Films | Aiyya – Movie Review

Aiyya – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on October 13, 2012 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga
DIRECTOR – Sachin Kundalkar
WRITER – Sachin Kundalkar
CAST – Rani Mukerji, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Subodh Bhave, Satish Alekar, Kishori Ballal
MUSIC – Amit Trivedi

Spoofs are fine and so are tributes, especially to cinema, its dreams and dramas. Aiyya does a bit of it all, meandering merrily through its sketchy story and sketchier ending.

It is centred around Meenakshi, a middle-class Maharashtrian girl, a dreamer and film buff who also has a very strong sense of smell. Among her whacky family’s moves to get her married arranged she is wishing for her dream-man to come and sweep her off her feet. Something similar happens when she meets Surya (Prithivraj), art student at the Fine Arts College she works at and mystery man to boot. Entranced by his smell she follows him around like a puppy even as she keeps up with the marriage drama at home. A groom Madhav, (Subodh Bhave) is fixed and so are the dates. And on the other hand mystery man refuses to even acknowledge her existence.
Excessive quirk and outlandish characters people this narrative of a seemingly normal and middle-class family and informs the tone of the entire film too. Intentionally over-the-top, every character speaks and acts with exaggerated expressions at optimum decibel levels. While this adds to the fun in the beginning it begins to get tiring after a while especially since the story never seems to catch up.

There are sparks of originality in debutante director Sachin Kundalkar’s narrative, especially in the extremely bizarre characters like the wheelchair-bound, hyper-energetic, blind grandmother and the unexplainably eccentric Maina, Meenakshi’s colleague. This originality however is undermined by a heavily text-book narrative that seems to have refused to concede to the editor. There is glamour in elaborately shot, uber-masala item songs with Dreamum, Wakepum done exactly in the style of Tamil cinema. Justified as a dream sequence of Meenakshi since Surya is a Tamilian, the song unfortunately comes across as a spoof in bad taste. Amit Trivedi’s score seems template-like except the gloriously whacky “What to do”.

The real obstacle in enjoying the film however lies in its very superficial story-telling. Characters remain strictly bound by the need to entertain and the quirk never leaves a gap for us to see what, if anything at all is really behind these men and women. The climax of Madhav and Surya’s characters seems nothing short of convenient writing without a semblance of real characterisation. Yet, within those limitations both perform with restrain. Prithviraj gets little to do except being flaunted for the female gaze and at times it is really Madhav we are rooting for.

Rani Mukherjee as Meenakshi is meant to hold the film together which she does by default given that she is present in every scene. She portrays her character’s dreaminess and flaky-headed filminess as a sport but her character too, like all others is fragmented. Neither is she shy of over-doing it all, something she does without a sense of really enjoying it.

Aiyya mixes Bollywood conventions with some originality but with a very amateurish treatment. And it is precisely this that takes all the fun out of an otherwise interesting package.

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