When catching the first show of the day in Hyderabad you can often spot directors, actors and sometimes technicians at one of the multiplexes. And most of them are usually surrounded by their entourage of colleagues with that self-important seclusion in the midst of a gaping crowd. Today was different, Sudharshan 35mm, I was at the balcony canteen asking for a warm water bottle and coming out of the theater is Singeetham Sir, alone, just walking around. Walking up to him and starting a conversation was one of the easiest things. He told me about his Bethelehem project based on the wife of Jesus and he thought that the theater was clean. My day was done, couldn’t have asked for more, sad that his new film doesn’t come close to that exhilarating pre-movie high. Frankly, how can one be so greedy to ask for a film experience that’s as good as meeting a childhood hero, it can’t right.
Lucy is an American in need of surrogacy to carry her egg. With the help on an agency she chooses Yashodha from a village in AP to be a surrogate mother. Yashodha is in need of money for an operation for her crippled daughter. The paperwork is done, the brokers and Yashodha are paid their advances and the embryo is put into Yashodha. Lucy stays back with Yashodha in the village for the length of the gestation.Also in the group is Yashodha’s brother Ganapathi, he runs a photo studio in the village and is engaged to marry his girlfriend Suma.
All the involved parties seem happy about the arrangement until a doctor recommends a blood test late in the process,just a precautionary measure, but, Lucy over imagines and thinks that the child may have deformities. This complicates the deal.
West vs East, ideologically
The film tries to deal with the cold nature of people opting for surrogacy and the contrast of the utmost sentimentality of motherhood. The performances of both Urmila and Rachel make sure the contrast is put across without exaggerating. The film also brings back the method of a musical and not cut away songs (songs composed and written by Singeetham).
The main let down however had been the casting of the blond kid around whom the story revolves. I know it can be pretty hard to find a blond kid who is a good enough actor to convince us that he was born and brought up in an Indian village, but his super awkward performance coupled with bad dubbing pulls you right out of the argument.
It was an interesting idea to work upon, but, the sub-plots that were to serve as gag reliefs and a few bad casting choices ends up making it a draggy experience by the end of it.
Reviewed by Rohit