Reviewed By: Sai Nikhil
Cast: Suriya, Vijay Sethupathi, Arvind Swami, Siddharth. Revathi, Prakash Raj, Prasanna, Yogi Babu, Sree Raam, Atharvaa, Kishore, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Ammu Abhirami, Nedumudi Venu, Ramya Nambeesan, Master Shakthivel, Poorna, Anjali, Azhagam Perumal,Prayaga Martin, Delhi Ganesh, Rohini, Aditi Balan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Bobby Simha, Riythvika, Ashok Selvan
Directors: Bejoy Nambiar, Priyadarshan, Karthick Naren, Vasanth S Sai, Karthik Subbaraj, Arvind Swami, Rathindran R Prasad, Sarjun KM, Gautham Vasudev Menon
Streaming on: Netflix
Story: This is an anthology series with each episode having one of the Narasas or human emotions as it’s theme. Each episode is in the range of 25-45 minutes. So, revealing much would ruin the experience.
Edhiri (Karuna | Compassion) directed by Bejoy Nambiar:
A man commits a punishable act and is forced to confront his conscience after that.
Summer of 92 (Hasya | Laughter) directed by Priyadarshan:
A popular comedian shares his childhood adventures when he attends his own school as a chief guest.
Project Agni (Adbuta | Wonder) directed by Karthick Naren:
A genius scientist makes a shocking discovery about life which turns his life upside down. He decides to share it with his friend and seek help.
Payasam (Bheebatsa | Disgust) directed by Vasanth S Sai:
An elderly man is unable to digest the successful life of his nephew and decides to do something which would satisfy his ego.
Peace (Shanthih | Peace) directed by Karthik Subbaraj:
A small team of Sri Lankan soldiers carry out a tiny mission to help a small boy.
Roudhram (Raudra | Anger) directed by Arvind Swami:
A teenage guy brutally attacks a man on broad daylight and the police decide to find out the reason behind this.
Inmai (Bhaya | Fear) directed by Rathindran R Prasad:
A rich lady receives a guest and is mesmerised by him. However, his visit recalls dark secrets from both their pasts.
Thunintha Pin (Veera | Courage) directed by Sarjun KM:
A newly joined fearful forest official is given the task of safely delivering a caught criminal all alone.
Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru (Sringara | Love):
Music leads two musicians to meet, talk and fall in love.
Performances: There is a huge overloaded star cast in this anthology and everyone contributes in whatever way they can but some are definitely underutilised. To name a few, Arvind Swami is totally convincing as a genius scientist, Suriya is as charming as ever and Vijay Sethupathi and Revathi shine with subtle yet impactful performances. Parvathy Thiruvothu, Ammu Abhirami and Siddharth impress in roles with multiple shades and Delhi Ganesh, Nedumudi Venu, Anjali, Bobby Simha, Sree Raam, Prasanna, Prayaga Martin and Master Shakthivel are some of the other artists who added value to this anthology with their performances.
Technicalities: All the episodes are technically sound but a few episodes stand out. Santosh Sivan’s visuals and AR Rahman’s music in Roudram enhanced the output a lot. Vishal Bharadwaj’s background score in Inmai added an intriguing feel and Karthik’s feel-good songs and PC Sreeram’s visuals created a breezy feel in Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru. Also, Sujith Sarang’s visuals and Ron Ethan Yohann’s score in Project Agni felt apt for a science fiction attempt.
Analysis: An episode-wise short overview below:
Edhiri: This episode had good writing with excellent performances. Prakash Raj was underutilised though. The theme is handled well and the connect is quite good considering the short duration. A good watch !
Summer of 92: This story intends to be a laugh riot and has a good setup but the comedy works only in bits and pieces. Master Shakthivel’s performance evokes the limited fun that there is and the ending is hilarious. An okay watch !
Project Agni: An out and out science fiction tale inspired by the works of Christopher Nolan. The performances, stunning visuals and background score enhanced it to the next level. Thoroughly engaging for anyone who loves sci-fi stories and offers a solid closing twist. An excellent watch !
Payasam: This story deals well with the theme and has a seasoned actor like Delhi Ganesh driving the entire story. Besides him, the other characters are not established well and there is no major connect. There is also a lethargic feel and an unconvincing ending. An okay watch !
Peace: This story is set in a single location and has been well written. The performances are neat and the camerawork is impressive. Offers better connect in comparison with several other stories. A decent watch !
Roudhram: Arvind Swami impresses big time with his directorial debut. The performances are excellent and an engaging tempo is maintained throughout along with some beautiful visuals and music score. The ending was impressive and made this episode stand out in terms of it’s style of narration. A very good watch !
Inmai: An intriguing story with a well-packed mystery element and sincere depiction of the theme. Good performances and technical values once again. The tension is built well and the big reveal towards the end was presented well though it is an age-old one.
Thunintha Pin: The theme is not handled well in this story. The performances are good and the narration is mostly engaging but it fails to develop a strong connect and the ending felt incomplete.
Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru: This is a typical GVM-mark musical conversational love story. Offers nothing new or different from GVM’s usual style but the good music, visuals and vibe make it a good watch for those who like musical love stories and Suriya-GVM combo. A good watch !
On a whole: Navarasa is a decent attempt at exploring the human emotions. Not a completely satisfying watch but the huge star cast and some well made episodes make it a worthy watch, if viewed with expectations in check.