Series Review: Navarasa (Nine Emotional States)
Starring: Revathy, Prakash Raj, Siddarth, Supriya, Vijay Sethupathi, Parvathy, Delhi Ganesh, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Anjali, Yogi Babu, Aditi Balan, Remya Nambeesan, Poorna, Prayaga Martin, Rythvika Suriya, Arvind Swamy, Prasanna, Atharva, Bobby Simha, Ashok Selvan, Nedumudi Venu, Kishor
Directors: Bejoy Nambiar, Priyadarshan, Karthick Naren, Vasanth S Sai, Karthik Subbaraj, Arvind Swami, Rathindran R. Prasad, Sarjun K M, Gautham Vasudev Menon
Yet another cocktail of humble tales – nine in total – each expressing an emotion: karuna (sorrow), hasya (laughter), adbhuta (wonder), bheebhatsa (disgust), shanthih (peace), raudra (anger), bhaya (fear), veera (courage) and sringara (love).
Mani Ratnam brings together some of the finest actors from the film fraternity in ‘Navarasa’ to support the daily-wage workers who were immensely affected during the pandemic.
Here is a glimpse of what this new anthology has in store…
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The first to catapult is Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘Edhiri’, which banks on forgiveness and guilt. Dheena (Sethupathi) unleashes his bottled rage and seeks revenge by murdering a nameless man played by my personal favourite, Prakash Raj who is supposedly responsible for his brother’s suicide. Later appearing as a figment of Dheena’s imagination, Raj’s character confronts him by asking if he has forgiven all those who have hurt him in the past. Appearing parallel on the screen to Dheena is Savithri (Revathy), a resentful wife who remains frozen upon sighting her husband’s corpse on the floor while the killer walks away.
Veluswamy (Yogi Babu) returns to his school for an annual function only to recount his notorious childhood days. Previously known as a ‘good for nothing’ student, he has now emerged as a successful comedian. For a man who has directed some of the comedy classics in Bollywood, ‘Summer of 92’ by Priyadarshan tries hard to make you laugh at the slightly stale jokes.
‘Project Agni’ is a riveting story of a scientist Vishnu (Arvind Swami) with a mad theory about time travel who invites his friend Krishna (Prasanna), an employee at ISRO to share details of his mind-altering discovery. With a fine climax twist, Karthick Naren manages to keep us hooked.
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Dating back to 1965, ‘Payasam’ opens up to a traditional Brahmin wedding in a courtyard with an uncle (Delhi Ganesh) drowning in jealousy. The only person who seems to be able to calm his obnoxious behaviour is his dead wife who phantoms now and then. The ruckus created by the protagonist towards the end leaves his recently widowed daughter and maybe the audience in disgust.
‘Peace or Peace?’ Preparing their bunkers in Eelam, the Tamilian rebels are a bullet away from being targeted by the Sri Lankan army on the front line. Besides having to stay low while a major attack is being planned, Nilavan (Bobby Simha) sympathises with a young boy who is looking out for his abandoned brother. Will this task of crossing over the enemy line be worth it or will there be a surprise waiting for Nilavan on the other side?
Arul and his family estranged by his father are having a tough time coping with their dreams and his mother’s income scarcity. In custody, the hot-headed Arul and the equally high- tempered inspector Anbu unravel the truths behind his attempt to murder in Arvind Swami’s ‘Roudhram’.
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My top pick from this collection – Rathindran Prasad’s ‘Inmai’ finds its sets in a pastel-coloured villa amongst architecture in Pondicherry. The pretending to be classy Waheeda (Parvathy) has an unknown guest (Siddharth) in her residence. Little does she know that he brings back horrors from her past that will make her repent his entry and her wrongdoings.
The courageous Vetri (Atharvaa) and Comrade () are posted in the dense forests of Tamil Nadu to tranquilise the Naxal uprising. The storyline in the conflicting film ‘Thunindha Pin’ is about confidence in times of political unrest and longing for your loved ones.
Gautham Menon’s clichéd short film follows the same old trail of boy meets girl and they fall in love. In ‘Guitar Mele Kambi Nindru’, Kamal (Suriya) is a singer who wants to settle in London to pursue his passion. Upon meeting Nethra (Prayaga Martin) who is also a music artist in a recording studio, they instantly get attracted to each other and the rest is exactly what you think!