The Chinese Virus led to the national lockdown and cinema halls were also a shut down with other establishments. For folks used to the big screen, the sheer joy of cheering their favourite stars on screen with other members of the audience, and eating the over-priced pop-corn, nachos, and other goodies came to a grinding halt.
OTT platforms cashed in on this scenario as producers had no option but to release their movies on these platforms and try to make up for the losses incurred. Unfortunately most of the movies that were celebrated and touted as big-ticket movies flopped if we can still use the term for an OTT release. “Gulabo Sitabo”, “Penguin”, “Ponmagal Vandhal”, “Coolie No.1”, “Nishabdham”, “Sufiyum Sujathaiyum”. All these movies tanked badly. It took “Soorarai Potru” helmed by Sudha Kongara and starring Suriya and Aparna that broke the ugly chain and was appreciated by everyone. “Mookuthi Amman” with RJ Balaji, Nayanthara, and Urvashi on Disney Hotstar had a good run too. It showed how godmen con the gullible public and mixed humour and awareness in good measure. Urvashi was the stand-out performer again and her scenes evoked a lot of laughter. She also had a good role in the Suriya-starrer.
“Paava Kadhaigal” and “Putham Pudhu Kaalai” brought the anthology concept to Tamil cinema and Kalidas Jayaram was the common factor in both the anthologies. His role as a transgender person who sacrifices his love for the sake of his sister brought out the emotions really well. Vetrimaran took a real incident that occurred in rural Tamil Nadu and fleshed it out on screen with pain and violence as Prakash Raj and Sai Pallavi acted out the roles with aplomb and brilliance.
“Taish” directed by Bejoy Nambiar and released on Zee5 had an interesting story-line and unfortunately it was “Ludo” with a multi-character and multi-plot story that received more acclaim. Netflix’s marketing bandwagon trumped Zee5 left, right, and center in this regard.
“Mirzapur 2” on Amazon Prime was again received well; unfortunately I have not seen either season, somehow just could not connect or fathom the mindless violence.
Much earlier in the year it was “Afsos” on Amazon Prime that caught my attention with its interesting premise. The elixir of life, a failed author looking to commit suicide, an ashram in the hills where multiple sadhus are killed, a mysterious assassin lady, and a bunch of other motley characters made this a memorable watch. Gulshan Devaiah and Jamie Alter were fun and it was Heeba Shah as the assassin who stole the show. This is my favourite watch of the year for the way it was written, scripted, directed, and performed. If you have not seen it yet, do watch.
“LockUp” was the surprise winner for me in terms of Tamil cinema. With Vaibhav, Venkat Prabhu, Eeshwari Rao, and others; the movie examines the murder of a senior cop, the death of a maidswoman and how the threads get connected. The movie proved that Vaibhav can act given a good role. Venkat Prabhu sometimes one feels got a raw deal in Kollywood and tasting success as a director led him to carve another path.
“Ka Pae Ranasingham” won rave reviews, unfortunately I have not seen the movie.
“Chintu ka Birthday” was a heartwarming tale that sought to find love and peace from a child’s view in a world filled with violence. Vinay Pathak, Seema Pahwa, Thillothama Shome, and the young kid playing Chintu deserve accolades.
“Forensic” and “Anjaam Paathira” were viewed in the theatre before the lockdown and both movies were fairly engaging.
Over the course of this year I decided to cut down on expenses, this led me to not renew my Amazon Prime or Zee 5 subscriptions. Disney Hotstar basic subscription will end later next year and I may or may not renew the subscription.
For me the OTT of the year purely on the basis of content has to be Sony LIV. Their interface is poor and the Android app is an absolute joke. But sheer depth of content makes it the winner.
“Scam 1992” – Pratik Gandhi a struggling Gujarati stage actor became the darling of Bollywood. Do remember he has acted in some Gujarati movies before. With “Scam 1992” – director Hansal Mehta created a brilliant saga of Harshad Mehta with an all-round ensemble cast that hit the sweet spot. The music – what do I say – it has become a popular ringtone.
“Risk hai toh Ishq hai” is my dialogue of the year 🙂
The groovy and addictive theme song / title track.
“Welcome Home” – This is a scary, violent movie that is based on a true story and has riveting performances by all the actors. Kashmira Irani, Shashi Bhushan, Boloram Das are the lead actors in this movie. The violence can be very traumatic and viewer discretion is advised.
“A Simple Murder” mixed humour and crime to present a black comedy that is not unlike the popular movies of the Guy Ritchie club. An ensemble cast that again works well and Priya Anand gets a meaty role which she completely owns as she makes the men in her life go mad about her. Again bungling contract killers play a major role in the story and one really feels for the poor hero Zeeshan who suffers. Will this get renewed for another season perhaps with a different set of characters and plot-line is something to be seen.
Which shows did you enjoy this year? Share your thoughts. Happy viewing. Stay safe, stay happy. God bless.