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

Release Date: 16 Oct 2020

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Haricharan Pudipeddi

Set in the lockdown, each short explores themes such as rediscovering love, new beginnings, second chances and hope.

Amazon Prime Video’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 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Set in the lockdown, each short explores themes such as rediscovering love, new beginnings, second chances and hope. Each segment 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, the Karthik Subbaraj-directed short, Miracle, is centred on two petty thieves whose lives are impacted by the lockdown.

Except for Karthik’s short, the stories work even if you eliminate the lockdown angle, leading one to wonder if these stories were really written keeping the lockdown in mind or whether it was shoehorned into them to make them fit an overall theme.

Sudha Kongara’s Ilamai Idho Idho, a story about rediscovering love involving two elderly friends, is quirky on many levels. It presents the idea of falling love at a much older age through the eyes of two youngsters, played by Kalidas Jayaram and Kalyani Priyadarshan. Jayaram Subramaniam and Urvashi play the elderly couple. Sudha turns the idea of young love on its head and presents an intriguing perspective on finding a partner at a much later stage in life.

Gautham Menon’s Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum is about a retired nuclear physicist (MS Baskar) and his strained relationship with his granddaughter, an IT professional (Ritu Varma). As expected from the director, there are voice-overs but the short surprises with the way it treats 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 embracing each other despite their flaws. Bhaskar and Ritu complement each other amazingly well.

Suhasini Mani Ratnam’s Coffee, Anyone? is the most underwhelming segment. It’s about three sisters and how they rekindle their relationship with their elderly mother, who is on her deathbed. It’s a situation that has absolutely no connection with the theme. This story about mending a broken relationship takes a convenient twist to make its point.

Rajiv Menon’s Reunion, starring Andrea Jeremiah, Leela Samson and Sikkil Gurucharan is about hope. It’s about a drug addict and a musician who lands up in the house of her best friend, who has just tested positive for the coronavirus, and looks after his mother. It’s a refreshing segment that openly discusses drug addiction without being sanctimonious about it but knows where to draw the line in terms of representation.

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