Emoji review: An awkward attempt at portraying modern romance
Any hope for the show crumbles hard upon encountering the amateurish performances and awkward dialogues
Many a time, while texting someone, we often find ourselves at a loss of words, or even worse... a loss of interest. That is where emojis come as a blessing in disguise, we use them when we have nothing much to say. In some ways, Aha Tamil's latest series is so true to its title, Emoji, for this too has nothing much to say.
Director: Sen S Rangasamy
Cast: Mahat Raghavendra, Devika Satheesh, Manasa Chowdary, VJ Ashiq
Starring Mahat Raghavendra in the lead, Emoji is an awkward attempt at portraying modern relationships and their fragility. The romcom-drama begins by showing us a dejected Aadhav (Mahat), on the verge of a divorce. We then are taken back in time to two of his past relationships. Which of those two relationships did he finally end up with? Will the divorce proceedings go through? Will things end with a proverbial happily ever after? These answers form the rest of this seven-episode series.
Amateurish performances and awkward dialogues destruct any hope of redemption for the show, which seems like a hastily put-together series. Although the series deals with themes like live-in relationships, breakups, friends-turning-lovers, and physical intimacy, the writing does redeem itself, albeit briefly, by avoiding preachiness.
Mahat delivers a jaw-droppingly tepid performance, but even this feels better in front of VJ Ashik’s grating attempts at humour. Almost every “comedic” line uttered by the actor falls flat and it is only the unintentional comedy that puts a smile or two on our faces. Take, for instance, Ashik's teary rap performance while his friend Aadhav is bawling his eyes out after a breakup. We tear up too, but not because it is emotionally stirring.
Bad performances and banal writing aside, the universality of a romance story makes Emoji a watchable experience. Even though basic and trite, the premise of the story still operates within the realm of real-world possibilities and thus renders itself to faint amounts of relatability. The lack of flavour in the story is more than made up for with the tasteful cinematography, which keeps us engaged with the show.
Among the string of odd creative choices that plague the show is the decision to include dance numbers, make the actors mouth all the lyrics and shake a leg, and inexplicably cutting out the songs, and replacing them with just background score. Imagine a group of actors song-acting their hearts out, and there is no... song.
After the second episode, the story loses almost all of its energy, and every single scene is stretched to an unbearable extent. As the series finally crawls to its finale, the makers seem to have realised that Emoji has a semblance of a story and it is not just inane scenes stitched together. The divorce lawyer, who also happens to be the mentor figure for the couple, brings home the central philosophy of the show through a parable about the Buddha’s separation from his wife. The ending comes abruptly, quickly followed by a message on the screen that reads: “Let life surprise you.” The ending was certainly surprising but probably not in any way the makers intended. We find ourselves at a loss of words, interest, and... we hope to send the makers an 'eye-roll' emoji.