Navarasa review: Mani Ratnam's Netflix anthology | Nine Stories, Nine Emotions


Navarasa, the social issue drama series curated by auteur Mani Ratnam, opens mighty with Bejoy Nambiar-directed 'Edhiri'. The film based on a story written by Mani Ratnam reflects karuna (compassion) from the nine emotions that connect the nine episodes. The social drama series released on Netflix on August 6, 2021, raises the bar for web series in the country. 

The nine talented filmmakers, including Priyadarshan, Gautham Menon, Karthik Subbaraj, Bejoy Nambiar, Karthick Naren, Rathindran Prasad, Sarjun KM, Vasanth, and Aravind Swami, are coming together for Navarasa, which is a 9-film anthology.

Navarasa features an ensemble cast as well. Check out the names of the segments and the directors of each episode:

Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Revathy, Vijay Sethupathi and Prakash Raj
Rasa: Karuna 
Bejoy's well-crafted movie, starring ace actors Revathy, Prakash Raj and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead, fits perfectly to the top bill. The movie details the agony of both the seeker and the benefactor. Keeping the OTT viewers in mind, Bejoy has restricted himself to close and mid-shots capturing every ounce of emotion from his actors' faces. Colours, lights and shadows are used perfectly to depict the emotions of each character.
Tap to read the full review by Gopika KP.  

Summer of '92
Director: Priyadarshan
Starring: Yogi Babu, Remya Nambeesan and Nedumudi Venu
Rasa: Haasya
After an emotionally loaded start with Edhiri, Mani Ratnam rightly introduces hasya (laughter) in the second episode through Priyadarshan's Summer of '92. The story written by Priyan is based on a true event that happened in the life of actor Innocent. Mani Ratnam couldn't have found better names to describe the laughter, the second episode of the series.
Though Bejoy resorted to an updated craft, Priyadarshan has narrated the story in his true style - giving us a glimpse of the location and triggering nostalgia. The cast includes Yogi Babu, Nedumudi Venu, Remya Nambeesan and Manikuttan etc. A special shoutout to Sakthivel, who plays the role of Yogi Babu's childhood.
Tap to read the full review by Ajish Jimmy George.

> Project Agni
Director: Karthik Narain
Starring: Shamna Kasim, Prasanna, Arvind Swami
Rasa: Adbhutha
The adbhutha episode in Navarasa directed by Karthick Naren will make you wonder how he drifted off. Project Agni starring Arvind Swami and Prasanna is a sci-fi flick that rides on heavy ideas and words but doesn't leave you awestruck.
Read the full review by Ajish Jimmy George.

> Payasam
Director: Vasanth
Starring: Aditi Balan, Rohini
Rasa: Bibhatsa
Vasanth S Sai's adaptation of T Janakiraman's Payasam is too sweet to fit into the Bheebhatsa category of the Navarasa series. Delhi Ganesh has done a splendid job as Subu's septuagenarian uncle. If you are attending the marriage of Subbu's fifth daughter, then watch out for Delhi Ganesh's performance, T Balasubramanyan's production design, frames of Sathyan Sooryan, Justin Prabhakaran's music and E Sangathamizhan's edits. These people have made sure that you won't feel dejected by the absence of payasam from the marriage feast.
Read the full review by Haritha Sharly Benjamin.

> Peace
Director: Karthik Subbaraj
Starring: Bobby Simha, Gautham Menon, Master  Tharun
Rasa: Shaantha 
After Jagame Thandhiram, Karthik Subbaraj once again unwraps the wounds of Eelam cause through Peace in the Shanthih episode of Navarasa. Nilava (Bobby Simha) realises that peace, in this world divided by thousand prejudices, is a fool's fantasy by paying a hefty price. Karthik Subbaraj ends Peace with a question mark and it will linger there for a long time. Karthik is a true master when it comes to short films, he reinstates that with Peace?.
Read full review by Ajish Jimmy George.

> Roudhram
Director: Arvind Swami
Starring: Riythvika
Rasa: Raudra
Arvind Swami's Roudhram, the Rudra episode of Navarasa, proceeds in a predictable trajectory and changes its course with a master blow. Arvind Swami describes two variants of anger in Roudhram, which he co-wrote with Selva. Roudhram stings deep with its message, which sounds not a bit preachy but comes out as a clarion call to stop considering women as a commodity.
Apart from a celebrated technical team including the likes of A R Rahman and Santosh Sivan, Roudhram boasts a stellar performance by S Sreeraam, Riythvika, Geetha Kailasam, N Azhagam Perumal and the rest of the cast.
Read the full review by Haritha Sharly Benjamin.

> Inmai
Director:  Rathindran R Prasad
Starring: Siddharth and Parvathy
Rasa: Bhayaanaka
Fear is a djinn that has the magical power to change a rope into the most venomous snake, so imagine what forms it can give to a human being. Rathindran R Prasad's Inmai, starring Siddharth and Parvathy Thiruvothu in the lead, takes viewers into the magical realms of djinns while narrating the story of a son avenging his father's wrongful death in the Bhaya episode of Navarasa series.
Inmai written and directed by Rathindran unfolds a revenge drama on a Muslim backdrop. Vishal Bhardwaj's music and Viraj Sinh Gohil's frames are beautiful like calligraphy. The light colour scheme and bright frames of Viraj add depth and shock to the final twist.
Read the full review by Athira Madhav.

Thunintha Pin
Director: Sarjun KM
Starring:  Atharvaa, Kishore, and Anjali
Rasa: Veera
In Thunintha Pin, the Veera episode of the Navarasa series, Sarjun KM pitches two warring ideologies against each other. Despite being an episode that talks about valour, Thunintha Pin, written by Mani Ratnam, fails to stand tall amongst other episodes.
Read the full review by Susan Joe Philip.

> Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru
Director: Gautham Menon
Starring: Suriya, Prayaga Martin
Rasa: Shringaara
Last in the Navarasa series is Shringaara (romance). One would wish for the Mani Ratnam magic here, but instead, we get vintage Gautham Vasudev Menon.
Girl, boy and music, they meet and they fall apart is the story but it is the way GVM approaches this line of thought each time that makes his films special. Backlight drawing magic with contours of characters and colours filling into highlights and shadows... PC Sreeram has left his signature on every frame in Guitar Kambi Mele. Songs by Karthik is the next high point in the movie.
Tap to read the full review by Haritha Sharly Benjamin.

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