It is hard to fathom what an award winning director like Sachin Kundalkar was thinking when he set upon himself the task to make a film like ‘Aiyyaa’ after proving his mettle in a Marathi film called ‘Nirop’ and bagging a National Award as a screenplay writer for ‘Gandha’. Perhaps, Sachin woke up one day with an idea to portray the story of a typical single and ready to mingle middle-class girl who’s waiting for her Mr. Right but in reality ended up spoiling the film (and thereby torturing us - the audience) in his attempt to pull off a supposedly off-beat film.
The movie is a (nonsensical) ‘fairy tale’ of a middle-class Maharashtrian girl called Meenakshi (Rani Mukerji) who yearned to be an actress but eventually settled down with a job in an art college. Meenakshi is melodramatic and a dreamer who escapes into her fantasy land anytime and anywhere. While Meenakshi is a dreamer, the girl’s family is no less and somewhat remind you of characters of ‘The Addams Family’. Meenakshi’s mom is the mother of all drama, her father is strangely addicted to his business of collecting and repairing old landline telephones and her wheelchair bound grandma has her own queer ways.
When Meenakshi begins her stint as a librarian at the art school, she meets her co-worker Maina who looks like a buck-toothed version of Lady Gaga and can even put the pop sensation to shame with her ridiculous costumes and acts. Things take a turn in Meenakshi’s life when she meets Surya (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a student at the art college and she falls in love with the man thanks to the pleasant smell he wears on his body (An Armani scent, I wonder?). Meenakshi’s parents, meanwhile, are hunting for a groom for her while Meenakshi herself sniffs and stealthily follows her love interest Surya wherever he goes and learns to speak Tamil by reading Tamil Pulp Fiction and watching ‘Midnight Masala’ at night to please her tall, dark and handsome man. But Surya proves to be a hard nut to crack for Meenakshi because of his moody and eccentric nature and blood shot eyes which get him mistaken to be a drug addict.
It is quite evident that this film was meant to be Rani Mukerji’s film and it is - considering the meaty part she has played. But does it work? Not at all. In fact, it is difficult to say whether Rani was directed to act like the way she does in the movie or it was her take on the character she has played but the truth is that Meenakshi’s role is totally unidentifiable with a common Indian girl who is soul searching for her mate. Her melodramatic ways make you laugh only for a while but you soon start getting tired of it. Rani has given several remarkable performances in her past films but sadly ‘Aiyyaa’ fails to make the right use of her acting talent.
While Rani is ‘overused’, south film star Prithviraj Sukumaran is underused. Making his Bollywood debut in ‘Aiyyaa’, the actor has barely two lines to speak in the movie’s first half. The only scene where he speaks good dialogues is when he proposes Rani Mukerji which also happens to be the only scene in the movie that touches the heart and of course makes sense! This is the first heroine-centric movie where a hero is used as an ornament.
Of the other supporting cast in this absurd film, the man who is chosen to marry Rani by her parents is the only person who seems to be normal but even he is not spared from behaving like a weirdo during the film’s climax.
The makers of the film could have made a generous use of subtitles to make the dialogues easy to understand for non-Tamil and Marathi speaking audience in sequences where the characters are conversing in the said languages.
Amit Trivedi and his music somewhat salvages the film. ‘Dreamum Wakepum’ is a number that is worth shaking a leg for its quirkiness and foot tapping beats. Even ‘Aga bai’ gets you addicted and Rani gets a thumbs up for her spectacular belly dance but the contrast between Prithviraj’s six pack abs and Rani’s paunch is hilarious.
In straight words, ‘Aiyya’ is not a script poorly handled rather it is a script poorly written. We can only hope that Sachin Kundalkar doesn’t repeat his mistake and make his audience go ‘Aiyyaa’ in pain again.
Rating: ‘Aiyyaa’ deserves only one cheer.