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Yashoda Movie Review

The Telugu movie Yashoda was released on November 11, 2022, and attained mixed reviews from the audience. The film was deemed a hit with a box office collection of 33-50 crore. The story of Yashoda is inspired by real-life incidents associated with rape and surrogacy. With an IMDB rating of 6.6/10 and 58% rotten tomatoes, this movie has horrified and thrilled the audience equally.

Yashoda Movie Review

Reviewers commented that it was a "concept that sent chills down the spine" and a "movie with holding grip throughout the story". The enigmatic performance of Samantha Ruth Prabhu has stolen the audience's hearts once again. When a Zomato worker, Yashoda, decides to become a surrogate mother, her world is turned upside down. What is it that the surrogate center is hiding desperately? What are the secrets behind this? Let's explore.

About

Released Date November 11, 2022
Movie Name Yashoda
Director Harish Narayan, K. Harishankar
Starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Unni Mukndan, Varalakshmi Sarathkumar, Preethi Asrani

Plot

The movie begins with the introduction of Yashoda, an impoverished girl who works for a food delivery company. To save the life of her sister by arranging money for her surgery, Yashoda takes a plunge into becoming a surrogate mother. She goes to Eva, a surrogacy center with advanced technologies possessed by Dr. Madhubala. She also met other surrogates in the institution who were from poor families and got involved in surrogacy for the money.

On the other hand, IPS Vasudeva is investigating the murder of prominent businessman Shiva Reddy and his partner, Aarushi, who was a model by profession. After going through Aarushi's emails, Vasudeva reached the conclusion that she was involved in the promotion of cosmetics that were composed of harmful yet unknown substances. After discovering that Aarushi's friend was also killed a few days ago, he gets into researching cosmetics and comes to know that a Hollywood actress named Olivia was closely associated with the same brand. The possessor of this brand is Giridhar, the Central Minister.

Further into the case, Vasudeva comes to know about Elena, who is the model as well. His team, along with Balram, the Police commissioner, discovers her trail in the forest, but they are held hostage by the tribal people. In the meantime, Yashoda is skeptical about the surrogacy procedures in Eva, and it gets scarier for her when her friends, who were also mothers at the center, Leela and Kajal, go missing after they experience labor pains. Moreover, she learns that the surrogacy center is not situated in the town, and the surrogates are getting fooled by the use of live projectors. To find out the truth behind this appearance, Yashoda quietly steps into Zone-2 Division and finds another surrogate, Jenny, who tries to kill her. It is revealed that Jenny was not pregnant and was only acting to keep an eye on other surrogates at the orders of the higher-ups. Yashoda succeeds in killing Jenny, and after that, she finds boxes filled with dead fetuses along with the corpses of surrogate mothers. Leela and Kajal's bodies are also discovered in the assets room with their dead children.

By now, Madhubala knew that Yashoda had become a threat to her and that she knew all her dark secrets. So she orders a security guard to kill Yashoda. In turn, Yashoda kills him when he tries to rape her. Using Dr. Gautam's ID, she tries to sneak into Madhubala's office, but Madhubala is already waiting for her and hence catches Yashoda there.

In this scene, Dr. Madhu reveals her true intentions regarding the killing of so many women. She states that she was suffering from a disease called Werner's syndrome. The beauty of the people affected by this disease ends, and signs of rapid aging start appearing in their features. Her partner (in crime), Dr. Gautham, assisted her in finding the solution to her illness and developed a medication to treat her. The downside of this drug was its short-term effect which only remained for six months. Madhu's husband, Giridhar, invested in her research so that he could also earn profits by selling those drugs overseas.

After disclosing her past, Madhu calls the guards and captures Yashoda in the footage room. She and Giridhar leave for a meeting with their investors. Here, she reveals how surrogates are important for developing medications and cosmetics. The plasma which is present in the fetus is the secret ingredient for the project, which helps in preserving health and beauty. It is a well-planned scheme to attract poor ad na?ve women to get them pregnant by promising them some money. They also revealed that after six-seven months, fake labor is induced in them using some drugs, and premature babies and mothers are killed after plasma recovery. These people are not investigated because the surrogates either come from a small and poor family or don't have a family. When the drug is ready for consumption, it is purchased by top models, actresses, and overall affluent women at a very high cost. Olivia's death is also highlighted as a Pharmacokinetic interaction. When Aarushi and her boyfriend blackmailed the perpetrators into revealing the racket, Dr. Madhu got them killed and staged it as an accident.

On the other hand, Vasudeva and his team realize that they have a mole in their team, and they have been led into a trap by Balram, who works for Eva. When Yashoda finds an emergency exit, she makes an attempt to run away but is recaptured by Dr. Gautham. When he makes a call to Balram, he comes to the realization that he is the one being held captive by Yashoda at gunpoint. It is disclosed that Yashoda is actually an undercover officer who scored top rank in her batch. However, she was still asked to arrange money to join the police team. When her sister, Brinda, comes to know that, she agrees to become a surrogate for money and goes to Eva, where she is seen for the last time. After learning about her sister's sudden disappearance, Yashoda creates a fake backstory and goes undercover to find her. Back to the present, she fights Dr. Gautham and his guards and kills each one of them but suffers a miscarriage due to being struck in the abdomen.

At the other end of the forest, Vasudeva and his team come out alive by killing Balram and his tribal captors. Yashoda tells the truth about Eva to other surrogate mothers. Later, she goes to find Dr. Madhu and stops her escapade. Dr. Madhu confesses that she was pregnant; she had aborted her child so she could remain focused on her research to become healthy and beautiful. The surrogate women, who now know her true motives, push her off the cliff, and at last, she dies. Other members of the faculty are arrested by Vasudeva's team. Yashoda manages to locate her sister and assists her in delivering her baby.

Review

Survival thriller like Yashoda has won the hearts of the public and managed to spread a deep message about surrogacy through illegal means, hardships of women, and roots of corruption that go deep. Hari-Harish has presented the real-life event so beautifully yet so eerily that the audience is bound to appreciate the manner of writing and direction.

Yashoda, the female character, is depicted as independent but poor and just wants to save her sister's life. Soon, when she finds herself on the luxurious grounds of Eva's surrogacy center, where she is taken care of by specialists, gets healthy food to eat, and has friends like Leela and Kajal, life finally looks better to her. But as they say, when something appears too good to be true, maybe there is something wrong. When she grows suspicious of the activities and behavior of the people around her, she gets caught and has to face the brutal reality of her situation.

Meanwhile, there is another mystery unfolding far away from the facility that is being dug out by the police. The three mysterious deaths -Olivia, Reddy, and Aarushi- point in the same direction- an unknown drug, and the perpetrator covers his tracks by killing the latter two. The codes, dead bodies, and evidence soon linked with Dr. Madhu's clinic.

In the first half of the movie, the easy-going environment is established where Yashoda banters playfully with her surrogate friends, plays pranks on staff members, and becomes friends with Dr. Gautham. The elements of Tollywood cinema, such as comedy and even romance, are established before intermission. There is a story to every woman in the facility. They are not just seen as child-bearers or mere commodities. Surrogacy is also illustrated as a form of motherhood. On the other hand, the police are unable to grasp the core of the mystery and hit several hurdles, which implies that there is a rat among them.

In the rising action, when Yashoda tries to find out that she and her comrades are getting fooled by facility members, she tries to make a run for it, almost to the maddening level.

A Hong Kong movie named Dumpling shows similarities with the storyline of Yashoda, but the directors have added their own elements, such as women empowerment, motherhood, sisterhood, and corruption. Samantha's character hits deep as a mother who is fighting to save her child and her friends as well. The hints are provided to the audience from the beginning that something is going on in the medical clinic, but how brutal and stomach-churning the actual truth is could leave anyone frightened as it is not just a simple illegal drug manufacturing base but a booming site of cannibalism.

The concept and message of the movie were received well enough, but the dialogue delivered by Samantha regarding her mother's affection and pain gets overemphasized. There are suspicious scenes in the movie. They only make the audience wait longer for the climax. The special effects of the movie could have been improved.

However, the movie failed to provide a logical aspect. For instance, in the surrogacy center, where so many cameras of advanced technology were present, so many guards were hired by Dr. Madhu, and a top-class security system was installed, Yashoda managed to flee so easily. Also, the purpose with which Dr. Madhu was using the innocent mothers lacks reason and, therefore, steals away passion from her character.

Another noteworthy detail of the movie is that the names of the characters are inspired by Hindu Mythology folktales, mostly associated with Lord Krishna. Names such as Girdhar, Balram, and Vasudeva are three of the many names of Lord Krishna. As stated by history, Yashoda was the mother of Lord Krishna. Brinda is another name for Goddess Radha. The characters are intentionally named after the Gods to show the terrifying image of the new world where mothers, especially surrogates, are used to fulfill the evil desires of the nobility. Yashoda was not Krishna's birth mother but still showered him with motherly love. The love of a surrogate mother is compared to similar affection where the child may not be theirs, but it becomes their duty and right to protect it.

Moral

It wouldn't be wrong to say that Samantha's acting has been profitable for the movie and its makers. Because of her ill health, she wasn't able to promote the movie, but her talent remains undeniable and flawless. She has now returned to the Tamil Industry, thriving and charismatic as ever.

The narrative of surrogacy is adjusted conveniently with the crime genre and shows how avarice can change something as pure and natural as motherhood into an inhumane act. Varalakshmi, who played the role of Dr. Madhu, is displaying good progress with her each movie, and her role as an emotionless villain in Yashoda just proves this further.







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