Yashoda, far-fetched thriller that banks too much on Samantha

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu is so much the mainstay of the film Yashoda that the script relies on her to make a far-fetched tale look convincing. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Heard of sibling revelry? Two sisters, Yashoda (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) and Vrinda (Preethi Asrani) are devoted to each other. Yashoda trains as a cop but must pay a huge sum if she wants to join the force, or sleep with a sleazy boss. Vrinda also needs some crucial surgery, we are told, because of which Yashoda opts to become a surrogate mother of a “billionaire’s child” and is sent to Eva, a place where she will remain under medical supervision and in luxury until delivery. Vrinda too makes a sacrifice for Yashoda, which will be seen later in the film.

Soon, as an Eva inmate, Yashoda realizes that things are not what they seem, even though the girls are treated lavishly and taken care of in the delicate state. The owner of the setup (where the girls are taken after being drugged) is Madhubala (Varalaxmi Sarath Kumar) and the doctor in charge, with whom Yashoda falls in love, is the handsome Dr. Gautham (Unni Mukundan). Soon the do’s and don’ts in the institution are exposed in a sinister way.

Meanwhile, a Hollywood actress visiting India dies in macabre fashion of blood poisoning. And a branded face cream is also separately under scrutiny for its chemical composition. What connects these three diverse stories? The police, commissioner (Murali Sharma) assigns the murder case to Rishi (Shatru) and the ace cop Vasudev (Sampath Raj).

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The premise of the film is thus made very exciting, but what we finally get to see, is very far-fetched. Absurdities galore fill up the narrative, one of the most ludicrous being Eva’s location and internal structure and the state-of-the art medical infrastructure, given all that.

The setup is so extravagant that it does not seem credible at all, and the whole (cinematic) exercise seems hell-bent on using Samantha’s star status to deliver a barely credible story that could have been made far more effective with some realistic thinking and execution instead. It even uses Werner’s Syndrome, a disease characterized by premature aging, as the base but, as I said, the execution lacks credibility at all levels.

The non-fastidious will find the story amazing or fresh, however, explaining its limited success. However, medical thrillers (the benchmark here would be Robin Cook books, of course!) need to be authentic and here, we get more into the realm of fantasy. The art direction (Ashok Kumar) is superbly done, as is the cinematography (M. Sukumar), and otherwise too, the film is technically sound.

As said earlier, the film relies on Samantha Ruth Prabhu’s charisma to deliver—and she does! She is excellent in the various shades of her character as selfless sister, poor surrogate mother, the curious inmate in Eva and finally the shocked but determined fighter for justice. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar as the completely moronic yet amoral Madhubala looks lovely, as she is supposed to because of the script, and acts with great flair. Unni Mukundan too impresses as the doctor. The rest fit the bill, but a special pat is due to Kalpika Ganesh as Teju.

At best, from Samantha’s fans’ point of view, Yashoda can best be called a medical fantasy thriller! Otherwise, as a chilling medical thriller, which it intends to be, it disappoints.

Rating: **

Sridevi Movies’ Yashoda (Telugu / Dubbed in Hindi) Produced by: Sivalenka Krishna Prasad Directed by: Haresh Narayan & K. Hari Shankar Written by: K. Hari Shankar, Haresh Narayan, Pulagam Chinnarayana, Challa Bhagyalakshmi & G.J. Deshmukh Music: Manisharma Starring: Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Unni Mukundan, Varalakshmi Sarathkumar, Rao Ramesh, Sampath Raj, Murali Sharma, Shatru, Divya Sripada, Kalpika Ganesh, Priyanka Sharma, Preethi Asrani, Madhurima, Pradeep Rudra & others

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