In the Tamil entertainment industry, which is so hero worship saturated, it is so refreshing and delightful to catch an anthology drama. Even further the names in the director’s card and the ensemble cast present a promising future for Tamil cinema. The covid-19 situation has had a horrendous impact on millions of lives across the globe and has left people in darkness. As things are, the film makers of Tamil cinema have joined hands to mitigate the darkness and depict hopeful perspectives of this situation to lighten the mood. Hence, they have packed Putham Pudhu Kaalai with authentic and relatable dramas that depict how the situation has influenced people from different walks of life. But have they succeeded in their attempts? To know that let us get in to the review.
Ilamai Idho Idho by story teller Sudha Kongara is about how two collage sweethearts reconnect in their old age. Single parents Rajiv (Jayaram) and Lakshmi (Urvashi) rekindle their collage time romance without knowing to their families. Just like young couples they plan to sneak around and spend some time with each other during the pandemic. Director Sudha Kongara has delivered a breezy romantic drama with a blend of comical touch to it. The short love drama captures the maturity between love at young age and towards the later stage of life quite eloquently. While Jayaram and Urvashi’s chemistry lightens our mood, Kalidas Jayaram and Kalyani Priyadarshan’ chemistry savor the air with love.
Avarum Naanum – Avalum Naanum by Gautham Vasudev Menon narrates the bonding of a young woman (Ritu Varma) and her grandfather (M. S. Bhaskar) who has been away from the family for a long time. The lockdown has deprived M. S. Bhaskar, a retired physicist of his house help. His granddaughter, an IT professional reluctantly drop by to tend to her grandfather. With little hesitation initially, they open up to each other and have a heartfelt conversation. Doyen film maker Gautham Vasudev Menon, who usually prefers to craft romantic or crime dramas have inked a script that deals with familial issue. M. S. Bhaskar is a treat to watch as a tech savvy old man and so is Ritu Varma.
Coffee, Anyone? by Suhasini Mani Ratnam is a family drama that deals with a mother in coma and her three daughters who are busy with their lives and has their share of problems in life. The first daughter (Suhasini Mani Ratnam) has to take care of her dyslexic disorder son, the second daughter (Anu Haasan) needs to deal with her first pregnancy, and the late daughter (Shruthi Haasan) who is in Mumbai. They are all very stubborn in their stands and naturally have troubled relationship with their parents. Their father (Kathadi Ramamoorthy) decides to have his wife home despite objections from his daughters. They all gather on the occasion of their mother’s 75th birthday. Director Suhasini Mani Ratnam have filled up the short drama with clichéd scenes and the melodramatic tone with no proper details makes it difficult for us to connect with the characters. Perhaps, the time constrain is to be blamed for.
Miracle by Karthik Subbaraj is probably the only film in the collection that talks of how the lockdown has impacted the middle class. With the trademark style of Karthik Subbaraj’s film making the short drama recounts the loss of economical source of people. Just like other Karthik Subbaraj’s films which places its lead characters in peculiar situations, even here it is about how two thieves (Bobby Simha and Muthu Kumar) is forced to face the lockdown when the entire population is in home. They concoct a plan just to get some food on their platter. The drama ends with a typical Karthik Subbaraj’s ‘twist in tale’.
Reunion by Rajiv Menon is also a reconnecting drama which tells us the tale of two high school friends (Andrea Jeremiah and Sakkil Gurucharan) who have not spoken to each other in a long time. Now, Gurucharan is successful in his career, while Andrea Jeremiah is a struggling musician suffering with her drug addiction. She pays a visit to Gurucharan’s home and receives a warm welcome not only from him but also from his mother (Leela Samson). It is a light hearted drama which captures the magnitude of embracing people and how emotional bonding could boost the morale of individuals. Even here the time limitation is clearly sensed as lack of details about the characters hinders us from pinning for the characters.
On the technical front, all musicians that have worked in the anthology have delivered their best. Cinematographers have done a top job in covering the drama treating us to a visual treat and their work is further enhanced by the editors of the film Putham Pudhu Kaalai.
On the whole, the time limitations are clearly felt in almost all dramas hindering us from rooting for the characters, hence, failing to evoke authentic emotions. Maybe, Karthik Subbaraj’s drama with a comical touch in adversity could have been better type of plot for the short-ies.