Film : Venmegham
Director : Ram- Lakshman
Cast : Vidharth, Ishara, Jayashri Shivadas, Jagan, Rohini, Manjari.
Surrogacy clinics are sprouting in India, offering hope to many childless couples. For couples who are infertile or career oriented, this method of hiring a womb is an easy and legal method. And for the surrogate mothers, it’s big money. A booming money-making industry, it’s one where malpractices can happen as well. Director twins Ram and Lakshman take this as the premise to weave a story that tracks the journey of a teen who is caught in a racket of hiring wombs.
The director duo has to be commended for tackling an issue rarely touched upon in films. The movie begins with Arvind (Vidharth), who runs a shop with his friend (Jagan) and paints billboards and number plates. Pooja (Jayashree), a school student who has a crush on Arvind, frequents the shop on various pretexts. Arvind stays oblivious of her feelings, and treats her like a kid. Arvind’s new found love is Raji (Ishara), who reciprocates after the initial tiffs.
The romantic interludes are the usual ones. Arvind takes a short work- trip to Vizag and returns to find his whole life changed. Vidharth, who was adequate in the earlier scenes, could have brought out the intensity and trauma of the later moments in a better way when the narration turns serious. The two female leads are promising finds. Jagan’s comedy just does not click here.The relationship between Pooja and her mother Jyoti (Rohini) is brought out realistically.
A rebellious teen, Pooja’s relationship with her mother, a strict disciplinarian, is a tumultuous one. And it’s after one such tiff that Pooja leaves home and goes to Vizag in search of Arvind. Her life takes a turn and we get to witness a harsh slice of life. These moments are an eye-opener. The scenes of surrogate mothers being housed in dingy rooms in unhealthy conditions are horrific. So are the scenes where ruthless agents (Manjari fits the role) forcing women into the racket, and impoverished girls willingly opt to be surrogates.
The screenplay has its loopholes. The whole scenario of Arvind trying to search for Pooja in Vizag could have been handled better. A little more detailing in the screenplay would have added to the impact of the issue. The narration where the surrogacy issue comes into play could have been clearer. Also, some of the moments are typically cinematic, the expediency of the situation not coming through. The finale is a touching one — of lessons learnt and a deal kept. A more coherent screenplay and a clearer narration would have made the film a riveting experience.