This week witnessed the releases of highly-anticipated, star-studded films including, actor Suriya’s Etharkkum Thunindhavan and Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam, which opted for opening in theatres, while the Dhanush-starrer Maaran premiered on Disney+ Hotstar.
Radhe Shyam, which is the first Telugu film to release in theatres, after the Andhra Pradesh government announced the revised ticket prices, earned Rs 64 crores on its first day.
On that note,Silverscreen India brings to you, a compilation of reviews of films, which have had theatrical and online releases:
Directed by Pandiraj, Etharkkum Thunindhavan features Suriya, Priyanka Arul Mohan and Vinay Rai in pivotal roles. Touted as an action thriller, the movie revolves around Kannabiran, a lawyer, who frequently aims to vindicate women who have fallen prey to a network of men, who shoot videos of them without their consent.
According to Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost, although the film has the usual commercial elements, it also gets a lot of other things right. “The film is careful to not paint an idealistic, utopian dream. It acknowledges the deep, personal trauma women face in such situations, the cruel judgements they are subjected to, and also how legal justice is almost inaccessible to most victims,” she writes.
For Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion, Suriya’s casting seemed to be a miss. She writes that for a role like this, actor Karthi might have been a better choice.
Further, she attributes the film’s biggest letdown to its obsession with morality. “I am itching to ask who died and made Kannabiran god, but that would be inappropriate because women actually die in the film and ask Kannabiran to avenge them. Wait for the post-credits sequence to learn that the living ones also think he’s god, not just godsend. This god complex comes at the cost of the well-meaning message the film wants you to believe it conveys.” she writes.
This romantic period drama directed by Radha Krishna Kumar tells the story of a renowned palmist (Prabhas) in the 1970s, who has a gift of accurately predicting events in the future. However, he finds himself at a tussle with destiny, when he falls in love with Prerna (Pooja Hedge).
Most reviewers praised the film for its visuals but they were not impressed by its screenplay and story.
Anupama Chopra of Film Companion wrote, “There is a fine line that separates swooning romance from unintentional comedy. Radhe Shyam is a masterclass in what happens when you cross it.”
The Hindu’s Sangeeta Devi Dundoo felt that the film not only managed to ineffectively use its fine set of actors but also fails to capture the audience’s attention with its story. “When the conflict between destiny and love takes centrestage, the film begins to lose whatever little charm it had. The biggest issue with Radhe Shyam is that it never sucks you in,” she writes.
Starring Anna Ben and Roshan Mathew as Riya and Georgie, Night Drive is directed by Vysakh. It follows a journalist Riya and Georgie, a taxi driver going for a long drive at night. They have an encounter with a policeman (Indrajith Sukumaran), where Riya insults him. As luck would have it, they meet with an accident and the policeman comes to the scene to investigate.
Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India wrote, “Riya is an utterly dull construct, someone who reeks of arrogance and self-righteousness. Anna Ben is at her weakest here, utterly charmless and forgettable, giving the viewer nothing to hold on to.”
Indian Express‘s Goutham VS says that while the director’s collaboration with Anna Ben and Roshan Mathew is interesting, the narrative style is a letdown. “The movie’s screenplay is amateurish and artificial in the first half. The whole narrative style feels outdated and the sudden heroism thrust upon Roshan shows how filmmakers like Vysakh cannot come out of their formulaic thought process.”
Maaran (Disney+ Hotstar)
Directed by Karthick Naren, this film is a story about Maaran (Dhanush), a righteous investigative journalist, who works for a media agency called The News. His quest to always tell the truth via his writing, leads to a conflict with a corrupt politician Pazhani (Samuthirakani), who has secretly been tampering with EVM machines to win elections.
For Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India, the film is based on several ‘implausibilities.’
She writes, “Even if one is ready to forget the film’s fundamental absurdities, there isn’t anywhere to proceed. From the soppy domestic moments and exhaustingly mediocre newsroom scenes, the film moves forth to become a revenge saga.”
According to Balakrishna Ganeshan of The News Minute, Maaran is riddled with cliches.
“Unfortunately, until the third act, the film doesn’t have much to offer to retain the attention of the audience. There are no scenes which make you empathise with any character. Though, Dhanush is a fine actor, even he cannot salvage this train-wreck of a film,” he writes.
Clap is a bilingual Indian sports drama led by actor Aadhi. It delves into the story of a former athlete Vishnu, who is an amputee. He takes it upon himself to mentor a promising runner Bhagyalakshmi (Krisha Kurup). Inspite of being ridden with challenges, he successfully tries to battle several external and internal conflicts.
Critics have praised Aadhi’s performance in the film but expressed their desire to see more of Bhagyalakshmi’s backstory.
Sankeertana of Silverscreen India writes, “If the film works, it’s because of the central performance by Aadhi. He is always a reliable actor, but his performance needed to be physical here. As a man suffering from Phantom Limb syndrome, he is excellent in those scenes, where his character is in excruciating pain.”
Towards the end of her review, she adds, “Clap makes the mistake of focusing too much on the coach rather than the player(s). Bhagyalakshmi, the girl who drives the story forward, barely gets a backstory.”
Similarly, New Indian Express’s Navein Darshan writes, “Invested performances from most of the principal cast make up for the laid-back pacing and predictability of the screenplay. Aadhi delivers his career-best performance as Kathir. Whenever he screams with pain or squirms out of helplessness, we understand that hurt.”
Aside from these films, The Adam Project, Rowdy Boys, and Qubool Hai also premiered on OTT platforms this week.