Airaa (Eng: The beginning) is a 2019 Indian Tamil horror film written and directed by KM Sarjun. The film stars Nayanthara, Kalaiyarasan and Yogi Babu in the main lead roles. The film is produced by Kotapadi J Rajesh under the production banner KJR Studios. The movie was initially expected to be released on the eve of Christmas but the shooting of the film wasn’t completed as planned until December 2018. Nayanthara is playing a dual role in a film for the second time after Maya (2015).
The movie starts off with Yamuna (Nayanthara), who is a journalist and also a YouTuber who makes a living by doing ghost videos. Not interested in marriage, she goes to her grandmother Parvathy’s (Kulappulli Leela) house in the rural area of Tamil Nadu. Her grandmother, despite being blind, has a sharper vision than some normal people. Yamuna’s pitches are mostly inspired by her grandmother.
The movie then cuts and shows Amudhan (Kalaiyarasan), who is investigating a string of deaths that have been happening in the area throughout the movie. Meanwhile, Yamuna, Parvathy, Mani (Yogi Babu), and Mani’s nephew Babloo (Ashwanth Ashokkumar) continue making fake ghost videos on YouTube, which eventually catches the public’s attention and goes viral. The movie then shows Amudhan, who is on a lookout for a few people whom he met in the local bar. After enquiring in a few places, he finds where the people live and goes to their houses. Suddenly, the same two people whom he had been looking for fall from the top of their apartment building to their deaths, which is actually the same way the other people have also died.
Amudhan then climbs to the rooftop of the building, only to find nobody there, he then screams the name Bhavani. The movie cuts back to Yamuna, who is suddenly being haunted by a ghost but is unsure who it is and why it is attacking her. One night, Yamuna sees her grandmother looking up at the CCTV cameras that Yamuna had fixed for her videos. Yamuna is taken aback by this and exits the room that she is in to check on her grandmother, who then was dragged by the ghost to the garden area of the house and is attacked. Yamuna is also attacked during this time. Yamuna then wakes up in a hospital and then is greeted by her parents (Jayaprakash and Meera Krishnan). She asks her father about her grandmother’s condition, to which he replies by saying that she is alive but in a critical state. Yamuna, who is still in the hospital, wakes up in the middle of the night and sees a butterfly, which leads her out of her room and to the hospital corridors. On the floor, she finds drawings on the cloth of the same butterfly, which happens to lead her to the lift and to her grandmother’s hospital room. Yamuna then finds that her grandmother is dead and that her monitor is no longer beeping. The movie cuts to Amudhan, who is talking to the ghost, Bhavani (Nayanthara). He is telling her that revenge is not important and that she should not kill people anymore. Amudhan tries to tell Bhavani to stop, to which she replies by saying †hat her job is almost done, but one: she wants to kill Yamuna.
The next scene is at Parvathy’s funeral, which takes place shortly after the hospital scene. Yamuna’s parents are scolding Mani, saying that because of their negative ways on the YouTube videos, Parvathy is dead. Yamuna is then greeted by Babloo, saying that Bhavani is a very good person and that everyone killed her. Babloo’s face then turns into ash, revealing that he was never there and that he is actually not Mani’s nephew and that he is actually a ghost, as well. This causes Yamuna to do further research on both Babloo and Bhavani. At the same time, Amudhan tries to locate Yamuna in the odds of trying to save her from Bhavani. Sooner or later, Yamuna manages to find clues that lead her to Amudhan’s house, while she tries to use a torchlight to see the interior of his home, Amudhan shows up, welcoming her into his home.
Yamuna then asks Amudhan why Bhavani is trying to kill her. He says that he does not know but does tell Yamuna about Bhavani’s past. During those days in India, especially in villages, it is customary for any family with girls to be wealthy, due to having to be able to afford marriage dowries. The scene starts with Bhavani’s father crying while walking out of his house to inform his relatives that his wife has yet again given birth to another baby girl. Bhavani’s father walks towards an old tractor and suddenly dies by a thunder attack. This incident causes the villagers to believe that it is because of Bhavani’s ill fate. After this incident, Bhavani faces many fits of abuse and humiliations. She then meets Amudhan. He started loving her by admiring her inner beauty. After Amudhan’s father finds out about his relationship with Bhavani, he sends Amudhan to college elsewhere. Bhavani is left heartbroken and stays in her village. One night, Bhavani’s brother-in-law (Nitish Veera) tries to misbehave with her, and despite being innocent, Bhavani’s mother (Senthikumari) and sister ask her to leave, believing the lies of her brother-in-law. After being kicked out of her family, she moves to Chennai and does a few odd jobs at a hotel. One day, Bhavani happens to meet Amudhan at a restaurant. He takes her home and proposes to marry her, and she accepts it. On the day of her marriage, Bhavani finishes her shift and gets ready in her sari and proceeds to take the elevator, in which Yamuna enters yet does not stop to let Bhavani enter. This delays her arrival at the marriage registration office where Amudhan is waiting for her. Along the way, she encounters several people who mistreat and abuse her. She manages to overcome all of them. While crossing the road, she meets Babloo, who requests her to help him cross the street. As Bhavani and Babloo cross the street, a lorry driver hits them and causes their unfortunate deaths.
After hearing her story, Yamuna reimagines how Bhavani’s life could have turned out, if only she had waited for some time and let her come into the elevator that day. Feeling remorseful, she goes to Bhavani’s house and asks Bhavani what she wants, to which Bhavani says that she wants Yamuna’s body to live with Amudhan, where Yamuna accepts it as a compensation for her mistake which was a contribution of Bhavani’s death. Finally, Bhavani uses Yamuna’s body to live with Amudhan, but Amudhan refuses to live with Bhavani, who uses Yamuna’s body. Hence, Amudhan kills himself and tells Bhavani, while dying, that now they can live together. Bhavani then leaves Yamuna’s body. The film ends with Yamuna at Bhavani’s grave where Amudhan’s grave is beside it.
Directed by Sarjun KM
Produced by Kotapadi J Rajesh
Screenplay by Priyanka Ravindran
Starring Nayanthara, Kalaiyarasan, Yogi Babu
Music by Sundaramurthy K.S.
Cinematography Sudarshan Srinivasan
Edited by Karthik Jogesh
Production KJR Studios
Distributed by Trident Arts & Star Vijay
Release date 28 March 2019
Running time 142 minutes