Navarasa, an anthology of 9 emotions, created by Mani Ratnam and Jayendra Panchapakesan has brought together 9 directors and a bunch of popular actors to convey 9 stories. The second story, ‘Summer of ‘92′ was supposed to represent the Hasya Rasa or Laughter. The episode however did not even come close to representing that emotion.
Yogi Babu played the role of Veluswamy who comes back to his school’s 100th year anniversary celebrations and narrates how he failed 4 times in 9th grade before actually becoming the successful actor he is today. While initially it starts as some kind of motivational story, it goes on to narrate how Velu was purposefully failed because of the small mischiefs he caused around the school and for his teachers.
Velusamy welcomed to his school’s 100th Anniversary celebrations
The idea the director went for was to make Velu’s failure story funny, but it was mixed with emotions of disgust and boredom more than comedy. The apparent body-shaming that Velu went through during his childhood was supposed to be a matter of laughter. But, calling a child a ‘Pig’ did not really hit anyone’s funny bone. It was more irritating to watch the forced comedy in this episode.
There is another reason why the episode did not make sense. It is the nature of teenage children to be naughty and adventurous. And it is the duty of teachers to reform them. But instead, this episode showed that the teachers took their revenge by failing him every year and retaining him in the same class. That was a very wrong portrayal of the education system itself.
The story went forward and backward where Velu narrated the situations that led to his failure 4 times. After the second story the audience could guess what was coming and the other two situations felt like a repitition. The way the different teachers treated him was supposed to be funny for the viewers but these were issues that could permanently affect the mental health of a child. These were the aspects of the episode that made it a misfit.
Yogi Babu, Remya Nembeesan and Nedumudi Venu’s performance had no flaws. In fact if the episode was a sinking ship then the actor’s respective performance were the life jackets. The boy who portrayed Yogi Babu’s younger version also did a good job at his role. And ofcourse, the dog was also really cute and adorable. These aspects of the episode are noteworthy!
Lakshmi going about her day as a teacher
On the whole, ‘Summer of ‘92’ was a big misfit in this series of emotions as it surely did not make the audience laugh even for a minute!
Check out the detailed Navarasa review here!