of a Hollywood actress.
Samantha Ruth Prabhu shows the strength she exuded in 'U Turn' and the flexibility that was on display in 'Super Deluxe' (Tamil). By resolutely dubbing for both Telugu and Tamil versions at a time when her health has taken a beating, the star actress makes a statement. She is immensely bankable and accessible in portraying the titular character.
Unni Mukundan as Dr. Gautham is superb in the later portions. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar as Madhubala is able in the flashback portions. Rao Ramesh as a Minister of Women and Child Development is routine. Murali Sharma doesn't get much potential. Sampath Raj, Shatru and Preeti Asrani are okayish.
The girl gang, compromising Divya Sripada, Kalpika Ganesh and others, fit the bill.
Cinematographer M Sukumar of 'Chi La Sow' and 'Republic' fame casts his spell in many segments. Mani Sharma's BGM is effective; there are no songs to make a demand on him. Marthand K Venkatesh, who straddles mass movies like 'Sarkaru Vaari Paata' and relatively darker movies like 'V', shows reasonable craft.
Hollywood stuntman Yannick Ben and Venkat Master, to be brutally honest, put out unmemorable stunts.
For a film made as a pan-India science-fiction action thriller, 'Yashoda' should have been way less unintelligent. Directors Hari and Harish take the sci-fi part more seriously than the action-thriller part of the genre. They throw up fantastical ideas such as a miracle drug whose inventor is like a modern-day Rishi, resolving health issues in a snap.
A fatal flaw with the film is that the storyline of the entire first half can be made out by watching the trailer. The narration adds nothing more to keep the aware audience excited. There are no intriguing plot points in the first hour. The girl gang at the surrogacy facility should have done some magic in terms of emotional beats.
It's in the second hour that we get the big reveal, which is fairly good enough. However, the resolution is half-baked. There are no highs, as the action blocks are replete with convenient ideas. The bad guys are hilariously unprepared. The good guys are either eerily over-emotional or incredibly lucky.
The dialogues could have done away with redundancy. You don't need to spell out a lot of things in a thriller. The audience are smart enough to figure things out by themselves.
The characters played by Varalami, Rao Ramesh and Unni Mukundan had terrific potential. Therefore, the dumbing down is unforgivable.
'Yashoda' has a solid premise, good production values, and a decent backstory. Its characters had so much potential. But the writing and execution are mediocre.