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There is a trashcan outside the Deshpande house in which everyone from the colony dump their domestic waste. Aiyyaa is, sadly, that very trashcan. But the waste is only being dumped by Sachin Kundalkar. A director who puts himself before the film. He is hiding behind the curtain of commercial cinema and wants to experiment. He wishes the film to be eccentric or â€œwakdaâ€ but the end product is tacky and pathetic.
Rani plays Meeakshi. A girl who lives in her dreams. She is about to be caught in the arranged marriage mill. Her only escape is the guy she is in love with, Surya (Prithviraj). Actually, she's more in lust with him than anything else. But all throughout this genuinely good concept and the cacophony around it, I was saying to myself â€œLook at Rani!â€. She isn't bothered how this film will turn out, good or bad, she is putting in her best. She doesn't care whether she is playing the character of a creep who stalks and inhales the bodily fragrance of her object of desire for most of the film. This made me wish even more that the film was good. If there is any compliment I could give this film, it is that Rani plays the character the only way it could be played.
I could appreciate the odd humor and some genuinely radical touches. But I can never bring myself to get impressed by the parts (these parts are very few) and appreciate the whole when the whole is utterly hollow. It's such a muddled mess that it shifts tone way too often to even be called wacky. All you want to do is whack Mayna across her face. I'm referring to a character called Mayna played by Anita Date who is perhaps one of the most obnoxious characters I have ever seen on the Hindi film screen, if not THE most. She is so annoying that I wish I could get a stun gun and stun the f*** out of her. You know? That kind of person?
There's a fine line between being messy and crazy and Aiyyaa is unable to be go the distance due to utter lack of talent in the writing and directing. When I was in film school many of us wanted to experiment and make something that we truly wanted to make. The idea behind each of those short films were a genuine need of doing something radical. In most cases, it ended up being pretentious and self-indulgent. The first lesson you learn is: Nobody wants to see what interests you unless you involve the audience in it. This doesn't mean you assume what the audience wants, give them exactly that and be a sell out. It is just a simple fact that you need to keep in mind: the one sitting in that seat, watching your film is a human being.
What is this mess I'm talking about?
1. Influences: 80s Hindi cinema, European cinema/ theater, Alice in wonderland (which isn't actually about a girl in her dreamland, please note Mr. director), Tamil pulp fiction.
2. Breaking Marathi stereotypes: A grandmother with gold teeth. A father who smokes 5 cigarettes.
3. Musical diversity: Lavani. South masala. Electronic. Piano.
It isn't quirky, it is just lame. As I mentioned before, the main quibble I had was that it shifts tone ever too often. Sure you can have all of these things but even the wackiest of films have a coherent tone. When it's not shifting tone, it is repeating itself. Meenakshi fantasizes again and again and you just can't wait to get out of the theater. â€œWhat To Doâ€ as one of the most aggravating songs plays on screen, you can think of only one answer: Stop!