For Indians, cinema can only mean one thing—Celebration. As a nation we are obsessed with cricket and cinema. And we love our superstar actors and rejoice in their larger-than-life imagery. That is why the release of a superstar film is akin to a carnival in India, especially down South. We love dunking their gigantic posters with milk, garlands, queuing for their 4 am FDF shows, dancing in front of the screens including screaming our lungs out when they come on screen. When the theatres shut shop during the pandemic, OTT suddenly became the next big thing, but it is also true that for a lot of movie buffs, it diluted the film viewing experience. But then films were regularly premiered on Netflix and Prime and we somehow adapted to it and took heart in the fact that theatres will soon reopen, and things will go back to how it was. So here goes the interesting ones we think you should watch.
Soorarai Pottru (Amazon Prime)
This is one film which badly missed the big screen experience. Directed by Sudha Kongara and co-written by Shalini Usha (who directed Akam) and Kongara, the film based on the book Simply Fly, on the founder of Air Deccan, Captain Gopinath has Suriya playing Nedumaaran Rajangam, who dreams of making a low-cost airline for everyone to fly. There is also a beautiful love story between Maara and his wife Bommi (a superb Aparna Balamurali), who remains his biggest support system as well as an industrious woman who owns a bakery. With a stupendous ensemble of actors (Urvashi, Paresh Rawal) and a narrative that is very mainstream with its share of elevating moments and performances along with, lilting music, Soorarai Pottru will also be remembered for Surya’s career-best act.
CU Soon (Amazon Prime)
Mahesh Narayanan’s second directorial (after Take Off) turned out to be an ode to the restricted times we lived in. Shot during the lockdown, the film which was filmed entirely inside an apartment uses all the devices one could employ in such a space and crafts an intriguingly nail-biting cinematic experience. It tackles a relevant issue and features three principal actors (Fahad Faasil, Roshan Mathew, Darshana Rajendran). There is Roshan’s Jimmy who falls in love with Anumol over Tinder leading to a train of unforeseen events in their lives. Another key role is played by Kevin (Fahad), Jimmy’s cousin, a techie who lives in the virtual world. With a skillfully woven screenplay, assured direction, and performances, CU Soon which is over 98 minutes was one of the finest from Malayalam cinema last year.
Dil Bechara (Hotstar)
An adaptation of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, is about two young lovers who have cancer. Directed by Mukesh Chhabra, the film for those who have read the book holds no surprises. Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi) and Immanuel Rajkumar Junior aka Manny (Sushant Singh Rajput), are under treatment for years and still fall in love. It is a morose story filled with love and laughter and some fabulous music by AR Rahman. The film is significant as the film was released after Sushant’s death.
Sufiyum Sujathayum (Amazon Prime)
Debutant director Naranipuzha Shanavas weaves a beautiful love story between Sujatha (Aditi Rao Hydari) who is a mute and Sufi (Dev), a young saint, in a narrative set a decade ago. It is their eyes which do most of the talking in this silent and poignant romance between the exquisite Sujatha, with her large brown eyes and the bearded Sufi, who can dance on his toes. There is an evident Mouna Ragam inspiration in how the love story breaks and Sujatha eventually marries and finds it difficult to let go of her romance much to the misery of her husband (Jayasurya in a terrific cameo). Lovely songs and a romance which is pleasing to the eye makes this film a fascinating watch.Unfortunately Shanavas passed away last month following a cardiac arrest.
V (Amazon Prime)
One of the most awaited mainstream action thrillers from Telugu cinema, V directed by Mohana Krishna Indraganti is an intriguing game of cat and mouse between a cop and a serial killer. Aditya is the much-feted deputy police commissioner of Hyderabad who has everything going in his favour, including being called the ‘most desirable man’ by a men's magazine. But things go awry when a fellow cop is murdered and the killer leaves his signature V on the dead body, challenging Aditya to nab him. Nanny’s stylish avatar and the interesting face-offs between him and Sudheer Babu makes V an entertaining ride.
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl (Netflix)
Based on the Indian Airforce pilot Gunjan Saxena’s life, the film is a compelling story of a young woman who has to fight against all odds to prove her mettle in a world where men called the shots. Directed by newbie Sharan Sharma, there is a poignant father-daughter bond in the film, with Pankaj Tripathi acing as the father and Jhanvi Kapoor complimenting him beautifully. It is an emotional and inspiring account of a woman who had to work twice as hard as the men to make an impression and eventually serve the country in the Kargil war.
The Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushman Khuranna starrer Gulabo-Sitabo, Jyothika’s Ponmakal Vanthal, Nayanthara’s Mookuthi Amman, Zachariah’s Halal Love Story, Unpaused, Axon, Bulbul , Raat Akeli Hai were the other releases, apart from the theatre to OTT releases like Varane Avashyamundu, Ayyappanum Koshiyum, Trance.