Yaadhumaagi Nindraai review: Flat narrative weighs down strong message
The film speaks of a very real issue but due to lack of depth in characters, it fails to make an emotional influence beyond that
A lot of Tamil films revolve around a social message. Agreed, it is important. But isn’t the purpose of a film to effectively tell a story, first and foremost? If it fails to do that, do you still call it a good film because the filmmaker's intentions were ‘good’? Ponmagal Vandhal raised a similar question recently and now it’s Yaadhumaagi Nindraai, written, directed by, and starring Gayathri Raguramm.
If you have watched the trailer of Yaadhumaagi Nindraai, you know most of what the film wants to say. A little element of mystery in the film is saved for the end. Not much comes as a revelation beyond that.
Direction: Gayathri Raguramm
Cast: Gayathri Raguramm, Vasanth Kumar, Sindhu Krishnan, Nivas Adithan, Latha Balakrishnan
Streaming on: Zee 5
The film follows the journey of a female background dancer, Thamarai, who struggles in her life and career mostly due to sexual exploitation in a male-dominated world. Men try to take advantage of Thamarai at every turn of her life.
Yaadhumaagi Nindraai speaks of a very real issue, and if someone had told me this story over a cup of tea, I would empathise the same. However, due to lack of depth, the film fails to make an emotional impact beyond that. Be it the storytelling, characterisation, or performances, none of it makes the impact it should.
Thamarai is caught in a very financially vulnerable position and the inner turmoil behind these situations is somehow not effectively conveyed. We barely get to relate to the reasons behind her choices. A little more detailing in the character transformation of the innocent girl into a survivor over the years might have brought the audience closer to Thamarai. Or maybe if the chemistry between Thamarai and Prasad (Vasanth Kumar) had worked, that might have been something to care about. There are many other maybes like this.
The visuals are nothing to rave about and the songs don't have the required emotions and energy either. The theme music mostly works, though, and the performances of Sindhu Krishnan (as Sophia) and Nivas Adithyan (as Ganesh) are noteworthy.
Yaadhumaagi Nindraai tries to be an important feminist voice for subjugated women in the industry, particularly background cine dancers. It touches upon their financial struggles, challenges in the industry, society’s apathy towards them, the stigma attached to sexual harassment, patriarchy, and even the issues of transgender people. The film consciously tries to give an impartial view of men by balancing good and bad characters, even though the same cannot be said for other genders.
What the film has already established in an hour and a half, it again reiterates with a rather long monologue towards the end. Despite the many issues that the film tries to address, what we get from all of this is only an outward display of the woman’s struggles and a voice that falls flat.