Named after the mythological character, Yashoda who is the foster-mother of Lord Krishna, the plot revolves around a poor woman (Samantha) who chooses to become a surrogate mother.
Why does she do it? To earn money and save her ailing sister, or at least that’s what we are told, at first.
Yashoda delves into the complex world of surrogacy. However, it is just the first block of a huge puzzle. The film also explores the dangerously entangled layers within it—the cosmetic industry and medical crimes.
Just like her real-life persona, where she battles an autoimmune condition called Myositis, Samantha in Yashoda is a real fighter. She is both gentle and fierce.
She walks into hell unarmed and turns every tiny resource into a weapon to beat her opponents. Whether it's cudgeling, sculling, shooting, or fist-fighting with bare hands, she does them all in an effortless fashion.
Despite being pregnant, Yashoda threw deadly punches in the power-packed action sequences. And that just reminded me that I usually complain about feeling dizzy after a heavy lunch (I know the wrong memories always pop up at the right time!).
The film makes the strong point that a courageous fighter doesn’t always need blazing guns and lethal weapons. When life throws lemons at you, confidence and intelligence are what you need, to make lemonade. But most importantly, "courage" doesn't necessarily have to be a man’s trait. Samantha’s mass dialogue reiterated that.
The best part about the film is that it explains feminism at its best. Madhu, a cunning entrepreneur (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) says that for a man to become a king, he has to win a war; however, for a woman to become a queen, she just has to win over a king. On the other hand, her skewed view is countered by a real feminist, Yashoda, who doesn't wait for saviors.
Yashoda is a blend of action and relationship drama. It touches upon sibling bonds and the emotional attachment between a surrogate mother and the child. It also takes stances on the idea of money, unrealistic beauty standards, and the abuse of power.
The writer-director duo, Hari and Harish, have presented an engaging mystery thriller by planting plenty of clues throughout the screenplay. The pre-climax was loaded with terrific twists, too. While the majority of the payoffs were satisfying, some fell flat.
Also, the hastily narrated backstory of Madhu and Gautham in the second half seemed artificially stitched, with some of the sequences being unintentionally funny.
However, the art direction team has brilliantly used minimal and confined spaces to fixate the audience on the screen. The aesthetic yet uncanny setup lets us keep our eyes wide open with equal amounts of wonder and suspicion.
Samantha's Yashoda has brilliant ideas and impressive performances from a stellar cast including Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Unni Mukundan, Sampath, Divya, Kalpika, Murali Sharma and Shatru. It has its heart in the right place. With some cliches shed, Yashoda would have been a masterpiece.
Yashoda is running in cinemas now.