Amazon Prime Video India comes up with a new anthology film in Tamil, bringing five distinct filmmakers and five different stories. Putham Pudhu Kaalai has Sudha Kongara, Gautham Menon, Suhasini Maniratnam, Rajiv Menon, and Karthik Subbaraj, each directing a short segment about how COVID-19 and resultant lockdown brought an indelible change in people's lives. The film features an ensemble cast with popular names like Jayaram, Urvashi, Kalidas Jayaram, Kalyani Priyadarshan, MS Bhaskar, Ritu Varma, Shruti Haasan, Suhasini Maniratnam, Anu Hasan, Kathadi Ramamurthy, Andrea Jeremiah, Leela Samson, and Bobby Simha. Putham Pudhu Kaalai Movie Review: The Amazon Prime Anthology Film Brings Well-Acted Heartwarming Stories of Love, Bonding and Miracles!
So how does the anthology fare? There are a couple of really good shorts in there. One of the shorts sticks out from the rest in being very different in tone and one of them is pretty average that it is shockingly disappointing. In this feature, we look at each segment separately and rank them from Worst to Best. Starting with our least favourite segment in the anthology...
Directed by Rajiv Menon (Kandukonden Kandukonden), Reunion stars Leela Samson, Andrea and Gurucharan C. It is about a chic musician who is also a junkie who comes to stay with her former school friend, a doctor who lives with his mother. Reunion has an interesting premise and deals with drug addiction without making it sensational. But the impact isn't there much, the portions feel rushed and Menon's direction is surprisingly average. There are some good moments, and Samson is always a lovely sight for sore eyes.
From here, the competition gets tough. Suhasini Maniratnam (Indira) returns to direction with this short segment, that is a reunion for Haasan cousins of sorts. Along with her cousins Anu Hasan and Shruti Haasan, Suhasini form three siblings, two of whom come to visit their elderly parents, one of whom is in coma (the mother is played by Suhasini's real mothers). While COVID-19 really doesn't matter much in the story, Coffee, Anyone? is more of an emotional roller-coaster, of family members trying to seek solace and happiness in each other, with a happy but touching climax. Also has Shruti Haasan give a wonderful performance in her brief appearance.
Avarum Naanum – Avalum Naanum
Gautham Menon (Vinnaithandi Varuvaya)'s Avarum Naanum – Avalum Naanum is about a granddaughter (Ritu Varma) reconnecting with her estranged maternal grandfather during lockdown. It begins of this simple, pleasing film about two disparate individuals trying to find a common ground. And then one scene changes it from decent to good. That's when the thatha reveals why he has been angry with his daughter all these years. Menon has always aced in scenes where the characters have a heart-to-heart talk, which is reflective in that one scene. MS Bhaskar's performance is absolutely fantastic here and his performance will move you to tears. The segment also features a lovely semi-classical composition in Govind Vasantha's "Kanna Thoodhu Po Da".
Miracle, directed by Karthik Subbaraj (Jigarthanda), is the oddity I mentioned earlier. It stands out from the rest thanks to its black comedic tone, the fact that it doesn't restrict itself to a location and is very unapologetic. It is a return to form for Subbaraj, back to his comfort zone, and the director revels in the black humour and the twisty narrative of the film. This segment is a treat for those, who were disappointed with how he handled Rajinikanth's Petta. Bobby Simha and Sharath Ravi are both fantastic as the two thieves trying to make a big haul during lockdown.
Ilamai Idho Idho
Sudha Kongara (Irudhi Suttru)'s Ilamai Idho Idho is the first segment of the anthology that gives it a great start. The movie brings together one of Malayalam Cinema's most loved pairs in Jayaram and Urvashi as two senior, single citizens who get together for a fun weekend, behind the back of their children. The very same night, PM Modi declares lockdown, leaving them confined within the house for 21 days. What's fun about this short is that whenever the couple gets naughty, we see their younger selves, which are played by Kalidas and Kalyani Priyadarshan. Sudha Kongara's light-hearted treatment keeps the segment lively, aided by GV Prakash Kumar's retro score.
Don't agree with our ranking? You can share what you felt about the anthology in the comments section below.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 16, 2020 10:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).