September 2, 2021 2:59:34 pm
Several new films hit OTT platforms in August. And, south Indian films continued to dominate the digital space in terms of the number of releases.
Netflix started the month on a strong note with its highly-anticipated nine-part anthology series, Navarasa. Unfortunately, there were more misses than hits in the series that was based on nine basic human emotions. The anthology was the brainchild of director Mani Ratnam, who made the project for the streaming giant to provide monetary support to the members of the Tamil film fraternity, who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic. And all top technicians, stars and directors worked on this project for free. But, just good intentions are never enough to make a good movie. I have discussed each short film in detail and ranked them accordingly.
And Amazon Prime Video continued to widen its offerings in Malayalam with Kuruthi. It was the film that we all needed to watch during Independence Day. The small-budget, home invasion drama was an exhaustive exposition of the polarised times we live in. The film was a reality check as to what happens when neighbours are corrupted by the poison of communalism. It reminded us where we came from, where we are right now, and ending inconclusively, leaving us to decide as to the path we want to continue. Should we continue the vicious cycle of violence? Or chose love over hatred and live happily ever after? In a night of a Mexican standoff between bigotry and hate, friends become foe, love turns into hate, and some unlikely heroes emerge to salvage what’s left of human decency.
Amazon Prime Video’s Onam release #Home was a pleasant surprise. Director Rojin Thomas has woven a heartfelt drama around the challenges of relationships in the digital age and the generational gap further widened by technology. The performance of Indrans as a father longing for his children’s appreciation and affection is the core strengthening this family drama. The film manages to make you laugh out loud and shed a tear or two and even make you think. It is because of all the feelings you develop for Indrans’ character at the very beginning of the movie. And, Rojin Thomas also deserves a lot of credit for crafting such a relatable drama. In a scene, after being mistreated by his eldest son, Oliver Twist (Indrans) with a heavy heart leaves his son’s room. On the way, he picks up used coffee mugs left at the staircase by his children to drop them off in the kitchen sink. For some parents, no amount of snarky behaviour is enough to stop caring for the well-being of their children.
Netrikann, which is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar, was a colossal disappointment. Worse, director Milind Rau wasted a potent premise on heroine-worshipping. Nayanthara plays the role of a cop who loses the gift of sight in an accident. However, her cop training comes in handy for her when needed. For example, when she is offered drug-laced water by a serial killer, her training stops her from drinking it. And when the same killer tries to force her, she even manages to overpower him. A blind girl under the radar of a serial killer provides such possibilities for an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Only, the filmmakers have failed to make use of it.
Boomika, which is streaming on Netflix, has several good ideas. It is not a run-of-the-mill horror-comedy, which has become a staple of the box office in Tamil Nadu. It speaks of the horror we humans commit against mother nature regularly. And the film also has an acceptable theory of how mother nature causes natural calamities to purge herself of humans failing to respect her kindness and superior intelligence. However, director Rathindran R Prasad’s contemporary ideas and narrative jolts feel inadequate as the film doesn’t grab us by the throat as it is supposed to. As I noted in my review, in this attempt to retain logic, Rathindran loses the fluidity of the plot.
Director Chimbu Deven’s comeback film Kasada Thapara feels like a breath of fresh air at a time when anthologies have disappointed us. The fact that all six stories in the film are interconnected sort of works in its favour. Even as the film begins on a rather dull note with the romantic story of Mr Nice Guy, played by Premgi and his blossoming love with quintessential Tamil cinema heroine, played by Regina Cassandra, the following stories have a certain idea or emotion that keeps us hooked to the narration.
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