A desperate woman agrees to become a surrogate mother and move into a luxurious facility to save her sister, but things don't go as planned.
Survival thrillers aren't a new genre, but Tollywood has made one of them so rare and in-between that it's a joy to watch, especially when done well. Hari and Hareesh's Yashoda
Yashoda (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) is in desperate need of money. I am a surrogate mother. She is forced to move to a high-end Eva facility owned by Madhu (Valalakshmi Sarasukumar) rather than continue her pregnancy to term at Basti where she lives. It also helps that she's a PhD. Gautam (Unni Mukundan) who cares about his eyes and health. Clinically white rooms, pastel-coloured outfits, sumptuous meals, and great company may seem like a dream come true for a pregnant woman, but cracks are forming rapidly on the surface.
Meanwhile, in the world outside Eve, the mystery of the murder is also being unraveled. Hollywood starlets have died under mysterious circumstances, as have big names and supermodels. An unknown drug (beauty cream aside!) seems to hold the key to the whole mystery. Secret codes, dead cops, unsolved problems – what does all this have to do with the facility? The first half of
Yashodá relies heavily on comedy and emotion. Scenes of bright Yashoda flirting with Gautam, playing pranks on facility staff, and joking with many women like her are laughable. Every woman out there has a story, and for the most part they are more than just vessels to help childless parents. As Yashoda appears to investigate further about the facility, a team of police officers (Muri Sharma, Shuttle and Sampath Raj) seem to lose track of their investigation and stumble upon an obstacle.
A fight scene just before the break sets the tone for what follows. A suspenseful thriller in which Yashoda fights to get out of the situation in which she finds herself. If you've seen the 2004 Hong Kong horror film Dumplings, you can guess the mystery behind it. That's not to say Hari, Harish, and Samantha aren't making the ride as fun as possible. Even if you can predict what happens next (which is rare), this movie will keep you hooked.
Where it doesn't work is when it comes to humming in some of the conversations about Yashoda, maternal love, pregnancy and childbirth. It could have done without the VFX, which could have been much better for selling the story outright, too. And if we're really going to get down to business, the other girl characters in the facility should have been fleshed out better, too. Art director Ashok, M. Sukumar's cinematography, Mani Sharma's music and Yannick Ben's stunts nicely underpin the film.
Samantha attracts attention with the role of Yashoda in the masterpiece. This is her movie. She whistles her in an ass-kicking manner and easily delivers slapping dialogue. The more she goes into action mode, the more fun and boredom you both have at the same time. Varalaxmi and Unni Mukundan do well to market their roles. You just know that something is boiling under the surface, waiting to come out. If so, that's good. However, Varalaxmi struggles a bit with syncing and I hope it gets better. The rest of the cast, including Rao Ramesh, Murli Sharma, Sampath Raj and more, do their respective roles well.
Yashoda is the movie to watch this weekend if you're looking for something beyond the usual masala dishes and love stories. Especially if you're a Thriller fan or a Samantha fan, watch it... you won't regret it.