The much hyped and talked about anthology Navarasa is out on Netflix and as the title suggests it is a coming together of 9 Rasas or Emotions as short stories. Helmed and backed by some marquee names of South Indian cinema, the build-up and expectations were quite high and frankly that has turned out to be double whammy for the series. In general, the shorts are made well and are high on technique and craft but do not connect well emotionally. Considering that “Emotion” is the underlying theme, this is disappointing. None of the stories leave a “wow” impact on you and finally it is just a question of relative ranking among them.
A quick one line review of the 9 shorts goes like this.
- Ethiri by Bejoy Nambiar (Karuna Rasa) – A half explained portrayal of the rasa with many questions not answered.
- Summer of 92 by Priyadarshan (Haasya Rasa) – One that doesn’t evoke one laughter even by mistake.
- Project Agni by Karthick Naren (Adbhuta Rasa) – A rasa that goes above the head mangled by verbose dialogues.
- Payasam by Vasanth (Bheebhatsa Rasa) – One of the better stories and helped by some wonderful performances.
- Peace by Karthik Subbaraj (Shanti Rasa) – Tries hard to do justice to the theme but foiled by a tame ending
- Raudram by Arvind Swamy (Raudra Rasa) – An age old theme but does justice to the rasa.
- Inmai by Rathindran Prasad (Bhaya Rasa) – Starts with a great promise but again let down at the end.
- Thunintha Pin by Sarjun (Veera Rasa) – An amateurish plot and an antithesis to the “Veera”
- Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru by Gautham Vasudev Menon (Sringara Rasa) – A tired re-hash of “GVMisms”. Once again. The pleasing songs do help.
I would say that the weak story line is a common feature across the anthology and I also felt that some of the stories and the rasas got mixed up. There are some stand out performances (Revathi, Delhi Ganesh for example) but get subdued by the poor script.
Overall, for the talent quotient associated with the project (all for a noble cause of helping the industry workers during the pandemic), Navarasa is an utter disappointment.