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Putham Pudhu Kaalai: Film Review – Tales of Lockdown, Love, Hope & Acceptance

By Sharanya Sankar 16 October, 2020 3 min read
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Putham Pudhu Kaalai: Film Review – Tales of Lockdown, Love, Hope & Acceptance
Relatable and introspective
70%Overall Score

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

This year 2020 has thrown more curveballs than we could ever have fathomed with Covid-19’s deadly effects wreaking havoc over the world. Yet, in the toughest of times, there is always a glimmer of hope and that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel-A time to start anew. Amazon Prime’s Putham Pudhu Kaalai brings us a mélange of five short narratives with this premise of hope against the bleak backdrop of the Corona pandemic. The anthology directed by five stalwarts of the Tamil film fraternity namely Gautham Menon, Sudha Kongara, Rajiv Menon, Suhaasini Manirathnam and Karthik Subbaraj gives the viewers a concise peek into the lives of ordinary people who navigate life during lockdown while opening up their hearts to change.

These are their stories

A middle-aged man and woman discover love and companionship while grappling with revealing the truth to their children. A grandfather and granddaughter brought together by the lockdown must get beyond their uneasy dynamic attached to their familial past. Two sisters visiting their comatose mother for her 75th birthday are forced to rethink their beliefs through the eyes of their father. A mother and son lend unjudgemental help to a young woman who seeks refuge in drugs. Two petty thieves stumble upon an enormous cash bounty but irony and fate play spoilsport. These portraits are woven together through different situations that each character encounters.

Emotions that touch a chord

Putham Puthu Kalai is a thoughtful assemblage of each director’s unique sensibilities in portraying relatable sentiments. Through Jayaram and Urvashi’s wonderfully humorous and heartfelt performances in Sudha Kongara’s Ilamai Idho Idho, we understand that everyone deserves a second chance to experience love and happiness without the weight of responsibilities or expectations. There is an organic and effortless quality to this narrative that is indicative of Kongara’s perfect casting as well. Kalidas Jayaram and Kalyani Priyadarshan represent the younger versions of the actors- an interesting touch by the director enhanced by their easy chemistry on screen. Gautham Menon’s Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum is another meaningful sketch that makes us rethink our premeditations, presumptions and the need to let go of the prejudices that haunt us. Bhaskar as the grandfather brings a deep emotional depth and vulnerability to his role with Ritu Varma complementing him well. On the other hand, Karthik Subbaraj’s Miracle is a perfect example of the filmmaker’s avant-garde approach to storytelling. He infuses the quintessential dark quirky humour into the characterisation of the two thieves( Bobby Simha and Muthukumar) and the predicament they find themselves in. It is a typical Subbaraj scenario packed with moments of ironical revelations about blind faith, luck and the realities of life.

A couple of stories fail to rise up

While Suhaasini Manirathnam’s Coffee Please takes us on a journey of steadfast belief and unconditional love in a hopeless situation, the narrative falls a little flat while attempting to get there. With one too many ideas encapsulated in a restricted time frame, we are left with partially elaborated themes that feel incomplete. While it is a pleasure to see thespian Kathaadi Ramamoorthy in action and the connection between real-life family members Suhaasini and Anu Haasan, the character of the rebel 3rd sister played by Shruthi Haasan isn’t in sync and needed more time to develop. Similarly, Reunion by Rajiv Menon featuring dancer Leela Samson and Carnatic Singer Sikkil Gurucharan as a mother-son duo and actor-singer Andrea Jeremiah holds the promise of positivity in dark times and the rediscovery of self but turns out to be a bit contrived in its treatment. Though the three protagonists are perfectly cast, they fall short of the chemistry required as an ensemble. There is the Rajiv Menon stamp in the dialogues and visual appeal but it does not go beyond the surface in this particular collaboration.

The anthology is rich in aesthetics

The 5 filmmakers create an environment rich in imagery and ambience. The warm organic interiors lend authenticity to the characters in the narratives. There is also an underlying visual theme of food and beverage that permeates through the course of all the stories and holds varied significance in each context and milieu. These are subtle and nuanced tropes that give us a discernible sense of the space the protagonists inhabit.

WATCH OR NOT

Putham Pudhu Kalai works predominantly due to its relevant insights on human relationships in trying times like these.Barring a few stumbles, it has competent performances stitched together by sensitive filmmaking that leaves a lasting impression.

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Tags: #Amazon Prime Video#Gautham Menon#Karthik Subbaraj#Kollywood#Putham Pudhu Kaalai#Rajiv Menon#Sudha Kongara#Suhaasini Manirathnam#Tamil#Tamil Reviews
Written by
Sharanya Sankar
Mom. Bookworm. Cinephile.
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