Putham Pudhu Kaalai is a new Amazon Prime Video anthology of five short films by five directors, all dealing with Covid-19, the lockdown and its impact. Perhaps this is the new direction films may have to go in for the next couple of years at least—limited crew, closed locations and simple stories?
The mix of short films and directors are interesting here: Putham Pudhu Kaalai comprises Ilamai Idho Idho, directed by Sudha Kongara; Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum, by Gautam Menon; Coffee, Anyone? by Suhasini Maniratnam; Reunion, by Rajiv Menon; and Miracle, by Karthik Subburaj.
Each short film in the anthology features music by GV Prakash Kumar, Govind Vasantha, Sathish Raghunathan, and Nivas Prasanna respectively, while the last film, Miracle, features compositions from old Ilaiyaraaja albums. The actors are mostly well-known—Ilamai Idho Idho stars Jayaram, Urvashi, Kalidas Jayaram and Kalyani Priyadarshan. Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum features MS Bhaskar and Ritu Varma. Coffee, Anyone? is like a reunion for the extended “Haasan” family, with Suhasini Maniratnam, Anu Haasan, Shruti Haasan, Komalam Charuhaasan and Kaathadi Ramamoorthi. Reunion has Andrea Jeremiah, Leela Samson, and Sikkil C Gurucharan, while Miracle stars Bobby Simha, Sharath Ravi and Muthukumar.
A look at the list of directors and it’s hard not to spot the odd one out here: Kathik Subburaj whose film Miracle, fittingly, stands out from the others. For one, the dialogues just sound more real and contemporary to one’s ears. While the other films aren’t too bad—Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum, for instance, hits all sorts of right spots—given that we’re now used to more gritty Tamil cinema, Miracle just comes across as more natural.
Having said that, it was Gautam Menon’s Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum which moved me the most. I’ve said this before of MS Bhaskar—any scene, any situation in which you need an actor to pull on your heartstrings and make you weep, please cast...