Indian cinemas finally seem to recuperate from the pandemic-induced blow after multiple films take the theatrical route, and make decent collections if not extraordinary.
While films like Sooryvanshi and Annaatthe have paved the way for the cinemas to return to normalcy, films like Marakkar, Tadap, and Antim: The Final Truth, seem to have followed suit.
Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews from both critics as well as the audience of films that have released theatrically as well as digitally.
Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham
Mohanlal‘s Marakkar finally released in cinemas on December 2 after a long back-and-forth with theare owners over release. One of the highly anticipated Indian films, it suffered multiple pandemic-induced delays.
The story is a fictionalised account of the life of Mohammed Ali/Kunjali Marakkar, a naval commander who fought the Portuguese troops for the Samoothiri (Zamorin), the Hindu monarch of erstwhile Calicut, in the 16th century. Kunjali Marakkar was the fourth in his family to serve the Samoothiri in war.
The Priyadarshan-directorial features an ensemble cast, including Suniel Shetty, Arjun Sarja, Keerthy Suresh, Manju Warrier, Pranav Mohanlal, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Siddique, Ashok Selvan, Fazil, Siddique, Nedumudi Venu and Innocent.
Marakkar won the awards for best feature film, best special effects and best costume design at the 67th National Film Awards.
However, despite the hype around the film, it fell flat for both critics as well as the audience.
Swathy R Iyer of Silverscreen India blamed the weak, clunky writing and the long duration of the film for its loss of charm. She wrote, “Even with so much leeway to weave fiction into the plot and fill the gaps in Kunjali’s life, the story is still as predictable as it gets,” and added that the visuals and the production design come as the only respite.
Vishal Menon of Film Companion reflected similar sentiments and wrote that “Even with so much leeway to weave fiction into the plot and fill the gaps in Kunjali’s life, the story is still as predictable as it gets.”
Anna MM Vetticad of Firstpost wrote that it “lionises its lead male star (Mohanlal) in a cliched manner, the story and storytelling feel generic and, barring an engaging patch or two, it is indistinguishable from other formulaic war dramas intermittently produced by commercial cinema across Indian languages.”
The critics further pointed out the roles of reduced importance that the women in the film played.
It opened in over 600 screens in Kerala alone, and 4,100 worldwide.
The film currently holds an IMDb rating of 6.5, and user reviews call the screenplay and direction average.
GV Prakash‘s Bachelor is a romantic-drama about what follows after the lead in a casual relationship his partner with a woman ends up having an unwanted pregnancy.
For Sinndhuja of Silverscreen India, while director Sathish Selvakumar has tried to touch upon the ideas about sex, pregnancy, abortion, impotence, masculinity, domestic violence and a host of other themes that reference gender, he has not been able to grasp any of them.
According to Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion, Prakash’s character is an incompetent Arjun Reddy and the film is sympathetic of its abuser. “So much so that in a film about heterosexual relationships, sexual health, living in, pregnancy, abortion and domestic violence law, we only hear men talk,” she added.
The film has an IMDb rating of 7.4.
Vishvak Khanderao‘s directorial debut, Skylab, features actors Satya Dev, Nithya Menen, and, Rahul Ramakrishna in prominent roles.
The period drama deals with the crash of an experimental lab built in space called Skylab, according to IMDb.
Sankeertana of Silverscreen India, called the film “delightfully peculiar” and said that it had been “made by a team that understands one another completely.”
According to Mukesh Manjunath of Film Companion, the film is a metaphor without the plot having much to contribute.
For Balakrishna Ganeshan, of The News Minute, the film’s conscious attempts to stay away from being transformed into a love story, comes as refreshing in Telugu cinema.
Critics also pointed out that every prop and character in the film had something to contribute.
The film has a current IMDb rating of 8.6.
The Abhishek Bachchan and Chitrangada Singh-starrer film is a spin-off to the fictional character of Bob Biswas from the 2012 film Kahaani. While the original role was played by actor Saswata Chatterjee, Bachchan steps in to play the lead.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, wrote, “The film grapples with an acute identity crisis, unable to decide whether Bob Biswas is an underdog or a mastermind criminal.”
For Anupama Chopra of Film Companion, the beauty of Bob Biswas was his cold-hearted efficiency which could not be retained by either the script or Bachchan’s performance.
For Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express, Bachchan’s “Bob is never as scary as the original, and that right there, is the chief problem.”
Directed by Diya Annapurna Ghosh, the film has an IMDb rating of 7.4.
The Nandamuri Balakrishna-starrer has been directed by Boyapati Srinu and revolves around “a fierce devotee of Lord Shiva, who stands tall against evildoers,” according to IMDb.
According to Mukesh Manjunath of Film Companion, Akhanda has nothing new to offer in terms of storytelling, and is the kind of film “supposed to be vehicles of adrenaline pumping energy through the dialogues and actions of its leading man.”
For Sankeertana Varma of Firstpost, owing to Balakrishna’s god-like stature, “the viewer develops a robotic detachment with the proceedings knowing well that the hero will come out of it unharmed. Commerical or otherwise, it is just bad cinema.”
The film has collected approximately Rs 15.35-15.40 crore (gross) in the Telugu states on its first day, Anupam Reddy, executive committee member of the Telangana State Film Chamber of Commerce, told Silverscreen India.
Interestingly, despite negative user reviews, the film has a current IMDb rating of 8.3.
Other films that have released, include Milan Luthria’s Tadap that marked the screen debut of Ahan Shetty and featured Tara Sutaria. The film collected around Rs 4 crore (nett) at the box office on its first day.
Despite the leads being newcomers and the film getting fewer screens, Tadap has also managed to get close to the opening of Salman Khan-starrer Antim: The Final Truth and beat that of John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate 2, both of which released last week.
According to the BOI report, Tadap got only one screen on average in multiplexes while the bigger films were allotted two.