With the rising third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has resulted in the shutdown of cinemas across the country. Makers of highly anticipated, big-budget films like RRR, Radhe Shyam, and Valimai have announced that their releases will be indefinitely postponed. This has served as an opportunity to smaller, regional films, who seem to have gone ahead with theatrical releases.
Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films that released both online, as well as on the big screens:
Putham Pudhu Kaalai Vidiyaadhaa (Amazon Prime Video)
The Tamil-language anthology series is the second venture by Amazon Prime, based on five short films, revolving around the ongoing life-in-the-pandemic theme. These include – Richard Anthony’s Nizhal Tharum Idham featuring Aishwarya Lekshmi, Balaji Mohan’s Mugakavasa Mutham led by Gouri Kishan and Teejay Arunasalam, Halitha Shameem’s Loners starring Arjun Das and Lijomol Jose, Madhumita‘s Mouname Paarvaiyai, with Nadhiya and Joju George in lead roles, and Surya Krishna’s Mask featuring Manikantan and Arun Kurien.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India writes that while this anthology might not be a significant improvement, in comparison to the previous pandemic-themed Tamil anthology films, it brings forth more grounded tales and a far more effective cast.
She calls Anthony’s segment the best of the lot, as it focuses on the psychological ramifications of the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion calls it “uneven” and “underwhelming.” For her, Madhumita’s film stands out from the rest, as it is intuitive without scratching around for details. She also finds that it gives priority to emotions over events. “In the process, it makes the viewer less of a voyeur and more of a well-wisher,” she says.
Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, compares the film with its prequel, Putham Pudhu Kaalai. For her, while the first part romanticises the pandemic and highlights the need to seek connections over loss and grief, the sequel tries to achieve the balance between the two.
The film has an IMDb rating of 6.1.
Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion writes that while the film claims to be a ‘comedy’, it hardly comes with any. She calls the screenplay a ‘disaster’ and the film ‘unimaginative.’
For Bhuvanesh Chander of Cinema Express, apart from the “mirthless writing”, the film has many unnecessary characters who hijack the screen, with scores of joyless scenes that make matters worse.
Both reviewers point out the film’s efforts to draw a connection with cinema of the past.
While Krishnakumar looks at the stunt of naming the dogs after Rajinikanth’s films, for Chandar, the film tries to establish a link with the 90s era, referring to Eddie Murphy’s Doctor Dolittle.
Naai Sekar has an IMDb rating of 7.
This Kalyan Krishna-directorial features actors Nagarjuna, Naga Chaitanya, Krithi Shetty, and Ramya Krishnan, in the lead roles. According to IMDb‘s synopsis, “Bangarraju and Satyabhama come down to settle the life of their grandson Chinna Bangarraju and to save the treasure of temple.”
Bangarraju is probably the only film with big names in the industry attached to it, which has stuck to its date of release.
Mukesh Manjunath of Film Companion, writes, “The biggest problem with Kalyan Krishna’s screenplay is that there never really is any tension about anything happening to Chinna Bangarraju because the older Bangarraju makes an entry early on. Neither do we see the younger Bangarraju suffering nor do the threats seem real.”
For Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu, “in its bid to keep things fairly happy and entertaining, the story never scratches beneath the surface to explore either the brewing familial discontent or the supernatural element.”
Bangarraju has an IMDb rating of 7.5.