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'Aiyyaa' is a film that redefines zany, whacky, and crazy, or should I
instead say 'Wakra'? It's leading lady a librarian in an Art College
in real, and a Bollywood Diva in her fantasies - Meenakshi (played
uninhibitedly by Rani Mukherjee) and her acute sense of smell and by
connection, unfathomable attraction to the tall, dark, and handsome art
student Surya (a delightful Bollywood debut by Malyalam star Prithviraj
Sukumaran) and maddeningly Bollywood fantasies drive not only her, but
also those around oscillating between sanity and the puerile.
Be it her motor mouth mother who keeps laughing and telling all and sundry about how perfect a bride her daughter will be, her father, surrounded by innumerable mostly dysfunctional telephones who has the quirky habit of smoking 4 cigarettes at the same time, her jobless class 10 failed brother 'Nanu' who loves dogs and is dogged in his hate for humanity, or last but not the least, her blind grandmother with her golden dentures who keeps zipping around the house in a motorized wheelchair and passes expert comments on everything.
Add to that a crazy co-worker 'Mayna' who is a cross between Lady Gaga and Bugs Bunny. Be it her crazy Lady Gaga inspired dressing, bad Bollywood dancing, maddening fondness for John Abraham, or overall behavior with those around her. She really is as whacky, if not more than Meenakshi's family.
The only sane person in her life is her forced fiancé Madhav Rajadhyaksha (played aptly by Marathi actor Subodh Bhave) whose logicality almost threatens to overpower the smelly attraction Meenakshi has for Surya. And therein lies a terrible tale.
This is a classic example of too many ingredients confusing the cook. For, while several sequences stand out for their whacky quotient, the overall picture is one of incoherence. The story and plot are as weak as Meenakshi's knees every time she spots Surya. The funny lines, superb acting, excellent choreography, and beautiful music are somehow thrust at the background every time you desperately hope and wish to hear the mostly silent Surya speak. His body however speaks, rather screams, every time he enters a fantastical dream of Meenakshi and ends up displaying some groovy dancing, a chiseled body complimented by a shaved chest, and six pack abs that stand out in stark contrast to his unkempt chest hair ravaged painter avatar in the real portions.
But for the most part your heart might actually go out to the more earthy suitor of Meenakshi with his love for the kind of romance exemplified by Farroukh Sheikh and Deepti Naval.
If you shirk your nose every time you catch a rerun of MTV Fully Faltoo, this film might be the smelliest thing to have entered your nostrils. If a great story and plot are those that drive you, this film is likely to be a huge let down. But if you are one of those who are ready for some zany humor, this indeed might be the film to catch. Though a better script/story/plot rounded with some crisp editing would have done this film a world of good, it stills holds its ground for several reasons. Watch it for its characters, presentation, dialogues and crazy sense of humor (thanks to National Award winning director Sachin Kundalkar), whacky lyrics (Amitabh Bhattacharya), fantastic music (Amit Trivedi), exuberant choreography (Vaibhavi Merchant) and last but not the least, for Rani Mukherjee.
Be it her enacting of iconic songs and dialogues of Sridevi, Madhuri, or Juhi, her attempts at learning Tamil, her overpowering melodrama about everything happening to her, and for her trio of terrific dance performances - a luscious Lavani, a Silk Smitha inspired 'Dreamup Wakeupum', or her fantastic Kamasutra inspired Belly Dancing in 'Aaga Bai'. Rani is fantastic or should be say 'Wakra'? Go decide for yourself.
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!!
First of all, Aiyyaa isn't meant to be taken seriously! Obviously! Nutty reviewers on the internet who talked of how this movie does not reflect the struggles of an average middle class girl etc. etc. need to take a long holiday. Am glad I ignored the bad reviews (where most of the badness was in the review - we need critics of critics) and the chap at the ticket counter who tried his best to avoid selling me tickets (it is very bad movie madam, it is too long madam, nobody is watching it, better watch some other movie) and went and watched it. The movie is cute. Very cute. And it's shot beautifully. And except for the usual Indian movie issues of slightly bad editing (although the editing is way way way better than in most Hindi movies), there isn't much else wrong with it. The cast is lovely. The dialogues are funny (provided you like / get the raunchy humour) and aren't dumbed down under the assumption that the entire audience consists of five year olds with an IQ of 10 that need everything explained to them at least three times. The main character in the movie (Meenakshi) is actually someone most urban women can relate to (when they are being honest and not self- righteous) especially cos the main eye-candy in the movie (Surya) is quite capable of getting women to lust after him in that way :). Jokes about women lusting after men tend to disturb a lot of insecure men so, women, don't go watch the movie with one of those chaps! Most of the jokes in the movie make fun of conventional / main stream ideas of romance and sex and if you have a problem with this, you are going to squirm through the movie. Also don't go watch the movie with mummy and daddy but do watch it. It's fun!
Aiyyaa was a major critical and financial failure, but having seen the
nice trailer and liked it, and considering the fact that Rani Mukherjee
is in it, I most willingly decided to watch it. I personally found
Aiyya to be thoroughly enjoyable. It is a slightly mad but totally
relatable comic ride which is well written and acted and which has
plenty of great moments. The humour is indeed very different from what
we are used to watching in the usual Bollywood fare, and the basic
concept of a woman just going 'aiyyaa' over a stranger whose mysterious
fragrance attracts her the most may be quite weird at points. But, it
is this very premise which makes this little film ever more unique and
funny. The film is portrayed rather realistically, with the sets,
costumes and dialogue giving it an engaging sense of everyday
simplicity, while being consistently humorous. The portrayal of
Meenakshi's Marathi family is very amusing, and the songs are quite fun
to watch. Aiyyaa's biggest strength, however, is the portrayal of its
main character; Meenakshi finds a way to deal with her everyday
troubles through the power of the imagination. She creates her own
perfect, spiritual world, using her dreams without really losing
herself. In this regard, Aiyyaa works as a mini-celebration of the
All of this, however, wouldn't have been the same without the wonderful presence of Rani Mukherjee. Mukherjee is a true delight in this film. Her last great performance was in a minuscule part in Saawariya, and it's been ages since we've seen her really immerse herself into a character, as she does here. As Meenakshi, she is hilarious and at times just borderline self-deprecatory. It is this uninhibited, fearless quality that makes this comic performance work so well. Her dance numbers, needless to say, are brilliant and she looks a million bucks in each one of them. South Indian actor Prithviraj is for the most part a mere presence on-screen, but he does pretty well and is good foil for Mukherjee. The other members of the cast are all very good and turn in nice and funny acts. Towards the end the film provides us with some of its most beautiful sequences. The climactic scenes are very surprising and the ending is unexpected and rewarding. This is also the opportunity to note the excellent cinematography, and the amazing background score, which enhance the narrative. Aiyyaa is an absolute laugh riot which has been misunderstood and rejected by critics and audiences just for the wrong reasons. I liked it, and would definitely recommend it to Hindi film buffs.
OK, this is a goofy movie (the tag line is: Go Wakda (wacky)) so if you are expecting superb entertainment, you are out of luck. But, Rani Mukerji really shines as a nut job and really makes this movie laughable fun. I vote for her to star in the next Houseful 3 as her wackiness would work well in that series. You need to appreciate the wacky humor that comes with the Golmaal, Houseful, or Masti/Grand Masti series to enjoy his one. If that is not your style of humor, look elsewhere. Meenakshi's family is truly dysfunctional and adds to the humor. Meenaski's friend and co-worker Mynah comes across as an Indian Lady Gaga and is somewhat funny, but a little annoying at times. When Meenakshi dreams about being her favorite actresses is probably the funniest parts, so it helps to have a good background on some older Bollywood hits and veteran actresses to get a laugh at those scenes. The music is catchy, though some of the dance sequences are a bit risqué which is slightly unusual for Rani. Nothing terrible, but slightly not family safe for younger members. Prithviraj's character is played well especially in the end. Not a hit, but good goofy fun if you are looking for a good laugh.
First up, damn the reviewers. This is a terrific little movie and
though it has it's faults, this imperfection is what makes it such an
endearing and madcap ride. Rani's acting is like the cherry on top of a
cake who's flavours often border on the bizarre. She's supported by a
zany and exuberant cast of characters, all of who make a mark. One can
almost sense that they all had a ball playing their bit. The last 30
mins is as trippy as it gets and is not for folks with a straight bent
of mind. A special mention also goes out to the brooding and macho
leading man who doesn't need to speak much as his body language does
all the talking.
I had a great time watching this flick and give it a 10 on 10 based on it's out of the world(bollywood) sense of humour and the terrific acting ability of it's leading lady.
Watching this movie was a beautiful experience that I had to repeat. First of all, the nostalgia of older romantic movies was done just perfectly. Rani's look, choice of cast and scenes was very natural and real, which allows the audience to focus more on the story and acting. The movie idea is so brilliant. I saw the earlier movie which Aiyya's story was taken from (the smell). It was purely unique and captivating that it would have been even a greater idea if the story was expanded. The songs were amazing and highlighted Rani's skills. Even though Pritviraj role was not as visible as Rani's but it was unique in the since that it was not exaggerated as in most Hindi movies where even if the hero keeps to himself, he would have been shoved in more scenes till the audience screams "we get it!". Not sure how he will fit in Bollywood but he fitted the role in this movie perfectly. I even liked the supporting actress and the brother. They reminded me of the comedy supporting actors of 1990's like Jonny Lever, etc. If you are not a fan of realistic comedy movies, prefer commercial/ " in the box" movie ideas then this movie is not for you.
This movie has a script and it is an entertainer... unlike lots and lots of nonsense Hindi movies in the past few years without any story whatsoever and a few catchy songs and a bit of salman and shahrukh. This movie is different and it has hints of Marathi theatre and earlier naseerudding shah, deepti naval, fahrook sheikh movies. I think the movie is Severely UNDERRATED on IMDb. Congratulations to the director for bringing us such an entertainer. I really really loved it. Rani Mukerji is really looking hot and the acting is good too. Lots of funny moments especially the grandmother having incense sticks on her wheelchair and revolving in the room for aarti... that scene is absolutely hilarious.. I recommend this to anybody looking for a light hearted genuine comedy.
This is a lighthearted movie not to be taken seriously and pokes satire at whatever family matters it can.Western viewers might miss some laughs due to lack of context. BTW I Haven't' laughed like this for some time. Rani khaki has a lot of screen-time to a point where its almost like watching a stand up comedy of Rani Mukharji. Plot is quite simple might come a bit slow and the climax of the movie is very nice and hits you like a cloud. Music is catching I am thinking of the song even as I' typing this This is not a typical Bollywood movie and my guess is that Indian viewers did not appreciate what they saw and my only regret is that this type of movies will discontinue to align with Indian viewers. Giving a 9 due to the entertaining nature of the movie
Caught up with Aiyaa this weekend. Every character in this movie is
insane, and everything is overboard. And nothing from Bollywood before
this has sent me into a 10 minutes long laughter fit than Maina (Anita
Date), the craziest character ever invented by Bollywood. This film is
the output of a really twisted Mind. Everyone overacts, but that seems
to have been done deliberately and adds to the crazy feel of this.
This isn't typical Bollywood, and this isn't something Rani Mukerji or any Indian actress has done in the past. She does a Bindaas role, shakes it all up holding nothing back and acts spectacularly. Prithviraj Sukumaran, the hero, is the only sane guy and pulls of his intense/ brooding character brilliantly. The movie moves slowly, but the story wasn't meant to go anywhere anyway. Music by Amit Trivedi rocks as usual.
This is a brave experimental Bollywood movie and I highly recommend it to all those who may be getting a bit bored of all the normality in their life. Forget all those movie reviews, most of which have totally panned it their reviews are for masses not you ;)
My Rating 8/10 (From my Blog - http://www.rahulbalyan.com/2012/11/movie-review-aiyyaa/ )
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