Big-banner films like Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe, Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi, and Enemy, released on Diwali, causing massive footfall in cinemas across the country.
Annaatthe and Sooryavanshi garnered heavy collection during the week. This marked the first step towards the revival of Indian cinemas which had been affected due the the outbreak of Corona virus in March 2020. The shutdown and brief revival had caused major financial losses for theatre owners.
While theatres celebrated star releases, OTT platforms did not fall behind either as films like Jai Bhim and Meenakshi Sundareshwar releasing on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix respectively.
While the films were able to leave the cash registers ringing, reviews by critics questioned the quality of the content.
Silverscreen India brings to you, a roundup of reviews for the films that released both offline and online.
Rajinikanth‘s Annaatthe was one of the most highly anticipated films during the pandemic. Featuring Nayanthara, Keerthy Suresh, Prakash Raj, Soori, Meena and Khushboo in roles apart from the 70-year-old superstar, the film went on to break records in Tamil Nadu.
The film is a family drama that revolves around brother-sister relationship.
Several critics highlighted that the film sidelined other actors and focused only on Rajinikanth.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, wrote that Annaatthe pushed aside the concept of narrative continuity.
“The sentiments are overdrawn, jokes are stretched out, and the hero, buried under a wall of poor writing. One of the most tragic festival gifts from an idol to his fans,” she added.
Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion noted that the film “is in the dark, wondering how best to serve its legendary leading man.”
“He is too big a hero or a big presence to be doing a character role but also too old to be doing conventional hero roles,” he added.
Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost reflected similar sentiments and added that although Rajinikanth looks good with his energy and charisma intact, his performance “now seems arduous. Even though he tries hard to not let it show, you can sense the tiredness.”
Annaatthe collected Rs 24 crores on day one, and has broken the records of films like Bigil, Kabali, and Master.
However, the film has a current IMDb rating of 4.6.
Arya and Vishal‘s Enemy is “the story of two childhood friends and their escalating competitive nature,” according to IMDb. It has been directed by Anand Shankar.
While Sinndhuja of Silverscreen India called “the premise of boyhood friends who turn rivals because of divergent ideologies” interesting, she wrote that its not unpredictable, and hardly expands on Vishal’s arc as an actor and the hero.
For Ranjani Krishnakumar, of Film Companion, despite its shortcomings and predictability, the film entertains. “It keeps the momentum going and comes to a reasonable end.”
Krishnakumar also said the emotional scenes were the weakest moments for both actors.
For Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, “Enemy is a trite, formulaic action drama that laughs at logic and people who expect the same”. She added that the “emotional beats were all over the place.”
Despite its below average reviews, the film has a current IMDb rating of 8.7.
Suriya‘s Jai Bhim, directed by TJ Gnanavel, revolves around “a tribal man who is arrested for a case of alleged theft, and his wife turns to a human-rights lawyer to help bring justice,” according to IMDb.
Apart from Suriya, the film features actors Lijomol Jose and K Manikandan in lead roles.
While Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India called it a “phenomenal story where the Goliath, the arrogant state police machinery, is taken on by a group of Davids armed with nothing but the law,” she noted that the objective fails to translate to good cinema.
She added that the film refuses to stay human due to lack of background to Suriya’s character.
Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion called the film “Suriya’s most restrained performances, even if it starts off awkwardly,” that is taken a notch higher by its casting.
Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, wrote that the film paints a complete picture, that “shoulders the responsibility of being a social, issue-based drama without being preachy. The writing is powerful and incisive. But amid the big hits, the film cares enough to package the smaller smiles.”
Jai Bhim has a current IMDb rating of 9.6.
“The normal life of a villager turns living hell when he starts to realizes that is family keeps boundaries to it’s members and also discovers that his village is in danger by a man who tries to destroy a mountain in the village,” according to IMDb‘s official synopsis.
The Sathyaraj and Sasikumar starrer film is directed by Ponram. It also features Saranya Ponvannan and Samuthirakani.
Sinndhuja of Silverscreen India said, “An absurd theatrical quality pervades the entire film and the characters that populate it.”
Vishal Menon, of Film Companion, highlighted the film’s flimsy writing, and added that it “neither pushed hard enough to make things funny nor does it succeed in creating tension”.
MGR Magan holds a current rating of 3.6 on IMDb.
After suffering multiple delays, Rohit Shetty‘s Sooryavanshi released and opened to massive collections, and garnered Rs 26.50 crore (net) on day one. It features actors Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Ajay Devgn, and Ranveer Singh in lead roles.
The fourth film in Shetty’s cop-drama series that began with Singham, the film follows the story of Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Veer Sooryavanshi, played by Kumar who chooses country over family.
Anupama Chopra, of Film Companion noted that the film “attempts to have a more solid connection with reality.”
She added, “Sooryavanshi works hard to be an entertainer that can also somehow deliver key messaging about the tragic consequences of religious hate, the undying spirit of Mumbai and the unstinting bravery of Mumbai’s cops but the storytelling sags under the load.”
Saibal Chatterjee, of NDTV, reflected similar sentiments and wrote that “Sooryavanshi, attempts a course correction.”
Sooryavanshi holds an IMDb rating of 6.
Meenakshi Sundareshwar (Netflix)
The Abhimanyu Dassani and Sanya Malhotra-starrer film revolves around the long-distance marriage and the consequent obstacles that the newly-wed couple faces.
While Anupama Chopra of Film Companion credited Dassani and Malhotra for their adequate performance, she noted that the plotting starts to falter and the writing gets lazy.
“They rely on tired devices like a jealous work colleague and an overbearing relative to push Sundareshwar and Meenakshi into corners,” she added.
Anna MM Vetticad of Firstpost wrote that while the film began on a good note, “languor gives way to tedium when the film’s commitment to traditionalism is combined with a lack depth in the characterisation of the protagonists and the depiction of their evolution”.
The film has a current IMDb rating of 8.4.
Marvel‘s Eternals, directed by Oscar-winning Chloe Zhao, and features an ensemble cast of Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, and Kit Harrington, among others, in lead roles.
It follows the story of “ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years who, after being forced out of the shadows, reunite to fight against mankind’s oldest enemy, the Deviants.”
The film introduced the first-ever Black gay superhero (played by Brian Tyree Henry), and mute superhero (played by Lauren Ridloff).
Anupama Chopra, of Film Companion called it powerful but flawed, and wrote that “it’s a large dysfunctional family with wounds and grudges being nursed over millennia”.
Suchin Mehrotra of Firstpost wrote that “despite its sense of quiet and ambitious ideas, it is a movie that does not quite come together, failing to do justice to the absolute basics.”
Since the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles, on October 18, it has received mixed reviews, including being called the most “un-MCU” movie ever, and noted how different it is from the “formulaic” Marvel films made so far.
The film was also review-bombed online recently, reportedly for its portrayal of a LGBTQIA+ relationship, and became the lowest-rated Marvel film ever on Rotten Tomatoes with a current 51 percent on Tomatometer.
The film has an IMDb rating of 6.9.