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Aiyaa (2012): Rani Mukherjee’s Bollywood stalking at its best/worst

I was disappointed earlier this year when Aiyaa didn’t
come to the theaters here. Now that I’ve watched it online, I can kind
of see why it didn’t. This movie is a hot mess. And yes, it is hot, and
yes, it is a mess.

love Rani Mukherjee like nobody’s business. If you told me to pick one
Bollywood actress, she’d be it (if Kajol wasn’t retired, she might give
Rani a run for her money in my affections). I
just got through telling someone there isn’t a Rani Mukherjee
performance I’ve seen that I haven’t liked.

And then…this.

Oh, yes, I still love Rani Mukherjee. But this movie is a giant pile of WTF.

plays Meenakshi, a bubbly Marathi girl who’s obsessed with filmidom and
lives with her head in the clouds — can you really blame her when living
in reality means behind a Dumpster in a house shared with a scolding
mom, inept father and just plain weird brother who won’t work?

she goes to get a job at a library and the interviewing boss is
supremely creepy and sounds like he’s selling her into
prostitution…yet all she does is work in a library.

Albeit with this finely frightening specimen who has no real purpose in the film:

Maina, who has a vodka monkey and screeches and wears strange things.

but while there, Meenakshi sees Surya (Prithviraj), a Tamil artist.
Head-over-Bollywood-heels in no time flat. Meenakshi is in fact so
smitten with Surya that she goes around asking everyone about him. What
she comes up with is that he’s on drugs, doesn’t sleep (because he’s too busy doing drugs!), squandered his
father’s money and so on.

Hello sir. You don’t even have to say anything. So you won’t.

y’know, she can’t help being in love with him — the guy she never speaks
to. So she begins learning Tamil so she can impress him by speaking in
his own tongue. But alas, sully Surya is unimpressed and does not reply,
even in Tamil.

Let the games begin.

The stalking games, that is.

someone around because you love them is popular in Bollywood (off the
top of my head: Love Aaj Kal (retro storyline), Bombay, even Barfi and
Dabangg to a degree). And there’s some Bollywood creeper precedent of
Shahrukh Khan sneaking into Rani Mukherjee’s room in K2H2 (bed intruder, yaar) and Aamir Khan sneaking into Kareena Kapoor’s bedroom in 3 Idiots.

But Meenakshi takes it to a whole other level, yo.

Meenakshi follows Surya everywhere.
Around campus. Into the bathroom. Home. And she even goes to his house
under false pretenses to meet his mother — and steal a painted on
T-shirt from his room. 



Oh, yeah, and Meenakshi and her brother try to buy drugs so she can smell Surya’s scent.

Aiyaa! (Aside: part of me wonders if aiyaa passed into Hindi usage from the Chinese term āiyā, an expression of surprise or a mild curse.)

then of course amidst all of this, Meenaski’s family is searching for a
suitable husband for her. But somehow nobody wants to make an offer.

Who doesn’t want to marry this? Even Surya’s mom ♥s particularly wacky Meenakshi making up stories about being an orphan!

I respond: WHAT! Stalkerish tendencies aside, who the hell WOULDN’T
marry Rani Mukherjee?! (Other than SRK passing over her in K3G for
Kajol, anyway.)

anyway, the family eventually finds a sweet if dweebish and possibly
gay fellow named Madhav. But while Meenakshi likes him well enough, he’s
definitely not stalkable like Surya (though she does stand outside
Madhav’s door and watch him get dressed…). So of course she’s
conflicted between this impending marriage and her tendency to come
apart at the seams any time Surya’s within 100 yards.

Oh the choices…

and along the way, we stop for some incredibly sexy dance numbers that
Meenakshi is imagining  in her head with Surya. By God, Rani Mukherjee
can dance and she has to be one of the sexiest in Bollywood (and 34!
what what!).

one of these happens to be the biggest Bollywood WTF song I have ever
seen (and that’s including the insanity that is Oh Darling, Yeh Hai India). I get that it’s one big joke about South Indian masala — er,
South Indian film star is liking this? — but still… WAT IS THIS


Meenakshi, you are certainly a weird one.

no one lets poor Prithviraj talk until the end, when Meenakshi — on her
engagement night! — stalks him to his late father’s factory — where he
works all night for money has not squandered — and finds out HE DOES NOT
DO DRUGS; HE MAKES INCENSE. This revelation is so much that she must,
of course, faint. And thus our dear hero*, after carrying her and
awakening her, finally speaks!

what does he tell us? That without acknowledging Meenakshi all film
long, he has noticed her stalking. That while Meenaski’s family has been
trying to “push her out of her home” (an allusion to her unhappy
impending nuptials), she has been trying to “enter his home.”

And somehow he is not only okay with all of this BLATANT CREEPINESS, but he says, “Hey, yo, let’s get engaged!”


On the night she was supposed to be engaged to another man, she instead
becomes engaged to the man who hasn’t spoken or acknowledged her all

…yes. Thank you, Bollywood, for a happy resolution to stalking. Yes. That is EXACTLY what we needed.

Engagement. The happy ending to stalking.

forgive very, very large amounts of filmi ridiculousness (mostly all
things done in the name of humor, I suppose). I’m not so sure on this
one. Maybe I would be quicker to forgive it if it were more funny and less creepy.

Well, at least Rani seemed to have fun making this one:



Prithviraj is the one wearing less clothes!

is so handsome, he is the heroine of the film. He has been fully
exploited by the director as he has had to strip and go bare-chested,
six pack and all. Usually in Hindi films, the heroine has to look hot.”-
Rani, in an interview

this is frighteningly true about this film, and though Rani definitely
looks hot, this is definitely a heroine-centric film of
which she is the star and Prithviraj is the arm candy. I’m not so sure
how I feel about that, though I can say part of me is happy that there
is such a thing as a heroine-centric film with the man riding shotgun.