Sandalwood
The story is fairly simple, but what makes the movie watchable are the fresh faces – Vaibhavi, Vainidhi and Vaisiri.
Worth a watch

In an industry where women-centric commercial films are a rarity, Yaana, the makers claim, is here to fill this gap. The icing on the cake – the film is also directed by a woman. Yaana, meaning journey, is said to be the first Kannada film directed by a mother for her daughters and produced by the father. It’s all in the family. However, the film’s journey has been a little bumpy from the beginning, as it was in the making for 3 long years. Three years is a long time and trends change every year. Has Yaana managed to hold the interest of the audience? Let’s find out.

The film opens in a college and shows the routine life of the three female protagonists – Maya – an aspiring DJ, Anjali – a small town girl with big dreams, and Nandini - a passionately wild woman, who is a go-getter. They are all studying in the same college and have their tryst with love and life. At the lowest phase of life, during their first meeting, the girls decide to go to Goa to escape from their problems. On the way to Goa, they encounter several people and circumstances that change the course of their lives.

The story is fairly simple and has nothing new to offer if you have already seen Moggina Manasu, Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi DobaraYaana seems to be inspired by all these films. So, there are no surprises when it comes to the story. But what makes the movie watchable are the fresh faces – Vaibhavi, Vainidhi and Vaisiri. The trio, representing Gen Z, have given their best for the film.

Veteran actor-turned-director Vijayalakshmi Singh has let her daughters be themselves for the film and this has helped Yaana score some extra points. There is no forced acting or narration. You feel that you are sitting and watching three girls living their lives and unwind during their youth. The trio have played their parts with bubbliness and charisma. But, in some parts of the film, especially in the emotional scenes, the lack of acting skills becomes very evident. If they want to be a part of experimental films and make a career in Sandalwood, they need to be trained in acting.

The three male lead actors – Sumukha, Chakravarthy and Abhishek – have negligible roles. A bunch of veteran and new actors have cameo roles in the film – Ramakrishna, Ananth Nag, Sudharani, Rangayana Raghu, Chikkanna and Shivaraj KR Pete, to name a few. The comedy in the film, however, feels forced.

Vijayalakshmi Singh has tried to bring Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara to Kannada through her daughters and has succeeded partially. ZNMD was more than a road trip film and had many layers to it. But Yaana just sticks to the ‘road trip’ theme, which makes it look bland. Simple Suni, who has penned the dialogues along with BA Madhu, has managed to keep his original style. Joshua Sridhar’s music is energetic and the songs are fresh. Gari Bicchi Mari Hakki is a youth anthem and other songs like Theerada Mounava, Beelale, Naa Beelale, and Mirchi are presented at the right time. More effort could have been put into showing picturesque Goa differently and vividly.

The film is youth-centric and shows the issues faced by the millennial generation in an appealing way. Their inability to distinguish between black and white, and the greys in between, forms the crux of the film. Though Yaana is not free from flaws, this generation actually gets a movie after Moggina Manasu that they can all relate to and rave about.

Watch it once for its “feel good” content and, of course, to look back at your younger days.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.