Ever since Subramanyapuram, the dark, raw and gritty approach has been favored
by directors who portray the lives of rowdies onscreen. Yogi, which sees director Ameer turn actor
but for a different director, adopts the same approach to what sometimes seems like a light-hearted story. But
inspite of the the violence, the lapses in logic and the familiarity of execution, the film eventually works
because of the tenderness in its heart.
Yogi(Ameer) is a hard-hearted, remorseless rowdy who is not averse to slitting someone's throat to lay his hands
on the person's money. On the run from the police after a robbery, he spots a car outside a fruitshop and uses
it as his getaway vehicle. But the car has an occupant in the backseat - an infant. Unable to walk away after he
hears the baby's cries when he abandons the car, Yogi takes the baby home. Realizing soon that the baby can't go
hungry, he forces a single mother Rajasulochana(Madhumita) to be the baby's wet nurse. Meanwhile, the baby's
father Lyndon(Vincent Asokan) starts looking for the baby.
Yogi's broad story outline of a hard-hearted rowdy who undergoes a transformation is a rather familiar
conceit in masala movies. All the familiar building blocks that are used in such stories - like
the fact that the hero targets only bad guys(the first guy Ameer is shown to kill is a drunk who beats up a kid)
- are in place here too. The catalyst that brings about the change in him - his experiences as an unsuitable
father - is also something that has formed the basis for some comedies. Here again we get familiar scenes where
Ameer learns how to raise a baby the hard way. But director Subramanya Shiva chooses a dark tone for telling these
stories. The ploy may be new but it doesn't always work.
The segments that showcase Ameer's life with the baby contain too many divergent tones to work. For one, the mix
of the serious, baby-in-danger scenarios and overt comedy is unpleasant. While Ameer tries to make us laugh with
his resourcefulness at fashioning a diaper and his attempts to stop the baby from crying, we instead feel sorry
for the baby as it suffers through some horrific scenarios. And while the raw, earthy approach usually brings
a sense of realism to the proceedings, that doesn't happen here and its rather unbelievable that Ameer manages
to raise the baby in his house without anybody suspecting anything.
But the film gets back the right tone once Ameer and the baby bond. After the horrifying flashback that manages
to create, in Ameer's father, one of the most detestable characters recent times, the key point of how Ameer sees
the baby is clear. This makes a big difference since it illustrates his closeness to it. The relationship assumes
a new meaning after that and justifies his acts. Similarly, the matter-of-fact nature of his relationship with
Madhumita also makes it quite unique and interesting. Considering the serious tone of the film, the way things
end doesn't come as that big a surprise but it does make an impact nevertheless.
Ameer doesn't show any first-film jitters and even his awkward dance moves suit the role of the rowdy. A
deglamorized Madhumita once again proves her acting mettle. The way she is scared of Ameer and gradually
thaws is believable and she manages to make us laugh inspite of her unenviable situation. Swathi is mostly
bedridden while Vincent Asokan plays the kind of role that would've been played by Raghuvaran a few years
ago. The very funny Seermevum Koovathile... is picturized just right as Ameer's gang enjoys the spoils
from their latest job.