Oh Boy! The love affair of Netflix with anthologies continues. In a span of two weeks, Netflix has released yet another Tamil Anthology Film. And it has as many as 9 episodes with 9 Different Stories! Ya you guessed it, the film is Navarasa which signifies 9 different emotions, each calling for a new story. I really enjoy anthologies but the only drawback is that it takes a very long time to pen a review. And hence as a wise man had once said – Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions! And so because this film had 9 episodes, I decided to tweak my format a bit for a wholesome analysis that will help you to pick and choose the right film. And with that I have finished Navarasa and here are two cents on it in a brand new format!
Story & Screenplay (Ranked Lowest To Highest)
Navarasa is an anthology depicting 9 emotions through 9 different stories. These are my rankings based on story and screenplay only!
Number 9 : Payasam – A Story depicting jealousy where a disconnected villager tries to disrupt a wedding. The writing here is the weakest and the screenplay just falls really flat
Number 8 : Edhiri – A story of a man who commits a murder out of the piled up rage only to realise his mistake. This was a complex story but the screenplay just was a bit of a drag. With big names in this short, this was a bit of a dampner
Number 7 : Inmai – A story of a woman whose life takes a turn on the arrival of a stranger. The story had certain elements to shine but the screenplay was a little inconsistent. This was not a trainwreck and was very watchable but then I wish the writing was a little more consistent.
Number 6 : Peace – There is very little to choose between the next four but didn’t wish for a tie so here goes! A story of a group of rebels who face risky choices while helping a young boy. The screenplay is quite well written and it does engage you well. If I had to put a microscope on it, maybe the end could have been better written.
Number 5 : Thunintha Pin – The story of a young army officer whose bravery is put to test when he captures a Naxalite. Pretty well written screenplay which keeps you hooked throughout but for the end which seemed incomplete. I am a fan of open endings but here it just didn’t seem right!
Number 4 : Summer of ’92 – A Story of a man who is invited to his school in his village as a Chief Guest. His speech takes you down the lane of nostalgia. Here the screenplay has several light moments that will leave a smile on your face. You may find yourself laughing hysterically too!
Number 3 : Roudhram – A story of a young man who commits a crime out of rage. What is his motive? Here the screenplay was so delicately written that truely brings out the right emotions. It was sensitive in many ways too with a nice twist at the end.
Number 2 : Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru – A love story of a musician is all you need to know before going into this one! This one has so many heartwarming moments and I being a sucker for romantic films absolutely loved the vibe!
Number 1 : Project Agni – Easily the best story and screenplay of the lot. I won’t be revealing the screenplay except that this is a sci-fi and will challenge you at every step. To give you a perspective, after finishing this one I had to take a break and contemplate on what I had just witnessed. Excellent screenplay, probably the best I have seen this year by a long way!
Direction (Ranked Lowest To Highest)
Number 9 : Vasanth(Payasam) – Here the direction was all over the place, it just lacked that clarity. With a mediocre script, the direction faltered too.
Number 8 : Rathindran R Prasad(Inmai) – I have had to keep Rathindran at Number 8 because the script which he had at hand wasn’t bad. Although his direction wasn’t bad here but it could have been much better by elevating the script! The direction could have been better here with better execution.
Number 7 : Bejoy Nambiar(Ethiri) – Let me put this on record, Bejoy Nambiar is one of my favourite directors. He has this flair and the techniques which he uses is what sets him apart from the rest. But here something was amiss whether it was the stellar starcast or the complex story which he couldn’t quite grip. Just an off day perhaps!
Number 6 : Karthik Subbaraj(Peace) – One of the more promising directors of my time, his direction is pretty decent but it is the end that left a little more to be desired with its execution!
Number 5 : Sarjun KM(Thunintha Pin) – The direction is pretty impressive here and I really felt the director was in control here. Just that other stories had better direction and hence this rank.
Number 4 : Priyadarshan(Summer of ’92) – I for one have grown on the comedies of Priyadarshan since my childhood. And hence it was painful for me to watch Hungama 2 which seemed outdated. But here I again got to witness Vintage Priyadarshan in this short. The humour was intact and there were flashes of brilliance too. Maybe Hungama 2 was just a minor glitch?
Number 3 : Arvind Swami(Roudhram) – I will get to Arvind Swami the actor in a bit but Arvind Swami the director has definitely turned up! His direction is excellent as he is able to evoke the right set of emotions. Amazing job here!
Number 2 : Gautham Vasudev Menon(Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru) – Another individual whose acting I will get to in a bit. But I have definitely been a fan of his direction from his RHTDM days. The vibe that he is able to create with beautiful music is just for my the highlight of the film. Such a heartwarming story executed to perfection!
Number 1 : Karthick Naren(Project Agni) – The direction easily had the most complex script to work with. Any error and it would have amplified. But instead the director successfully engages you in conversations and makes you believe in his concept. A short that stays long after it gas ended! The direction deserves distinction marks here!
Performances (Ranked Lowest To Highest)
Number 9 : Payasam – When you have talented artists like Aditi Balan at your disposal and yet no one from the short really stands out then you have to attribute it to the writing. Seldom can an actor save a mediocre script. This is just that case.
Number 8 : Peace – Things are getting hot up here as I am cracking my brains over this one. All shorts have outstanding performances so very little to choose from. But lets do this! Sananth was the standout performer here and he has done a fine job. Gautham Vasudev Menon has done a decent job too but I feel he is a better director rather than an actor! All others are alright!
Number 7 : Summer of ’92 – A Good Set of performances from Yogi Babu, Remya Nambeesan and the boy who plays the role of the younger version of Yogi Babu’s character. They are successfully able to evoke laughter through their antics. Then why are they ranked 7? Because the other performers had better written characters.
Number 6 : Thunintha Pin – Another set of great performances from Athravaa and Kishore. The banter which they exchanged is fun to watch although there is tension around at any given point of time. Additionally a nice cameo from Anjali too!
Number 5 : Inmai – A decent script saved upto an extent by two marvellous actors Parvathy and Siddharth. Both of them are outstanding and deserve kudos for bringing all their experience in play.
Number 4 : Roudhram – The performances here were simply outstanding here! Riythvika, Sree Ram, Geeta Kailasam give such heartfelt performances that truely elevate the script to another level!
Number 3 : Edhiri – This short had the best actors on display. It was a pity that the execution was flawed. However the trio of Prakash Raj, Revathy and Vijay Sethupathi are such seasoned performers that they manage to find a way into the top 3! Such a pleasure watching each of them performe particularly Vijay Sethupathi who can emote so well through his eyes! An acting masterclass if ever there was one.
Number 2 : Project Agni – This was super close but they just got pipped at the podium. An outstanding display of performances here with Arvind Swami leading the way. There is something to him which makes him excel in all roles, a level of ease. He is ably supported by Prasanna, Sai Siddharth and Poorna each of whom are brilliant!
Number 1 : Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru – The best performances on display the duo of Suriya and Prayaga have crackling chemistry together. I could almost feel the magic unfold, a large credit also goes to the music which was so soulful. Tje moments that they are able to create is magical and infectious. Probably one great reason to watch this short is this amazing duo!
Conclusion (Overall Ranking Lowest to Highest)
Navarasa is another anthology which I have thoroughly enjoyed. But, this was a case of 2 Superhits, 4 Hits, 1 Average and 2 Duds. Following is my final ranking :
Number 9 : Payasam
Number 8 : Edhiri
Number 7 : Inmai
Number 6 : Peace
Number 5 : Thunintha Pin
Number 4 : Summer of ’92
Number 3 : Roudhram
Number 2 : Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru
Number 1 : Project Agni
Available on Netflix!