‘Navarasa’, on Netflix, has nine shorts of varying quality, the best of which are by Vasanth, Karthik Subbaraj and Arvind Swami

Posted on August 6, 2021


Spoilers ahead…

 is an anthology of nine films based on the nine rasas. It’s produced and presented by Mani Ratnam and Jayendra Panchapakesan to help the daily wage workers in the film industry hit by the pandemic. The artists and technicians worked without remuneration, so there’s no question about the merit of the project itself. Let’s look at the merit of the individual films.

In the order presented by Netflix, Bejoy Nambiar’s Edhiri comes first, with Prakash Raj, Vijay Sethupathi and Revathi, who is simply spectacular. All acting is a combination of the director’s input and the actor’s instinct, but it’s the artist who has to put it in front of the camera. There are two acting moments I am going to remember for a long, long time. The first one is when she goes into a room and sees something terrible. We’re not shown what it is but you expect a scream. Instead, she just retreats in a horrified silence; it’s an amazing scene. The second moment: after a tragedy, she doesn’t cry and her face is absolutely still but you get a sense of so many emotions on her face. Later we learn whether she could have done anything better in the past or how the tragedy has ended everything in her life. And she shows all this with an almost still life-like expression on her face. She’s simply magnificent.

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