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From no films at all, to three big-banner films, this week saw films like Gopichand‘s SeetiMaarr, Kangana Ranaut’s Thalaivii, and Vijay Sethupathi’s Laabam, hit the big screens. Amidst all the cheer around an expected rise in the footfall in cinemas, Nani‘s Tuck Jagadish slipped an OTT release, on Amazon Prime Video, thereby, adding to the competition, albeit differently.

Besides the releases, Telugu film, Love Story, featuring actors Sai Pallavi and Naga Chaitanya, postponed its release date to September 24, the makers announced on Friday- the day on which the film was supposed to hit the screens.

Silverscreen India brings to you reviews of all the films that released this week, both online and offline:

Tuck Jagadish (Streaming on  Amazon Prime Video)

Nani’s Tuck Jagadish finally saw the light of the day on Friday, owing to its much controversial digital release, that followed despite Telangana theater owners having requested the producers to opt for a theatrical release.

During a conference for the trailer launch, Nani said, “If, when the situation gets better and things are back to normalcy, my films and I don’t go to theatres, I will ban myself.”

The family-drama, directed by Shiva Nirvana, has an ensemble cast of  Ritu VarmaAishwarya Rajesh, Jagapathi BabuDaniel Balaji, and Nasser, among others.

Tuck Jagadish belongs to the new Telugu cinema that borrows elements from the erstwhile leftist Erra Cinema that portrayed the struggles of the peasant community in the region, not because it endorses the ideology of the latter but because it looks cool,” wrote Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India.

She blamed the “unimaginative writing” for having failed the film despite its several twists.

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu, wrote that while the film makes for an engaging family drama, it could have “sidestepped predictable tropes” and the length could have been shortened.

However, Vishal Menon of Film Companion, called this “clever writing” in which “when you get that shocker of a massy interval twist, you sit up and start taking the film seriously.”

Tuck Jagadish has a current IMDb rating of 6.

Laabam

This Vijay Sethupathi-starrer is the first Tamil film to opt for a big-screen release post reopening of theatres in Tamil Nadu with 50% capacity from August 23.

According to Arunkumar Sekhar of Silverscreen India, while the film “occasionally attempts to show rather than tell” with those moments standing out, it suffers from what he called the “Superman” problem.

“When your hero is so infallible, what can be a conflict truly worthy of him? And what of his character arc from the start to the end of the movie? When your hero is so good, your villain has to be even better.”

Ranjani Krishnakumar of Firstpost, called the film laughable and mediocre, despite best intentions.

“It is mired by tiresome public speeches, awkward fights, dance numbers and television debates, none of which add any value to the story.”

Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion, reflected similar sentiments, and said, “There’s no character development and so people start and end up in the film the same way. There’s no story development either in terms of something interesting happening. We’ve seen all of these ideas in much better movies. ”

All the reviewers further criticized the casting of actors like  Shruti Haasan and Sai Dhansika, who had very little to offer.

Laabam‘s box office collections reflect that the audience’s response did not fall from that of the critics’. According to a Silverscreen India report, the film had a dull opening.

Laabam’s first-day collection is very poor and even the occupancy rate is 3-5% only across Tamil Nadu,” said Srither S, joint secretary of Tamil Nadu Theatres Association.

However, Venkatesh, owner of Woodlands Cinemas, Chennai said that the collections are improving on a daily basis with the occupancy in night shows slowly picking up.

Laabam is rated a 4.5 on IMDb.

Thalaivii

Kangana Ranaut‘s Thalaivii which was a biopic on the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa feel flat for both critics and audiences.

Featuring Arvind Swami, Samuthirakani, and Nasser, in their respective pivotal roles of MGR, RM Veerappan, and MK Karunanidhi, the film barely made a mark. Many started that the film which claimed to cover the life of a woman, sidelined her and focused on the male characters instead.

Arunkumar Sekhar of Silverscreen India wrote that the film “takes the convenient route by ending exactly with Jaya’s ascension to the highest political post in the state. It is as vanilla a treatment that a public figure of the stature of Jayalalithaa can get.”

Ranjani Krishnakumar of Firstpost, also called the film ‘convenient’ and said that it does not delve into the political complexities.

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu wrote, “That she broke out of the male-dominated political sphere to become a larger-than-life figure, is beside the point. That she was sandwiched between the men, is the larger point.”

Thalaivii was pegged as one of the major contributors of the revival of Indian cinemas until the film opted for a two-week screening window in theatres before an OTT release for its Hindi version.

Mltiplexes like PVR and Inox refused to screen the Hindi version of the film and appealed to the makers to increase the theatrical window. However, the producers did not budge.

This resulted in a limited screening of the film which released in Tamil and Telugu too.

According to a Box Office India report, Thalaivii collected around Rs 80 lakhs in Tamil Nadu and approximately Rs 1.25 crore nationwide. Theatre owners said that apart from the content not being good enough, the Hindi-speaking audience have got very little to resonate with.

Ruban Mathivanan, managing partner of GK Cinemas in Chennai, while speaking about Thalaivii’s poor performance in single-screen theatres said “It is actually an upper-middle-class catering film which means the multiplexes will see more audience for it. As far as single screens go, it might not be able to pull too much crowd.”

Thalaivii has an IMDb rating of 5.2.

Dikkiloona (Streaming on ZEE5)

This Santhanam-starrer comedy film is said to have followed the story of Mani, a man who resorts to time-travel in order to make changes to his married life.

While the film stands with an IMDb rating of 7, it fell flat for the reviewers.

Sinndhuja of Silverscreen India, wrote, “In a bid to reinvent himself, Santhanam switches the background of his latest act to a newer – and drearier one – but fails to realise that his brand of humour is no longer viable. The jokes are truly petty and the snark doesn’t sit right.”

Praveen Sudevan of The Hindu, pointed out that the actor employed of the usual trope of insult comedy. In this case, it was for women.

“There are quite a few logical loopholes too. But let’s not get into that. For, we can suspend disbelief in a sci-fi comedy… but should we suspend our sense of humour, too?” he said in his review.

Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion, remarked that the film fails to put into use, the concept of a time-machine, and thus, “A movie that deserves a certain treatment ends up becoming a Santhanam movie that’s neither here nor there.”

Tughlaq Durbar (Streaming on Netflix)

Vijay Sethupathi’s Tughlaq Durbar, directed by debutante Delhi Prasad Deendayalan, is the story of a politician who aspires for a party seat, and would do anything for it. He suddenly develops a conscience that holds him back from doing the wrong thing.

In her review, Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India wrote, “The screenplay fails to expand on situations, or look into the emotional damage the lead characters cause to the people in their life. It gropes in the dark, cursorily examining different scenarios and sub-characters.”

Baradwaj Rangan, of Film Companion, also shared a similar view and wrote, “They don’t know how to make the best screenplay from the one-line. This twist is seen in a lot of films about bad politicians who only want to make money.”

Haricharan Pudipeddi of Hindustan Times, called the film a “predictable but entertaining political comedy.”

All the reviewers said that characters played by the women in the film- Manjima Mohan and Raashi Khanna were nothing but props.

Tughlaq Durbar has a current rating of 6.3 on IMDb.

Apart from these films, Gopichand’s Telugu film Seetimaarr hit the screens and went on to collect around Rs. 4 crore, the highest any Indian film has earned on the first day of release, since theatres in the country reopened after the second wave of Covid-19, as per a Box Office India report.

Hollywood films like Fast and Furious 9Conjuring 3 and Shang-Chi continue to fare well at the box office.