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Home / Regional Movies / Putham Pudhu Kaalai movie review: A light-hearted anthology set around lockdown

Putham Pudhu Kaalai movie review: A light-hearted anthology set around lockdown

Putham Pudhu Kaalai movie review: The Amazon Prime film is an anthology of five shorts, the unifying factor being the coronavirus lockdown. Each explores a different theme. Except for Subbaraj’s Miracle, it is hard to connect with the lockdown effect in any of the stories.

regional-movies Updated: Oct 16, 2020, 15:13 IST
Karthik Kumar
Karthik Kumar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Each short in the anthology Putham Pudhu Kaalai is set around the lockdown and works as a standalone and unique story.
Each short in the anthology Putham Pudhu Kaalai is set around the lockdown and works as a standalone and unique story.

Putham Pudhu Kaalai
Cast: Jayaram, Urvashi, Kalidas Jayaram, Kalyani Priyadarshan, MS Bhaskar, Ritu Varma, Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Anu Haasan, Shruti Haasan, Andrea Jeremiah, Sikkhil Gurucharan, Leela Samson and Bobby Simhaa.
Director: Gautham Menon, Sudha Kongara, Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Rajiv Menon and Karthik Subbaraj

Amazon Prime’s Putham Pudhu Kaalai, which translates to New Beginnings, is an anthology of five shorts. The unifying factor across the segments is the lockdown which was announced during the pandemic. Set around the lockdown, each short explores a different theme – from rediscovering love to new beginnings, second chances, and hope. Even though each short is set around the lockdown, it still works as a standalone story and is unique. While four stories are set in upper middle class households and feature dialogues in English and Tamil, Karthik Subbaraj directed short, Miracle, is about two petty thieves and how lockdown impact their lives.

Most of stories are from upper middle class homes.
Most of stories are from upper middle class homes.

Except for Karthik’s short, all other stories work independent of the lockdown. Even if you take out the lockdown angle, these stories still manage to make their point. It makes one wonder if these stories were written keeping the lockdown in mind or were already written and the lockdown angle was just brought into it to go with the overall theme.

As a viewer, I really couldn’t connect with the lockdown effect in any of the stories except for Karthik’s Miracle. Did the lockdown really have any effect on the upper middle-class? Answer to this question is what Karthik’s short tries to answer and helps us see the effect of the lockdown through the eyes of two thieves who find themselves bereft of opportunities and are struggling to survive.

Sudha Kongara’s Ilamai Idho Idho, which is about rediscovering love involving two elderly friends, is quirky on many levels. It presents the idea of falling love at a much older age but it presents the scenario through the eyes of two youngsters – played by Kalidas Jayaram and Kalyani Priyadarshan. Jayaram and Urvashi play the elderly couple. Sudha turns the idea of love and youngsters on its head and presents a very interesting viewpoint of rediscovering love at a much later stage in life.

Gautham Menon’s Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum is about second chances. It’s about the strained relationship of a grandfather with his granddaughter. MS Bhaskar plays a retired nuclear physicist and Ritu Varma, his granddaughter, plays an IT professional. As expected from Gautham Menon, his short is filled with voice-overs but it surprises with the way it treats the scenes between the two lead characters. Ritu has a very different image of her grandfather who has apparently distanced himself from their family. Over the course of the short, we see them bonding, getting to understand each other better and embrace in spite of their flaws. Bhaskar and Ritu complement each other so amazingly well and are so natural in their shoes.

Also read: Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra lead Bollywood in paying tribute to Bhanu Athaiya, India’s first Oscar-winner

Suhasini Mani Ratnam’s ‘Coffee, Anyone?’ is the most underwhelming segment of the short. It’s about three sisters and how they rekindle their relationship with their old mother who is on her deathbed. It’s a situation that has absolutely no connection with the lockdown. This story about mending a broken relationship takes convenient twists to make its point. Even though it makes a valid point, it’s very conveniently written and directed.

Rajiv Menon’s Reunion, starring Andrea, Leela Samson and Sikkhil Gurucharan, is about hope. It’s about a drug addict and a musician who lands herself in her best friend’s house (who has just tested positive for the coronavirus) to look after his mother. It’s a refreshing segment that openly discusses drug addiction without making a big deal about it but knows where to draw the line in terms of representation.

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