Chennai, 20 Feb 2021 13:05 IST
Though each segment boldly explores dark themes, one is left wishing they were less abstruse.
The Telugu anthology film Pitta Kathalu, which deserves some appreciation for its ambition and scope, lacks cohesion and leaves you scratching your head. While two segments — Tharun Bhascker’s intriguing Ramula and Nag Ashwin’s imaginative xLife — stand out, the other two fall flat. Even though the shorts boldly explore dark themes, one wishes they were more accessible in terms of their themes and messages.
Ramula, which is focussed on power dynamics, follows a female politician Swaroopa, played impressively by Lakshmi Manchu. The short showcases her struggle for recognition in the male-dominated political sphere. The short also delves into her relationship with Ram Chander, the son of an upper-class ex-MLA.
Ramula, who comes from humble origins, is madly in love with the timid Ram Chander. However, she hates his timidity when it comes to standing up to his domineering father. The short presents a very interesting point of view about the repercussions of power dynamics. Newcomer Saanve Megghana is brilliant as a fearless yet naïve girl from a small Telangana village.
BV Nandini Reddy’s Meera is about a woman trying to break free from an abusive marriage. Amala Paul plays the titular character, a writer who is married to a very successful businessman Vishwa, played by Jagapathi Babu. For years, Meera has been a victim of domestic abuse including marital rape. The basic plot is heavily inspired by David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014). Amala is impressive as Meera, and she delivers a highly believable performance. Jagapathi goes overboard as the eccentric husband but it suits the character.
Nag Ashwin’s xLife leaves you dazed and confused. It’s way ahead of its time and wildly imaginative. It gets full marks for attempting to depict an alternate reality with the help of visual effects, but the short, which stars Sanjith Hegde and Shruti Haasan, doesn’t work beyond a point. Set in a futuristic dystopia, the film talks about the absence of love and how one corporation is destroying it. Shruti does a decent job and the transformation of her character towards the end is a major highlight.
Sankalp Reddy’s Pinky is centred on a married woman, who is still madly in love with her ex-boyfriend. The short deals with the concept of extramarital affairs and how relationships take a toll when reality hits both parties hard. Eesha Rebba is exceptionally good in this segment along with Satya Dev.
What’s refreshing about Pitta Kathalu is that we get stories centred on women, and the shorts don’t try to showcase them in a one-dimensionally positive light. It celebrates flawed women and makes us celebrate their stories as well.
Pitta Kathalu is being streamed on Netflix.
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