Ace filmmaker Maniratnam teamed with Jayendra Panchapakesan for a web series Navarasa which highlights the nine human emotions in an anthology. The emotions include Shringara (love/magnificence). Hasya (chuckling), Karuna(sorrow),Raudra(anger),Veera (courage),Bhayanaka (dread), Bhibhatsa(disgust),Adbhuta(surprise),Shanta(peace). The episodes in the Navarasa are named Inmai, Roudhram, Edhiri, Thunintha Pin, Summer of 92, Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru, Project Agni, Peace, and Payasam.
With the episodes directed by Priyadarshan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Bejoy Nambiar, Karthik Subbaraj, Sarjun, Vasanth, Karthick Naren, Rathindran Prasad, and Arvind Swami and stars like Siddharth, Vijay Sethupathi, Surya, Parvathy, Parkash Raj playing the lead roles, Navarasa gained immense attention. The web series started streaming on Netflix and let us see how Navarasas appealed to viewers.
Episode 1. Edhiri has the emotion of compassion. (Karuna). It is directed by Bejoy Nambiar. A young man (Vijay Sethupati) out of anger murders a person (Prakash Raj). He meets the murdered person (Prakash Raj) wife (Revathi) and seeks her apology.
Episode 2. Summer of 92 showcases the emotion of Laughter. (Hasya). Star actor (Velusamy) hailed as comedy king attends a school function as a guest. The school was where he failed 9th and he recollects his flashback. The episode is directed by Priyadarshan
Episode 3. Project Agni (Bheebatsa) directed by Karthick Naren deals with the emotion of Wonder. (Adbhuta). Vishnu (Aravind Samy) comes with a device named The Drifter which has the ability to turn one's subconscious thoughts into reality. He shares the secret with his friend (Prasanna) which results in shocking developments.
Episode 4. Payasam directed by Vasanth deals with the emotion of disgust. An old villager (Delhi Ganesh) grows jealous of his nephew's success in 1965. He is in a dilemma whether to attend to the nephew's daughter and one of his actions disgusts his daughter (Aditi Balan).
Episode 5. Peace (Shanti) is directed by Karthik Subbaraj highlights the emotion of Peace. Four LTTE soldiers, two of them being Bobby Simha and Gautham Menon fight the Srilankan Army. Their problems increase when a young boy seeks his help.
Episode 6. Roudhram (Raudra) makers the debut of Aravind Swamy as the director. He highlights the anger emotion of Navarasa. Police detain a young man (Sree Ram) for hitting an influential person. At the same time, Anbu (Riythvika) who was investigating the case tries to control her anger.
Episode 7. Inmai directed by Rathindran Prasad highlights the emotion of fear. Wahida (Parvathy) meets Farooq(Siddharth) at her bungalow and she gets attracted. However much to her shock, she finds out that Farooq was not the right person.
Episode 8. Thunintha Pen directed by Sarjun KM and is written by Maniratnam. The film deals with the emotions of courage. (Veera). Naxals ambush Ex-Military Man Veera (Atharva) and demand their leader (Kishore) release.
Episode 9. Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru .The episode directed by Gautham Menon deals with the emotion of Love.(Sringara). Grammy award nominee singer (Surya) tells how he met his lover Nethra (Prayaga Rose Martin).
Artists, Technicians Review
Episode1: Bejoy Nambiar tried to highlight compassion in a powerful manner. He showed how people get influenced by anger. Despite his best attempts and good performances by actors like Vijay Sethupati, Prakash Raj, and Revathi, the film fails to live up to the expectations. The episode ends quickly with viewers not getting a feel of compassion at all. Had the director worked on it, this episode would have made a striking impact.
Episode2: Priyadarshan directed this episode which is all about laughter. Though Yogi Babu came with a good performance taking viewers along with him, the episode fails to tickle the bones. Except during the end, the episode tested the patience of the viewers. The director should have concentrated on including more funny elements to entertain viewers.
Episode 3: Karthik Naren tried to wow in this episode leaving all awestruck with Project Agni. However, the emotion of wonder completely went missing. Aravind Swami and Prasanna came with powerful performances but it ended up confusing viewers with multiple dimensions.
Episode 4: Vasanth directed the episode highlighting disgust. He highlighted disgust due to ego in a perfect manner. Delhi Ganesh and Aditi Balan impress with their performances.
Episode 5: Karthik Subbaraj directed this episode to highlight peace. He tried to speak about peace showing Bobby Simhaa and Gautam Menon as LTTE soldiers. This however makes people wonder how one can highlight peace when the episode spoke about war, politics, etc. Though Bobby Simhaa and Gautam Menon performed well, the episode completely deviated rather than highlighting peace in their obsession with LTTTE and Srilankan issues.
Episode 6: Aravind Swamy makes his debut as a director with this episode highlighting Anger. He showed the anger in a subtle and effective manner. Arul and Anbu performed well in the film.
Episode 7: Rathindran Prasad directed this episode depicting fear. He to some extent emerged successful in highlighting fear. However as the narration proceeded, the director lost his grip, and only during the climax he picked up pace creating interest. Rathindran failed to maintain the same tempo and had he done so, the episode could have been more powerful. Siddharth and Parvathy played their roles to perfection.
Episode 8: Sarjun KM directed this episode highlighting courage. The story is written by Maniratnam. The episode takes everyone by surprise as nowhere in the film courage is shown or highlighted except in the climax. The military man is shown as a dumb and person gripped with gear. The screenplay is clumsy and the entire story turned out to be a complete shocker and a big disappointment. Atharva, Anjali, and Kishore are ok with their performances.
Episode 9: Gautam Menon directed the episode highlighting love. Surya and Pragya performed well in their roles. Surya looked old for the role of a young musician. The narration is too slow and tests the patience of viewers with lengthy dialogues. Gautam Menon takes his sweet time to highlight love. He should have worked on the story and the script for better impact.
Performances of the stars like Surya and Aravind Swamy
Expectations increased when Maniratnam decided to come with an anthology titled Navarasa, highlighting nine emotions among human beings roping in star filmmakers and renowned stars. But for all the hype, Navarasa failed to live up to the expectation. Except for a couple of episodes, all failed to highlight the core emotions. The directors despite good performances from the actors, deviated from the main theme completely ignoring the concept of Navarasa. Considering all these aspects, CJ goest with a 2.25 rating for Navarasa.