36 Vayathinile marks Jyothika’s highly anticipated comeback and lives up to the expectations set by the buzz around it. Unlike many films, it avoids mindless songs, senseless separate comedy tracks, and unnecessary commercialization, focusing on a straightforward narrative. The first half serves as a foundation for the impactful second half, targeting an urban audience with its compelling storyline.
Jyothika’s Stellar Comeback
Jyothika delivers her best performance to date in 36 Vayathinile, showcasing control and simplicity reminiscent of the original film, “How Old Are You.” For those unfamiliar with the original, Jyothika’s lovable and captivating screen presence adds significant value to the movie. Her portrayal, reminiscent of her role in Mozhi, reflects a more mature and talented actress, making this a perfect comeback.
Stripped of Commercial Clichés
Rahman, though with limited scope, delivers a convincing performance. Santhosh Narayanan’s work on the background score is noteworthy, maintaining the same cleanliness as the original. The beautiful visuals and crisp editing contribute to the film’s overall appeal. In a manner reminiscent of dialogue-centric Malayalam movies, 36 Vayathinile effectively conveys its story through well-crafted dialogues, skillfully translated by Viji. Director Roshan Andrews deserves praise for delivering a sensible movie with a meaningful message.
What is noticeably absent is the essential regional flavor. The replication of an upper-class Malayalam movie by the same director, complete with identical dialogues and frames, doesn’t seamlessly translate to the Tamil context. The culture and mentality of a middle-class Kerala family depicted in the original film, “How Old Are You,” differ significantly from that of Tamil Nadu. Unfortunately, the filmmakers overlooked adapting the atmosphere to suit the local milieu. For instance, Jyothika’s job and characterization seemed out of place, portraying a government job as low-profile in a region where such jobs are highly coveted.
Looking beyond these nuances and the influence of “English Vinglish,” the movie primarily revolves around the theme of ‘opting for natural vegetables’ over ‘chemicals.’ The practice of cultivating homemade vegetables is widely popular in cities and small towns of Kerala, such as Cochin and Calicut. The film effectively inspires more people to adopt this lifestyle. Additionally, it sheds light on the availability of government subsidies for such initiatives, potentially prompting similar practices in cities like Chennai and Coimbatore.
Overall, a good family drama to watch with family.