wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

Where weird goes terribly wrong and comes across as a desperate attempt to become quirky funny.

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Director: Sachin Kundalkar
Running time: 150 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Romance
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Aiyyaa - Preview

It's been over a year and a half since the last Rani Mukerji film, No One Killed Jessica. I generally, like the films she picks, so I was reasonably excited to see that she's back. Till, till I realized she is playing a girl of a marriageable age. Not only that, but her character is all excitable and exuberant and likes to shriek just for thrills. This leaves too much scope for over-acting which is already demonstrated by the lady who plays her mother.

And guess what I find out next? The film is being produced by Anurag Kashyap. I certainly wouldn't have associated his name with a seemingly slapsticky, loud film. Now, I am truly intrigued. That combined with all the rave reviews for Amit Trivedi's music to the film puts Aiyya back in the 'looking forward to' category.

Also, Sachin Kundalkar as a director is a reasonably known name in the Marathi film industry and just his debut in the Hindi film industry will be something worth keeping an eye out for.

Yet, I am not too sure about the south Indian reference. They looks a little mocking to start with even if it is supposedly all in good humor, but it also feels like there must be a very good reason for picking the regions of India that the characters come from.

Yes, the songs have a very peppy edge to them and remind you of songs from Jitendra-Sridevi starrers of the 80s and of course songs from South Indian films.

So, I promise myself some lovely mixed feelings while walking into the theater for this one!

Music Reviews:
Milliblog - "After successfully scaling most other genres, Amit Trivedi leaves his stamp convincingly by delivering one of the most hip parody soundtracks in recent times."
Music Aloud – "8/10"
Bollywood Hungama – "4/5"
Bollyspice – "4/5"
Apun Ka Choice – "4/5"

- meeta, a part of the audience

What? Was? That?

Again, just to see if I can rid myself of the sense of bewilderment, “What WAS that?” I can understand the need to experiment and add quirk to a love story that is as simple as it gets. But doing it while maintaining the age-old norms of Bollywood, how much ever spoof-like it was meant to be, just didn't work for Aiyyaa. Aiyyaa is slow, long and tries its best to test your patience.

I know, I should be giving the film some benefit of doubt because of the projection issues that the screen I saw it in had first in about 40 minutes and then a second one in another 10 minutes, which was after a 20 minute delay to begin, and following which the show was canceled. So, I watched the film all over again at the next show. Yet, I am willing to go out on a limb and say that the sheer absurdity of the last half hour is worth another “WHAT WAS THAT?”

Yet, I don't write the film off a 100%, just because of the basic idea. The idea of attraction experienced by a woman because of here sensitivity to smells. Love at first sight has always intrigued me. I have always wondered what ticks. I have always imagined communication through eyes and other senses rather than logic or brain playing a role in this one. And then there was this show on either Discovery or National Geographic that was about how smell plays a major role in how couple interact with each other. And thus the concept that Aiyya uses is fairly engaging as the one line plot.

But boy, has director Sachin Kundalkar overdone it. Anyway, he seems to be enamored by the miraculous sense of smell considering his Marathi film Gandha had three shorter stories connected using the theme of smell. But by the time you have seen Rani Mukerji heave while closing her eyes for the 10th time, you've had enough. For want of a better phrase and over-generalising it way too much for my own taste, Aiyyaa carries a heavy dose of Marathi film sensibilities (barring likes of Deool, Natarang, etc)

Not that that is the only complaint against Aiyyaa. The loud, forcibly quirky characters that Meenakshi (Rani Mukerji) is destined with as her Marathi family, get on your nerves in the first few minutes. Amey Wagh, Jyoti Subhash, Nirmitee Sawant, Satish Alekar – all well known in the Marathi film industry are made plain weird to add to the whackiness element that the director seems to be shooting at. Well, it was an annoying kind of whacky, not the kind you grow to enjoy. And let me not even get started about Maina's (Anita Date) over-the-top, unfathomable derangement. The mockery of people who don't look normal is used yet once again to bring out a few laughs.

Rani Mukerji herself is barely tolerable in general, but is especially far from that too when she does her usual shrieky self in monologues. And couldn't anyone in this heavily Marathi crew point out that just exaggerating the ph, ai, sh while speaking English and punctuating Hindi with 'aiyya' and 'aga bai' does not make for Marathi accent. Moreso, considering that she is a nearly naïve Marathi girl from Pune was the basic theme of the film. Yet, I do commend her for experimenting with this script. It's a risk and it might have failed, but that she took this risk is admirable. Also, she adds to the list of lead ladies bringing size 8-10 back in fashion. Unfortunately, her depiction of the physical attraction a woman experiences comes too late both in her performance and the story/film to add any value other than make the film look even more ludicrous. The juvenile symbolism makes it even more laughable. The climax is another box of weird worms and simplistic Bollywoodization (yeah, yeah spoof-shphoof).

I have read the same synopsis at a couple of places to describe Aiyyaa, something that includes

Bollywood icon Rani Mukerji plays Marathi girl Meenakshi in this delightful 'Amelie'-style comedy.

I just hope this isn't the official synopsis. 'Amelie' style? Really? Such comparisons should be left to the audience, shouldn't they? Also, is that what the makers are admitting to? And I guess, I have to add, having loved almost everything Anurag Kashyap has associated himself with, I never thought I'd ever say this to any of his products, “aga, aai ga!” (MUMMY!!)

- meeta, a part of the audience

42 reviewers(?) - 8 yays 10 so-so 24 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Anna Vetticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...That this film gives women the right to fantasise is in itself an uncommon turn of events considering the general Indian penchant to view human females as hormone-less creatures who men lust after but who never do any lusting themselves. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...Although the plot is innovative, but skeletal, what keeps the film going is Sachin Kundalkar's ability to stumble upon humor in the most ordinary situations. ... full review

Thumbs up, by L Romal M Singh, DNA : ...What doesn’t work for the film is the terrible Tamil. Sachin Kundalkar should have realised that almost every single person in this country knows what Tamil sounds like and so when Kishori Ballal (who plays Surya’s mother) speaks a garbled tongue sounding neither here nor there, you’re left wondering if they take themselves seriously. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Raghuvendra Singh, Filmfare : ...Aiyyaa’s strength lies in its dramatic segments driven by the characters. Again, Kundalkar deserves praise for the fact that he does not try to make his characters real.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...Aiyyaa is triumphant because its originality matches the director’s assured film-making. Kundalkar is a director with a confident, uninhibited stamp. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Kundalkar gets enough of the madcap tropes right to ensure that his film stays on course for the most part. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The cinematography captures the dream-like texture of the film expertly, and dexterous editing and sound design are equally masterful. ... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, : ...She demonstrates her well established star status in that she waited for the right script. Don't miss 'Aiyyaa' to delightfully enjoy a good rom-com and to watch Rani jumping and dancing. ... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Throughout Aiyyaa, we are left turning between a lovably loud Hindi film and a more dreamlike French romance that might have featured Audrey Tautou – and the effect is whiplash.... full review

So-So, by Rachana Parekh, Bollywood Life : ...While Anurag Kashyap’s production entertains you till the end credit roll, the sluggish, tiresome and far-fetched screenplay mars the novelty of the bizarre comedy. ... full review

So-So, by Charu A Mahesh, Buzz in Town : ...what else can you expect from a film whose title Aiyyaa itself is an explanation translating into OMIGAWD!... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ... The focus is on Rani Mukherji, of whom the best thing which can be said, that she does not go over the top... full review

So-So, by Ameetbhuvan, Desi Martini : ...onetheless it deserves a watch and applause for the sheer originality and guts to experiment instead of going with the herd.... full review

So-So, by Nupur Barua, : ...With Aiyyaa, quite safely the first of its kind in the Hindi film industry, the dynamic Bengali actor takes the meaning of heroine-centric films to a whole new level. ... full review

So-So, by Divya Solgama, : ...Dum hai total dum hain in first half and in terms of light and bit absurd brand of entertainment. But due to some of its loud characters, over-the-top performances by others and a weak climax, the movie ends up as an average to above average flick.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Rani Mukherjee owns the part with a tremendous, uninhibited performance, switching superbly between the film's exaggerated and understated moments. ... full review

So-So, by Roshni Devi, koimoi : ...Watch Aiyyaa for a quirkily different film with very good performances but be warned that it drags.... full review

So-So, Star Blockbuster : ...Over-the-top... full review

Thumbs down, by Pankit Narang, Apun Ka Choice : ...does not ‘smell’ good!... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...few enjoyable tracks of Amit Trivedi and a passionate performance of Rani Mukherjee are the only two merits in AIYYAA.... full review

Thumbs down, by Prateeksha Khot, Bolly Spice : ...While the story seems apt for a short film, Sachin’s two and a half hour saga is painstakingly long, boring and irritating. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Daily Bhaskar : ...Those used to viewing wonky diploma films and experimental shorts at various short film competitions would be familiar with a film like this. They usually sound funnier in narration than they look on screen, and ought to go straight to YouTube. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Deccan Chronicle : ...Our Alice in Blunderland... full review

Thumbs down, by Smita, Desi Martini : ...Rani goes all out to please the audience. She does a ‘lavani’, a belly dance, a Silk Smitha type number and a bit of Bharat Natyam and puts her heart into each of these songs. However, the story and Director let her down. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...A SNIFFING BORE!... full review

Thumbs down, by Trisha Gupta, FirstPost : ...But this idea, that could have provided fun and frisson in equal measure, is killed by tedious, repetitive execution... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, : ...But the hitch lies in the manner in which AIYYAA tries to do too many things and in the bargain losing its focus of the simple theme.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times : ...Clearly wackiness can't carry a film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Fatema H Kagalwala, India Entertainment : ...The real obstacle in enjoying the film however lies in its very superficial story-telling. Characters remain strictly bound by the need to entertain and the quirk never leaves a gap for us to see what, if anything at all is really behind these men and women... full review

Thumbs down, by Vinayak Chakravorty, india today : ...The film could have made for a great watch too if Kundalkar was more imaginative with the plot. Instead age-old tripe takes over, about a girl silently pining for the man of her dreams even as her middle-class family has fixed her marriage.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubra Gupta, indian express : ...But Sachin Kundalkar’s whose Marathi ‘Gandha’ did this infinitely better, doesn’t manage the reprise, and what we get is a flat, heavy-footed clomp through screechy lines and overstated, dragged-out situations. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...Beyond the sensuously shot dreamy item songs, there isn't any palpable chemistry between the lead couple.... full review

Thumbs down, Indicine : ...Aiyyaa is strictly for Rani Mukherji fans who have missed her on the big screen. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Janhavi Samant, MiD DAY : ...This Aiyyaa is like a prolonged Axe Effect ad!... full review

Thumbs down, Movie Talkies : ...Fans of Rani Mukerji might enjoy the film, but if you are going with high expectations after watching the trailer (which seemed to promise more than what was delivered), you might be sorely disappointed.... full review

Thumbs down, by Aakash Barvalia, MoviezADDA : ... this mixture of misal pavsamam and idli dosappam is unhappily aviodasm.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mansha Rastogi, Now : ...Although the concept on papers or as a short capsule sounds interesting, the problem comes about when Sachin stretches it to massive proportions. T... full review

Thumbs down, by Prasanna D Zore, Rediff : ...'Yeh sab kya ho raha hai (what on earth is going on here)?,' wonders Rani Mukerji's character Meenaxi Deshpande in Aiyyaa as the film nears its climax. How on earth could she read my mind? I wonder aloud.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...undalkar makes a bizarre mash-up of several genres and ends up with a film that doesn’t do justice to any.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sudhish Kamath, The Hindu : ... But for these minor pluses, there's nothing in this film seems done by professionals.... full review

Thumbs down, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ...Kinky Kanda-pohey topped with sexy sambar-chutney? Of course, this can't beat the madness of the dramatic Deshpandes. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Resham Sangar, Zee News : ...While Rani is ‘overused’, south film star Prithviraj Sukumaran is underused. Making his Bollywood debut in ‘Aiyyaa’, the actor has barely two lines to speak in the movie’s first half.... full review

18 tweeters(?) - 7 yays 2 so-so 9 nays

zakzak786: Watched Aiyyaa outstanding movie, thoroughly enjoyed it :)

waa3d: I Saw #Aiyyaa Movie on saturday it was Very Good ☺ Rani was Superb ... Love her ♥

sunnyVIII: Aiyya a film @ankush1009 can be proud of. Liked it better than GOW , he does better producing or directing when canvas is small n intense

stillnuck: I love everything of aiyyaa :)

PhavanKaur: Watch #Aiyyaa last saturday, Nice to see Rani is back... I like her Marathi look in the movie. The movie was Simple and Funny! Love it :)

ambergupta007: Aiyya 1st of its kind ... Awesome... Erotica at its best.... <3..... Ijjat papad:-P

akshaykadam59: i like the film aiyya

dgk651: Aiyyaa . Yes watchable only for performance of Rani , but it could have been shortened by good @ 30 to 40 minutes.

chitrangadasing: Rani Mukerji's 'Aiyyaa' - Weird, Yet Watchable

sagarnautiyal: #aiyya waste of time and waste of money

realmachoman22: Can't believe #aiyya came from the script of #anuragkashyap..!...after an intelligent mafia movie like #gow he has gone from a hero to zero!

NaturesDoodle: if you survived to see Aiyyaa's ending then i salute you for your tolerance level!

Nabeel_Shaban: The award for d most irritating/annoying/ridiculous role n History goes to one Anita Date playing 'Maina' in 'Aiyya' I'm still in shock!

IndiaMovie: REVIEW: Aiyyaa! You Need Nerves of Steel to Withstand 'Gagabai': Director Sachin Kundalkar in his first Hindi mo...

imeawesome: Aiyya is plain torture. Rani's constant sniffing is such a turn off. :@ :@

FeudalThemmady: Watched #Aiyyaa.. Stupid movie!

disgruntledpoet: #Aiyyaa Disastrous!

AnkietChauhan: :'(...'Aiyya' dekh kar rona araha hai. Yeh movie banayi hi kyun hai? :'(

4 readers - 0 yays 0 so-so 4 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by nirmal : so what is this, a different spin on the The Dirty Picture?

Not Interested in Watching, by Shilpa : Pathetic movie

Nay! Thumbs Down, by ligne : I want my money back!

Nay! Thumbs Down, by silvan

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Suman

Nay! Thumbs Down, by TimELiebe : Over-edited, Heavy-Handed attempt at Masala Whimsy....

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None.
  • Language: One song with pretty directly sexual lyrics. Use of the word 'libido'
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Lots of innuendos. A weirdly dressed woman getting all horny in a song. The picturization depicts kinky sex. A skimpily clad Rani Mukerji in a couple of songs.
  • Concept: A woman gets attracted to a man because of the way he smells.
  • General Look and Feel: A very desperate attempt to keep the atmosphere weird.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Aiyyaa - Cast, crew, links

Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
150 minutes

Comments (16)

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being from the South myself I often am intrigued by either the portrayal or reference to South Indian cinema in Bollywood, and more often than not I am rather disappointed. Disappointed because while South Indian cinema has moved forward by decades, Bollywood's understanding of what South Indian cinema really is, is frozen in the 80s. I have only looked at the trailer of Aiyya and was struggling to spot any notable difference between the choreography of this film vs The Dirty Picture. But Dirty picture made sense in a way because it was about a so called sex bomb (although the real Silk had more to her than just shedding clothes). May be I am being defensive here and probably a bit premature about what the context of the song in this trailer is, but I am yet to see a bollywood film-maker or film-critic demonstrate their understanding of what South Indian cinema is all about.

with a little bit of vexation and a bit of frustration!

@nirmal hmmm..I think this is also because even TV has films from South (the ones that are dubbed awfully too) that is from those times or made with that sensibility. I'll try to keep that in mind in my reviews but I don't see the stereotyping going away in general, any time soon.


Waiting, Waiting, Waiting... :-|

@Harsh Sorry, it has been a not-so good week and today Murphy was at its magnificent best. Anyway, writing now. Should be out in a couple of hours. Sorry for the delay :)

The trailers looked disappointing as well. Here's hoping that Luv Shuv Tay Chicken Khurana doesn't end up in the same way.

@Rahul *fingers crossed* :)

OH God what a let down the movie was... the story just lost steam in second half. First half was alright except for the mehak bit going on too long. In the second half I think the director totally lost it..
It could totally have been different had he followed Prithviraj's take on his feelings for RAni given that the shot they ended interval at ! It just became a case of what would have been..what a waste of good actors.

I want my money back!

@ligne I know! :(

Suman Chakraborty

Direction: 1
Story: 2
Lead Actors: 3
Character Artists: 0.5

Dialogues: 0.5
Screenplay: 0.5
Music Director: 0.5
Lyrics: 1


the most disastrous comeback of an actress after karisma in Dangerous Ishq.
Rani is trying very hard every way to come back again sadly in such an excuse of a film

@Silvan Why is this a comeback?! Her last film was just 2 years ago. If this is Rani's comeback, then Talaash has to be Aamir Khan's comeback.


I caught the movie on TV. I was surprised that Rani chose to do such a pathetic movie. I really don't see anything but stupidity, bad judgement and desparation from her ... what else would justify the choice of such a movie !!!

I wish you would changed the rating to "Switch channels if its on TV".. it would have saved me the trouble :-(

Happy Diwali Meetu... have a good one.

Cheers !!!

@shilpa are the second person who told me i've been too generous with giving this one the second worst rating :) interesting...

Happy Diwali to you too!!

Wow, this is one Cra-azy movie, @Meetu! Kind of what happens when somebody falls in love with MTV....

So, what's Rani Mukerji doing in this film again? She's either overqualified for this leaden bit of whimsy, or desperate.

We didn't make it more than a half-hour in.

@TimELiebe I was reminded of this one while watching Shaandaar yesterday :D

@Meeta - thanks for the warning on Shaandaar! I'll be sure to steer everybody away from it now.... :o :o :o

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