Jyothika is back and everyone’s happy about it. Yay! But, unfortunately, 36 Vayadhinile does not have the same effect English Vinglish did. The casting is spot on, no doubt about that. Yet, the story follows the “Series of Unfortunate Events” template until finally everything is resolved.
The story follows Jyothika as a government employee whose husband works in All India Radio. They have a daughter. One day, the president of India casually visits the daughter’s school, where the daughter asks him a question that impresses him so much, he wants to meet her mother. And so, it is done. Yet, nobody talks about how the president responded to said question.
Meanwhile, there’s a constant battle Jyothika has to fight as a mother, wife, working woman, and daughter-in-law. Her daughter treats her like an idiot, going so far as to say “Talking to you makes me feel old.” Her husband piles on the usual bullshit about how she doesn’t know how anything in the world works. Her in-laws are always in her support, sympathizing and empathizing every step of the way.
When she finally meets the president, she faints out of anxiety. This makes her the laughing stock of the colony and she becomes the new mascot for social media trolls. When the future seems bleak and the present futile, out of the blue emerges Jyothika’s long-lost friend from college. As the cliché would have it, she is a successful businesswoman who gets featured on magazine covers when there aren’t any skimpily clothed women to print. Ms. Entrepreneur then spends five minutes with Jyothika, and at the end of that inspirational speech, Jyothika realizes she has so much potential that she can able to do anything! The film ends with a PowerPoint presentation of famous women like M.S. Subbulakshmi, Lata Mangeshkar, Kalpana Chawla, etc. and concludes with a message synonymous to “You can do anything you want, because you are a woman.”
Throughout the film, there are many inconsistencies. The music sounds like it was lifted from the 90s. Jyothika is still stuck in Mozhi mode – every line she says has to be accompanied by some body movement. Every few minutes, she goes into a daze that seems to be inspired by marijuana. Before you judge, that is her interpretation of being surprise while deeply lost in thought. The film lacks sync, and the audience easily identify that the actors aren’t moving their lips to the actual dialog that is played out. The scenes where the president is shown walking around is a laughter riot, simply because his security detail looks like hotel management students with their oversized three-button coats and ill-fitting sunglasses.
This is a great movie, only if you were born in the 1970s.