It is a Jyothika show from start to finish as she transforms from a naive homely wife and mother to an independent self made woman
After staying away from cameras for nearly 8 years post her marriage to Suriya, Jyothika finally makes a comeback with one of the finest onscreen performances in recent times in Roshan Andrrews' 36 Vayadhinile. Other than the film being a remake of Malayalam flick How Old Are You?, it is ironic how even Jo makes a comeback with the same film through which Manju Warrier ended her 14 year exile from cinema last year. But will 36 Vayadhinile manage to replicate the success of Malayalam blockbuster? Is Jyothika's comeback flick worth your time and money? Read on to find out!
What's it about:
The story revolves around a middle aged working woman Vasanthi played by Jyothika. Vasanthi, who works at the Revenue Department, is married to radio announcer Tamil Selvan( Rahman)and has a 13 year old daughter called Mithila. Vasanthi works hard to keep her family happy, but neither her husband (who treats her like an illiterate village belle) nor her daughter understand her sacrifices and end up humiliating her time and again. Post a surprising turn of events, Vasanthi gets a freakish opportunity to meet with President of India. But an intimidated Vasanthi faints at the sight of Mr President. Soon she becomes but of all jokes and is ridiculed in the society. It is when her husband and daughter leave to Ireland for a better life, does Vasanthi understand that importance of following dreams in ones life. Soon she starts a green house revolution when she successfully manages to supply organic vegetables to a marriage reception and starts advocating for organic farming. Soon Vasanthi becomes extremely popular, and her husband and daughter realise that she is so much more than just a homemaker. The climax scene shows Vasanthi and her family having lunch with President of India, where a newly evolved Vasanthi claims it to be the happiest day of her life, after attaining respect from her family.
The film's major highlight is Jyothika's awesome performance as she makes her transition from naive homely wife to an independent woman believable. It is a Jo show from start to finish as she lights up the screen with her expressive eyes and commendable body language. I can think no else for the part of Vasanthi as Jyothika fits the bill like a hand fits a glove. Other than Jo's performance, it is the message of the film which needs to lauded as it drives home the point that women need to think about their lives and dreams too, instead of just giving her all to the family. Kudos to Roshan Andrrews for telling an important woman oriented story which is the need of the hour. One also has to appreciate Suriya and his production house 2D Entertainment for backing a film with no big stars sans Jyothika. The second of the film is pretty interesting as it focuses on Vasanthi's transformation, after beating around the bush for more than an hour. The film's length of about two hours is a huge plus point as it avoids becoming into an over indulging mess.
The major drawback of 36 Vayadhinile is that it takes itself too seriously at times. The film is filled with melodramatic cliches, which have been already exploited to the core in daily soaps. Not saying that the message of the film was over hyped, but I felt that a few heartfelt comic scenes peppered here and there could have certainly lightened up the mood. The screenplay meanders around Vasanthi being mistreated by family and society for the entire first half, which is a little too much to take. Even the background score comes off as jarring at times. I could see that the film has a striking resemblance with Sridevi's English Vinglish. But where English Vinglish kept it simple , 36 Vayadhinile blows the problem out of proportions making Vasanthi's situation look grim, desperately trying to gain some sympathy for Jo's character. While the film gives a very important message about women empowerment, it beats me why does an independent, self made woman needs a man's acceptance to be happy in life.
What to do:
Though the film has its high points, 36 Vayadhinile disappointed me and left me wanting for more. The only saving grace in the film is Jyothika, who shines from start to finish, showing the same spark she had 8 years ago. Watch this one just for Jyothika and revel in her earnest performance. This is no English Vinglish or Queen.
2.5 out of 5
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