Nayanthara emerged as lady super star with back to back hits in female centric films. Airaa is also a heroine oriented flick directed by Sarjun KM. Will Nayan continue her success streak with Airaa in South?
Yamuna (Nayanthara) is a journalist, hates her job of giving tips to married people. When parents pressure her to get married, Yamuna flees to granny’s place. The abandoned bungalow and ghostly atmosphere inspires Yamuna to start a new YouTube channel in which she creates fake ghost videos that instantly popular on internet. On the other side, a bunch of people are killed in the city. Writer Abhinav (Kalaiyarasan) suspects soul of his girlfriend Bhavani (Nayanthara again) behind these murders. Who’s Bhavani? Why is she killing different people who have no connection? Why is she willing to kill Yamuna as well?
A small incident can transform into something really big. This plot of Airaa is a case study on butterfly effect. In fact, you will find butterfly as a character in maximum portions. The film has all the basic requirements of a horror film such as a ghost inside a haunted house with a motive and flashback portion explaining the past life of ghost. The flashback part in second half filled with ruthless realism certainly will not please major sections. Coming to other technical departments, cinematographer and music director showed their expertise in each and every frame. There is always a sense of eerie because of reddish tone used throughout. Sundaramurthy alerts every time with his exceptional work on BGM. Editing was sharp,l but could have chopped few unnecessary episodes in both halves. Production values are top class.
Onto performances, Nayanthara yet again proves that she has the guts to experiment and walks extra mile to attain sheer perfection. She hits all the right notes with terrific performance in two contrasting roles. While she looks charming in the role of Yamuna wearing trendy outfits, she as Bhavani looks completely contrast. Kalaiyarasan is given a lengthy, prominent role and he did his job flawlessly. Yogi Babu's comedy doesn't offer any hilarious moments, wherein other artists are okay.
Serious Premise In Flashback
The first half has two parallel story tracks and it is filled with usual elements of horror thrillers including peculiar camera angles, dark shots, haunted bungalow, creaky doors, rocking chairs etc. But as we have seen all these things in so many horror films, there are no big new surprises here. And the second half filled with harsh realities where the director addressed various issues such as racism, sexual abuse etc will bore you.
First half begins on bang with two policemen scared by a ghost in haunted house. Nothing much happens until Nayanthara enters the native place of her granny. Unfortunately, the so called spooky elements will not horrify us, though cinematographer and music director tried their best with their superior work. Actually, the first half has other track where mysterious incidents take place without a reason. This mystification also creates a sense of disconnection with the film. Interval episode is also not bang on yet the main role Bhavani is introduced.
Second half begins on slow note with Nayan and Kalaiyarasan making efforts to find each other to put full stop to serial killings. The flashback episode is so truthful, harsh realism may not impress audience. The unremitting suffering of Bhavani will certainly bore us. Then the process of exorcism is also undistinctive. The tempo is dawdling in climax portion as well.
All in all, Airaa is an experimental film which isn’t convincing due to lack of novelty in narration. Except for Nayanthara’s towering performance as Bhavani, good work from cinematographer and music director, one won’t find anything intriguing. CJ goes with 2.0 star rating and the film may not shine at box office.