India Features

What To Stream: Five Indian Lockdown Shorts. Five Different Preoccupations.

While we await the magic of the cinemas, and while debates rage over OTT vs theaters, several filmmakers have strapped up and shown us they can work from home too. From Gautham Menon to Nandita Das, filmmakers have been sending little pieces of home-crafted work our way over the last few weeks. We’ve curated a list of films you must watch.


Karthik Dial Seytha Yenn

Karthik Dial Seytha Yenn, a spin-off of the 2010 hit Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, has been shot entirely in the lead actors’ respective homes with Gautham directing Trisha and Simbu virtually. The short is presented by the director’s Ondraga Entertainment and Vels International‘s Ishari K Ganesh. Karthik, a filmmaker now, is typing out the story of his next film ‘Un Kaaladi Thadathil‘ but isn’t able to progress beyond the slug line. As expected he calls up Jessie, the ‘j’ on his phone (what’s with the lowercase?), and talks about his state of mind, feeling relieved and refreshed with his film’s first draft in hand at the end.

Modi & A Beer

Though this wasn’t made in the lockdown, the film was released during the lockdown and we think it deserves our attention. An unexpected conversation, with an unexpected twist. Ringing clarity that’s at times too close to home. Modi & A Beer is a much-needed exploration of caste and gender and the ways in which oppression can play out between an inter-caste couple. In an interview, the filmmaker, Dhinah Chandra Mohan has said that this is part of a bigger film he’s written. We think the context and a bigger scene, that isn’t all rhetoric, will make this scene so much better and await his debut. Modi & A Beer was released on Pa Ranjith’s production, Neelam’s Youtube page and we cannot recommend it enough.

Silent Passage

Roopa Rao who made the superb Kannada film, Gantumoote has made Silent Passage, a conversation film in which former lovers video call each other and talk about life and what went wrong. Rakesh Maiya and Shweta Gupta are both great, in that they are very believable. It’s a 12-minute conversation that unfolds slowly and is awkward and real… and then there’s an apology… What’s all this free time for if it’s not meant for us to count the ways in which we’ve wronged or be wronged?


Shantanu Bhagyaraj dons the director’s hat for this ‘domestic nightmare’ film with a ‘message’. Very Bhagyaraj-sque. The film begins with a role reversal in lockdown (before order is established, of course, relax men). Konjam Corona Nairaiya Kadhal also features Kiki Vijay and was shot entirely on iPhone. The production house is called ‘Dadson Pictures’ (ha!) and the music by Ganesan Sekar reminds us of Bhagyaraj’s films as well (in a good way).

Listen To Her

Nandita Das steps up to speak about something that must concern everyone. Listen To Her is at once a plea to hear and act as well as to speak out against domestic violence, especially during the lockdown. “The film is a spontaneous response to the irony of “STAY HOME, STAY SAFE” for millions of women in India and around the world.”