Airaa Review & Rating|
Airaa Review: A Mixed Bag of Brilliance and Mundane
Director Sarjun has come up with a regular horror film with all the tropes we associate with the genre but has added a few elegant touches to make it look like a different beast altogether. With Lady Superstar Nayanthara in the lead playing a dual role for the first time in her career, and the recent success record of her (all her last three films are blockbusters), the expectations are on the level of Airaavatam (excuse the intended pun), the divine elephant and the vehicle mount of Indra. Let's see if all the hype surrounding the movie is justified or not with Airaa review.
The movie starts with the police attending a plea call from a woman in Pollachi (Is the director foreshadowing the gruesome happening early this month?). But they find the call is from a haunted house. This will be connected to the events that occur later in the film. Yes. You guessed it right. Butterfly Effect is used by director Sarjun right through Airaa.
Now, the scene shifts to Chennai where we meet lady superstar Nayanthara er... Yamuna, a young journalist who is bristling with ideas but has to stay put with them as her boss doesn't allow her... to flourish. She is given an intro scene worthy of her superstardom and it is thankfully done in a subtle way. Yamuna plans to start a YouTube channel as she is fed up with covering mundane topics as a media professional (we all face this some time in our lives, no?).
Her parents are trying to coerce her to marry an NRI and settle down in life. To escape the routineness of life and the torture from her parents to marry a suitable boy, she leaves to spend some time in Pollachi in her grandmother's. The same house is the haunting house and there is a reason.
Once there, despite her grandmother's repeated warnings, Yamuna starts to shoot some fake ghost videos with the help of Mani, the helper in the house, played by Yogi. She uploads them in her YouTube channel which quickly gets viral and makes her popular. This leads to some serious troubles in her life.
On the other hand, there is a person named Amudhavan is in confusion. He understands that the murders that are happening around him is interconnected but he couldn't place the right cause behind them. He has lost his beloved Bhavani in an accident and is brooding over the loss. He finally understands that these murders may actually have a connection to the death of Bhavani. How the stories of Yamuna and Amudhavan merge and what is the connection between Yamuna and Bhavani? The answers to these questions form the rest of the story.
Writing and direction
On the paper, the addition of cause-effect idea of Butterfly Effect and Rube Goldberg's method (depicting complicated events in the form of simple but in indirect, convoluted ways) to a horror thriller appears very intriguing. But when translating these on to the screen, the director failed to bring clarity. Also, he failed to elicit sympathy for the character of Yamuna all the while concentrating more on Bhavani's.
The first half despite having some great and creative jumpscares appears like an infinite drag. The scenes come and go and none register with the audience. The problem arose because he wanted to conceal the real story (a flashback obviously) for the second half. The flashback which reveals the story of this mysterious woman Bhavani is the real star of the entire story but by the time it starts to roll out, the audience loses interest in the proceedings.
Though the director succeeded in bringing the audience back into the movie with few effective scenes involving currently raging issues like female infanticide, bullying, child abuse, and discrimination on the basis of skin color. But the final 30 minutes which should have formed the lifeblood of the film not just failed to make an impact. All the hard work done till that point went into drain because of some silly execution.
Nayanthara as Bhavani is a treat to her fans as she has completely reinvented herself as an actress in that role. The same cannot be said for Yamuna character. The expressions have become routine and the dubbing is irritating, to say the least. But overall, she shed her stardom and tried to get into the skin of the characters she played as envisioned by the director.
Yogi Babu is wasted in a bland role. The oneliners written for him fail to invoke laughter. A lot was expected from him as his combination with Nayanthara in Kolamaavu Kokila clicked so well. Kalaiyarasan is exceptional in the role of Amudhavaan. The lady who played Yamuna's grandmother is also good. Rest of the actors did justice to the roles they played based on their capabilities.
Special appreciation must be reserved for the cinematographer and music director. The background score is the best we have come across in this year so far. It even exceeded the score of the Malayalam movie 9 (Nine). The sounds designed for each and every scene is organic. The score glorified the effect of the visuals on the screen.
The cinematographer who used out of the box visual cues for this movie did justice to the vision of the direction. The visuals are crisp. The color hues are refreshing. The images haunting. The framing of certain scenes especially in the zero gravity scene (where objects float in the air showing indicating the supernatural element is done in a superlative manner.
Editing and production
Editing is good for the most part and is trendy in a way. The intercuts between various timelines and storylines are effective. But a few scenes should have been trimmed in the first half. Also, the pre-climax which is actually the decision of the director could have been done in a different way. The production design is good. The production values by KJR Studios are to the standard of a superstar's movie.
Airaa is a mixed bag. On one hand, it is evident that the director is brimming with creative ideas and on the other, we get a feeling that he himself got confused in the execution. While Nayanthara's Bhavani is a powerhouse of a performance from her, Yamuna suffered from routineness. You can watch the film if you want to experience something aesthetically different. But be sure to leave the theatres before the pre-climax. In one word, skip.
- Nayanthara as Bhavani
- Intense flashback which touched upon currently relevant issues
- The core ideas of the director
- Terrific background score and cinematography
- Faltering execution
- Final 30 minutes
- Nayanthara's characterization as Yamuna
Pycker Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Reviewed by: GitacharYa
Airaa Critic Reviews
Airaa User Reviews
Airaa starring lady superstar Nayanthara has been in the news for quite some time and the buzz surrounding the film steadily increased leading up to the release. As the movie hits the screens today, the preview shows and early shows are done by now. The general consensus about the movie is that the movie is carried by Nayanthara on her shoulders. Her performance and the technical brilliance make this movie watchable. The story of Bhavani and Yamuna is intriguing and Bhavani character remains with you.
Nayanthara's screen presence and acting along with the score composed by Sundaramurthy hold the film well. But the story of the film is not properly set up until very late in the first half. The first half has quite a few scary moments while the second half, especially the story of Bhavani makes it an interesting watch. The background score counts as a big highlight. Technically good. It's a mix of usual horror effects and some genuinely intense moments. The butterfly factor is quite intriguing.
Despite the mixed response the movie started to receive post the early shows, Nayanthara's performance as the dark-skinned Bhavani is winning the hearts of the early watchers. Nayan once again steals the shows and shoulders the film from start to end with a sterling performance. Be it the stylish Yamuna or the dark-skinned Bhavani, she has aced it as usual and gives life to these characters.
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What is Airaa About?
Airaa is the story of Bhavani and Yamuna. Yamuna is every inch modern-day journalist/reporter who doesn't stop at anything to create sensations to make it viral news. She believes that the more sensational the news, the more attention can be attained. While the mysterious Bhavani promises someone that she will return to take revenge on those 6 persons who made her life living hell.
Everybody aspires to live happily says Bhavani, but when happiness eludes you all life in itself becomes an aspiration. It is the connection between the journalist Yamuna who intended to play a practical joke with ghosts as the theme and Bhavani that form the base of Airaa's plot. Yogi Babu once again teams up with Nayan after Kolamaavu Kokila and Kalaiyarasan will be seen in the other major role.
Airaa comes on the heels of back to back blockbusters for Nayanthara both in female-oriented subjects and masala blockbuster like Viswasam. The hype surrounding the movie is very high. Airaa is produced by KJR Studios and is helmed by Sarjun who previously made the thriller Echcharikai.
An intense and entertaining horror-thriller
Airaa promises to be an intense horror thriller on one side and has enough humor to entertain the audience at least in the initial portions of the film. It is expected that it is when Yamuna comes up with the idea of making a video on the ghosts that Bhavani's story crops up. While Yamuna's story is funny for the most part, Bhavani's story has revenge and supernatural angle which has some intense moments.
Lady superstar Nayanthara
Nayanthara is adept in portraying any sort of role and nowadays she appears to have owned the thriller genre. Now, she's back to her happy hunting ground of her pet genre with supernatural elements. Playing the role of Bhavani, a deglamorized avatar is not at all an experiment on her part as she is expected to pull any character off. Such is the stature of Nayanthara right now. Yama=una's role is a cakewalk for her.
Sarjun and his team
Director Sarjun proved himself to be capable of handling thriller subjects with Echcharikai. He comes up with another different concept this time. Though on the surface the film may have a couple of thread which are regular staples of the genre but blending them into a coherent narrative is a feat he is capable of doing. The trailer is good and the movie has generated a lot of buzz expectedly.
The music by Sundaramurthy K.S. is good especially the background score is apt for the genre. The cinematographer Sudarshan Srinivasan has experimented and tried to break the norm for this film to go with the vision of the director. Instead of muted and blue hues as is the norm for horror films, he went with warm colors dominated by yellow, orange and red. Also, some of the flashback scenes are said to be shot in black and white. The team is backed by KJR Studios and Airaa is certainly a well-made film.
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