Chennai, 14 Jan 2022 19:37 IST
While not all its shorts have the desired impact, Amazon Prime Video’s anthology is satisfying, with the segment starring Joju George and Nadiya Moidu standing out.
Putham Pudhu Kaalai Vidiyaadhaa — Amazon Prime Video's second anthology film that revolves around the pandemic — offers a refreshing look at life and relationships during a lockdown. And while not all the stories have the desired impact, the overall film is satisfying. Compared to the previous edition, the stories are more complete and relatable. The decision to opt for a fairly young cast, with a few surprise choices such as Nadiya Moidu and Joju George, has worked strongly in favour of the movie.
The first short, Balaji Mohan’s Mugakavasa Mutham, is centred on two police constables, Murugan (TeeJay Arunasalam) and Kuyil (Gouri G Kishan), who like each other. The colleagues slowly start expressing their feelings for each other. When Kuyil gets posted to another location, they start missing each other’s company. Just when they start to feel the pinch of each other’s absence, a young man comes seeking their help as his girlfriend is being coerced into marrying a stranger. As Murugan and Kuyil try their best to stop the wedding and help the young woman elope with her boyfriend, they grow closer.
This is one of the cutest shorts of the anthology. The young constables' love, which blossoms in the most uncommon places, is something to cheer about. Teejay and Gouri are terrific and they perform earnestly to make their characters and performances real and believable. Their chemistry makes the whole segment tick. The idea is definitely praiseworthy.
Halitha Shameem’s Loners shines the spotlight on the need to be loved and cared for, especially in recent times. The short follows a loner named Nallathangal (Lijomol Jose) or Nalla for short. She recently ended her relationship with her boyfriend and she is now stuck inside her apartment. Finding it extremely difficult to stay indoors, she joins an online video room called ‘Loners in Lockdown’. This is where she meets Dheeran (Arjun Das), whom she had met previously in another video room. Dheeran is coping with the loss of his close friend to COVID-19, and he is broken from the inside. Both Nalla and Dheeran get talking and come to heal each other.
Halitha continues to give us stories that strike the right chords. Her segment emphasizes the importance of opening up and being caring without getting judgemental. The leads play their respective parts so convincingly that we feel for them deeply.
Madhumita’s Mouname Paarvayaai, starring Joju George and Nadiya Moidu, has to be the pick of the shorts. It explores the bond between an older married couple Murali and Yashoda, who haven’t spoken to each other in a while due to a major fight. What really makes this short stand out is the fact that barely any word is uttered between the characters but we get to see what they mean to each other. Sometimes, the silences between the two are so deep that you don’t need words to understand what they’re going through. This short beautifully explores what it is to really care for someone without actually expressing it in words. Both artistes give an unbelievably effortless performance.
Surya Krishna’s The Mask is a simple tale of friendship between two schoolmates Arjun (Sananth) and Velu (Dhilip Subbarayan), who come together after many years. Arjun is an IT professional and he’s been guarding a secret for many years – he is gay and has been struggling to come out to his parents. After he meets Velu, he musters up the courage to deal with his situation. While the short takes a very convenient turn to make its point, it deserves to be lauded for touching upon a sensitive issue that rarely gets addressed in mainstream cinema. Dhilip walks away with the brownie points for his neat performance in this segment. His is a very unique casting choice and it has worked quite well.
Richard Anthony’s Nizhal Tharum Idham follows a thirty-something woman, Shobi (Aishwarya Lekshmi), who finds out that her dad died of a heart attack. This short is all about dealing with grief and finding a reason to continue living and striving. It’s a straightforward short about coping with loss, and Aishwarya is terrific as a young woman who tries to take control of her life.