'Putham Pudhu Kaalai' movie review: An anthology of moving stories

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“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” As Morgan Freeman took to social media to celebrate 26 years of Shawshank Redemption, it is only a reminder that in times like these, hope can be a powerful source of reassurance.

Highly acclaimed storytellers Rajiv Menon, Sudha Kongara, Gautham Menon, Suhasini Mani Ratnam and Karthik Subbaraj have found a way to tide over the Covid-19 crisis by releasing their anthology Putham Pudhu Kaalai on Amazon Prime Video on October 16.

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The five short films bring moving stories from our households, help people remain hopeful and give meaning to our relationships.

Ilamai Idho Idho

The title of this short film is taken from a hit song rendered by late SP Balasubrahmanyam for Kamal Haasan-starrer Sakalakala Vallavan (1982). And with this short film, SPB leaves us with hope as we get to hear SP Charan crooning. This Sudha Kongara directorial stars Jayaram, Kalidas Jayaram, Urvashi and Kalyani Priyadarshan. While Jayaram and Urvashi turn out to be one of the most cherished on-screen pairings, the former’s son Kalidas and Kalyani Priyadarshan join the veterans to bring a breezy feeling and re-discover love in the time of lockdown. While Sudha Kongara kept it natural, Ilamai Idho Idho sort of recaptures Mani Ratnam’s school of romance.

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Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum

MS Bhaskar plays a grandfather to Ritu Varma in Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon. With some fun moments between the duo, it unravels how the aged adapt to social media platforms and technology. It takes some time to sink in, but Avarum Naamun manages to strike a right chord.

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Coffee, Anyone?

Coffee, Anyone? directed by Suhasini Mani Ratnam is about two sisters reuniting after years to meet their mother, who is in coma. The short film starring Suhasini herself, along with Anu Hasan and Shruti Haasan, explores too many things. 

While a focused approach could have been better, Coffee, Anyone? is more about a belief in new beginnings.

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Reunion

Like the title suggests, Rajiv Menon portrays the reunion of friends amid the lockdown. Starring Andrea, Sikkil Gurucharan and Leela Samson, Reunion is about the journey to self-discovery. The performances are honest and characters are likeable, but we have seen similar instances on screen. However, it gets better towards the end.

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Miracle

Starring Bobby Simha and Muthu Kumar, Miracle seemed to be the dark one among all the above. Yet Karthik Subbaraj – who began with short films – delivers what we expect with crisp and impressive takes. The plot explores how miracles do happen in our lives. The ending with bang-on twist is the highlight here.

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Covid, in many ways, offered opportunities for the kind of work which is possible with limited resources and posing lot of limitations for film-makers. With a few flaws, Putham Pudhu Kaalai is a lovely compilation and is for those who believe in the power of stories.

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