October 12, 2012 12:23:30 PM IST By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
A Marathi director takes the plunge in mainstream Bollywood cinema and he almost creates a slick flick. Well, almost. And that is the tragedy of AIYYAA, a film which shows a lot of promise in the first 15 minutes and then spirals downwards once Rani Mukherji walks in for an interview, walks up to the fifth floor and runs into Maina, a character that has been unnecessarily introduced which actually knocks off the build-up of the first quarter.
I wonder if that was director Sachin Kundalkar's thinking or the NO SMOKING and DEV D kind of treatment which could have been influenced by Anurag Kashyap the producer? That is something we will never know.
The premise was faultless, a Marathi girl with a huge crush on Bollywood stars, and an even bigger fan of Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi and Juhi Chawla. Meenakshi (Rani Muhkerjee) is a character you would love to take home to your mother.
Her parents want her to get married, but Meenakshi has other plans. And since a matrimonial Ad has already been placed in the newspapers, she has no option but to go through the 'grind'.
In the meanwhile she has got a job in a college library and is smitten by Surya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) who smells good. She soon learns that it is the smell of strange drugs which Surya is indulging in, apart from alcohol. Surya is an artist whose eyes are always bloodshot. But our Meenakshi is on a high; drugs don't matter. She lures her brother to buy some for herself to get even closer to that 'smell'
A suitor, Madhav, (Subodh Bhave) expresses his desire to marry Meenakshi. She is now in a fix. Her heart says Surya and her parents say Madhav. She keeps running after Surya, and unknown to him, manages to meet his mother, and run off with his photograph and T-shirt.
Her logic is understandable. Surya is a hunk and 'smells good'. Drugs are things to be tackled later. The entire screenplay of Meenakshi encountering Surya and falling 'head-over-heels' for him like the proverbial ton of bricks is well executed.
But the hitch lies in the manner in which AIYYAA tries to do too many things and in the bargain losing its focus of the simple theme. It goes from comical, to strangely comical and also borders on the kinky and absurd.
Take off Maina (Anita Date), give some sanity to Meenakshi's brother (Ameya Wagh), concentrate on Meenakshi's bull-headed approach to get Surya and Madhav's simple charm to woo his 'wife to be' and Kundalkar's kundli would have changed. AIYYAA had that potential.
Making a comeback, Rani Mukherji is 'fun'tastic. In fact, she comes back even more refined with good belly moves and bottom wiggles that would give Shakira the blushes. She has gotten a hold of her character and executes it to the 'T' but is let down but these obvious flaws.
Prithviraj, a heartthrob in the South, making his debut in Hindi cinema is also first rate. His brooding eyes, well-toned body and an ability to act will surely attract more Bollywood directors. Moreover, like Meenakshi, I am sure he will have female fans swooning over him.
Subodh Bhave as the man in love with Meenakshi is your average guy next door. He fleshes out the character to a nicety. Then there's that canteen boy played by Pakada Pandi who is a treat. Its characters like these that define the movie.
However, Kundalkar got lost between a mad-cap comedy and wanting to portray a young Marathi girl with her zest for life to make it big on her own. Sometimes, comedy is good when it is used in the right doses but when it is overdone, it borders on obscenity.
Sad, because AIYYAA could have been to Rani Mukherji what ENGLISH VINGLISH did to Sridevi. Nevertheless, for Rani Mukherji fans this is a must-watch!