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Movie Review
Rating :
Hero :
Heroine :
Rani Mukherjee
Other Cast :
Nirmiti Sawant, Amey Bhag, Subodh Bave
Director :
Sachin Kundalkar
Music Director :
Amit Trivedi
Producer :
Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Viaom 18
Release Date :
The absurd can be sexy, subversive, lofty—according to how a great artiste intends it. It is a tricky form for a film-maker if he wants his film to reach out, and be consumed. In Aiyyaa, a carefully crafted amalgamation of Bollywood kitsch and absurd, over-the-top storytelling, writer-director Sachin Kundalkar almost achieves a fine balance, a dramatic perfection, careful never to alienate his viewers. But for the loose and meandering lead-up to the climax in the last half-hour—the film should have been at least 20 minutes shorter to leave the viewer on a powerful note—Aiyyaa has a strident imagination at work. It is a raucous and immensely enjoyable piece of film-making.

Aiyyaa is an extension of one of Kundalkar’s short films, Gandha. Derivative of Pedro Almadovar’s films in its absurdity and woman-centrism, at its core is a woman’s journey for love and meaning. Kundalkar’s world consists of the Deshpande family. A father who smokes four cigarettes at the same time using an antiquated gadget, a son whose only love is street dogs, a blustering, grand old lady on a wheelchair, with dark goggles and gold teeth, a daughter, Meenaxi (Rani Mukerji) who, in her dream world, impersonates Sridevi, Madhuri and Juhi—more real to her than her state of wakefulness, when she loves a man using only her olfactory nerves.

Proceeding ahead with the story, the Deshpande family is in a look out for a suitable groom for Meenakshi. However, the latter's likings with regards match up to her quirks. She wants a South Indian (read dark-skinned) male. Enters Surya (Prithviraj) and Meenakshi in one swift movement falls for his tanned skin and body odour. However, Surya is completely ignorant of her while in the meantime Meenakshi's parents have her engaged to another man Madhav (Subodh Bhave). The rest of the film revolves around Madhav chasing Meenashi while the latter chasing Surya.

Rani Mukherjee expertly manages to be both a simpleton and a seductress. She looks stunning and dances like a dervish. But the film can't match her performance. Kundalkar's story soon runs out of charm and wit. His lovely idea and original voice is stretched to the point where even Rani's mannerisms start to feel repetitive.

Prithviraj, who plays her object of desire, doesn't have much to do except be the attractive, angst-ridden artist. He has a nice presence but by the time this love story is resolved, you are way beyond caring - which is a real shame because parts of Aiyyaa have energy and passion. But it is drowned by the insistence on being wakda - crooked. Clearly wackiness can't carry a film.
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