Priyan Ottathilanu Review: A Joyful, Mildmannered Film Led By Sharaf-U-Dheen

A housing crisis squeezes itself through the narrative pores in Priyan Ottathilaanu, directed by Antony Sony. The sludge and the drain water from an apartment complex in Kochi clog the canal that edges a slum, leading to a clash between the two parties. The louder, less refined slum-dwellers led by a dense young man (Sudhi Koppa) against easily scared and law-abiding flat residents under the leadership of the protagonist, Priyadarshan/Priyan (Sharaf-U-Dheen), the secretary of the apartment community.

Documenting and archiving a city is one of the many accidental things a movie like this one does. Like Oruthee (2022), Priyan Ottathilaanu follows the characters as they rush through Kochi’s roads and bylanes, encountering the city’s various social and infrastructural problems. Priyan’s parents live outside the city limits, on a flood-prone terrain. His cousin, Kuttan (Biju Sopanam), a worker at a fuel station, cribs about having to live in a matchbox-sized room his employer has allotted to him. Two women, presumably poorly-paid Kudumbasree workers, slog in unhealthy conditions to fix, albeit temporarily, the building’s sewage crisis.

Antony Sony’s film is a comedy that uses these situations and people to manufacture a middle-class hero who uses the art of dialogue to solve grave practical problems. When the slum residents fume and demand that the apartment complex, which stands on what used to be a village, be demolished, Priyan urges them to talk it out. The film watches in awe as he speeds through his life, from one problem to another, never fully committing to anything yet impressing as a fruitful moderator. When his brother-in-law, a chauvinist young man resolved to harm his wife’s every attempt at getting a job and being financially independent, threatens to file for a divorce, Priyan brings the couple around a table for a discussion. “Would you not take care of him after you get a job?” he asks his sister who agrees, thus putting a lid on the marital crisis. The steep gender inequality they will, in all likeliness, continue to practise is not Priyan’s or the film’s concern. They are not worried about the pathetic conditions the slum-dwellers must be living under and the bureaucratic system that enabled this crisis either, for this is a comedy. An apolitical one at that, about circumventing issues and surviving the city rather than diving into issues and taking them head-on.

That said, the film is an effective entertainer powered by an organic sense of humour. The screenplay in a wide shot has the structure of a video game, although it is incoherent in several parts. The film follows Priyan over two days that are packed with appointments and tasks to be completed. A homoeopathic doctor, he is a closet scenarist and a moderately popular blogger. When an aspiring director approaches him to make a film out of one of his screenplays, he gladly agrees. On the given day, he must accompany the director and the movie producer (Harisree Ashokan) to meet the superstar Mammootty. Strangely, this crucial meeting that decides the project’s fate is less important in Priyan’s schedule than several menial tasks, like buying a bar of soap for his father. In the morning, at the police station where he was summoned to resolve the sewage crisis, he is entrusted with driving a stranger (Nyla Usha) to the airport. She could have just booked a taxi, but the film, like Priyan, does not adhere to common sense.

Although Antony Sony’s storytelling is old-fashioned, characterised by an excess of expository dialogue, there are a few impressive moments in the film. The apartment is introduced through the frame of a movie shooting, a scene of an abduction. A woman is being chased by a bunch of goons. When the director yells cut, the camera pulls back to reveal the residents of the apartment and the caretakers who are not so pleased with the chaos the film shooting has kicked off. Their interactions are delightfully organic and the space looks realistic. Priyan, you see, is a superhero, unusual and underrated, whose pathological inability to prioritise issues is both his superpower and vulnerability.

Sharaf-U-Dheen’s innate gentleness helps him immensely in interpreting Priyan. When he smiles under pressure or cracks jokes in unlikely situations, it does not poke out like a sore thumb. Sharaf, who can slide from a comic moment to a darker one without stiffening up his shoulders but subtly transforming himself without the onlooker noticing it, is one of the most exciting actors working in Malayalam cinema presently. An actor whose secret isn’t in his eyes or the tip of his nose, but somewhere not easily visible.

Priyan Ottathilaanu, like Antony’s debut film C/O Saira Banu, does not aspire to shake or stir the audience but appease them. It massages their lack of will to think deeply or engage with the larger society and the politics that govern it. The slapstick comedy (Jaffar Idukki and Biju Sopanam are a riot) works and the film encompasses a non-threatening heartwarming quality that could make it a weekend win at the box office. At the end of it all, the city applauds Priyan for sweeping its problems under a giant translucent carpet. A perfect representation of the state of affairs in Indian cities.


This Priyan Ottathilanu review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

Vaashi Review: Charming Lead Actors, But This Marriage Story Set In A Courtroom Feels Unfinished

“I promise my personal life will never figure in my work,” repeats Ebin Mathew (Tovino Thomas), the young public prosecutor, to his clients. He is about to face in the courtroom his fiancée, Madhavi (Keerthy Suresh), the lawyer appearing for the opposite party. However, despite the assurances, neither the clients nor Ebin himself seems convinced. It is no secret that the space between and around a couple in a marriage is dangerously volatile. Lower the guard a little, and the chaos of the outside world would liberally creep into the romantic idyll and turn it upside down. In no time, the courtroom debates start to echo in their bedroom conversations, and Ebin and Madhavi turn into unpleasant versions of themselves, two first-benchers in a classroom vying for the top prize.

This conflict between the personal and professional is the centrepiece of Vaashi, directed by debutante Vishnu Raghav. The two promising young lawyers sign up to share an office room, and the inevitable happens ﹣they fall in love and proceed to marriage. Meanwhile, in a different place and time, another couple who works in the same office spends a night together in an apartment, and a sexual harassment case emerges the next day. Gowtham (Anu Mohan), the accused, argues that what happened between him and his colleague (Anagha Narayanan) was merely a one-night stand, while the petitioner claims that she would never have given her consent to a physical relationship had she known that he had no intention to marry her. At first glance, it is a case of dissonance between two outlooks on romantic relationships and life; modern vs traditional. However, as the legal proceedings begin, you see the cruel circumstances that pushed her to file a case and the lies on which he has built his defence.

If the uncertainty of human emotions makes relationships complicated, the impersonal nature of the law makes the courtroom cases definite. Domestic conflicts and passive emotional abuses, when seen through the lens of law, could take the shape of serious crimes. In Vaashi, however, Vishnu Raghav only toys with the possibility of larger, unredeemable chaos and limits the film to the minor tribulations the professional conflicts cause in Emil’s and Madhavi’s marriage. There are the usual villains ﹣A brother-in-law who pokes his nose into their affairs more than he should, a mother who is afraid the new relatives would steal her daughter away from her religious faith, and the swelling ego clashes between the couple that turn their bedroom into an area of tension.  

But, there is barely anything else the film has to say. The narrative darts towards a pre-set destination, a happily-ever-after ending, without exploring the impacts of a gallery-sized ego seeping into a modern romantic relationship. Even the gender discrimination Madhavi faces in her workspace gets reduced to a bullet point. She takes up the case because Gautham is a childhood friend. When she comes to know of his culpability, she chooses to go against her personal views and stand by him. The film does not explore this curious paradox of how women, sometimes, betray fellow women to be a champion of feminism. In the final sequences, the music races, but the tension does not quite form. The new revelations are elementary, and the relationship crisis does not change gear to become anything extraordinary. 

Vishnu Raghav seems to be a better filmmaker than he is a writer. The narrative is tight-paced, albeit in its old-school linear style, and some of the scene transitions are delicious. For one, the sprouting of a romance between the lead characters and its progression towards an elaborate, complicated Hindu-Christian wedding is smooth and delightful. He turns a mundane work routine, Madhavi’s night rides through the city, into a warm romantic sight. And for those who can see, there is an amusing metareference. Actress Menaka, Keerthi Suresh’s mother, rose to prominence in mainstream cinema through Priyadarshan’s Poochakkoru Mookkuthi which had her character sharing a living space with the hero and eventually falling in love with him.  

The cast is fantastic. Tovino and Keerthi are charming and wonderful performers, especially the latter who aces the straight face of a competent and ambitious lawyer. The duo effortlessly fills the screen with sexual tension when they are together and makes the domestic scenes compelling, despite the mundaneness of the events. Actor Baiju is excellent as a senior lawyer, a friend of the couple who plays a mediator between them when things start to go ugly.

Vaashi does not challenge the norms. Madhavi is appalled when she learns of Goutham’s truth, but the discomfort she undergoes is never raised again or discussed. The lawyers, well-educated and daring to take risks at work, meekly give in when their families intervene in their personal affairs. The film does not pause and reflect on this pseudo-modernity of the elite class. Similarly, the film takes for granted the rampant nepotism in the judiciary. In the end, it zooms into the couple walking hand in hand to the sunset, but a number of questions hang in the air. 


This Vaashi review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

Prakashan Parakkatte Review: A Silly, Psuedo Coming-Of-Age Drama

Dhyan Sreenivasan, the younger son of veteran actor-writer-director Sreenivasan, seems to have an unhealthy penchant for male protagonists who are exactly the kind of anti-social loafer he animatedly describes himself to be in media interviews.

Prakashan Parakkatte, his latest work as a writer, is centred on a punchable teenager who specialises in lying through his teeth. He who had been avoiding work and any form of self-discipline all his life join a tuition centre one day to further his obsessive pursuit of a pretty girl. He boldly photographs her in the classroom using his new mobile phone (there is a vulgar little story about how he bought the phone) and when she mildly protests, he tells her, “I will photograph anything I find to be beautiful”. She feels flattered. The film, set up like a coming-of-age drama, cheapens first love into something very commercial and ugly. The boy is a buyer, and the girl, the product on display, waiting to be appreciated by the former.

Throughout the film, Dhyan and his director Shahad Nilambur reiterate that Das, despite his irredeemable qualities, deserves to be pardoned and cheered solely for his gender. His father, Prakashan (Dileesh Pothan), a small-time local grocer, affectionately tolerates him. The film does that too, trying to pass off his perversion as the kind of good-hearted simplicity one usually attaches to small towns. “He is a boy. He will look after us when we are old and tired,” says Prakashan to his worried wife (Nisha Sarang) in an early scene. Counterintuitively, this scene explains how traditional parenting, steeped in the norms of patriarchy, contributes to the pressing gender issues in India. 

While the thriving career of Dhyan, who has been actively engaged in Malayalam cinema for almost a decade in various roles despite his searing lack of talent, is a wonder in itself, films like Prakashan Parakkatte signify something elemental about the Malayalam film industry. How does a film like this, so poor in content, a spitting image of its obnoxious protagonist, get green-lit? It rides on the audience’s newly-developed taste for suburban coming-of-age dramas. The setting might seem rooted and real at first glance, but it is not difficult to see through it and spot the plastic. Consider the morning scene where Prakashan goes around his house and finds a fallen coconut. You could almost “see” the assistant director who placed the fruit in that yard, where there is no coconut tree in the vicinity. It is in a similar spirit the film assumes that the 7-year-old Akhil (Ritunjay Sreejith, the best actor in the cohort), an intelligent boy who paints and talks like a semi-adult, likes to watch a well-known Malayalam cartoon tailor-made for infants. The worldbuilding in Prakashan Parakkatte is mindless, unlike what you see in films of Dileesh Pothan or Gireesh AD where the characters are inseparable from their surroundings. 

Das’ uncle (Saiju Kurup), a local vlogger, is introduced through a scene where he is semi-naked in a public bath, cat-calling and teasing women who, oddly, seem to enjoy this show of perversion. Scenes and characters like these were a staple in the 90s’ popular Malayalam cinema that did not try to challenge the notion that women were the second sex in a world run by men. Dhyan’s protagonists, Das or Love Action Drama’s Dinesh, are acutely aware of the gender privilege that they exploit to their full potential. The films treat these men with kid’s gloves, laughing off their missteps and cheering their attempts at one-upmanship. And worse, these protagonists are the film. It has no compelling narrative or a plot but just the unpleasant sight of these men fiddling around. In Prakashan Parakkatte, Das’ wayward life comes to a standstill not as a consequence of his actions but as an accident. Neither the film nor Das gains a fresh perspective from his incident, evidently forced into the narrative.

Of all the mediocrities Shahad and Dhyan bring into the film, the abhorrent is their twisted sense of humour. The film teems with jokes that fall flat. A teacher sexually abusing a minor student is forcefully turned into comedy, not once but twice. Even the most earnest members of the audience who identify with Das’ waywardness should find this level of obnoxiousness testing.


This Prakashan Parakkatte review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

Dear Friend Review: A Superb Cast Elevates A Fascinating Urban Drama

Of the five youngsters who headline Dear Friend, four earnestly believe they have cracked the secret code to blissful adulthood. Jannat (Darshana Rajendran) is a junior psychiatrist. Her friends, played by Basil Joseph, Arjun Radhakrishnan, Arjun Lal and Tovino Thomas, have been working on a health start-up for two years. The friends are yet to find a footing in the career of their choice or make peace with their families, but they know the friendship will carry them through thick and thin.  

Though, all but one of them knows the true scope of youth. To be young and alive is to refuse to conform and reject conventions. Err and flirt with danger, love and lose it on the way. Create stories and eventually, maybe, become one of those stories.  

Directed by Vineeth Kumar and written by Suhas, Sharfu and Arjun Lal, Dear Friend is an urban story steeped in Bangalore, a better Bangalore film than the much-acclaimed Bangalore Days. After a brief tour of the hip side of the city where life resembles one of those curated Instagram pages, the film digs into the upside-down where dreams crash, gangs break apart, and friends metamorphose into strangers, like a formatted computer. But the centrepiece of the film is a fascinating investigation. Do facts always take precedence over feelings?  

The film opens with a curious image of a muscular young man getting some dowdy make-up on his face. A thick layer of kohl under his eyes and a coat of lipstick. He is reluctant, but in a few minutes, his friends will drag him out of the house in an ill-fitting Superman costume to paint the city red. Friendship, besides many things, involves an element of submission, a willingness to let the group take over the individual. It is a mighty beautiful sequence, starting like a run-of-mill hangout show, boisterous and funny, and smoothly transitioning to a point rife with tension. 

The story gathers momentum when Vinod (Tovino Thomas) disappears one fine morning, leaving a letter of goodbye addressed to the friends. Subsequently, the group gets bombarded with revelations, shocking and heartbreaking, about the lies on which he had founded his persona. They argue amongst themselves on whether to denounce him or not and to find closure, they set out to find his roots.  

This investigation, in more ways than one, is reminiscent of the social media paradox. We take to social media to find pleasures that the real world cannot afford to grant us. We create virtual avatars of ourselves, closer to or unrecognizably different from our offline personality, and find a social life. It is easy to dismiss the joy social media delivers as inferior to what one could find in the real world. Countless films have been made on the falsity of the internet life, but is not there a bright side? If one felt happy and inspired, loved and impassioned, does not that count as real?  

Bangalore, in the film, is composed of well-furnished living rooms and terraces, crowded bars and cafes, conference halls and monstrous modern structures where the IT sector operates. Outdoors appear but rarely. It is in the tiny indoor spaces, the youngsters invoke the universe. Occasions of merry-making, interestingly, take the shape of séance sessions. For one, Jannat, the glue holding the group together, looks uninhibited and the happiest in the scene where she consumes a little marijuana and falls on her back on a mattress.  

Dear Friend looks at modern urban life without the blind pessimism that paints the city as a gutter or a ridiculous optimism that portrays it as a supplier of prosperity and happiness. The narrative proceeds in a neat, linear fashion, never running into a lull or a contrived sense of urgency. Vineeth and his writers create tender, subliminal moments of camaraderie, subtly moving the camera from one character to another, remarkably etching out their personalities. The film benefits hugely from its fantastic cast that never once gives an impression that they are not friends and roommates off-screen. Look at Arjun Lal, who plays a gorgeously subdued man, gulping nervously in front of Jannat’s father (a terrific Jaffar Idukki), Basil Joseph breaking into a happy dance out of the blue or Sanchana Narayanan biting down a heartbreak. Every actor embellishes and shoulders the film in their own rights. Tovino Thomas and Darshana Rajendran, the star actors in the cast, are excellent too, though Thomas, accidentally or not, reduces an enigma into a boring unidimensional swindler in the final scene. That said, not every day does one come across a mainstream film that refuses to spoon-feed the audience at the climax.  

It is a curious coincidence that Vineeth Kumar, whose debut film Ayal Njanalla was about a man whose physical resemblance with a superstar actor landed him in problems in a faraway city, made a second film on the duality of human beings. The material evidence regarding Vinod’s life shatters the friends, but what must truly haunt them is the authenticity of the affection he shared with them. Sure, there were lies, but don’t sometimes a pack of lies, say, a pictogram of a hug in a chatbox, appear more real and warm than a sea of people on the street?  


This Dear Friend review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

Innale Vare Review: Jis Joy’s Clumsy Crime Thriller About The Rot In The Upper-Class

Director Jis Joy is known for films that romanticise the middle-class way of life, where material and emotional problems are solved by spiels about love and other virtues flattened out into a greeting card. Innale Vare, his latest, was touted to be a different kind of film, darker and wicked, one in which the characters did not revel in nostalgia. To an extent, the film is a departure from the usual Jis Joy. Instead of using an excess of fairy lights in the background of scenes, he and his cinematographer Bahul Ramesh shoot everything in a bluish-green filter ﹣a tacky time travel to the early 2000s ﹣without differentiating between a crime scene and a cheerful family space. The characters lie, betray and try to get the better of one another. They cuss a lot, in English, the language of the refined upper-class. And there is some show of blood.

Yet, Innale Vare is, essentially, cut from the same cloth as Jis Joy’s former films like Sunday Holiday, Bicycle Thieves and Vijay Superum Pournamiyum. Do not be tricked by the colour palette and the flaunting of the shadows. This film is pivoted on the same moral values as the other movies. It begins as a tirade against the morally corrupt elite class and quickly builds into a lesson on the effects of greed and worse, an ugly warning to society on the side effects of the Me Too movement. Why would not you believe the man, it asks the viewers through a story that eerily resembles a recent case of Me Too in the Malayalam film industry. Of course, the conception and making of Innale Vare precede the case. But the resemblance proves how typical sexual harassment cases and the responses of the patriarchal society to them can be.  

Look at Aishu (Reba Monica), the girlfriend of Adhi (Asif Ali), a superstar actor and a well-known philanderer. Aishu perfectly fits into Jis Joy’s movie universe ﹣a pretty and homely girl who dares to launch a business venture but would not marry a man without her family’s consent. She is a cliche, the purest figure in the film. At the same time, Karthika, a former actress Adhi is having an illicit affair with, is shot in a largely negative light, as a vamp who mistreats her domestic help and betrays her soft-spoken husband.  

Nevertheless, none of these ideas come off strongly in the narrative thanks to Jis Joy’s inept filmmaking that reduces everything into a heap of plastic. His imagination of the morally corrupt life of the elite class is awfully plain, reminiscent of films like Chaappa Kurishu and Traffic which were made in the early 2010s when Malayalam cinema was waking up to the ugly side of rampant urbanisation in Kerala. Neither Adhi’s lifestyle nor the trap he falls into come across as nuanced or convincing. The way Jis Joy stages the scenes, frames the images and writes the dialogue reeks of unoriginality. Anjali’s allegation of sexual harassment against Adhi is constructed as a clumsy act of blackmail, as though to say that men, in the era of Me Too, are always under threat no matter how flimsy the charges against them might seem.  

The plot is a jumble of highly contrived sequences. Adhi, rushing to meet his girlfriend who had been crying on the phone about a medical emergency, decides to stop and indulge an excited fan. If you don’t find this odd, wait for the scene that follows, where he walks into her trap, climbing three flights of stairs of a rundown apartment to meet her husband whom he could have just met somewhere else. Innale Vare pretends to be a smart, twisted thriller in this part but comes across as implausible and foolish. Sharath/Vinod (Antony Varghese), an IT expert, using edited and distorted pieces of Adhi’s voice clips to digitally impersonate him, is too far-fetched an idea. Forget his many girlfriends and assistants, but none of the loan sharks to whom Adhi owes money try to trace him for a long time. These implausibilities would not have mattered so much in a different, better film where sequences were stitched together seamlessly in style. Here, the erratic pacing ensures that you notice every glitch and folly.   

The high-profile cast, unfortunately, does not help the film either. Antony Varghese, who was a riot in Angamaly Diaries and equally effective in Jallikattu and Ajagajantharam, looks lost in the new surroundings where the most acute malady is not toxic and loud masculinity. In the final sequences where Adhi gets the better of his antagonists, Antony grinds his teeth to a counterintuitive comic effect, unable to decide how to express himself in a film where he is playing the victim and not the perpetrator. Nimisha Sajayan’s face has been screaming “I have been wronged” for too long, in film after film, and it has started to look like passive repetitions. She is effective as Anjali, but she is not memorable. Asif Ali, who delivered a sublime performance earlier this month in Rajeev Ravi’s Kuttavum Shikshayum, returns to loud, unidimensional style of acting here. Ali mistakes arrogance as a sort of a skin rash, turning Adhi into a perennially annoyed little boy incapable of scheming or protecting himself. Innale Vare has Jis Joy, finally, channelling some of his disagreements with the film industry and the class of celebrities, but his tools are too blunt to leave a strong impression. 


This Innale Vare review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

Vivek Athreya Interview: The Filmmaker on ‘Ante Sundaraniki’, What Makes Films Pan-Indian and More

Ante Sundaraniki, the upcoming Telugu film starring Nani and Nazriya Nazim Fahadh is scheduled to release in theatres on June 10.

Directed by filmmaker Vivek Athreya (Mental Madhilo, Brochevarevarura), Ante Sundarniki is produced by Mythri Movie Makers and besides the leads, also features a host of known faces such as Naresh, Rohini, Nadhiya, Alagan Perumal, Rahul Ramakrishna, and Srikanth Iyengar, among others.

Ahead of the film’s release, Vivek chats with Silverscreen India about working on the project, pan-Indian cinema and more.

From its trailer, Ante Sundaraniki appears to be a romantic comedy featuring an interfaith couple, with Nani’s character, Sundar, hailing from an orthodox upper-caste Hindu family, while Nazriya’s Leela comes from a Christian household.

“I will not be able to reveal the core conflict at this juncture, but I will say this- although it is projected as a rom-com, it is not just that. It has the elements of the genre, but it more of a love story of two families, rather than two individuals. The film is a domestic drama and it has been ages since we witnessed such content on the big screen. You have humour, emotions, sensitive issues being discussed here,” says Vivek.

“As the film deals prominently with a Hindu and a Christian household, we have dealt with certain sensitive issues in a humorous way without hurting the sentiments of either group,” he adds.

Vivek says he had the idea of Ante Sundaraniki for a long time, since his second film Brochevarevarura in 2019. “Brochevarevarura was a caper comedy film and wanted to shift my genre. I wanted to do a lively film with social commentary. Films that talk about two religions and interfaith marriage have not been explored much. We have also explored different layers to an interfaith marriage, without being preachy. It is not blatant or on the face, but is more lively and subtle.”

The filmmaker wrote the script after finishing his sophomore directorial in 2019 and narrated it to Nani in early 2020. The film explores the lives of Sundar and Leela, from their childhood, mentions Vivek. “How they got along with each other, how they are together, the evolution of their families, comprises the stories.”


Vivek says they have tried to keep everything as authentic as possible. “We don’t intend to hurt anyone. So, whatever is coming from Christian family is generally what they speak about Hindus and vice versa. We just stuck to the story and did not cross the line for the sake of humour or humiliate someone to evoke laughter.”

“Even when I was narrating to Nani, I asked him if he feels there was any mockery of either faiths. I asked everyone I narrated the story to and when dealing with two religions, I did understand that there might be issues like that. So, during the writing process itself, I carefully evaded those danger lines,” he adds.

When asked about the rise of anti-caste cinema and whether the film portraying the lead’s caste, would sit well with the audience, Vivek says that the film does evoke any such issues, and adds, “In this story, Sundar comes from a middle class Brahmin family. Nazriya is from an upper-class Christian family. We have created these worlds to serve only as a backdrop of the story. It is not about bashing each other’s faith.”

Asked about why he thought Nani would be apt for the role, the filmmaker says, “I approached Mythri for a thriller with an ensemble cast but they wanted a lively and humorous script at the time. When I pitched this idea and suggested Nani would be right, they also had a good rapport and that’s how it all started. Although I did not have Nani in mind while writing, once I finished it, I found him to be a perfect fit. When I watch it now, no one could have done Sundar’s role better than him.”

Calling Nani, a “powerhouse of performance”, Vivek says that the humour in the film arises out of conversations, which only a natural actor could pull off. “If the dialogue modulations look forced, it may not work out. Likewise, Sundar may look like a simple and easy character. But it is a complicated character and it takes a lot of thought process to enact what he goes through. A performer like Nani can do it. He delivers dialogues with ease.”

Nazriya is making her Telugu debut with the film. On casting her, Vivek says that while he narrated the story to Nani, the team was looking for an actor to play Leela. “We had a lot of options and ended up saying we needed someone like Nazriya to pull this off. While she often plays bubbly and cute roles, in this film she has scope to perform beyond being just cute,” he mentions.

Given many Telugu films’ success off late on a pan-Indian level and Ante Sundaraniki featuring a cast from multiple industries, Vivek says that initially the makers did not conceive it as a trilingual film. Besides Telugu, the film is also releasing in Tamil and Malayalam. “As this film is beyond two individuals, but about two families, we never thought of roping in artists from other languages to establish connect there as well. Only later, did we think of going trilingual.”

Vivek feels that “universal storytelling” makes a pan-Indian film. The filmmaker mentions that the subject should appeal to all sections of audience. Taking example of his film, Vivek says that it is “culturally rooted” and the decision not to release in the Hindi market was made due to this. “Their culture is very different compared to the south. When it comes to south, we could handpick the customisations from each region that will be apt without hindering the storyline. For example, we picked MS Bhaskar sir to dub for Naresh garu’s role. We planned such aspects in south regional languages.”

The film’s music is composed by Vivek Sagar, who also composed for Brochevarevarura. Calling him a close associate, the filmmaker says that they employed “nostalgic” elements to compose music for this film. “We wanted to bring the 90s films, the simplicity of life, to Sundar’s world, which are traditional yet appealing to contemporary life. Similar approach was also taken for Leela’s world.” Ante Sundaraniki features 9-10 songs and Vivek calls it a musical film, which he says he decided during the scripting, where he wrote the music cues as and when needed.

Vivek, whose filmography primarily consists of comedy, says that it was very hard to write humour that does not come naturally from the story. “I draw my own sensitive line and see to it that one is not getting offended by someone else laughing. Ante Sundaraniki has comedy drawn from situational scenes. It is more dark comedy where the characters will be serious, but the audience will be laughing,” he adds.

This film is also the first time Vivek is pairing up with a star actor. Speaking about this pattern of a young filmmaker collaborating with a star, the director says that it is a welcoming pattern. He adds that when he met Nani and narrated it, nothing was changed just for his star image. “Him being stuck to the script and no interference from his side, helped a lot. With him underplaying, I could get into the flesh and blood of Sundar more and more. We did not change anything for the star Nani.”

As a director Vivek also prefers going to his sets with bounded script. “Shooting is a very scary thing for me and I need to prepare myself like an exam. Even staging, myself and cinematographer Niketh Bommi would plan it. So, everything is written in my script, though there might be small improvisations. I really have to go prepared since it is a screenplay-based film.”

The film went on floors in April 2021 and wrapped up in December that year. After Ante Sundaraniki, Vivek says, he needs a break before he starts working on his next script.


Review Roundup: ‘Vikram’, ‘Major’, And ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ Hold Market Ahead of the Release of ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’

The last week saw the release of three films- Vikram, Major, and Samrat Prithviraj.

Hollywood films like Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick and Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness also released, helping spike ticket sales. 

The upcoming week will see the release of Jurassic World: Dominion, the sixth and the final installment in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films that received both offline as well in cinemas:


Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Vikram marks the return of actor Kamal Haasan to the big screen after a hiatus of four years. Haasan features as agent Arun Kumar Vikram, and actors Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Santhana Bharathi, Kalidas Jayaram, and Arjun Das, appear alongside him. The film is a sequel to Kanagaraj’s 2019 film Kaithi, and is the second film in his series of action films in what is unofficially being called the Lokesh Cinematic Universe.

Subha J Rao, of Silverscreen India, calls Vikram “a Lokesh creation that features prodigious talent.”

However, Rao notes that Kanagaraj falls short “on the emotional core, especially when it comes to characters other than Kamal Haasan.”

“You’re told they love their family and see glimpses of it, but what makes them them? What drives them? What makes Sethupathi’s Sandhanam, the man named after a natural fragrance, but who wears a mask most of the time to keep chemical fumes away, so dangerous? Why does he fear the big boss so much?” she questions.

According to Vishal Menon of Film Companion, “It’s disappointing to see one of our most gifted directors go the Marvel way to construct its mass moments around intertextuality.”

He adds that the absence of clarity from the film is what stuck out as a sore thumb, for him. “I still have no clue how and why the action shifts to a particular place for the big climax. I’m still trying to figure out the relevance of a bugging device that got a lot of importance early on and I’m not really sure why a mother would forget to take her son into a panic room during a crisis. Even if one assumes a second viewing will give you these answers, there’s always the feeling that you’ve already moved on to the next big action set piece, even before you’ve truly understood the point of the previous one.”

The reviewer adds that the screenplay is weak, and the “thrills aren’t exactly earned like it was in Kaithi.”

The film’s high points, however, come from the tributes paid to Haasan’s older films, according to Menon.

Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, writes, “In Vikram, Kamal Haasan is all swag. It’s not a role that demands a lot from the actor. But it is still a delight to see him in this all-guns-blazing (quite literally) action avatar.”

She adds, “The film’s emotional core struggles to breathe under the weight of building a franchise. But the surprises keep the curiosity alive. And thankfully, for once, we have female characters who are of actual relevance and significance to the story.”

The film comes with its own flaws, Aiyappan notes, which lie in the loopholes and the logical discrepancies.

Vikram has an IMDb rating of 9.1.


Directed by Sashi Karan Tikka, Major features actors Adivi Sesh, Saiee Manjrekar, Sobhita Dhulipala, Prakash Raj, and Revathy, among others. It is a biographical drama based on the life of late Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who died fighting the terrorists at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.

Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India writes that the film is no different from others in the genre in terms of cheering soldiers and encouraging youngsters among spectators to join the forces.

She adds, “But what makes it a slightly better film than the recent bout of films on nationalism is its constraint in expressing jingoism. The emphasise is on the stunts. The action scenes are slick ﹣ the soldier is a dashing hero shooting down multiple terrorists through a veil of smoke.”

Gopalakrishnan notes that the film hardly differentiates between Unnikrishnan’s personal and professional lives. “Despite its outright refusal to ask deep questions about the life and death of a soldier, Major becomes a poignant film thanks to these personal touches.”

Mukesh Manjunath of Film Companion, calls Major a “phenomenal theatrical experience”.

He reflects similar sentiments as Gopalakrishnan’s, and writes, “It never rubs patriotism in your face. Rather it shows how a small boy who was petrified of a street dog grows up to become the bravest man in the face of death. In this film’s universe, a soldier means anyone who can give courage to others and it is this definition that drives the narrative forward.”

For Manjunath, Sricharan Pakala’s music is the biggest factor for the film that leads to the climax, seamlessly.

He notes that the film is also tender, sensitive, and human, in that it presents the marital conflict between Sandeep and Neha (essayed by Manjrekar), in a matured way.

Karthik Keramalu of Firstpost writes that even though the film draws scenes that would culminate into Unnikrishnan’s heroic step at the hotel, it “doesn’t school us about the various meanings and synonyms of patriotism.”

For the reviewer, the film scores the highest in its action sequences.

Major has an IMDb rating of 9.3.

Major Review: Soldier Is A Divine Figure In Adivi Sesh’s Thriller On Mumbai Attack

Two big Indian films that came out in theatres this week, Major and Samrat Prithviraj, look back in time, quite in tune with the sentiments of a nation obsessed with its past. While Samrat Prithviraj is set in an ambiguous point of time where truth and myth lie mixed beyond recognition, Major is on the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the 31-year-old Indian commando who died heroically fighting terrorists in the 2008 siege at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel.

Major, directed by Sashi Karan Tikka and written by Adivi Sesh who is now a seasoned on-screen soldier, proceeds from the perspective of a father (Prakash Raj) whose gaze is affectionate. He remembers Sandeep (Adivi) as a little boy who was as delicate as he was stubborn, now embalmed in stories about his heroism. Sandeep was not just a martyr; his death unfolded in front of the world, aired on television. The terrorist attack itself was dramatic, in the heart of India’s biggest city, hundreds of miles away from the conflict zones. Everything about Sandeep’s life, including his now-famous final words “Don’t come up”, was widely written about in media. And he came from a respectable family in Bangalore and was handsome in a conventional way, a boy-next-door.  

Mainstream movies about the armed forces rarely discuss complex international relations or the country’s domestic tensions. They work like pamphlets of the defence academy, to cheer the soldiers and encourage the youngsters among the spectators to join the force. The war or combat missions in these films are lavishly filmed, to entertain and provoke the audience.  

Major is not different in this aspect. But what makes it a slightly better film than the recent bout of films on nationalism is its constraint in expressing jingoism. The emphasise is on the stunts. The action scenes are slick ﹣ the soldier is a dashing hero shooting down multiple terrorists through a veil of smoke. The final sequence is thrilling and well-edited. For one, in the scene where the terrorists are scanning a room where two civilians are hiding, the viewers must feel that time has slowed down. As the final moment closes in, the film throws the conflict site to the margins and brings to the centre Sandeep’s family, as flashback inserts, to emphasise the loss they are about to incur. Although nothing in Major is what you have never seen before, the narrative sells the emotions well.  

The film does not separate Sandeep’s personal and professional lives. His bravery, you see, is not worldly but divine. His final act of deciding to venture unaccompanied, defying his superior officer’s warning, into a corridor where several armed terrorists are hiding becomes a slice of myth in the film; death only completes his transformation into a mythical figure.  

Towards the end of the film, as Sandeep walks off into the middle of the massacre, an old woman whom he just rescued tugs at his shirt and asks him to stay safe. Here, the nation is a mother and the soldier, a son. The binaries are well demarcated. The film does not dwell on the name of the enemy country to draw anger and vengeance from the audience, although the iconography and the language the terrorists use clearly tell the audience who “they” are. On Sandeep’s first day at the National Defense Academy, a training officer welcomes the candidates by quoting a line from Bhagvat Gita. One of the two loud mentions of religion in the film. The second comes towards the end, when the leader of the terrorist group, seemingly in Pakistan, uses the imagery of “Jannat” (paradise) to cheer on a lone terrorist in the Mumbai hotel room.  

Or consider the opening sequence, a flashback set on the Indo-Pak border in Kashmir, where Sandeep is admonished by his superior officers for straying into the no man’s land. He smiles and says, “Isn’t that land ours?” From Kashmir, the film cuts to Bangalore, to Sandeep’s conventional middle-class household. For the audience who are well cut-off from Kashmir valley and its intricate local problems, the place is a prize to be won, a symbol of patriotism.  

The film’s idea of an enemy is simplistic. They are nameless men in religious clothes and young men who act as puppets in the former’s hands. Look a little deep into the heroes, the soldiers, you would see that they are not any better but mercenaries whose life is perfectly architectured by the state, to kill and die for impersonal reasons. But this is not a movie that wants its viewers to dive into such questions.  

The excellent performances by the lead actors, Prakash Raj and Revathy who play Sandeep’s parents, and Adivi bring the soldier’s death closer to home. The screenplay is smart. It uses scenes from his household to launch the final action scenes to a greater height. Sandeep is a playful son and a considerate friend to his academy classmates. A charming lover who puts down his mild existential queries (“What does it mean to be a soldier?”) into the mushy letters he writes to Isha, his girlfriend.  

Despite its outright refusal to ask deep questions about the life and death of a soldier, Major becomes a poignant film thanks to these personal touches. In the final scene, the father makes a long speech about the parents’ pride. But what must stay with the viewer is the magnificently performed scene where the parents break down on a Bangalore street, mourning the son’s death. The injuries that the war sustains, sure, are more far-reaching than the bouquets it delivers.  


This Major review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

Vikram Review: Kamal shines in a riveting Lokesh Kanagaraj film

A few months ago, I tweeted wondering if young filmmakers should avoid working with stars till they have a certain body of work behind them, because the result of such a collaboration does both disservice. Many films proved me right. But, I ate my words today after watching Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Vikram, yes, you heard that right, starring Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil, because that is what this film is — a Lokesh creation that features prodigious talent.

Thankfully, Lokesh the fanboy shows up only in very few places. And these references are utter joy (especially the portions with actor-director Santhana Bharathi), the whistle-inducing kid. The director and his world of crime and drugs and money and encounters is what makes you sit up and focus for the nearly three-hour runtime. Lokesh was kind enough to, some hours before release, give people homework in the form of a Kaithi reference. And so, in addition to the 1986 Vikram, Kaithi was also watched by many — it helps, because this film’s soul is derived from the crux of those two films. You see the people you heard on the other end of a phone line in Kaithi.

As always, Lokesh peoples his film with men who have an emotional crutch — it could be those smarting from the death of a loved one, or those with the fear of death of a loved one. However, the ceaseless killings are not in revenge — there’s a crutch here again — in the form of an ideology of a drug-free society.

It takes courage to make a film that has Kamal return to the big screen after four years, and give him a dialogue long after we’ve seen him on screen. It also takes courage to be a Vijay Sethupathi — the actor’s physicality lends so much to this film. He does not think twice before walking shirtless, revealing a tattoo that has stretched with girth and a jiggling beer belly.

He’s oily on screen in a way no leading star, especially one who just recently acted in a rom-com, would easily agree to be.

As for Fahadh Faasil, what does one say except you try your best to ignore the eyes and focus on his measured performance, but fail spectacularly. It’s not easy to live out a dialogue that speaks about the aftermath of grief, especially after speaking about how his emotions reside in his head. But, that’s what Fahadh gives you — you hear Naren’s voice and see Fahadh crumble. But, you wonder, while Lokesh pushes the envelope and trusts his audience to tie the multiple strands, could he have trusted us some more to make the link to a previous dialogue and avoided the voiceover?

Contrary to Lokesh’s previous films, there are many many women here (Vijay Sethupathi’s character has three wives, a line that is written to induce some poor laughter), some predictably die, and you can guess it from many miles away, but some give you hints of their character and when the gold coin drops, it’s an ‘aha’ moment. Agent Tina, salute madam!

Revealing anything about the storyline will be a giveaway, so let’s just say it has to do something with the drug haul in Kaithi and leave it at that.

Is Vikram worth the ticket cost? Oh much more than that. Is it worth the hype? Oh yes. Is it THE Kamal film you’ve been waiting to see? Possibly. Lokesh aspires for greatness and crosses 3/4th of the well, but where he falls short is on the emotional core, especially when it comes to characters other than Kamal Haasan — Kamal gets a lovely sequence where he boils milk and tests how hot it is before feeding it to a child! You’re told they love their family and see glimpses of it, but what makes them them? What drives them? What makes Sethupathi’s Sandhanam, the man named after a natural fragrance, but who wears a mask most of the time to keep chemical fumes away, so dangerous? Why does he fear the big boss so much?

As always, Lokesh, a true child of the 90s, doffs his hat at ‘Chakku Chakku Vathikuchi’, the catchy number from Asuran, featuring Mansur Ali Khan. Someday, we will find out about Lokesh’s abiding fascination for Mansur. And, you can never listen to or watch ‘Kalviya Selvama Veerama’ without cracking up again.

One only wishes the talented Arjun Das and Harish Uthaman had more screen time.

The film is beautifully lit by cinematographer Girish Gangadharan, whose camera both swoops in to show you the minutest of facial reactions and pans brilliantly to show you the entire city with one man sitting on a windowsill.

Editor Philomin Raj has had his work cut out — even at 173 minutes, the film does not really lag, and it paced beautifully.

As for Anirudh Ravichander, there’s no one else out there now who can dignify a multi-starrer with a score that is foot-tapping yet soulful.

Stunt choreography by Anbariv is classy, and the brothers specialise in stunts with a story. Look out for the silent sequence, with a sleeping child in the background! The guns are back, in various shapes, sizes and colours, each one opening up to reveal its charms like a brand new Deepavali cracker.

Lokesh writes in an interesting special appearance by Suriya as Rolex and you hear Kaithi Dilli’s voice and see his daughter, a little grown up now. And, Agent Vikram is back in action. Will he team up with Rolex and Dilli in the next? Now that Lokesh has given us back the Kamal we love, can he start work already on that next film? Arambikalaangala?


This Vikram review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

GV Prakash, Gautham Menon Reunite for ’13’; Horror-Thriller Features Prakash as a YouTuber

13, the upcoming Tamil film led by musician GV Prakash and Gautham Menon, is an investigative crime thriller with an “element of horror,” according to the film’s writer-director K Vivek.

The first-look poster of 13 was released recently via social media.

Speaking to Silverscreen India about the film which marks his directorial debut, Vivek says, “There will be no cringe-worthy, clichéd scenes, nor any jump scares. The film will have the underlying mood of a thriller. GV Prakash sir plays a YouTuber in 13 and GVM sir essays a detective. The latter is an interesting character which cannot be easily classified as positive or negative. It will take time to judge his character graph. There are not many scenes featuring both of them together; their roles are on opposing ends.”

13 marks the second collaboration of Menon and Prakash after Selfie, which released in April. Vivek tells us that he had spoken to both of them, independently, before the release of Selfie and adds that they were both unaware of being cast in the same film. “I wanted the YouTuber to be played by somebody who was enthusiastic and energetic, hence we opted for GV Prakash. On the other hand, we felt that Menon sir perfectly fit the role of a mighty detective, especially in terms of the character’s ability to modulate their voice.”

Aside from Prakash and Menon, 13 also features Bhavya Trikha, Aadhya Prasad, and Aishwarya as the female leads, while Adithya Kathir essays a comic role.

The film is produced by S Nandagopal of Madras Studios in association with Anshu Prabhakar Films. “Initially, we had decided to make another film for the same producer, but since that project was taking longer than anticipated, we proceeded to make this film instead,” says the director.

Siddhu Kumar, who has earlier worked as a composer for the GV Prakash-starrers Sivappu Manjal Pachai and Bachelor, has scored the music for 13. Vivek tells us that the album features four songs.

The film, which went on floors earlier this year, is currently in post-production. It was shot in Chennai and Talakona Falls with CM Moovendhar handling the cinematography. JF Castro is the film’s editor.

The makers of 13 are aiming for a theatrical release in July.

13 is considered to be a lucky and auspicious number in the cinema industry. Also, the film’s second half has a negative mood to it. Hence, we titled the film 13. The producers previously backed the film 96 and it worked well for them,” says Vivek, who is set to work on another project with Madras Studios after this one.

Pikchar with Rita: From ‘Anpadh’ to ‘Dasvi’, Cinema’s Travails with Literacy

Sung beautifully by Lata Mangeshkar, penned by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and directed by Madanmohan is the song Aapki Nazaron ne Samjha Pyaar ke Kaabil Mujhe (In your eyes, I am understood to be worthy of love). While the servitude of the song jars my ears each time, it is difficult not to be drawn by its lyricism, voice and impeccable composition. Unlike many songs that make you cringe while watching them on the screen, this one has a gentle presence. I found myself on the trail of this song and it took me to the film Anpadh (1962).

As the title suggests, the film is about the lack or the absence of literacy. Lajwanti (Mala Sinha) has been brought up as the pampered and petted sister of her rich brother Shambhuprasad Chaudhary (Balraj Sahni). The brother indulges her excessively, to the extent of not sending her to school so that she is not pulled up by a teacher. He does not let her learn anything at home either. The “loving” brother constantly pulls up servants and teachers and reminds them of their station in life to reinforce how his sister is special and his money would ensure that she does not need to partake in any labour in her life. Education, in this scenario, is another form of labour best left to the poor and needy, not the burden of a rich child like Lajwanti.

As fate would have it, Lajwanti is married to a highly educated man, who reads Shakespeare, Sanskrit and Urdu poetry, among other things. His shock and hostility at the discovery that he was saddled with an illiterate woman makes him shun Lajwanti. It is through her quiet suffering and feminine endurance that she wins his heart, leading to the song, Aapki Nazaron ne Samjha.

What is interesting at this moment is how the written word continues to elude her so that despite her husband’s effort to teach her, she does not learn to read and write. Unfortunately, many things exist in the written, landing Lajwanti in dangerous situations. One thing leads to another and disasters come in multiples for Lajwanti, who is rendered at some point homeless and refugee-like. It is her childhood friend Basanti (Sashikala) who provides succour to her. Basanti herself is an educated and autonomous person. There’s more to her than spectators of that period may have noticed. But I digress.   

Education then remains the fulcrum around which the narrative of Anpadh is built. In a manner that’s classic Bollywood, the film also shows that Lajwanti was educated in the feminine values of sacrifice. This duality, one structural and the other cultural, compete with each other in the film to make the message about education of women a blurred matter: necessary but not a sufficient condition to be a good woman.

Now, think of this film in comparison with the more recent Dasvi, in which Abhishek Bachchan plays the role of a cynical, corrupt politician, who shuns the written word, only to realise that he cannot escape it altogether. It is a woman who humiliates him and spurs him to study. His lack of education is accompanied by misogyny. The fact that a misogynistic, hardened, criminal-like man decides to study and goes on to become a minister of education, conveys a new juncture of politics and reconfiguration of power.

While Lajwanti needs literacy to become a better human being, it is presumably an inherent quality in her. At the same time, Anpadh is also about the impossibility of the accomplishment of education in the lives of some women. Thus, there is an ambiguous message about the transformative power of education. Not surprisingly, the 1962 film is called Anpadh, a situation that remains permanent and irrevocable. The 2022 film seals the act by the male protagonist clearing the examination and hence, it is Dasvi 

Pa Ranjith’s Upcoming Slate Revealed; Includes Collaborations with Kamal Haasan & Vikram

Director-producer Pa Ranjith, who recently unveiled the first-look poster of his upcoming film-series Vettuvam at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, has several projects lined up for production. These include a collaboration with actor Kamal Haasan, a series set in the same world as his period boxing film Sarpatta Parambarai, and a period drama with actor Vikram set amidst the Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka.

Ranjith’s upcoming line-up begins with the director’s Tamil film Natchathiram Nagargirathu, led by Dushara Vijayan, Kalidas Jayaram, and Kalaiyarasan. It is co-produced by Yaazhi Films and Neelam Productions. Speaking to Silverscreen India, a source from the filmmaker’s team says, “It is currently being sent to festivals, ahead of a theatrical release sometime in July, as the team feels that the content has the potential to stand out. A love story much like his debut film Attakathi, Natchathiram Nagargirathu is more nuanced and explores the different forms of love across genders, also tackling LGBTQIA+ romance, and the political connotations all of these bear. The film is set against the backdrop of the theatre as well.”

After Natchathiram Nagargirathu comes Vettuvam. The filmmaker unveiled the first-look of Vettuvam at the Cannes Film Festival recently. It is to be developed into a film as well as a web series in Tamil, and is expected to shed a new perspective on the figure of Robin Hood. Said to be a rural gangster drama, predominantly set against the backdrop of a prison, our source tells us the project will go on floors in late 2022. Casting for Vettuvam is yet to be finalised.

Following this, Ranjith will be teaming up with actor Vikram for a film tentatively referred to as Chiyaan 61. Backed by Studio Green in association with Neelam Productions, Chiyaan 61 is currently in the scripting stages, mentions the source. “It will be finished in a few days and will be set against the backdrop of the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF). The film will show the other side of KGF, revolving around the lives of the people who live there. It will be a period drama set in the 19th century,” the source adds.

After collaborating with actor Rajinikanth in Kaala and Kabali, Ranjith is set to next team up with his contemporary, Kamal Haasan. Earlier, Silverscreen India had reported that talks were on between the two parties. Now, we hear that the upcoming film will be based in Madurai. “The production house is yet to be decided, but most probably, it will be backed by Kamal Haasan’s banner,” says our source.

Ranjith is also set to make his Hindi directorial debut with a biopic of tribal leader Birsa Munda. The film is expected to be made on a large scale and Ranjith had earlier told us that he views Birsa Munda as a “pan-Indian script, similar to the stories of world leaders who have fought against oppressors.” On helming a film in a different language, he further added, “I don’t see the language barrier as a big problem; the thoughts and emotions in the story transcend it.” Our source tells us that the screenplay for this project is currently under development.

Following the success of Sarpatta Parambarai, Ranjith is also set to helm a series based in the same world the period sports drama was set in. Led by actor Arya, Sarpatta Parambarai was set in the 1970s and captured the lives of the boxing clans of North Madras. While the cast and crew for the series are yet to be confirmed, it will extend up to three seasons, spanning from the British rule up to the 1990s.

Aside from these directorial projects of the filmmaker, Ranjith’s Neelam Productions is also backing films helmed by other independent and up-and-coming directors like Athiyan Athirai, Akiran Moses, and Lenin Bharathi. Lenin’s film will delve into the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, while Akiran’s directorial is set to be centred around a battle between two gangs that spiraled after a small incident. Athiyan’s film, on the other hand, will follow the trials and tribulations of youngsters who struggle to find employment in government sectors.

Amazon Prime Video, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment Announce Exclusive Multi-Film Deal

Amazon Prime Video announced an exclusive, multi-film, multi-year licensing deal with producer Sajid Nadiadwala’s banner Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment (NGE), on Monday.

As part of the collaboration, the OTT giant is set to stream NGE’s upcoming films, soon after their respective theatrical releases. NGE’s upcoming line-up includes titles such as the Varun Dhawan-starrer Bawaal; Shah Rukh Khan’s Sanki; Baaghi 4, led by actor Tiger Shroff; and a yet-to-be titled project featuring Kartik Aaryan.

The partnership will also feature works from directors such as Nitesh Tiwari (Dangal), Ravi Udyawar (Mom), Sameer Vidwans (Anandi Gopal), and Saket Chaudhry (Hindi Medium).

In addition to being streamed, the films will also be available to rent on the streaming platform for all Amazon Prime subscribers via an ‘Early Access Rental’ window.

Speaking about the collaboration with the streaming giant, Sajid Nadiadwala, NGE’s Managing Director, said, “We have been entertaining the audience for the last 70 years with our movies, and today it’s a new era in cinema and entertainment with OTT spaces becoming such an integral part of our lives. In Prime Video, we believe we have found a partner that not only shares our vision of offering immersive cinematic experiences, but also provides the global distribution of the best stories from the Indian entertainment ecosystem.”

“This collaboration marks NGE’s first-ever, worldwide exclusive, multi-film, multi-year deal with Prime Video. As the world of storytelling evolves across genres, I believe this association will pave the way for more collaborations between the two brands to follow,” he added.

Manish Menghani, Director of Content Licensing, Amazon Prime Video India, said, “By inking this partnership, we will bring some of the most entertaining narratives and stories soon after their theatrical releases exclusively to our viewers’ screens worldwide. I am certain that this slate of much-anticipated movies will prove to be an absolute delight for our consumers.”

Rathamum Sadhaiyum: Vikram Prabhu-Starrer to be an ‘Intense’ Gangster Drama

Rathamum Sadhaiyum (Blood and Flesh), the upcoming Tamil film led by actor Vikram Prabhu, will be an “intense” gangster drama, according to director Harendhar Balachandar.

The film’s first look was released recently by the makers via social media. Produced jointly by Karrthik Adwait, PS Reddy, and Anu Chowdhary, Rathamum Sadhaiyum marks the directorial debut of Harendhar.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, the debutant says, “While I have not worked with any of the cast and crew before, the producer of this film, Karrthik Adwait, has collaborated with Vikram Prabhu on the (yet-to-be-released) film Paayum Oli Nee Yenakku. I knew Karrthik earlier, and through him, I pitched Rathamum Sadhaiyum to Vikram Prabhu.”

Harendhar has also penned the film’s script, screenplay, and dialogues. “I researched the subject for about a year, back in 2020, before writing the script. I can’t reveal much about it as it will give away the story. But, as the poster denotes, the film is based on real events. Rathamum Sadhaiyum was conceptualised by drawing from multiple incidents that happened in different places. I’ve pieced them all into a single story,” he says.

The film’s poster features a dog, a horse, and a pigeon alongside Vikram Prabhu. Asked about this, the director says every animal in the poster has a characteristic feature about them, which has a relevance to the script. “All three animals featured are ones that I raise back home. As I grew up around them, I find them interesting as well inspiring,” he adds.

When questioned about the significance of the title, Harendhar notes that it is a phrase that bears an emotional connotation, especially in rural areas, and that it offers a perspective through which to view the film.

The pre-production for Rathamum Sadhaiyum has been completed and the film is set to go on floors by the end of June. The director reveals that it will be shot across Trichy, Thanjavur, and Chennai.

While the makers are yet to finalise the cast and crew, they are looking to rope in actors with a theatre background. “I have a few friends with a theatre background and I would like to work with them on this film. The casting process is currently on,” says the director.

The team is looking to wrap up the film by the end of the year.

Yaanai Trailer Starring Arun Vijay, Priya Bhavani Shankar

Presenting the Official Trailer of the Tamil movie “Yaanai”, Starring Arun Vijay, Priya Bhavani Shankar in the lead role. Directed by Hari and Music composed by G.V. Prakash Kumar.

Yaanai is releasing worldwide on June 17th, 2022!

Movie Credits :
Starring – Arun Vijay, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Samuthirakani, Yogi Babu, Ammu Abirami, KGF Ramachandra Raju, Radhika Sarathkumar, Aadukalam Jayapalan, Imman Annachi, Rajesh, Aishwarya, Bose Venkat, Sanjeev, Pugazh

Story, Screenplay, Dialogue & Direction : Hari
Production House : Drumsticks Productions
Producers : Vedikkaranpatti S. Sakthivel
Music – G.V. Prakash Kumar
DOP – Gopinath
Art Director – Micheal B.F.A
Editor – Anthony
Lyrics – Snehan, Ekadasi, Arivu
Stunts – Anl Arasu
Co Director : N. John Albert
Choreography – Baba Baskar, Dhina
Production Executive – Chinna R. Rajendran
Cashier – N.G.Arjun
DI, VFX & Sound Design – Knack Studios
Sound Mix – T. Udhaya Kumar
Chief Make-Up Artist – Muniyaraj
Costumer – Rangasamy
Stills – Saravanan
Costume Designer – Nivetha Joseph, Geetu
PRO – Sathish Aim
Publicity Design – Reddot Pawan
Promotions – CTC MEDIA BOY
Educational Partner – Clusters Media College

Review Roundup: ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ Continues to Outshine New Releases & Rule the Box Office

Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, which released on May 20, has crossed the 100 crore mark at the box office. Being a sequel to the 2007 Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan-starrer Bhool Bhulaiyaa, which was helmed by Priyadarshan, the film has collected around Rs 120 crores.

Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick has also collected around Rs 9 crore in India, after its world premiere at the recent Cannes International Film Festival. The film scored Cruise his first ever $100 million opening in his four decade-long career, and has garnered over $260 million, worldwide.

On the other hand, Anubhav Sinha‘s Anek, a socio-political thriller that focuses on India’s policies and stand in territories such as Jammu and Kashmir and the North East, fizzled out at the box office.

While Seththumaan opted for the OTT route, Malayalam films like John Luther and Kuttavum Shikshayum released in cinemas. Some of the upcoming much-awaited films include, Thuramukham headlined by Nivin PaulyTovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh-starrer Vaashi, and Thomas’ Dear Friend with Darshana Rajendran. On that note,

On that note, Silverscreen India brings to you a compilation of reviews of films which have released theatrically and online, this week.

John Luther

John Luther is directed by Abhijith Joseph, and features actors Jayasurya, Deepak Parambol, Athmeeya Rajan, and Drishya Raghunath. The story revolves around the missing case of a teacher named Prakashan, which is filed with the police station where John Luther (Jayasurya) works. Meanwhile, John Luther meets with an accident that leaves him with impaired hearing.

Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, describes the film as “a morally depraved, flatly picturised film, centred on a police hunt for a serial killer.”

The film pretends to be part of the new crop of Malayalam cinema that stays grounded, close to reality. But essentially, John Luther is barely different from the old-school cop dramas that romanticise the khaki and portray the violent policeman as an irrefutable moral crusader,” she adds.

Gopalakrishnan further notes that the film’s cinematography by Roby Raj, renders the film ‘lifeless’, as he “picturises the whole film emptily, with lights lavishly poured into every frame and an excess of unreasonable shallow focus shots.”

She calls Jayasurya’s performance “beautifully sensitive” in those parts where he plays the cop with hearing impairment.

In addition to this, she credits the background score of the film, which “builds an eerie atmosphere without overpowering the narrative.”

Vishal Menon of Film Companion highlights those portions of the film, where John Luther’s character is unable to hear, and writes, “His lack of hearing adds elements to the thriller we rarely get to see. This makes John more real and vulnerable and it also makes these cases more dangerous than they would otherwise have been.”

He credits the way the film is written, and for how it does not reduce John Luther to his disability. “It isn’t treated like a major weakness affecting the case, nor does it get the prominence of a superpower with all his other senses doing the heavy lifting, like in Daredevil,” Menon writes.

Although he admits that this portrayal of the character could lead to a divided opinion about the film, “it makes his character distinct.”

The underwhelming aspects of the film, according to Menon, are the plotline of “this particular case being introduced as John Luther’s last,” the final antagonist, or the serial killer, and the complete marginalisation of John Luther’s familial life.

Like Gopalakrishnan, Menon highlights the background score, and credits the sound department.

John Luther has an IMDb rating of 8.0.

Seththumaan (SonyLIV)

Seththumaan is directed by Thamizh, and produced by Pa Ranjith. It revolves around the story of a grandfather and his orphaned grandson, whom he wants to rise above their life in a caste-ridden village and relocate to the city, for a better life. Master Ashwin and Manickam essay the roles of the grandson Kumaresan and grandfather Poochiappan (Poochi), respectively.

The film is an adaptation of Perumal Murugan’s short story, Varugari. It it to be noted that Murugan has penned the dialogues for the film, and thus, the dialect of Western Tamil Nadu or the Kongu region has been employed, throughout.

Subha J Rao of Silverscreen India writes, “A film like Seththumaan is important because it nudges you to think of everyday inequities and the skewed power of balance in society. This, it does by hand-holding you through life in a village — most importantly, the gaze is not that of an outsider.”

She adds, “Seththumaan also shows how in the skirmishes of the rich, even if it is over a few pieces of fried pork, ultimately, the poor are left to grieve alone.”

The reviewer credits editor CS Prem Kumar, cameraman Pradeep Kaliraja, sound designer Antony BJ Ruben, and music composer Bindumalini.

Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion notes that the “interactions between these people are intimate, while also being laced with political intuition that can only come from lived experience.”

Like Rao, Krishnakumar also credits the film’s technical crew, and adds that the film’s strength lies in the “stoicism with which the film captures stomach-churning realities.” She adds, “The oppressed aren’t suffering discrimination silently, they demand their rights often. Yet, the oppression is omnipresent.”

Despite the positive reviews from the critics, Seththumaan has earned an IMDb rating of 6.2.

Kuttavum Shikshayum

Directed by cinematographer-filmmaker Rajeev Ravi, Kuttavum Shikshayum (Crime and Punishment) is the adaptation of the real-life robbery case in Kasargod, Kerala. It revolves around a five-member team from the Kerala Police that goes to a village in Uttar Pradesh to nab the culprits.

The film features actors Asif Ali, Alencier, Sharaf U Dheen, Senthil Krishna and Sunny Wayne.

Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India calls the film “the most unusual Rajeev Ravi film yet.”

She further writes, “A police drama without a great storyline or dramatic twists and turns. His filmmaking is characterised by an element of randomness, a rejection of order. Sometimes the actors’ lines overlap as though there was no clear-cut dialogue in the first place. The supporting actors look like they were picked right from the filming location. The interior of the hotel rooms and police stations are aptly shabby.”

Further noting that the film ends hastily and does not offer the audience a follow-up to the case, Gopalakrishnan writes that despite its flaws, it is gripping.

Vishal Menon of Film Companion, writes “in Kuttavum Shikshayum, the filmmaking philosophy has created the room to accommodate even the mundane.”

“It reminds us that a police officer’s job is bureaucratic too, with its share of pencil-pushing and endless haggling with senior officers,” he adds.

According to Menon, the film highlights the numbness that people have to hold on to, in order to stay in the police force. “On one side, you see three junior officers, who are young enough to believe that they can be part of a change. On the other is Basheer (Alencier), weeks away from completing a largely event-free career,” he writes.

Menon provides instances from the film that throw light on an officer’s personal life, his inner conflicts, and what they’re left with, after spending years in a stressful profession.

The film has an IMDb rating of 5.7.

Aside from the aforementioned films, the fourth season of Stranger Things is also streaming on Netflix.

F3: Venkatesh Daggubati, Varun Tej-Starrer Earns Rs 44.4 Cr in AP and Telangana

F3, the Telugu comedy-drama starring actors Venkatesh Daggubati and Varun Tej that released in theatres on Friday, has collected around Rs 44.4 crores (gross) at the box office Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in its first three days, Anupam Reddy, Secretary of the Telangana State Film Chamber of Commerce tells Silverscreen India.

Directed by Anil Ravipudi, F3 is a standalone sequel to the 2019 film F2: Fun and Frustration. Aside from Varun and Daggubati, it also features actors Tamannaah Bhatia, Mehreen Pirzada, and Rajendra Prasad, among others.

According to the makers, F3 has collected Rs 63.5 crore (gross) worldwide in three days.

While the film has managed to get past the 50-crore mark worldwide, cinema owners note that F3’s performance falls somewhere between average to good in theatres across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Reddy says, “The film’s performance is average. It is not running to full occupancy and has seen about 60-70% occupancy across theatres. F3 is mostly appealing to family audiences owing to its content and comedy.”

Echoing Reddy’s opinion, Balgovind Raj Tadla, Secretary of Greater Telangana Exhibitors Association and partner at Sudharshan 35mm and Devi 70mm single-screen theatres in Hyderabad, notes that F3 has only got a mediocre reception from audiences.

Unlike Telugu films that were released earlier, such as Acharya and Sarkaru Vaari PaataF3 has not availed of a ticket price hike. It is notable that theatre owners had earlier opined that the ticket price hike adversely impacted the performances of those films. Thus, for F3, Dil Raju, who produced the film under the Sri Venkateswara Creations banner, avoided opting for the hiked rates.

Tadla says, “F3 did not opt for a hike in ticket prices and that has given a slight advantage to the film. The movie has received decent footfall in our premises, with varied audiences coming in to watch it. It is doing fairly well owing to Venkatesh’s comedy and the presence of popular faces.”

Speaking further about the ticket price hikes in recent times, he adds, “The pricing between six to nine months ago was much lesser than what it is today, so many people in the industry are of the opinion that reverting to the earlier rates might be better. We are all looking to keep audiences coming back to theatres to watch films.”

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Fetches Tom Cruise His First $100 Million Opening in the US

Tom Cruise scored the first $100 million opening weekend in the US in his four decade-long career with his latest film, Top Gun: Maverick.

The sequel to the 1986 film Top Gun has crossed $150 million in the domestic market in North America, and $100 million in the international market. The global collection of Top Gun: Maverick currently stands at $260 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

“These results are ridiculously, over-the-top fantastic,” said Chris Aronson, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution.

In India, after a slow start, the film has recorded decent numbers and ended the weekend with box office collections of Rs 9 crore.

Top Gun: Maverick revolves around test pilot Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise), who is tasked with the training of a group of Top Gun graduates for a specialised mission under the command of the US Pacific Fleet.

While the 1986 film was directed by Tony Scott, the sequel was helmed by Joseph Kosinki and released in cinemas on May 27. Prior to that, Top Gun: Maverick had its world premiere at CinemaCon on April 28. It had its European premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival on May 18, as part of the festival’s official selection. Cruise was also surprised with an honorary Palme d’Or for lifetime achievement at the event.

Top Gun: Maverick, which was initially supposed to release in 2019, experienced multiple delays, partially because of the pandemic, but also owing to an extension in production to work out complex fight sequences.

In an interview with Empire, Kosinki revealed that the team had shot 800 hours of footage, the equivalent of all three Lord of the Rings movies combined. “Out of a 12 or 14-hour day, you might get 30 seconds of good footage,” Kosinki told the publication. “It was so hard-earned. It just took a very long time to get it all. Months and months of aerial shooting.”

Apart from the external footage, the in-cockpit sequences were apparently equally tough to shoot, with a significant amount of filming taking place in actual planes. “We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing,” said Cruise, who also served as one of the producers of the film.

He added, “I had to teach them how to turn the cameras on and off, and about camera angles and lenses. We didn’t have unlimited time in these jets. If they were going up for 20-30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed.”

Aside from Cruise, the cast also included actors Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelley, John Hamm, Glen Powell, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, and Lewis Pullman.

Cannes 2022: 7 Highlights from the 75th Edition of Cannes Film Festival

The 75th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival came to an end on Saturday. The 11-day long festival celebrated films from across the globe, and gave them a platform to be introduced to the international market. It also witnessed a couple of firsts.

India was the country of honour at its Marché du Film (Film Market) to mark 75 years of both the festival and the country’s independence. This was the first time that the Cannes Film Market had an official country of honour. Future editions of the festival will continue this initiative with different nations honoured each year.

The Indian delegation, led by Mininster of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, walked the red carpet on the opening day. Actor Deepika Padukone also served as an international jury member at the festival.

Other notable events at the festival included Tom Cruise being presented with a surprise honorary Palme d’Or. On the other hand, many activists and members of the film fraternity took the opportunity to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Silverscreen India brings to you seven highlights from the Cannes International Film Festival 2022.

All That Breathes wins L’OEil award for Best Documentary

Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes won the L’OEil Award for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival. The recognition, however, was not presented by the festival, per se. The prize, called the Golden Eye, is a collaboration between Cannes and La Scam, a French-speaking authors’ society. A total of 18 documentary films were in competition for the title.

Sen’s film was part of the Special Screenings line-up at Cannes. The documentary follows two siblings, Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad, who have devoted their lives to rescuing and treating injured birds, especially black kites.

The jury of L’OEil said, “L’Oeil goes to a film that, in a world of destruction, reminds us that every life matters, and every small action matters. You can grab your camera, you can save a bird, you can hunt for some moments of stealing beauty, it matters. It’s an inspirational journey in observation of three Don Quijotes who may not save the whole world, but do save their own world.”

All That Breathes‘ worldwide television rights have been acquired by HBO Documentary Films.

Earlier, in January, the 90-minute film won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, a gala that promotes independent cinema and filmmakers.

Joyland becomes first film from Pakistan to win at Cannes

Saim Sadiq’s Joyland bagged two honours at the Cannes Film Festival, namely the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section that it was entered into and the Queer Palm award, an independent sponsored prize for select LGBTQIA+ films at the festival.

Featuring Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan, and Sarwat Gilani, Joyland is Sadiq’s feature directorial debut. The film is set in Lahore and depicts the story of an effeminate married man who falls for a transgender woman.

Ruben Ostlund bags his second Palme d’Or with Triangle of Sadness

Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund won his second Palme d’Or with his film Triangle of Sadness. Ostlund’s The Square had earlier bagged the title in 2017.

Triangle of Sadness is a satirical comedy that centres around a fashion model celebrity couple, who are invited on a luxury cruise with other rich people. The film was announced in back in 2017 after Ostlund’s first win at Cannes.

Song Kang-Ho becomes first Korean male actor to win Best Actor at Cannes

Song, who is renowned for appearing in the Oscar-winning Korean film Parasite, made history on Saturday, when he became the first Korean male actor to win the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Song won the title for the film Broker, which revolves around two baby brokers, who steal a baby from a ‘baby box’ – a place where mothers can leave their babies anonymously if they are unable or unwilling to raise them – intending to sell the baby on the adoption black market.

The Best Actress award, meanwhile, went to Iranian actor Zar Amir Ebrahimi for her role in the film Holy Spider.

Activist strips on red carpet to protest rape of women in Ukraine

An activist stripped on the red carpet at Cannes on May 21. She had the flag of Ukraine painted across her chest, and hand prints across her back, private parts, and all over her soiled underwear. She protested against the atrocities of the Russian army in Ukraine, and the usage of rape as a weapon of war, in specific.

The action was claimed by SCUM, a French feminist organisation, and it took place ahead of the premiere of George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing.

In a statement to Jezebel, SCUM said, “We remind that the inaction of Europe and the rest of the world in the face of the pimps’ and Russian soldiers’ violence is a form of complicity. We remind that in war as in peace, no woman is for sale, no woman is for rape, no man has the right to colonize and commercialize our bodies.”

Feminists use black smoke on red carpet to protest femicide in France

A second protest took place a day later, ahead of the premiere of the feminist thriller Holy Spider.

A group of feminists dressed in black held out a long scroll as they walked up the stairs of the red carpet, and let off black smoke grenades. The scroll comprised names of women that had died in the last one year in France due to domestic violence.

Later, a spokesperson for the documentary film Riposte Feministe, which was also screened at Cannes, claimed credit for the protest.

Tom Cruise surprised with Palme d’Or for lifetime achievement

Actor Tom Cruise was honoured with a surprise Palme d’Or for lifetime achievement during the European premiere of his film Top Gun: Maverick. The cast and crew of the film was also surprised with an air patrol performance of a squadron of French fighter jets while Cruise was on the red carpet.

The Legend Trailer Starring Legend Saravanan, Urvashi Rautela

Director : JD – Jerry
Produced by : Legend Saravanan
Cast : Legend Saravanan, Urvashi Rautela, Geethika, Vivek, Nasser, Prabhu, Vijayakumar, Yogi Babu & Others
Music : Harris Jayaraj
DOP : R.Velraj
Editor : Ruben
Art : S.S.Moorthy
Lyrics: Kaviperarasu Vairamuthu, Kabilan, Pa Vijay, Snehan, Madhan Karky
Choreography : Raju Sundaram, Brinda, Dinesh
Dialogue : Pattukottai Prabhakar
Stunts : Anl Arasu
Audiography : Suren.G – S.Azhagiya Koothan
DI : Navin shetty
DI studio: Nube Cirrus
CG : R.Harihara Suthan – Sanath T.G & Sathish C.D
Costumes : Sathya NJ, Tina Rosario
Co-directors : A.P.Rajan & A.Siva Kumar
Production Executive : Ambikapathy and Raghunathan
Production Managers : Chinnamanur K.Sathish Kumar & A.Munish
Publicity Design : Reddot Pawan
PRO : Nikkil Murukan
Creative Promotions : BeatRoute
Audio Label : Think Music

Vikram: Madras HC Restrains Internet Providers & Over 1,300 Websites from Unauthorised Display of Film’s Content

The Madras High Court has granted an interim injunction, restraining several Internet Service Providers (ISP) and over 1300 websites, from any unauthorised screenings of the upcoming film Vikram, after the production company Raaj Kamal Films International (RKFI) filed a petition, seeking ISPs and websites from infringing the film.

The hearing was presided over by Justice C Saravanan.

Vikram is scheduled to hit the big screens on June 3. Written and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, the film stars Kamal Haasan and is backed by Haasan’s home banner RKFI.

Ahead of the film’s release, RKFI filed a petition against ISPs and websites listed as respondents, who were reportedly infringing the film’s copyrighted work. RKFI stated that the respondents were “involved in recording, cam-cording, and reproducing the audio songs, audio-visual clips, audio-visual songs and full-length feature films” that are screened at cinema halls, and then circulate them across various mediums. The banner further claimed that the content recorded was circulated among the public for a “meagre sum”, without any authorisation from the rightful owners (RKFI), thus leading them to incur losses.

Submitting a list of 1308 websites that contain such unlicensed or unauthorised content, RKFI argued that such websites do not have any “takedown” method, where violations could be reported. The production house noted that such websites have been notorious for not taking down the content, even when reported, in previous situations.

The petitioner also referred to the infringement under Section 14 (1)(d), 16 of the Copyrights Act 1957, which will be violated, if the said websites circulate the unauthorised content by making them available to the public via cable television or an online medium.

Thus, the banner moved the court out of “abundant caution” that could otherwise, not only affect the banner’s profits, but also the other parties associated with the banner as well as the public, who would not benefit from being exposed to the “poor quality” of the film.

Taking the reasons into consideration, the High Court granted an interim injunction on the ISPs and websites from the unauthorised use of the content from the film.

Vikram is led by Haasan, alongside Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Suriya in a cameo role, NarainGayathrieKalidas JayaramShivani Narayanan, and Arjun Das among others. After its theatrical run, the film is set to stream on Disney+ Hotstar.

John Luther Review: Jayasurya Tries To Impress In A Vapid Crime Thriller

John Luther (Jayasurya) and his family live in a house that resembles one of those boutique heritage homestays in Kochi. Squeaky-clean and orderly, without a single stain on the walls or a sign of human activity in the rooms. And there are lamps, the most important and handiest item in the art department of Indian mainstream movies, everywhere, on nightstands, tables and corners of rooms, lit during the day and night. In the initial scenes, the family, evidently upper-caste, is preparing for the betrothal ceremony of the younger progeny. A grand exhibition of social and material wealth.  

Luther is a police officer working in Munnar, a town largely inhabited by daily-wage labourers who work in estates run by faceless corporate companies. There is a point in the film where he and his diligent and brawny subordinate (Deepak Parambol) pick up a truck driver (Pramod Veliyanad) in connection with a hit-and-run case. Even before they finish the interrogation, the cops begin the ritualistic custody torture, as though the blows would extract the truth from the unfortunate man like milk from a cow. The camera records all the proceedings inside the police station from close quarters ﹣the custody violence, and Luther casually supervising the brutality. A subordinate officer informs him that the man in custody is not related to the killings. He adds an unrelated detail, “He had recently undergone a kidney transplant surgery with the help of a charity organisation.” You might think the film would pause here and take stock of the situation, but it moves on, coldly, continuing to identify with the cops who conducted the torture. Two scenes later, Luther loses his hearing partially, and the film switches to an utterly unimaginative melancholic song, fishing for sympathy for a man who had just rendered an innocent man mortally injured.

John Luther, directed by Abhijith Joseph, is a morally depraved, flatly picturised film, centred on a police hunt for a serial killer. Humourless, it gloats in creating a malicious killer using a bunch of social cliches. The film pretends to be part of the new crop of Malayalam cinema that stays grounded, close to reality. But essentially, John Luther is barely different from the old-school cop dramas that romanticise the khaki and portray the violent policeman as an irrefutable moral crusader. Like most mainstream Malayalam entertainers, it stays oblivious to how the class and caste disparities play out in society.  

The cop’s disability is inconsequential to the larger story; it is just a hack to create an emotional connection in a narrative that proceeds like a bad joke. Though, Jayasurya finds a great opportunity in it and turns the mundane character into someone worthy of your attention. He plays Luther, the cop, like a typical daredevil, strutting around and throwing angry glances at people. But in the scenes that immediately follow the incident that resulted in his hearing predicament, his performance is beautifully sensitive.  

The film’s centrepiece is the investigation that leads Luther to a dangerous criminal. What unfurls is not a riveting cat and mouse chase between two brilliant minds, but a lousy game played by two average joes. Luther does not pull off exceptionally intelligent deductions. Every clue he gets is a product of an accident. The killer isn’t very sharp too. In his first meeting with the cop, he narrates a flashback story which, he hopes, would act as a red-herring. Eventually, it is the same story that leads the cops to him. The serial killer, you see, isn’t imaginative enough to concoct an unbreakable lie to save himself.  

More so, the backstory is laughably silly and to a great extent, insensitive. But, well, at least it is in tune with the film’s overall apathetic tone. A boy from underprivileged conditions grows up to be a doctor, thanks to his sheer will and endless curiosity about the human body. When he loses all prospects in an accident, he turns to murder. The problem is, that the film picturises this transformation as a natural progression, as though the boy was in the medical profession only for the joy of slicing up bodies. The movie that treated Luther’s accident with great tenderness portrays the boy’s tragedy callously. In the long-winded final sequence, the film becomes a run-of-mill drama where men, regardless of their health and physical abilities, engage in a physical fight in an open field. It is a child’s guess that the ultimate victory rests with the hero even though he is stabbed multiple times.  

Cinematographer Roby Raj picturises the whole film emptily, with lights lavishly poured into every frame and an excess of unreasonable shallow focus shots. He compulsively prettifies everything, and this approach renders the film lifeless. The sole element in the movie with some restraint is the background score that builds an eerie atmosphere without overpowering the narrative. In the opening sequence, Luther opens the door of an ambulance to see the body of a road accident victim. The film does not reveal the face of the dead. But the music, gentle yet brimming with premonition, conveys the chill. In a film that is absolutely devoid of a worldview, the music points towards something, perhaps the quintessential fear of death that binds us all. 


This John Luther review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

Seththumaan Review: Class Struggles Viewed Through the Prism of a Craving for Pig Curry

How does one view Seththumaan? As a simple tale of a grandfather and orphaned grandson living life or as a nuanced take on caste and class differences, and the disdain for food choices and the resultant shaming? Actually, both. That is what makes director Tamizh’s debut film, produced by Pa Ranjith, which has done the festival circuit before being streamed on SonyLIV, very special.

There’s a lovely kernel of a story that can be enough to charm the casual viewer, but for the more involved one, Tamizh populates his film with enough to deserve a re-watch and then some more. There are so many people to focus on — the grandchild, the landlord, his wife, the grandfather, Ranga, the angry rearer of pigs — and each of them gets an arc.

Tamizh’s writing comes from a place of deep understanding of prevailing caste and class hierarchies. And so, while outwardly, Vellaiyan (Prasanna) seems to be a man with heart and one who cares for Poochiappa, also known as Poochi (Manickam), ensuring he gets the first portion of the meat and telling him he will employ him in a possible new land he’s slated to buy, so that his grandchild can be educated, you know that this is more a relationship of an occasionally magnanimous owner and subservient slave than equals.

Poochi is beholden to Vellaiyan and so, even though he likes to stay away from violence, having seen firsthand his outspoken son get killed and pregnant daughter-in-law get fatally attacked fatally, he gets drawn into Vellaiyan’s fights with his relatives.

The film, adapted from writer Perumal Murugan’s Varugari, is set in Western Tamil Nadu or the Kongu region, and the Tamil in the film is rich in the dialect. The dialogues feature wordplay typical to the region, the sing-song delivery and the nakkal (sarcasm) it is known for. Little wonder, the dialogue writer is also Perumal Murugan.

Seththumaan is just short of the two-hour mark and it is to director Tamizh and editor CS Prem Kumar’s credit that you don’t really focus on anything other than what’s on screen. While he cuts to show us the big picture, the camera (Pradeep Kaliraja) also focusses on the little things that make life liveable. Look out for the scene where a relative offers to raise Kumaresan, closer to a better school. The grandson, played by Master Ashwin, who is so full of life and very content being by himself, hugs his grandfather tight without a word. At night, he holds his grandfather like he’s all he’s got. Suddenly, a ball of sadness shoots up your throat and chokes you. What will become of this child, who is the class topper and for whom his grandfather has such high hopes?

Poochi’s grandson, whom he affectionately calls Ponnukutty (little gold), is very fond of studying; you can see him reading under the streetlamp. He has also adopted new-age ways, when he casual says ‘bye’ to his akka but he’s also charmed by what his grandfather does. He sits on his haunches and watches with curiosity as a pig takes its last few breaths, wants to chip in when Ranga and Poochi scald its hide and deskin it. This is something Poochi tries hard to keep him away from — he wants him to become a big officer and move away from the life they currently lead. This is one thing that keeps plaguing you, long after the end credits. Will the child overcome his circumstances or will he succumb to them? Especially because his school in the village is to shut down as the numbers in students are dwindling. Will Kumaresan be able to pursue his studies? All this plays out, even as news of Ramnath Kovind being elected President comes in, and continues until he takes the oath of office. Some people might be able to overcome their lot, but can all?

A film like Seththumaan is important because it nudges you to think of everyday inequities and the skewed power of balance in society. This, it does by hand-holding you through life in a village — most importantly, the gaze is not that of an outsider. Yes, there are lovely shots of Western Tamil Nadu’s lovely hill ranges and mountains and the pretty white clouds and patches of greenery, but the focus is on life and people — the tea shop owner pulling out paper cups for Ranga and Poochi and giving them glass tumblers only after Ranga raises his voice. Vellaiyan’s cantankerous wife, who has a problem with everything including her husband eating the meat of an animal that “eats human faeces”, always shortchanges Poochi for his artfully-woven, sturdy bamboo baskets — only occasionally does Poochi raise his voice, even this he does by telling her she can have it for free.

Your heart breaks for Poochi, who always tries to rise above his circumstances and be the better person. He’s always calming people down, making his Ponnukutty smile, by performing folk art for him, he’s the gentle soul, whom everyone loves and wants to help out.

Ranga, who is always angry as he is aware, and despite his necessity to maintain a monetary relationship with Vellaiyan, is able to tick him off, when he asks if his pigs are clean. Ranga is what Kumaresan’s father might have been, had his life not been cut short — in a scuffle over some cattle dying in a week. One of the reasons why Vellaiyan has an issue with Ranga is possibly because he’s independent and free-spirited, unlike Poochi. With Poochi, he is able to feel magnanimous. Ranga, on the other hand, teaches him that treating someone as an equal is not a choice.

It’s interesting that the food politics in the film originates in Vellaiyan’s family. All the upper caste men who crave the meat of the pig fear ridicule, and face it too.

You see many Poochis in life, you might even see the odd Ranga and react the way Vellaiyan does — “these people have begun to speak a lot” — but what Seththumaan does is show you their lives, up-close and personal. A thatched home in the midst of a farm, with a line full of clothes, a hungry goat that chomps away at hay the entire night, a grandson and the only person who is his.

Seththumaan also shows how in the skirmishes of the rich, even if it is over a few pieces of fried pork, ultimately, the poor are left to grieve alone.

Tamizh has an assured voice that shines through in every frame and in what he’s got his technical team to come up with. Sound designer Antony BJ Ruben literally transports you to the villages of western Tamil Nadu, with the unique sarasarappu (rustle) of leaves in the breeze and the sound of the weaving loom, the traditional occupation in the area. Music composer Bindumalini is such a treasure and it is a pity that many more have not tapped her ability to become one with a movie’s landscape.

Seththumaan is also one of those rare films to talk about the way it ought to be spoken about — bloody stools and piles, and what the heat does to people is casual everyday conversation. What about the humble pig or the seththumaan (the deer of the slush)? While Ranga might be dealing in pigs, he calls the one he chooses for Vellaiyan, his rasa (king), and wants him to die a painless death, during the slaughter. Even in death, the pig provides for quite liberally; 10 portions of meat, some varugari and a pocketful of cash for Ranga. It also snatches away, as liberally. Little Kumaresan would know.



This Seththumaan review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.