Movies

‘Airaa’ review: Silly ending ruins a well-shot ghost tale

A still from Airaa   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangment

The entire duration of Airaais built up to a what-if moment. Every scene, every character, is building up to that big sequence. It is that crucial climax that will answer the question on everyone’s minds: why is someone (or something) chasing Yamuna (Nayanthara)?

Airaa
  • Genre: Horror
  • Cast: Nayanthara, Kalaiarasan, Yogi Babu
  • Storyline: Why is a ghost haunting Yamuna wherever she goes?

And when it arrives, it hits you...not with surprise but with disbelief. Airaa is a horror film that looks good on the surface — a strong cast, good camera work and mildly-scary scene staging — but cheats you in the end. It is the cinematic equivalent of a batsman leaving a ball alone when he is required to score a six off the last delivery.

Airaa starts off using all the available tropes from a ‘How to Make a Tamil Horror Film’ book. There is rain, lightning and a deserted bungalow. After a while, you get to know that the bungalow is actually Yamuna’s grandmother’s home and she is there after an argument with her parents. Yamuna, a press reporter who is chided by her boss in the city for wanting to make a mark in YouTube, decides that a ‘bhoot bungalow’ setting back in her village would be ideal for garnering likes and views. Her business idea is to cook up a non-existent ghosts. But what if a real one is lurking around?

And then, there is the track of Kalaiarasan who seems to sport a puzzled look throughout the first half. Going into intermission, we are sporting the same look, wondering what’s happening in a film that has two bland separate tracks, seemingly not connected with each other.

The flashback — shot entirely in black and white — redeems Airaa to an extent. The writing of Bhavani (Nayanthara, in a deglamourised avatar) is up to the mark — the character is, essentially, a dark-complexioned version of Tabu from Kandukondein Kandukondein. The entire set of sequences and performances (Nayanthara gets her act together while Kalaiarasan, as Amudhan, loosens up) work. The ‘Meghadhootham’ number (music by K.S. Sundaramurthy) is wonderfully composed and shot. The cinematography (Sudarshan Srinivasan) sets the mood — watch out for a lighting-filled shot in the sequence where Nayanthara is shooed away from her house. Save for a few logical loopholes Airaa looks salvaged...before the incredulous climax hits you.

It is a puzzle how director Sarjun— whose earlier short films proved that he had it in him to deliver the goods — came up with such a silly conceit of a climax and even managed to convince Nayanthara about it. The selling factor for her would have, undoubtedly, been playing Bhavani (and in that, she scores high), but is that reason enough for us to digest the frivolous ending?

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 10:25:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/airaa-review-silly-ending-ruins-a-well-shot-ghost-tale/article26662423.ece

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