Best and Worst Southern Cinema on OTT in August
Several new films were released on OTT platforms in August. And South Indian films continued to dominate the digital space in terms of the number of releases.
Netflix started the month on a positive note with its highly anticipated nine-part anthology series Navarasa. Sadly, there were more hiccups than successes in the series based on Nine Basic Human Emotions. The anthology was devised by director Mani Ratnam, who designed the project for the streaming giant to provide financial support to members of the Tamil film fraternity, who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic. And all the best technicians, stars and directors worked on this project for free. But good intentions are never enough to make a good movie. I have discussed each short film in detail and ranked them accordingly.
And Amazon Prime Video continued to expand its Malayalam offering with Kuruthi. It was the movie we all had to watch on Independence Day. The low budget home invasion drama was an exhaustive exposition of the polarized times we live in. The film was a reality check of what happens when neighbors are corrupted by the poison of communitarianism. It reminded us of where we came from, where we are right now, and ends inconclusive, leaving us to decide which path we want to continue. Should we continue the vicious circle of violence? Or choose love over hate and live happily ever after? In a night of Mexican clash between bigotry and hate, friends become enemies, love turns to hate, and unlikely heroes emerge to save what remains of human decency.
The release of Onam from Amazon Prime Video #Home was a pleasant surprise. Director Rojin Thomas has woven heartfelt drama around the challenges of relationships in the digital age and the generational gap still widened by technology. At the heart of this family drama is Indrans’ performance as a father yearning for his children’s appreciation and affection. The movie manages to make you laugh out loud, shed a tear or two, and even get you thinking. It’s because of all the feelings you develop for the character of Indrans at the very beginning of the movie. And Rojin Thomas also deserves a lot of credit for crafting such a relevant drama. In one scene, after being abused by his eldest son, Oliver Twist (Indrans) with a heavy heart leaves his son’s room. Along the way, he picks up used coffee cups left on the stairs by his children to put them in the kitchen sink. For some parents, no sarcastic behavior is enough to stop worrying about the well-being of their children.
Netrikann, which airs on Disney Plus Hotstar, was a colossal disappointment. Worse yet, director Milind Rau wasted a powerful premise on heroine worship. Nayanthara plays the role of a cop who loses his sight in an accident. However, his training as a cop comes in handy when needed. For example, when a serial killer offers him water containing drugs, his training prevents him from drinking it. And when the same killer tries to force her, she even manages to overpower him. A blind girl under the radar of a serial killer offers such possibilities for an unprecedented thriller. However, the filmmakers did not know how to use it.
Boomika, which is streaming on Netflix, has several great ideas. This is no run-of-the-mill horror comedy, which has become a box office staple in Tamil Nadu. He talks about the horror that we humans regularly commit against Mother Nature. And the movie also has an acceptable theory of how Mother Nature causes natural calamities to purge herself of humans who disrespect her kindness and superior intelligence. However, director Rathindran R Prasad’s contemporary ideas and narrative jerks seem inadequate as the film doesn’t take us by the throat like it’s supposed to. As I noted in my review, in this attempt to keep the logic up, Rathindran loses the flow of the plot.
Director Chimbu Deven’s comeback movie Kasada Thapara is like a breath of fresh air at a time when the anthologies have disappointed us. The fact that the film’s six stories are somehow interconnected works in its favor. Even though the film starts off on a rather dull note with the romantic story of Mr. Nice Guy, played by Premgi and his blossoming love with the quintessential Tamil cinema heroine, played by Regina Cassandra, the following stories have some idea where emotion that keeps us hooked to the narration.