“Airaa”… In a double role, Nayanthara gives half a good performance in an underwhelming ghost story

Posted on March 28, 2019


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/airaa-movie-review-sarjun-nayanthara-baradwaj-rangan-yogi-babu

Very early on, Airaa sets us up for a full-blooded horror movie. The setting is Pollachi. Two cops enter a spookily underlit house and end up being ejected by force (and by… a force). Then, we come to Chennai, and there’s a nifty bit of foreshadowing. A distracted lorry driver, at a traffic light, takes his foot off the brake and his vehicle bumps into the car in front, and this sets off a chain reaction that ends with a lady on a scooter, right at the front, being bumped into. The lady, of course, is Nayanthara (the character is named Yamuna). And this series of events unfurling from one random event — the distracted lorry driver — points to the chain reaction at the heart of this movie’s mystery. Even if you don’t instantly recognise this as The Butterfly Effect, the director, Sarjun KM, fills the screen with butterflies. The film is subtle like that.

Plus, that haunted Pollachi house belongs to Yamuna’s grandmother. What’s that connection? (Or, for that matter, why couldn’t the ghost have haunted Yamuna in her home in Chennai?) The answers are meant to keep us gaping breathlessly, but Airaa — written by Priyanka Ravindran — is filled with a lot of dead air. An early scene has Yamuna’s parents setting her up with a misogynistic pig, but the man is so outlandish that I laughed. Yamuna (understandably) walks away, but the man (not so understandably) still wants her. Her parents are delighted, and so she agrees to marry this man who thinks she sleeps around because she’s in the media. This isn’t about feminism. This is about characterisation. Would someone as bold as Yamuna suddenly give in like this? I mean, screenplay-wise, all you really need in that meeting-the-boy scene is an excuse to put Yamuna in a bad mood. Why not yank the boy out of the scenario, make it a work lunch, and have her boss make a pass at her or something?

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil