Aaviri Story: Raj ( Ravi Babu ) and his wife Leena ( Neha Chauhan ) experience insurmountable grief. To overcome it, his wife suggests they shift and move into an old house built in the 1920s. But what happens when their child Munni ( Sri Muktha ) begins experiencing supernatural phenomenon?
Aaviri Review: By now, if Ravi Babu is making a horror-thriller, you already know what it’s going to be like. There’s going to be everyday household objects that move on their own. A house that looks too good to be haunted. The home dwellers mystified beyond belief or completely ignorant to the hauntings. And of course, a creep whose actions lie at the core of the mystery (brownie points for whoever guesses the creep). Aaviri too unfortunately follows the same old template.
Raj (Ravi Babu) is a techie who’s too busy trying to merge his company with the Japanese. However, after experiencing something unforeseen, he begins to do his best to make time for his family. Even if it means leaving office in the middle of a meeting. His wife Leena (Neha Chauhan) is a stay-at-home mother who becomes overprotective of their child Munni (Sri Muktha), who suffers from asthma and as a consequence, has an allergy to nuts. The film begins with the child swimming, while gasping for breath and even as one wonders why an asthmatic child is being made to swim, the film answers it with very, on-the-nose dialogues. And this is how the rest of the film continues too – questions that are posed and answered with over-the-top scenes.
To Ravi Babu’s credit, he tries his best to create an air of mystery right from the word go. But the music by Vaidhhy tries too hard to set the mood and this is one of the film’s major downfalls. The screenplay by Satyanand is okay but there’s only so many ways of showing a child trying to run away in a span of two hours. And by the time the ‘big reveal’ comes through, you’re tired of all the distractions because you could already smell this coming a mile away. More than the supernatural activity, it is Munni’s tantrums that scare one in Aaviri, especially when she keeps getting rewarded for her behaviour.
Ravi Babu does an earnest enough job as the father trying to juggle work and home, but we all know this is a role he can play in his sleep. Neha Chauhan’s performance as the grieving mother is so melodramatic, that she gets on one’s nerves, especially in a key sequence that requires her to be loud. Her possessed act is laughable too, making one wonder if it’s not meant to be taken seriously in the first place. Sri Muktha is good enough as petulant child who wants to get her way all the time. But despite the short-ish run-time, the film seems overdrawn, thanks to the clichéd story which employs done and dusted horror tropes. Ravi Babu’s reason for naming the film Aaviri will however make you chuckle.
Aaviri offers nothing new, especially if you’ve seen Ravi Babu’s previous offerings, even if you can see that he tries hard. No smoke-screens here to look out for!