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 Pauly, Tovino 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 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 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.
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.
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.