Putham Pudhu Kaalai Vidiyaadhaa review: Amazon Prime anthology is light, timely, and young

Review of Putham Pudhu Kaalai Vidiyaadhaa. This edition’s theme is “coming out” (of the closet). It is about removing the masks we wear, admitting our flaws, and forgiving ourselves and others.

Putham Pudhu Kaalai Vidiyaadhaa, Amazon Prime Video’s latest anthology, feels lighter and more grounded than Putham Pudhu Kaali (2020). The goal of this anthology series is to encourage us to look for the silver lining in adversity. The first issue focused on the good aspects of the epidemic, such as how it brought the family closer together under one roof, providing an opportunity to start a discourse and break down emotional walls produced by a stressed modern lifestyle. The five stories all had one thing in common: they were about opening our hearts to new perspectives, opportunities, connections, and second chances.

The topic of the second edition is “coming out” (of the closet). It is about removing the masks we wear to conform to society’s expectations, admitting our own flaws, forgiving ourselves and others, and thereby claiming one’s proper place in society. While most of the hardships faced in the first season were difficult to relate to, the latest season delves into some of the most pressing existential issues of our day.

Balaji Mohan’s short video opens with three constables guarding a checkpoint near a wealthy residential area where residents continue to refuse to obey curbs during the second lockdown. Young people want to go out, senior people refuse to wear masks because they feel the ‘corona’ won’t catch them, and some guys – drunk on power and booze – drop expletives to undermine the law and defy limits. It comes down to three lightweight constables to keep the lockdown safe. Balaji could have done a film about the types of individuals and issues that these cops face on the job that would have been lot more fascinating than this. The subplot of a love tale with cops breaking the law to assist a couple in eloping feels forced and clunky.

Lijomol Jose, who played a tribal woman striving for justice in Jai Bhim, plays a female struggling to make an honest life in modern Chennai. She appears to be in the class of modern performers such as Vijay Sethupathi, Sai Pallavi, and now Guru Somasundaram, who can make any scene work for them, even if the film is awful. That is not to say that The Loners is a bad film. Halitha Shameem, the director, makes it authentic by eliciting the wisdom of an outsider in Lijomol’s character, who looks down on those who refuse to realise that our reality has altered as a result of the pandemic. She is irritated by anything that promotes “toxic positivism,” which even deprives us of the opportunity to recognise what we have lost, mourn it, and go forward in life more wiser. When Lijomol meets her online friend, Arjun Das, for the first time, she excels at channelling anxious energy mixed with pure delight.

Filmmakers like Madhumita recognise the liberties afforded by OTT platforms. Unlike television and film, it allows ambitious filmmakers to experiment with subjects, style, and forms. In this collection of short films, Mouname Paarvayaai stands out for being silent. It is safe to infer that the middle-aged husband and wife, played by great actresses Nadiya Moidu and Joju George, had a bad fight that turned violent, causing a huge schism between them right before the lockdown. The lockdown, on the other hand, forces the couple to remain in the house and endure each other. And the setup offers Madhumita a compelling opportunity to stage a picture without words. Madhumita reveals the couple’s complicated relationship in 30 minutes. Nadiya Moidu and Joju George are a well-seasoned couple who appear to despise and adore each other in equal measure.

This gay film adds to an already diverse collection of stories. The lockdown has separated a guy from his love. We know he’s been communicating with his lover and arranging excuses to bring his girlfriend to his parents. We are hardwired to believe that the lover is a woman. Surya Krishna takes advantage of our naiveté to pull the rug out from under us in the most graceful way possible. Yes, it is about a man coming out of the closet and disclosing his true identity to his parents and the rest of the world. And in order for that to happen, he must first accept his own sexuality. In the film, we also witness another significant male character who hides behind his macho demeanour, which prevents him from experiencing and expressing his vulnerabilities.

Aishwarya Lekshmi, who plays Richard Anthony’s protagonist, is a firm believer in stoicism. Rather than dealing with the onerous chore of having a difficult conversation with her loved ones and working out her emotional difficulties, she prefers to bottle up all her feelings and push people away. The film follows her inner journey in the aftermath of her father’s unexpected death, which sets in motion a chain of events and releases pent-up emotions, eventually helping her to make peace with death, life, and everything in between. Unlike the other films in this anthology, though, this one requires a more emotional investment to grasp where the characters are coming from.

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