Wonder Women never makes the mistake of outstaying its welcome – which helps in a film that’s a self-help tutorial for expectant mothers doubling up as an ode to female solidarity.

Over a breezy 79 minutes, writer-director Anjali Menon introduces us to women who speak different languages and hail from different socio-economic strata but are united by their swollen bellies. The members of a class for pregnant women run by Nandita (Nadhiya Moidu) go through exercises that will ease their deliveries alongside forming friendships that will presumably last beyond their final trimesters.

The mainly English-language film, with dialogue in Tamil, Marathi, Hindi and Telugu, has been released through SonyLIV. The streaming platform is an apt destination for a film with an unexciting visual grammar but an array of excellent actors who embrace the rare opportunity to play relatable characters, rather than glam goddesses.

The women include Veni, (Padmapriya), who has a controlling mother-in-law (Radha Gomati). Jaya (Amruta Subhash) has had three miscarriages and hopes her fourth delivery will be smooth. Nora (Nithya Menen) is married to a cafe owner who is unmoved by the upcoming child. Saya (Sayonara Philip) has a live-in boyfriend who’s more excited about the baby than she is.

Mini (Parvathy Thiruvothu) is the outlier in the group. Unfriendly and immune to the hippy-dippy air that hangs over the class, Mini injects a welcome note of grumpiness and dissent to the insistent cheer and bonhomie. Govind Vasantha’s tralalala music is in nearly every scene, amping up the already capitalised feel-good quotient.

Anjali Menon, whose credits as writer and director include Ustad Hotel, Bangalore Days and Koode, ensures that the women’s individual accounts just about register in a film that is determinedly light in spirit and lite in treatment. Be it far from us to complain about a film that doesn’t stretch on forever. But some of the themes, such as the fear of pain during childbirth and the importance of men sharing child-rearing responsibilities, simply woosh by.

Wonder Women relies on its wonderful women to deliver the goods, with Nadhiya Moidu, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Nithya Menen and Padmapriya handed the meatiest scenes. The film is dedicated to “sisterhoods that uphold us”.

Wonder Women (2022).