If you had seen the trailer, it is quite obvious that you might know the primary plot of the film. An independent woman Yamuna (played by Nayanthara) creates YouTube videos on fake ghosts and makes it trend among the people. Things turn upside down when fake ghost games turn into real and the unexpected things begin to happen in the life of Yamuna. She starts to lose people around her and life becomes dark. Bhavani (once again played by Nayanthara) has an important connection with all of these. What is the relationship between Yamuna and Bhavani and how they come into contact forms the plot.
The performances in Airaa is intense and fantastic and the cast holds the film to their best potential. Nayanthara exhibits great contrast in two different characters and she happens to be the backbone of the film. Particularly, her portrayal of Bhavani has all the qualities to impress the audience and she earns empathy through an intense performance of that style. The de-glam makeover adds up to the core emotion of the film. Bhavani's character will last for a longer time even after you leave the theatre and in that aspect, Nayan has done complete justice to the role.
It is glad to see Kalaiyarasan coming out with a good act and it could probably be a memorable outing for the actor. Maathevan as the younger Kalaiyarasan is the start point for the film's core story, along with Gabriella (the younger version of de-glam Nayanthara). Maathevan looks innocent and he has delivered a neat performance understanding the nuances of the character. Gabriella too shines equally and the young girl has given her best, especially in the emotional sequences. Maathevan and Gabriella play an important role in adding up to the essence of the film. Kulappuli Leela does justice to her role, while, on an unfortunate note, Yogi Babu's one-liners do not work at all.
Airaa is an emotional horror film rather than a horror film that would have jump scares and bizarre sound effects to pump the adrenaline. The film, of course, has some thrilling moments in the first half, but it doesn't seem to be majorly working. The first half might turn out to be dull as the proceedings don't keep you engaged. However, the pre-interval sequence that intercuts simultaneously between Kalaiyarasan in the apartment and Nayanthara in the hospital is well executed.
Comparatively, the latter half of the film has some good emotions that might pacify you. The film's story doesn't excite much and it lacks a certain amount of freshness. The emotions do work and it is indeed a positive aspect, but on the larger picture, as a complete story, things could have been a little better. The reasoning behind Bhavani's vengeance isn't convincing and that too, especially with her anger over Yamuna.
The logic takes a backseat here and when that happens to be the case, you don't feel the emotions of Bhavani. The engagement factor might also come as an important factor as the film doesn't engage completely. Also, the climax conversation between Kalaiyarasan and Nayanthara does test the patience over a point of time. This also paves way for an unimpactful ending.
Airaa is technically sound and a big round of applause to the team. KS Sundaramurthy is outstanding in this film and he has shown a great mix of emotions and eerieness through his music. Megathoodham song is the soul of the film that brings out the beautiful relationship between Amudhan and Bhavani.
The visual tone of the film sets the mood in the right proportions. Whenever you get to feel the presence of Bhavani through the paranormal activities, the red colour is put to good use symbolizing her agony. Also, the monochrome tone for Bhavani is a brilliant idea. The shift from black and white to colour for Bhavani during the exorcism scene brings out the director's touch and we had seen a similar kind of approach already in his short film, Lakshmi.
Director Sarjun extracts some great work from his actors and the technical talents but falls while putting everything together as a film. The screenplay and direction could have been even more effective to make it a wholesome satisfying ride.
VERDICT - Airaa has some strong emotions that will make you empathize, but falls flat as a wholesome product!
RATING - 2.25/5