36 Vayadhiniley Review
The one-liner of Jyothika's comeback movie, 36 Vayadhiniley, is similar to that of the one-liner for Sridevi's comeback "English Vinglish". One can draw many parallels between the two in terms of crux of the story, situations, characters and scenes. The basic conflict is the same and the resolution is similar. Except that 36 Vayadhiniley lacks the subtleness and feel-goodness of 'English Vinglish'.
36 Vayathiniley should be given due credit for taking a relevant social topic(s) and delivering it earnestly. Director Rosshan Andrrews should be appreciated for making a clean movie without adding forced fights, speed-breaker songs, routine dances and unnecessary comedy scenes. Jyothika has come back after 8 long years and it is surprising she looks like she never took a break after her memorable 'Mozhi'. It is a relief that Jyothika doesn't feel the compulsion to overact to prove that this is her comeback movie. There is no grand re-entry shot nor buildups. In the brief flashback portions, it is amazing to see that Jyothika is still capable of taking on a regular heroine role, if she really wanted to. Jyothika doesn't skip a beat as she quickly gets under the character. There are a few noteworthy scenes carried solely by the stellar performance of Jyothika.
Santosh Narayanan does a measured job in aiding the scenes without going overboard/experimentative. Camerawork and art direction are in line with the scope of the movie. Producer Suriya deserves appreciation for picking an inspirational subject about middle-aged women. The movie deserves high marks for its pure intentions and unadulterated message for the society without prioritizing the box office outcomes higher.
Not so Positives
Unfortunately, 36 Vayadhiniley falters in execution. This 2-hour movie feels lengthier than what your timer may actually suggest. The story and screenplay are along predictable lines and the dialogues are lengthy. The length of dialogues should have been pruned down to half of what made it to the final cut. The social message should have been more implicit than going overboard in chastising the current social media generation, chemically treated agricultural products while not forgetting to sing praises about the values of prior generations.
The story flow takes twists and turns based on director's convenience. Many scenes and dialogues appear cliched and repeated. The entire episode related to meeting of the President (enacted by quiz master Siddhartha Basu) is over-the-top unnatural. Another weakness is the characterization of key leads are very weak. The movie portrays Rahman, who acts as Jyothika's husband, and her 13 year old daughter as cold-hearted and villainous characters. The daughter and father's crucial decision in the movie is far-fetched, impractical and cinematic. Even Jyothika's characterization is inconsistent when she insensitively handles an old man's petition at government office. It is unclear why she faces so much embarrassment even though she has a decent government job and probably more successful than her akashvani anchor husband. Abhirami is reasonably convincing in her role, which is similar to that of Amitabh/Ajith seen in English Vinglish.
Nobody can question the noble intentions of '36 Vayadhinile' team. This would have been a better product if only the director avoided the deja-vu effect of watching a loudly adapted remake of Sridevi's comeback movie. This would have been a better comeback in terms of reach if it had been a TV mini-serial.
Rating - 2.75 / 5