Navarasa, the highly anticipated anthology web series has finally premiered on Netflix. Mani Ratnam, the veteran filmmaker has produced the project along with senior filmmaker Jayendra Panchapakesan, thus making his debut on OTT platforms. As the trailer suggested, Navarasa consists of 9 segments/short films based on 9 'rasas' aka human emotions.
Did the Mani Ratnam production live up to expectations? Read Navarasa movie review here to know:
Segments Of Navarasa
Edhiri by Bejoy Nambiar (Compassion)
This Bejoy Nambiar directorial revolves around Dheena (Vijay Sethupathi), who avenges his brother's death by murdering Savitri's (Revathi) husband. The biggest plus point of Edhiri is the performances by its stellar star cast, including Vijay Sethupathi (who has also penned the dialogues), Revathi, Prakash Raj, Ashok Selvan, Sai Tamhankar, Vivek Prasanna, and others.
The wise usage of a popular retro Tamil song in the narrative has definitely contributed to the overall experience. Edhiri is well-shot and has an appealing background score, which makes it a great visual experience. But, the first segment of Navarasa falls into a slow pace and ends up preachy, thus ending up as an unsatisfying watch.
Summer Of 92 by Priyadarshan (Laughter)
Priyadarshan, the senior filmmaker has delivered a laughter experience that is nothing like his signature films. The movie depicts the story of actor Velusamy, who visits his school and narrates some hilarious incidents that resulted in him dropping out of school.
Yogi Babu is in his usual best as Velusamy, while the rest of the star cast including Nedumudi Venu, Remya Nambeesan, Manikuttan, and others have played their parts well. But the dubbing of Remya and Manikuttan looked forced. The segment unfolds at a slow pace, but the effective climax compensates for it. However, the second segment of Navarasa is definitely worth a watch.
Project Agni by Karthick Naren (Wonder)
Project Agni, which is directed by Karthick Naren is unarguably one of the best segments of the Navarasa anthology. The project revolves around Vishnu (Arvind Swami), a brilliant thinker who discovers some mind-blowing theories and shares them with his friend Krishna (Prasanna).
This Karthick Naren directorial definitely stands out with its brilliant writing, making, performances, and technicals aspects (ignoring the 'Nolan' influence). The Dasavathar connection has bought an interesting twist to the premise. Among the actors, Arvind Swami outshines his co-actors with the amazing screen presence and brilliant voice modulation. Project Agni definitely deserves to be made an independent film or even better, a web series.
Payasam by Vasanth S Sai (Disgust)
Payasam, which is directed by Vasanth S Sai, revolves around the envy of a small-town man, which leads to unexpected events at a Tamil Brahmin wedding. The segment features Delhi Ganesh, Rohini, Aditi Balan, Karthick Krishna, and others in pivotal roles. Despite the honest attempt to convey an appealing story based on 'disgust' Payasam ends up as the weakest film of Navarasa.
The segment gets the 'disgust' element right in some of its moments, like a widow's presence in the marriage. But both the performances by the cast (except Delhi Ganesh) and narrative lack conviction and look forced. However, Payasam scores with its decent cinematography and appealing music score.
Peace by Karthik Subbaraj (Peace)
Peace revolves around a group of Eelam rebels, including Master (Gautham Menon), Nilavan (Bobby Simha), and Cheran (Sanath), who face a tough situation when a young boy seeks their help in a rescue mission. Karthik Subbaraj, the talented filmmaker is back to form with this amazing fifth segment of Navarasa.
The entire star cast, especially Bobby Simha, have played their parts to near perfection. The well-written, well-made segment stays true to its rasa - Shaanta. The excellent visuals and Santhosh Narayanan's deeply moving music score make Peace a highly appealing watch. This Karthik Subbaraj directorial is definitely going to win hearts.
Roudram by Arvind Swami (Anger)
Arvind Swami, the popular actor has made a decent directorial debut with Roudram, the sixth segment of Navarasa. The segment revolves around the siblings Arul and Anbu and the emotion that rules their life - anger. Despite having a quite familiar, old-school plot, Roudram succeeds in emerging as an effective watch.
The star cast, including Riythvika, Sree Ram, Abhinaya Sri, Ramesh Thilak, have equally excelled in their respective roles. Santhosh Sivan's visualisation and AR Rahman's music adds a much-needed impact to the film, which might otherwise come across as an average revenge story.
Inmai by Ratheendran R Prasad (Horror)
Parvathy Thiruvothu and Siddharth essay the lead roles in this Ratheendran R Prasad directorial, which depicts how the life of a young woman takes a fateful turn after a stranger enters. Inmai, which has the elements of horror and fantasy, makes an impression with the performances of its star cast, especially Siddharth, Parvathy, and Ammu Abhirami.
Even though Inmai emerges as a pretty effective slow-burn thriller, the character developments, and certain situations lack conviction. However, the movie somewhat creates the desired appeal with its effective climax. The excellent background score by Vishal Bharadwaj and amazing visuals have totally elevated the 'fear' factor in the plot.
Thunintha Pin by Sarjun KM (Valour)
The eight segment of Navarasa, which is directed by Sarjun KM, revolves around Vetri (Atharvaa Murali), a new army officer, and his encounter with the captain of Naxals (Kishore). We are also introduced to Muthulakshmi (Anjali) who awaits her missing husband. Thunintha Pin, with its powerful dialogues and some well-written scenes, stays true to the emotion it deals with - Valour.
However, Thunintha Pin lacks grip when it comes to character development (Muthulakshmi definitely had more potential) and struggles to keep the audience engaged. But the excellent performances by the star cast and great technical aspects make Thunintha Pin a decent watch.
Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru by Gautham Menon (Romance)
Suriya and Gautham Menon once again create magic on screen with this final segment of Navarasa. Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru deals with an episode in the life of Kamal (Suriya), a musician, and Nethra (Prayaga Martin) who enters his life. Writer-director Gautham Menon once again impresses with the wonderful dialogues (especially in the long bike shot) and amazing detailing (references of classic songs for instance).
Suriya delivers a super charming performance as Kamal (special mention to his brilliant voice modulation). Prayaga Martin scores with the dialogue delivery but lacks the much-needed subtlety in her performance, thus almost coming across as a miscast. PC Sriram's brilliant cinematography makes Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru a visually enthralling experience. Music composer Karthik, on the other hand, has delivered one of the finest Tamil music albums in a long time. This Suriya starrer is a treat for romance lovers but might disappoint audiences who expect a cliche storytelling structure.
Navarasa is the celebration of the 9 prime emotions, cinema, and its abundant talents. This Mani Ratnam production is undoubtedly a wholesome experience for every film buff out there.