Following the decline in openings, films have gradually started to release in theatres, as states have either reopened cinema halls or have given leeway for a full seating capacity.
Silverscreen India brings to you a compilation of reviews of films, which have had both theatrical and online releases:
Gehraiyaan (Amazon Prime Video)
Introduced as a domestic noir since its first announcement, Gehraiyaan deals with the theme of infidelity and its subsequent impact on relationships in modern, contemporary Indian society.
Amazon Prime Video’s synopsis reads, “Alisha Khanna, 30, ambitious, now finds herself at a crossroads in life. Her six year-long relationship has grown monotonous, her career seems to be going nowhere. But just when she had begun to accept this reality as unchangeable, her life is usurped by the arrival of her cousin, Tia and her fiance, Zain, with whom she bonds over a troubled past and a common wish to break from its confines.”
For Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, the film “becomes a boring parody of a modern relationship drama.”
She adds, “Batra doesn’t hold the moments, a disastrous directorial choice. He cruises through the scenes impatiently, trying to win over the viewer through a repartee or a dreary statement about life.”
Anupama Chopra of Film Companion writes “Shakun dials down the emotion and humour so drastically that the film becomes a victim of what I call ‘Death by Minimalism’, which is compounded by what I call ‘Posh People Angst’.”
She adds, “Visuals of a swanky yoga studio, luxurious hotel rooms or lines about getting goat cheese instead of burrata don’t aid our empathy.”
Anna MM Vetticad of Firstpost, calls the film a “page-turner.” She mentions, “Gehraiyaan is not constructed like a conventional thriller, but the events in the storyline press forward with an urgency that makes it impossible to look away.”
The film has an IMDb rating of 6.8.
Mahaan (Amazon Prime Video)
According to Amazon Prime Video’s synopsis, “Mahaan follows the turbulent journey of a middle-aged simple man, who later becomes a pride billionaire, followed by unexpected haywire challenges he starts to face soon after.”
Nithya Gnanapandithan of Silverscreen India, calls the film overstuffed.
“Did we really need such long montages of Vikram drinking, partying and rolling in money? It’s not just unnecessary but also done to death. Did we really need that minor villain in the middle just for a ‘mass’ fight scene?” she adds and attributes all of it to bad writing, which also extends to the screenplay.
For Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion, while the film flows because of good editing, it lacks emotional depth.
The best thing, according to Rangan, that Subbaraj has done “is write a great part for an actor who doesn’t often get great parts.” He refers to Mahaan as Vikram’s comeback film.
Rangan further notes the shift in Subbaraj’s filmmaking career, who now moves from his earlier formula-laden films to ideology-driven films.
According to Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, “The film reduces pacifist Gandhian philosophy to mere alcohol prohibition, which is incredibly reductionist.”
She also notes that even though the film employs certain interesting writing devices, “the cyclical dynamics of interpersonal equations” and the “emotional equations aren’t fleshed well”, also reflecting in the performances.
For both Gnanapandithan and Aiyappan, Sananth and Simha’s characters bring more conviction to the story than Vikram or Dhruv Vikram’s.
Mahaan has an IMDb rating of 8.1.
The story follows the aftermath of a lightning strike that burns down an ancient tree. This leads the village folk to decide to host a kovil thiruvizha (temple festival) and pray to their kula saami (ancestral god) to uplift the ‘perceived curse.’ An important part of this festival is the offering of new grain grown specifically for the purpose. Maayandi being the only farmer left in the village, with everyone else having sold their land and moved on to other means of living, it falls on him to cultivate his small plot of land.
Nithya Gnanapandithan of Silverscreen India, notes that the film reflects Manikandan’s disapproval of the use of hybrid seeds and chemical pesticides, with an inclination towards old-school farming methods.
She adds, “almost all of these views are woven very organically into the narrative. For instance, the preparations for the festival make the younger people in the village realise how little they know about the old ways – not just farming but traditional art like pottery too is dying out, the film shows us.”
Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion writes that, unlike regular mainstream films, Kadaisi Vivasayi tries to unite us with the universe.
“He does not sentimentalise this story. There is no “ayyo pavam” business. We feel the film because Manikandan lets the emotions build slowly naturally and enter us like air – not because the background score is wailing with a hundred strings,” he adds.
Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost reflects similar sentiments as that of Rangan’s, and writes, “There is no aha moment that the Tamil mainstream cinema always runs towards. The film is held together by its subtext and footnotes. This makes the experience more atmospheric, and therefore, not everyone’s cup of tea.”
Both Rangan and Aiyappan additionally credited Santhosh Narayanan‘s score.
The film has an IMDb rating of 9.
According to IMDb, “Shardul Thakur and Suman Singh enter into a marriage of convenience but chaos ensues when her girlfriend comes to stay with them.”
Anupama Chopra, of Film Companion, writes that the film is indecisive for the most part, and only finds its footing in the last twenty minutes or so when circumstances force Suman and Shardul to shed their camouflage of a happy, heterosexual couple. Prior to this, the film resorts to humour to make a tricky subject like this, more accessible.
For Prathyush Parasuraman of Firstpost, the introduction sequences of Pednekar’s and Rao’s characters falling in love, stand out.
“It’s a subversion of not just the romance genre, where dirt and disgust are preferred outside the purview of love, but also a subversion of the queer genre of storytelling that is comfortably, comfortingly sanitised.”
However, despite its reviews, the film failed to make a dent at the box office. It collected around Rs 1.75 crore on its first day. The low numbers could attribute to the lack of night shows in most cities and Covid-19 protocols still in place, in several parts of the country.
The film has an IMDb rating of 5.1.