Critics verdict: Watch Aiyya just for Rani!
By Hindustan Times
Aiyyaa is a desi film at heart. The first half seems stretched. Many might find its loud, outré storytelling style somewhat difficult to comprehend. Rani is a complete natural and glides through her part with brilliance, feel critics.
"Sachin Kundalkar’s story is as crazy as it gets and he’s translated it beautifully on screen. The characters have been developed so finely that every time any two of them meet, there’s something interesting bound to happen. And for once, it just isn’t the routine running-around-trees. He gives us a heroine who loves her Bollywood and wants to live it as well. On the other hand, we have an artist whose life is in stark contrast to his admirer," writes Roshni Devi, Koimoi.com.
Aiyyaa"But even with all the expertise, you do get bored of Meenakshi chasing Surya after a while. While it’s really novel to see a heroine enamoured by the scent of her hero, the stalking gets repetitive after a while. Some of the detours in the screenplay seem unnecessary and needlessly lengthen the film," says Devi.
"Aiyyaa is a desi film at heart. Also, quirky and funny. But the humor is more of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee/Basu Chatterjee variety. What makes this film stand apart is that it does away with the crutches of big stars [except Rani], forced humor, unnecessary songs, international locales or grandiose sets. Its strength lies in its cohesive script and able performances," says Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama.
"On the flipside, it takes time to get the hang of things. Also, the first half seems stretched, with a few unnecessary sequences adding to the run time. But the second hour more than compensates for the deficiencies," adds Adarsh.
"The first half of Aiyyaa starts interestingly, but the recurring situations in the screenplay make you wonder if there’s more to the story. Thankfully in the second half Madhav arrives in Meenakshi’s life and Aiyyaa moves forward at a decent speed. And the film concludes on a happy note," writes Rachana Parekh, Bollywood Life.
"In Aiyyaa, a carefully crafted amalgamation of Bollywood kitsch and absurd, over-the-top storytelling, writer-director Sachin Kundalkar almost achieves a fine balance, a dramatic perfection, careful never to alienate his viewers. But for the loose and meandering lead-up to the climax in the last half-hour—the film should have been at least 20 minutes shorter to leave the viewer on a powerful note—Aiyyaa has a strident imagination at work. It is a raucous and immensely enjoyable piece of film-making," writes Sanjukta Sharma, Livemint.
"Widely talked about as Rani Mukerji's comeback film, Aiyyaa, in one word is director Sachin Kundalkar's fantasy. The director is so self-absorbed and self-obsessed that it seems the film was not made for audiences but to satisfy his own creative urges," writes Prasanna D Zore.
"The film could have easily taken another trajectory altogether but the director-script writer lacks imagination and expertise to handle the character of a simple girl who is in love with somebody but can't muster enough courage to express her love," adds D Zore.
"Many might find its loud, outré storytelling style somewhat difficult to comprehend and digest, especially in the context of the film’s slice-of-life love story predicated on a willing suspension of disbelief. Aiyyaa, Sachin Kundalkar’s first Hindi film on the back of three critically applauded Marathi-language features, revels in flying against expectations with complete abandon," says Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV.
"Though filled with clichés and caught in stereotypes, there is something that works in favour of Aiyyaa as it slips into the category of mindless comedy without crossing the line into idiocy like rom-coms normally do," writes Kanika Sikka, DNA.
"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," writes Resham Sengar, ZeeNews.
"Rani Mukerji might have Agabai-ed, Aiyaa-ed and Issh-ed more than a dozen times on screen but the gal is wonderful! Rani lives it as Meenakshi with all the narcissism, over the top drama, unquestioning love and she does it beautifully throughout. Prithviraj gets very little to do as Surya but he manages well," says Devi.
"Anita Date is an exciting surprise as Maina. Every time you see her on screen, she’s got something special and different that will crack you up. Subodh Bhave is adorable as Madhav. Satish Alekar, Nirmiti Sawant, Ameya Wagh and Jyoti Subhash are delightful as Meenakshi’s mad-cap family," adds Devi.
"Aiyyaa is what it is for varied reasons and one of them is Rani's livewire act. A complete natural, Rani glides through her part with brilliance. An accomplished actor, who can handle the comic sequences with as much flourish as the emotional ones, Rani is absolutely ravishing. Prithviraj, who has several South Indian films to his credit, does a super job in his first Hindi outing. He has striking screen presence, has worked hard to get in shape, but most importantly, he is a damn confident actor," feels Adarsh.
"Rani’s a livewire as the madcap Meenakshi – her attempt to be part of the rising range of heroine-centric films - but after a point she seems to be trying too hard to impress with her histrionics. And you certainly feel so when she tries to pull off the Marathi accent. Though the reigning diva sounds believable when she’s speaking in Surya’s mother tongue (she learns the South Indian language to impress the handsome hunk). As mentioned earlier the supporting cast does a good job at making you laugh and sometimes cry as their acts get monotonous. And all those women think who think Bollywood always exploits the fairer-sex to heighten the hot-o-metre in movies, Aiyyaa is your film. South film actor Prithviraj’s the eye-candy in this plot. He’s mostly there to show-off his well-sculpted physique and lend oomph and sizzle to the wacky comedy. But sadly that’s all he does when he’s not throwing intense glances at Meenakshi," feels Parekh.
"Mukerji masters the role. She pitches it with plenty of histrionics—almost no character in Aiyyaa has a “yes or no” or “do or die” approach to their bizarre situations. Meenaxi is high-pitched, a ball of nervous emotion and rage, and Mukerji has dived right into her world. It never feels like she has caught the wrong note; she makes Meenaxi not only believable, but extremely likeable. Prithviraj has an ornamental role, the woman’s object of love. The supporting cast is made up of seasoned actors and they stay true to Kundalkar’s over-the-top idiom," writes Sharma.
"Rani, as fine an actor that one gets in Bollywood, gets no support from the way her character is written but nevertheless is a joy to watch. The ways she says aiyyaa (a Marathi expression used when one is pleasantly surprised), the way she breathes, the way she portrays her character, and the way she dances.
There is no way to find fault with Rani but she is shockingly let down by the storyline. One can only hope Rani is more selective of what she portrays on screen," says D Zore.
"From top to basumm Rani is truly Wonderum! As Meenaxi, she's 'nose-dived' into the character, literally. She's looking fabulous (especially in her bronzed dream sequences), and has dished out a brilliant performance, slipping from traditionally simple to shockingly sexy in a heart-beatumm. Her comic-timing is a revelation and so are her belly-dancing skills. And even with all that boldness, she steals the thunder (more with talent than her thighs-sighs)," says Madhureeta Mukherjee.
"Prithviraj is simply Eroticumm! He exudes chiselled, raw sexuality in every scene; gets wet, adds Southern masala with his moves, but says nothing really," she adds.
"Rani Mukerji plunges headlong into the character without the slightest hint of inhibition. Prithviraj, with his strong, silent screen presence, provides the perfect foil. Members of the supporting cast, notably Ameya Wagh and Anita Date, turn in performances that stay in line with the all-round air of zaniness," says Chatterjee.
"Rani, though showing signs of ageing, does a good job and entertains through most parts of the film, when she is not trying too hard to entertain. Meenakshi is just an extension of Bubbly from Bunty aur Bubly. Although she is not as rebellious, she is bold and despite staying grounded, she dares to dream. Rani, single-handedly carries the entire film with dramatic portrayals and amazing dance sequences," says Sikka.
"Prithviraj is, simply put, an eye candy in the film. And no, not because I believe he is lip-smacking hot, but because the director intends to make him an ornament. His role is limited (which is a fault on the director’s part), yet his presence in the film leaves a great impression. Subodh Bhave does justice to his character," adds Sikka.
"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," says Sengar.
"Sachin Kundalkar has directed the movie very well though it lags in many parts. The visuals of the colours and the art have been done so masterfully that you want to give most of the credit to Amalendu Choudary for the mesmerizing cinematography," feels Devi.
"Although the plot is innovative, but skeletal, what keeps the film going is Sachin Kundalkar's ability to stumble upon humor in the most ordinary situations. In fact, a number of sequences merit a mention here, but that would ruin the fun. Sachin catches the pulse of the Maharashtrian backdrop and does immense justice to the written material," says Adarsh.
"Sachin Kundalkar starts out well, but while juggling between Marathi matrimonials and midnight-masala, his plot goes 'wakda' (read: digresses). After a few giggles, erotic gasps, and gaanas (Amit Trivedi), the story stretches pointlessly and loses its scent," says Mukherjee.
"The director had the potential of producing something way better with the kind of team he had at his disposal, however, he fails to do so," feels Sikka.
"Aiyyaa is quirkily different and is worth watching for all the characters. But the sniffing and chasing gets a bit annoying," says Devi.
"On the whole, there are reasons aplenty as to why Aiyyaa becomes a deserving watch. It's arresting, amusing, entertaining and of course, thoroughly enjoyable, with Rani's splendid act, refreshingly different plot, winsome songs, pleasant humor and terrific moments as its aces. Don't miss it!" concludes Adarsh.
"So go for Aiyyaa for Rani Mukerji’s tadkedar Bollywoodish hodge-podge of Maharastrian and South Indian cultures, but just don’t expect too much from this comedy. Carry along a bit of patience and oodles of crazy sense of humour to enjoy this entertainer," feels Parekh.
"Aiyyaa is triumphant because its originality matches the director’s assured film-making. Kundalkar is a director with a confident, uninhibited stamp," says Sharma.
"Even with such a talented ensemble, this one turns into a cultural showpiece, and gets lost in translation. That's the sad-partumm!" feels Mukherjee.
"Aiyyaa takes time to warm up, slips into dull patches at times and occasionally teeters on the edge of a certain dissonance. But the subversive spirit that drives the absurdist core of Aiyyaa is well worth embracing," says Chatterjee.
"Though the film is limited by cheesy dialogues and prosaism, it proves to be an entertainer and a definite treat for every Rani Mukerji fan," says Sikka.
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