Yadvi: The Dignified Princess movie review—A one-dimensional real-life tale
A biography, this film is the tale of Princess Yadhuvanshi Kumari (1922-2006) of the Phulkian dynasty, daughter of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala.
According to the British records, she was called Princess Alice and was also known as Yadvi. But her father would fondly call her Flutterfly because as a young girl, she could not pronounce butterfly.
Narrated in a non-linear manner by the Princess' granddaughter Jyoti Singh, who has directed the film and has also essayed the role of her grandmother in the film, the movie begins with giving a brief history of the royal family of Patiala along with Maharaja Bhupinder Singh's achievements. It also tells us why the film is presented in English. And then the focus shifts to Yadvi.
We are told, as a young girl, Yadvi is betrothed to the Rajput Prince, Govind of Maihar. The arranged marriage was a pure political move to strengthen the bonds between the two kingdoms. Though married, Yadvi stayed with her father and was supposed to shift to her husband's home after she turns twenty one.
Circumstances force Yadvi to move to Maihar earlier than expected only to find that her husband has ventured out of his kingdom to get himself another wife. How Yadvi accommodates herself in her in-laws place, later sets up her home in Ranikhet and ends up losing all her privileges due to sheer circumstances and the choices she made in life, forms the crux of this tale.
Mounted with moderate production values, the output is laudable. Jyoti Singh in her maiden venture as the director is commendable. Though the transition in some scenes is jerky and the sound levels fluctuate, the overall result is noteworthy -- especially in extracting good performances from the cast.
Director Jyoti Singh's performance as Princess Yadvi is praiseworthy. She portrays her grandmother with great passion and sincerity but falls short on grace. Rahul Godara as Prince Govind is equally effective especially when he confronts his father when he intends marrying for the third time.
Chandrachur Singh is a brilliant and natural actor but as Maharajah Bhupinder Singh, in a dead-pan mode, he is a big let-down. Resha Sabbarwal as Princess Kanak and Nikkitasha Marwaha as Giriraj have their moments of onscreen glory.
The rest of the cast are natural and appear to be real.
The plot steeped with history starts off on a rather dull and unexciting note. But the narrative gathers momentum when we get involved with the subject. It does give us an insight into the decaying royalty and you do feel sorry for the Princess. But then the writing credited to Gauri Singh, does not do justice to the subject, for it skims through the Princess' life in a perfunctory manner. It also does not offer the layers, the period had to offer, especially that of the freedom struggle of the country.
There are two scenes that are poorly mounted, one of which is in Ranikhet, when the Princess is returning from the market and two women are gossiping about her and they later turn towards her to help her carry her bag.
The background score by Anuj Garg and the soulful meandering numbers, "Rangreeza, rangreeza" along with "Aap ka pata hi nahi", integrates well with the narration.
Jigme Tenzing's cinematography and Vick Krishna's editing are worth a mention.
Overall, this film does give an insight into the Princess' life and glorifies her albeit in a one-dimensional manner.