After KGF: Chapter 2, Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been bringing large numbers of audiences to theatres, after its release on Friday. Other films like Thar and Saani Kaayidham have opted for a direct digital premiere.
The new instalment of Doctor Strange has collected Rs 27- 28 crore on its first day, and is the fourth best opening for a Hollywood film in India, after Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Avengers: Infinity War.
On that note, Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films that have released both online as well as in cinemas.
Directed by Raj Singh Chaudhury, Thar features actors Harshvarrdhan Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Satish Kaushik, and Mukti Mohan in prominent roles.
The film follows the story of a man who moves to a big town to seek a job, and avenge his past.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India notes that the film “on the one hand, roots for the victory of the underdog over the chauvinist forces, and on the other hand, is a spectacle of violence and macabre – a game where all the major players are men with an appetite for blood and revenge.”
She credits cinematographer Shreya Dev Dube for extracting the cinematic potential of the desert landscape, but blames the complacent writing for making Dube’s efforts appear a little more than a superficial element.
In terms of performances, Gopalakrishnan writes that while Anil Kapoor fits the Western context of the film, Harshvarrdhan Kapoor “delivers a thoroughly one-note performance, reflecting neither the rage nor the underlying psychological issues of Siddharth (his character).”
She adds that the film has little space for its female characters and “does not try to explore this female interference in the masculine terrain in depth.”
Anupama Chopra of Film Companion, writes that the least interesting thing in the film is the motive for revenge.
While the film is disturbingly violent, according to Chopra, it is the human drama that makes it absorbing.
The performances of Anil Kapoor, Jitendra Joshi, and Sana Shaikh stand out for Chopra. While Harshvarrdhan Kapoor delivers the opacity of his character by remaining largely impassive and using minimal expressions, it is the marginalisation of the character that, Chopra notes, undermines the narrative.
“Who really is Siddharth and how is he capable of doing the things we see him do? The film doesn’t answer these questions,” she writes.
She adds that the dialogues penned by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, sound odd and out of place.
Thar has an IMDb rating of 6.5.
Saani Kaayidham (Amazon Prime Video)
This Arun Matheshwaran directorial is led by actors Keerthy Suresh and Selvaraghavan. The film follows the revenge story of Ponni (Suresh), who is raped by upper-caste, oppressive men, and end up murdering her husband and daughter, after he expresses his political ambitions.
Subha J Rao of Silverscreen India writes that the film is not only “proof of Arun’s control over craft and form, but it is also proof of the fact that only when good writing becomes great can repetitive, predictable action work on screen.”
She adds that the director “knows how to turn violence into an art form, without really glorifying it. It’s all swift and haphazard, so you are not really drawn to the violence but its aftermath.”
Rao credits both Suresh and Selvaraghavan on their performances.
She calls Selvaraghavan’s Sangayya brilliant and one “who is molten wax on the inside and a tough nut to crack on the outside.”
Rao also appreciates the film’s crew, and writes, “Music composer Sam CS, whose haunting score mirrors Ponni’s angst and Sangayya’s state of mind. Art director Moovendhar, editor Nagooran Ramachandran, sound editor Jitin Moni and art director Ramu Thangaraj are in top form. Cinematographer Yamini Yagnamurthy’s frames are exquisite, especially in the black-and-white portions, with light and shade telling innumerable stories.”
Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion also highlights the film’s craft, and writes, “Saani Kaayidham is an exquisitely cinematographed film, with Yamini Yagnamurthy displaying immense control.”
She also highlights the director’s portrayal of violence, and writes, “Arun Matheswaran is enthralled by this level of violence. He does his best not to gloat in it. He attempts to focus on emotion instead of violence.”
Even though the violence trumps the storyline, as per Krishnakumar, the director creates the space to unnerve the audience with philosophical questions.
Krishnakumar lauds Suresh’s performance and writes that she “looks several leagues above her costars, including Selvaraghavan, who does his best.”
Saani Kaayidham has an IMDB rating of 7.8.
CBI: The Brain is a mystery thriller, where Mammootty reprises his role as a CBI officer named Sethurama Iyer.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, notes that unlike the prior films in the CBI franchise, the absence of a rooted, local variety of humour is strongly felt in the film.
“To begin with, at no point during the investigation do Iyer and his team engage with the local population,” she writes.
Gopalakrishnan further notes that the transition in the mode of investigation in the films, over the years.
“If Iyer was a thoroughly professional sleuth in CBI: Diary Kurippu and Jagratha (1989), he was forced to become a showman in the films that followed. In CBI: The Brain, the focus is more on his famous mannerisms than on the findings. Jakes Bejoy seems to have got the instruction to play the signature score whenever Iyer gets up and walks, regardless of the situation.”
While the reviewer calls Mammootty’s portrayal as Iyer flawless, she notes that Soubin Shahir plays the cliched psychopathic hacker, and Sudev Nair is wasted as a cop.
She adds that the film relies on flimsy motives for murder, and lacks the cleverness of a mastermind.
Vishal Menon of Film Companion reflects similar sentiments, and writes, “Internet and memes have kept Sethurama Iyer relevant and there’s no longer the need to tell you about the man and his big throbbing brain. What this has done is free writer SN Swamy to jump straight into a major case that is said to have challenged this mastermind.”
Menon adds that there’s an overload of information “that it feels like they’re just shifting the goal post instead of building a solid defence.”
CBI 5: The Brain has an IMDb rating of 6.7.
Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam
Vidya Sagar Chinta‘s Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam is led by actors Vishwak Sen and Rukshar Dhillon. The story revolves around 34-year-old Arjun, and his marriage.
Sankeertana of Silverscreen India writes that the best thing about the film “is how it manages to shift focus between two female characters without much friction.”
She cites the example of Vasudha (Ritika Nayak), and adds, “Vasudha, Madhavi’s sister, who acts and moves like a stereotypical bride’s sister, morphs into something bigger and better. This shift does not just make Arjun rethink his opinion of her, it makes the viewer do the same. The camera looks at her differently, and so does Arjun, and suddenly, she is everything.”
Sankeertana also praised Dhillon’s performance for someone with not too many dialogues, but adds that the film belongs to Sen.
The film has an IMDb rating of 8.9.
Koogle Kuttappa is the Tamil remake of the Malayalam science fiction comedy Android Kunjappan Version 5.25, and is directed by Sabari and Saravanan. It features actors KS Ravikumar, Yogi Babu, Losliya and Tharshan in prominent roles. The film follows the life of a father, who is left with an Android robot named Kuttappa to take care of him, while his son leaves for work.
For Nithya Gnanapandithan of Silverscreen India, the only takeaway from the film is Ravikumar’s performance as the father. She writes, “The actor-director aces the accent, body language and mannerisms of the old man and, to use the tired cliche, transforms into the character. The film comes alive whenever he is on the screen.”
She adds, “This only makes the contrast more painful whenever he has a scene with Tharshan, who plays his son Adithya and is as wooden as they come.”
Gnanpandithan notes that the film’s ‘biggest backlogs’ are the inconsistent tone and the bad pacing at the beginning. She cites sequences from the film which were unnecessary, and writes, “His romance portion with Losliya feels entirely redundant and as if it were created simply to include a duet.”
“We could have also done without the lectures on how technology can be good too and how one shouldn’t lose oneself in it,” she adds.
Vishal Menon of Film Companion reflects similar sentiments, and writes, “In Koogle Kuttappa, though, the treatment is kept at a basic level, without the nuances that made the original oddly funny. The pitch too is a lot louder with the comedic bits turned several notches higher as though the makers do not trust their audience.”
Menon notes that the remake also repeated the same mistakes as the original.
“We found the original to be drained of any life or energy the second the action shifts to cold, lifeless Russia. The love story between the son and his Japanese girlfriend too, pulled us away from the dramedy back at home with its awkwardness. But in this, the insipid love angle between the son and his Eelam Tamil girlfriend appears so flat and pointless that you’re only focusing on how bad the green screens are at converting an office in ECR/OMR into downtown Germany,” he explains.
The film has an IMDb rating of 5.0.