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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Aiyyaa 

Wakda Ouch!

A jobless woman, is exhibited regularly by her family, before a series of eligible men. They find something lacking in her. But she is fine with that, lingering as she does in fantasies of dancing and singing with the movie heroes.

First-time Hindi film director Sachin Kundalkar’s Aiyyaa can be cheered for selecting a woman-oriented subject which says that singletons can have their dreams and perhaps achieve them too, when they take a practical approach towards asserting their own identity. Notionally this is fine but the story-screenplay does not have enough conviction to make her an intelligent, modern day working woman. She remains silly and in the tradition followed by our movies, does not speak her mind out without making us suffer through reels and reels of feverish attempts at entertainment.

Scaled like a Hrishikesh Mukherjee or Basu Chatterji medium-budget romcom of the 1970s, Kundalkar’s heroine, Meenakshi (Rani Mukherji), sees herself imitating the popular chartbusters danced to by Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi and Juhi Chawla. She lives with a nagging mother, a caring father and a taunting brother in a Pune house, and has been subjected to endless sessions of serving tea to prospective grooms and their parents.

The film opens with her rushing to an art school for a job interview. Miraculously, she gets one very easily. Her co-worker (Amita Dave) is odd, also imitating Bollywood heroines. She carries a water-bottle of vodka and after initial hesitation, befriends Meenakshi. At home, the situation continues to be status quo till a congenial man (Subodh Bhave) agrees to accept her bride. This ‘acceptance’ leads the man to ask her in private, if she approves of him as well. Nice touch.


Meanwhile, the fantasy-prone Meenakshi has fallen in love with an art student (Prithviraj) who doesn’t care to give her a second glance. Since he is a Tamilian by birth, the Maharashtrian heroine learns his language and also talks of idli sambhar (typical that) besides paying a clandestine visit to his mother. The plot gets overloaded and is also stuffed with too many parodies of old and new Hindi cinema, ranging from Himmatwala and Mr India to Dev D. The last one may have been an in-joke by the film’s producer Anurag Kashyap.

The climax is oddly paced, as if the director had lost speed. Amit Trivedi’s music score is catchy particularly when it gets into the zany grooves.

Prithvi making his bow in Hindi screen is given a silent, thankless role. The focus is on Rani Mukherji, of whom the best thing which can be said, that she does not go over the top. She has a fine supporting cast of theatre actors, including the iconic playwright, Satish Alekar.

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