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Aiyyaa (2012)

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Reviews: 27 user | 28 critic

A woman goes on the hunt for her dream man, armed with her wild imagination, her passion for Masala-films, and her ultra-sensitive sense of smell.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Meenakshi Deshpande
Prithviraj Sukumaran ...
Surya (as Prithviraj)
Nirmiti Sawant ...
Aai, Meenakshi's mother
Subodh Bhave ...
Jyoti Subhash ...
Dadi, Meenakshi's grandma
Satish Alekar ...
Baba, Meenakshi's father
Anita Date ...
Amey Wagh ...
Kishori Balal ...
Surya's mother (as Kishori Ballal)
Pakoda Pandi ...
Pakkada, canteen boy (as Pakkada Pandi)
Shubhangi Damle ...
Madhav's mother
Umesh Kulkarni ...
Newspaper boy
Suraj Satav ...
College registrar
Prashant Tapaswi ...
College peon (as Prashant Tapaswee)
Dinesh Mapari ...
Auto rickshaw driver


Wildly imaginative and film-obsessed, Meenakshi Deshpande has an extra sensitive nose. After she is hired to work in a local college's library, she catches a wonderful scent in the air. The source is Surya, a handsome and enigmatic art student from a Tamil family. Meanwhile, Meenakshi's eccentric Marathi family has arranged for her marriage to Madhav, a kind and sensible man. Meenakshi is torn between marrying her parents' choice for a seemingly ideal husband, or following her nose and chasing the hunky stranger who may or may not be all that he seems. Written by L. Hamre

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12 October 2012 (India)  »

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From 'aaiyaa' to 'aaiyo', Rani pulls it off!!
17 October 2012 | by (India) – See all my reviews

There was a time in the early '2k era' when an actress was slowly making a mark in Indian cinema. She was small, impish, vigorously spontaneous and ever charming. Her crackling voice appeared unpleasant initially leading filmmakers like Mahesh Bhatt to dub someone else for her. However, like a true talent would, she turned every scar to star. Rani Mukherjee, the actress with all her effervescence was missing all this while from the silver screen, she made her fans wait and grumble. However, the wait was worth!! With "Aiyaa", Rani is rightfully "back with a bang". She rants, she banters, she raves and she rules!!!

Meenakshi Deshpande (Rani Mukherjee) loves to dream herself as Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi and Juhi Chawla (the ladies who ruled Indian cinema in the 90's). She idolizes them...but wait, she is not a wannabe actress, she simply loves to dream! A typical 'teenage Bollywood freak' at heart, Meenakshi's dreams are pompous, opulent and larger-than-life, no matter how diminutive her real life existence is. While her parents almost hound for a suitable match for her, she secretly nourishes the idea of eloping with her boyfriend by taking away all her grand ma's assorted jewellery. A secret wish to fall in love and get rid of the 'ever-so-mundane' ways of life is all that she wants. The movie begins by elucidating upon the innuendos of this freaky, simple yet vivacious Marathi mulgi. Meenakshi's dream is perhaps every (middle class) girl's dream and this is where an instant connection takes place between the audience and the gripping narrative of this girl.

Rani Mukherjee with all her gusto gives a live wire performance as Meenakshi on-screen.

Before one could settle down with the vibrancy of this girl, another aspect about her comes to surface. Meenakshi is hyper-sensitive to 'smell' in general. The municipality dustbin is just a stone's throw from her house. She is agitated, screams and rants about it all the day. Feels stifled almost every time she passes by it and gets nauseated by its foulness. However, the fragrance of dreams never ceases to grasp her. The bin here works as a complete metaphor to showcase the innate quality of this girl to live life just the way she wants to!

The story develops further. Meenakshi eventually manages a job as a librarian in an art college and consequently feels a magnetic pull towards an art student there for the "heavenly" smell that he emanates. Is it the perennial stingy smell that she has to bear with back home which makes her so drawn towards this "out-of the world" smell of this man? We ponder! Prithviraj, I was told is a South superstar. He absolutely lives up to the expectations in the film. Super dashing as he looks on screen, his contemplative face as an artist is a "countenance to reckon with", so much so that Meenakshi eventually falls head-over-heels in love with him and so does most of the girls in the audience! (I included)

Like her dreams Meenakshi follows him almost everywhere. She goes all out of her way to learn Tamil. She barges into the men's toilet, gatecrashes into his house as a sales woman and secretly steals his shirt only to wear it in the night and feel closer to his 'existence'. The longing to be with the beloved can also be satiated by wearing his clothes, his belongings and their remnants. A beautiful expression indeed!!

Gyrating dance moves and raunchy make-ups are nothing but an expression of her fantasies that plummets the moment real life strikes.

Meenakshi's marriage gets apparently fixed up with the 'Farooque Sheikh' admirer Madhav which she couldn't impede even after a forceful horrendous rendition of a Tamil song.

She continually follows her dream man who is continually oblivious about her. Meenakshi pulls out all the stops to follow him for an entire day and escapes from her pending engagement. She finally meets him eventually discovers the reason for the heavenly smell that pulls her....

Almost a fairytale story told in a fairytale fashion, 'Aiyaa' wins your heart with its softness, unique expression of love and ever so pure "smell" factor attached to it. What is it, other than the looks, which make a person different from the others externally? Smell right?

No two individual can smell the same technically. The director harps on this fact and colors it with all the possible shades of romance. The intensity of a person's body, the feeling of getting attached with him by inhaling that fragrance…..emotions become almost palpable at the very realization of it all!!

'Aiyaa' other than being a fun to watch movie is also very profound in the message it inadvertently conveys. With some comic relief in the form of the 'golden tooth of the grand ma' and Meenakshi's pro-PETA brother (which I honestly feel the script did not need at all), the film fulfills all the quotients of entertainment. After Sridevi's powerful performance in English Vinglish, its Rani's exuberance that comes our way this time round. What a treat for movie buffs! Much like Sridevi's Shashi, who ends up completely transforming herself as an expert in English, Rani's Meenakshi too coverts from speaking "aiyaa" to "aaiyo". She meets her dream man finally and becomes "Meenakshi Deshpande Iyer".

P.S- Extra ordinary dance prowess showcased by Rani (especially the belly dance). Beautiful movie, must watch!!

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