Director: Sarjun K M
Cast: Nayanthara, Kalaiarasan, Yogi Babu, Meera Krishnan, Jeyaprakash and others
Music: Sundaramurthy K S
Cinematography: Sudarshan Srinivasan
Director Sarjun K M, a feminist director who shot to fame first with his short film ‘Lakshmi’ on YouTube, comes up with yet another ‘female-centric’ film, which is supposed to be a horror flick.
While the makers claim the film to be a horror-drama, it does not have even a single sequence that is fear-inducing.
Like most other feminist filmmakers, the director seems to have been more intent on showcasing women as ‘victims’ in a ‘patriarchal’ society rather than giving the plot of his story some much needed credibility.
Talking of the film’s story, Yamuna ( Nayanthara) is a ‘strong’ ‘modern’ ’empowered’ woman. She works as a journalist and is in no hurry to get married. Her parents, however, are desperate to get her hitched. So, one fine day, without telling her the real reason, they get her to meet a prospective groom who is from the United States.
Yamuna is such a ‘strong’ woman that her dad literally begs her to be polite to the bridegroom. Of course, the bridegroom in such women-centric films always ends up being an asshole. In this film too, it is no different. He makes a suggestion to her that they should get married for the sake of society and then continue to have affairs as per their wish.
Yamuna tells him that she is not for marriage but that does not mean that she is for having affairs after having tied the knot. She humiliates him to such an extent that anybody with even the smallest amount of self-respect would have walked away from such an alliance. Not our man. He signals his willingness to marry her and communicates his decision to her parents, who, as expected, begin celebrating.
The meeting with this prospective bridegroom irritates Yamuna so much that she acts mean to another girl, Bhavani (Nayanthara again!), while on her way out of the hotel.
Yamuna refuses to wait and keep the doors of the lift open for Bhavani, who is seen hurrying to enter it. That small unkind act of Yamuna, the director tells us, results in a life-changing or to be more precise, death-inducing development in the life of Bhavani!
Also, the director would have us believe that it is for this reason that Bhavani seeks to take revenge…
Yes, the reason for revenge is shallow. Well, it’s not just the reason but the entire story itself that is shallow and so far-fetched from reality that it only evokes boredom than interest.
To add to it, there are gaping holes in logic.
For instance, Yamuna, who chooses to silently slip away from her family after they firm up the wedding, writes a leave letter, informing her office that she intends to take leave for two months!!
One is not sure if there is a media house that will entertain such a fancy request!
Then, Yamuna is shown starting a YouTube Channel! Apparently, people who are employed with media houses are expected to sign confidentiality clauses that would invariably prevent them from starting, owning, or working for another media outlet. Yet, Yamuna not only starts a YouTube channel while she is on leave but also goes on to become a star!
Even these can be forgiven. But there are certain parts that can’t.
Consider this. There are random killings happening on different fronts. You don’t know anything about the people being killed or why they are being killed. We are eventually told that eight people have been killed and are hurriedly given reasons for some of their deaths.
That these reasons are as shallow as the one for which Bhavani is looking to kill Yamuna is another matter.
What is more significant is that the reason for Bhavani killing certain people is never revealed at all!
For instance, Yamuna’s grandmother, who is attacked by Bhavani’s spirit, dies. You don’t really understand what the old woman did to Bhavani to earn her ire!
One could really go on like this but then, you get the point, right?
It’s slipshod work and it is evident from start to finish. It’s a shallow story and one gets the impression by the end of the first half that the director has no clue as to how to take this story forward.
The second half is so rushed and so flimsy that it looks like the director has hurriedly put together some elements that he believes will win him brownie points from the public.
Apparently, he seems to be under the impression that male bashing and showcasing atrocities against women alone will eventually make his film an enjoyable affair.
Alas! Sadly, that isn’t the case and the movie simply fails to make the cut.
Nayanthara as Bhavani and Kalaiyarasan as Amudhan do a neat job of their roles. Yogi Babu as Mani is the only relief in the film. His parts make the film bearable which otherwise is as irrelevant as a dodo in this day and age.
Cinematographer Sudarshan Srinivasan deserves a pat on the back for his fine camera work. His aerial shots showing the green fields when Nayanthara makes her way to her granny’s house in particular deserve special mention.
Other than his work, there isn’t much that the crew can be congratulated for.
In short, Airaa isn’t an edge of the seat thriller.
It is a below par film that is bound to leave you bored and disinterested.