Aiyyaa – Movie Review

Director: Sachin Kundalkar

Cast: Rani Mukerji, Prithviraj

b! Says: **

Aiyyaa may not cater to your senses.

The opening scenes of ‘Aiyyaa’ borrow heavily from Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla’s  blockbuster hits from the 90s and leave you a little mystified about the heroine’s ambitions. However, your curiosity remains unrewarded and by the time the end credits roll, we were left more than a little dissatisfied. Rani Mukerji brings talent to the table in ‘Aiyyaa’, but her performance isn’t enough to carry this one through.

What’s it about?
The humble Deshpande family seeks a groom for their daughter Meenakshi (Rani Mukerji), who should not only keep her happy but fit into their ‘budget’ as well. Things start with a matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper and every other evening, poor Meenakshi has to don traditional Maharashtrian attire and use rehearsed expressions and lines on prospective grooms and their families.

But Meenakshi’s dream man goes beyond the regular kanda poha variety and she has her eyes set on a certain South Indian thali. Meenakshi’s keen of smell draws her to Suriya Iyer (Prithviraj), an art student in the college where she works. Some scenes that resemble ads for nasal inhalers follow, and her love story gets on the road.

Rani, as drama queen Meenakshi, is likeable as the blushing, eyelash-fluttering heroine who liberally peppers every sentence with ‘aiyyaa’, ‘ish’ and ‘agabai’. The act gets a tad boring within twenty minutes but the one-tone script’s to blame. Rani struggles to carry the film entirely on her shoulders, but her hard work is evident in the energy she puts into every scene and song and is worthy of applause.

We’d have liked to have seen more of Prithviraj, who has remarkably little screen time in the film. The script also offers little explanation about his reserved behaviour and his turnaround in the climax makes little sense.

The supporting cast is chiefly to blame for this sweet love story having gone sour. Meenakshi’s chain-smoking father and fussy mother are irritating. Her wailing and blind grandmother, who zooms from one room to another on an electric wheelchair, was an unnecessary addition to the household. Her colleague Maina (who seems to be taking fashion tips from Lady Gaga) puts in a migraine-inducing performance and her part at the climax is the only vulgar bit in an otherwise clean entertainer. The only supporting character who is funny in parts is Meenakshi’s brother Nana, who has a soft spot for stray dogs. Special mention also goes to the background score, that helps lift the mood in several scenes.

What to do?
This one’s strictly for Rani fans. You might need a jar of coffee beans to clear the senses after you’ve taken a whiff of ‘Aiyyaa’. It’s not going to be a pleasant one for all.

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