Director: Sachin Khudalkar
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Subodh Bhave
It’s time for comebacks. With Sridevi creating a worthwhile impression last week, Rani Mukerji and Manisha Koirala battle it out this week with Bhoot Returns and Aiyyaa releasing on the same day. Preity Zinta is all set to mark her return with Ishkq in Paris.
National award winning Marathi director Sachin Khudalkar spins a tale around a wacked-out (wakda) family in his first attempt at Hindi cinema and he does it with a clash of Marathi and Tamil cinema. While stereotypes rule the character sketches, the actors help carry an otherwise clichéd screenplay.
Aiyyaa opens with an introduction of Meenakshi Deshpande’s dream life. The film opens with Rani Mukerji dressed as various actresses, as she dances around trees, runs on empty roads and poses on a beach. Meenakshi is a day dreamer, a girl who dreams of being a celebrity, but is in reality stuck in a family filled with melodramatic characters. From a father who smokes four cigarettes at one time with a sort of self-made gadget, to a mother who is overdramatic in everything she does. From a wheel-chaired grandmother who roams around the entire house in her sun glasses, to a brother who has given up studies and takes care of neighbourhood dogs…the Deshpande family is anything but ordinary.
While Meenakshi’s parents are in a desperate hunt to find her a suitor, she is forced to undergo a routine procedure day in and day out in front of prospective men and their families.
Yet, inside she hopes to find a man who she’d fall in love with and romance in a typical ‘filmy’ way.
In a bizarre situation, Meenakshi falls in love with the smell of a man, Surya (Prithviraj Sukumaran), who is a student in the art college, in which she works as a librarian. Meanwhile, Madhav (Subodh Bhave) enters her life as her suitor. While Madhav likes Meenakshi at first instance, Surya, who has a reputation of being a drug addict, pays no attention to Meenakshi’s existence, even though she follows him in the creepiest manner.
With each passing day, Meenakshi’s fondness for Surya increases as the date to her engagement with Madhav nears. What happens then forms the rest of the tale.
Though filled with clichés and caught in stereotypes, there is something that works in favour of Aiyyaa as it slips into the category of mindless comedy without crossing the line into idiocy like rom-coms normally do.
Meenakhi’s dreams, when juxtaposed with her real life, add to a capturing first half. The second half however, tends to move slowly, with the last 20 minutes becoming intolerable due to a forced song and redundant twist in the plot, which fails to bring a chuckle.
The scenes between Meenakshi’s brother and her ludicrous colleague Maina are nothing more than speed bumps in an otherwise smooth tale.
Rani, though showing signs of ageing, does a good job and entertains through most parts of the film, when she is not trying too hard to entertain. Meenakshi is just an extension of Bubbly from Bunty aur Bubly. Although she is not as rebellious, she is bold and despite staying grounded, she dares to dream. Rani, single-handedly carries the entire film with dramatic portrayals and amazing dance sequences.
Prithviraj is, simply put, an eye candy in the film. And no, not because I believe he is lip-smacking hot, but because the director intends to make him an ornament. His role is limited (which is a fault on the director’s part), yet his presence in the film leaves a great impression. Subodh Bhave does justice to his character.
All the other actors in the film go over the top in trying to portray comic characters. But it’s not their fault; the director perhaps went wrong on this angle. Then again, his intention was to go bizarre with extremely loud characters and get wakda.
The music of the film is as uncanny as its characters and plot. Amit Trivedi’s catchy tunes help keep the excitement. Dreamum Wakeuppam, Sava Dollar and Aga Bai add to the delight when mixed with excellent choreography. Rani goes all out as she shows off various styles and does it very well.
From an excellent portrayal of an artistic world with an essence of electric blue, to the surroundings of a middle-class family…Amalendu Chaudhary’s cinematography brings life to the film.
The director had the potential of producing something way better with the kind of team he had at his disposal, however, he fails to do so.
Though the film is limited by cheesy dialogues and prosaism, it proves to be an entertainer and a definite treat for every Rani Mukerji fan.