Review By : Censor Rating : 18+ Genre : Artistic, Drama, Emotionally Heavy, Feel Good, Good Visuals, Historical, Humour, Romance

Production: Jayendra Panchapakesan, Mani Ratnam Cast: Aditi Balan, Anjali, Arvind Swami, Ashok Selvan, Atharva, Bobby Simha, Delhi Ganesh, Gautham Menon, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Parvathy Thiruvorthu, Prakash Raj, Prasanna, Ramesh Thilak, Ramya Nambeesan, Revathy, Rohini, Siddharth, Suriya, Vijay Sethupathi, Yogi Babu Direction: Arvind Swami, Bejoy Nambiar, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Karthick Naren, Karthik Subbaraj , Priyadarshan, R Rathindran Prasad, Sarjun KM, Vasanth S Sai Dialogues: Madhan Karky, Pattukottai Prabhakar Distribution: Netflix

Navarasa is an anthology produced by Mani Ratnam and Jayendran Panchapakesan under the banners Madras Talkies and Qube Technologies respectively. The series has films made by 9 directors - Bejoy Nambiar, Priyadarshan, Karthick Naren, Vasanth, Karthik Subbaraj, Arvind Swami, Rathindran Prasad, Sarjun and Gautham Menon. It features actors like Suriya, Vijay Sethupathi, Arvind Swami, Aditi Balan, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Anjali among others.

Edhiri - Directed by Bejoy Nambiar

Bejoy Nambiar's Edhiri starring Vijay Sethupathy, Revathy and Prakash Raj is the first film of this anthology. Apart from being good or bad, the opening film has an additional responsibility of pulling the audience into the series. And that's exactly where the film falters. Despite having great visual quality, the film is slightly melodramatic and doesn't engage you. The performances of seasoned actors like Vijay Sethupathi, Prakash Raj and Revathy saves the film's grace. It would have probably worked better if placed somewhere in the middle of the series rather than the start. Nevertheless, it's a decent outing for Bejoy Nambiar and Co.

Summer of 92 - Directed by Priyadarshan

A sweet, straightforward story, with no deceptions or tricks - Priyadarshan's Summer of 92 ends up as one of the best films in the entire series. The plot is quite simple - Yogi Babu plays the role of Velusamy, a popular cinema actor. He returns to his alma mater to give a speech, recalling his life at school. That's what the film is all about. While Yogi Babu and Ramya Nambeesan don't have much scope to perform, Master Shaktivel who appears as younger Velusamy steals the show. The actor complements Priyadarshan's writing extremely well. Without just relying on slapstick comedy, the situations offer a lot of scope for comedy and that makes the film work well. The relatability factor is also high, and we can relate to the things Velusamy does at school, like scribbling on the school bathroom walls. Summer of '92 ends up as a neat, engaging comedy film that also entertains well.

Project Agni - directed by Karthick Naren

Project Agni is an ambitious sci-fi film written and directed by Karthick Naren. Ambitious in the sense that it tries to convey a lot of information in the stipulated time of 30 minutes. Arvind Swami plays the role of Vishnu, a thinker. He comes up with an idea/theory about the subconscious mind of humans, and shares it with his friend Krishna, played by Prasanna. While the frames look cool and the film is stylishly shot, there is a lot left unexplained in the film, which ends up confusing the audience. The film's logic also takes a hit when Vishnu talks about astrology, and god creating humans to Krishna, who is a scientist at ISRO. Better research on that side of the film could have made this far better. Apart from these logical inconsistencies, the director Karthick Naren must be praised for attempting something that we've not seen much in Tamil cinema before. 

Payasam - directed by Vasanth S Sai

Director Vasanth's Payasam is certainly an interesting film mainly because of its structure. Adapted from T Janakiraman's short story of the same name, the film follows the structure of short stories in Tamil Literature, especially the ones of Janakiraman, Asokamitran, and Jeyakanthan. Apart from the stunning art direction and cinematography, the story is also pretty simple to understand. Vasanth handles the emotions of various characters with ease, but the arcs of a few characters like that of Aditi Balan are left as loose threads. The carnatic heavy background score lends ample support to the film. With not much to complain about, Payasam is a good watch with strong performances from Aditi Balan, Delhi Ganesh and Rohini.

Peace - directed by Karthik Subbaraj

After Jagame Thanthiram, Karthik Subbaraj again returns to Eelam as the backdrop of this subject. Bobby Simha, Gautham Menon, Sananth are all LTTE Soldiers who are stationed to strengthen a base to resist an attack by the Sri Lankan Army. While there have been very few films to have taken the side of LTTE while depicting the Eelam issue, this film also joins the list, questioning the concept of peace and if it really exists. The screenplay and dialogues aren't as sharp as we see in a Karthik Subbaraj film. Among the actors Gautham Menon gives a measured performance, while Bobby Simha and Master Tharun nail their roles. 

Roudhram - directed by Arvind Swami

Arvind Swami turns director for the first time with this film, which has cinematography by Santosh Sivan, and music by AR Rahman. It also has a star cast that consists of Riythvika, Sree Ram, Abinayashree, who are all talented actors. Writing is one of the downsides of this film. The emotional bond between characters isn't established properly, and it leaves you confused as to whom to root for. Santosh Sivan's cinematography has ample usage of long shots and Rahman's music go in vain due to lesser engagement.

Inmai - directed by Rathindran Prasad

Inmai by Rathindran Prasad deals with the concept of fear and how it kills a person from the inside. The story is fresh, the music blends well with the script and the frames look exquisite, especially in the scenes involving Parvathy's house. What pulls the film down is the predictability. It gives away a lot of information without intending to, which also includes the opening scene. The film relies heavily on Siddharth and Parvathy's performances, and both look in great form. A little more effort could have been put into the dialogues too. But all these flaws can be forgiven, and Inmai does entertain and engage you to an extent.

Thunintha Pin - directed by Sarjun

Sarjun's Thunintha Pin, written by Mani Ratnam focuses on the lives of 2 people - an Army officer - Atharvaa, and a Naxalite - Kishore. There is a popular adage when it comes to films - show don't say. However Thunintha Pin does exactly the opposite. It is a dialogue heavy film, and those dialogues aren't strong enough. Anjali plays the role of a pregnant woman, but her character has no relevance to the story. There's not a single scene involving her, and her husband Atharvaa. She is shown to be waiting for him to return to her, and this would make sense if he is in trouble. But here he doesn't face any low points, so we are not able to empathize with Anjali's role because of the writing is shallow.  

Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru - directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon

In what is his most neatest film till date, Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru is a film that answers the question - What if everything goes right in a Gautham Menon film? The dialogues, the performances, the music, the screenplay, and most importantly the mood. With a star performer like Suriya in the lead, Gautham Menon makes most of his acting abilities, and Suriya too doesn't go overboard with his acting. Both him and Pragaya Martin deliver measured performances. But apart from the leads, it's a GVM - Karthik - Madhan Karky show all the way. The songs are extremely delightful, and you don't realise the passing of time, despite being the longest film in the series (runtime of over 45 minutes). The picturisation of songs, and the nature of songs fit well with the theme of the film. Suriya plays the role of a music composer and performer, therefore the songs don't feel forced. Being the last film of the anthology, it leaves us with a sweet taste in our mouths. A quality film from Gautham Menon, and if you're a GVM fan, you're in for a treat.

Overall, the anthology has a lot of good films, but the order of films could have been tweaked. Priyadarshan's Summer of '92 and Gautham Menon's Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru stand out well. A pattern that could be observed in both these films is the simplicity of the plot. The leads have clearly drawn character arcs, and the screenplay is neat. There are no big twists as such, but the mood created by the films keeps us engaged throughout. With not much violence barring a couple of moments, you can definitely give this a watch over the weekend with your family. 


Verdict: Navarasa has a lot of relatable stories and brilliant performances! A satisfying anthology.


2.75 5 ( 2.75 / 5.0 )



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Navarasa (aka) Navarasaa

Navarasa (aka) Navarasaa is a Tamil movie. Aditi Balan, Anjali, Arvind Swami, Ashok Selvan, Atharva, Bobby Simha, Delhi Ganesh, Gautham Menon, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Parvathy Thiruvorthu, Prakash Raj, Prasanna, Ramesh Thilak, Ramya Nambeesan, Revathy, Rohini, Siddharth, Suriya, Vijay Sethupathi, Yogi Babu are part of the cast of Navarasa (aka) Navarasaa. The movie is directed by Arvind Swami, Bejoy Nambiar, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Karthick Naren, Karthik Subbaraj , Priyadarshan, R Rathindran Prasad, Sarjun KM, Vasanth S Sai. Production by Jayendra Panchapakesan, Mani Ratnam.