Starring: Rani Mukherjee, Prithviraj
Directed by Sachin Kundalkar
It’s loud, garish, deliberately over the top. And I am putting it mildly. Based on a story from Sachin Kundalkar’s own Marathi film Gandha (Smell), Aiyyaa is about how things don’t smell right for the middle class Meenakshi Deshpande (Rani). A heap of rubbish lies outside her house, an eccentric family lives inside, helmed by a dog-crazy brother, Nana. Job in an arts college is equally benumbing and colleague Maina more weird. What’s more, the future—a secure marriage with a nice boy—promises to be an extension of Meenakshi’s present claustrophobia. In this world enters the pleasant-smelling Surya Iyer (Prithviraj) and life suddenly turns fragrant. The director’s intentions are all too fine—how a stranger can promise an escape. But an entirely different story plays on screen. The play between the real and the surreal is clumsy; the exaggerations get annoying, not inventively impudent. Irritation peaks with Maina and Nana in the Ijjat Papad song. Rani looks pretty, tries gamely to pump life, at times too much of it, into things. Prithviraj makes a dishy object of a woman’s desire. Aiyyaa doesn’t just view and objectify the male from a woman’s eye-view, it also sneaks in a suggestive scene. It also manages to taunt the censors through Maina’s pen drive. The Bollywood referencing, the drugs subplot, the extended climax are needless. Aiyyaa gets ludicrous and obtuse in trying to be clever and irreverent!