Gautam Vasudev Menon’s Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu, Dobaaraa, Trigger, Gautham Vasudev Menon
Gautam Vasudev Menon’s 'Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu' (The Scorched Forest)-Part 1, a low-key gangster drama with Simbu released on Amazon Prime Video this weekend

OTT: Gangster saga, Kashyap's time-travel thriller, a solid cop drama

Sequels are the norm today as directors want to tell their stories in a leisurely fashion. Probably, something to do with the OTT effect? Gautam Vasudev Menon’s Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu (The Scorched Forest)-Part 1, is yet another two-part saga. However, this low-key gangster movie was so underplayed that it did not set the box-office on fire when it released in theatres in September.

But, most reviews praised Silambarasan’s acting and director Menon for crafting a “mood piece” with space and leisure, and for its ruminations on the lure of violence.

Not a regular gangster film, this crime-thriller story of young Muthu (Silambarasan TR) from Tirunelveli, who moves to Mumbai as a migrant labourer and becomes a dreaded don, did not also really make the cut. As a reviewer in a leading daily said, ‘VTK shows plenty of potential and the disappointment is that it doesn’t quite hit as many highs as you would expect’.

It missed some beats by not delving into mind of the main character and his natural ability to wield the gun. But the film, according to the filmmakers, went on to purportedly become a success so much so that the producer gifted Simbu a Toyota Vellar and a Royal Enfield Bullet to Menon. It is really becoming difficult to tell which movie has become a hit or not anymore since most filmmakers are rushing to celebrate success meets on the fifth day of the film’s release!!

The film is an adaptation of Jeyamohan’s short story and Gautam Menon who fell in love with the story calls it a “coming of age gangster” movie. For fans of Gautam Menon’s movies, who know him to portray love in all its hues and complexities, this film, which captures the journey of low-life criminals may turn out to be a different experience.

The plot revolves around a BSc graduate hailing from a remote village in Tamil Nadu, who moves to Mumbai for survival. There he gets trapped in a battle between two gangsters and goes on to become a kingpin. Nothing new in the story but it is how Gautam treats the film (Part 2 is expected) that makes the difference. Check out the film streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Isn’t the combination of Gautam-Simbu-A R Rahman tempting as well?

Another chance

Celebrated director Anurag Kashyap’s most recent film, Dobaaraa, the much-awaited  Bollywood release this weekend on OTT (on Netflix), based on time-travel gets another chance on OTT for viewers to like it or trash it. This sci-fi mystery thriller, streaming on Netflix, crashed at the box office and picked up bad reviews though Kashyap fans were kind. The reviewers were looking for the quintessential Kashyap touch, which was missing, though one review called it ‘fast-paced’ and more interesting and emotionally engaging than the original Spanish film Mirage. 

The lead actor Taapsee Pannu too defended the film saying it was too intellectual and difficult for “certain people” to comprehend. A copy of the 2018 Spanish film Mirage, the story goes that on a stormy night in 1994, a woman is murdered and the only witness is a 12-year-old boy named Anay. 25 years later, on an identical stormy night, Antara’s daughter goes missing. She had moved into a new house with her family, and had connected with Anay through an old TV set. She ends up in the alternate reality she’s created: one in which her life is completely different.

Check it out for being on a different plane, may just pique your interest.

Trigger – a watchable action drama

There’s also Tamil film, Trigger, Starring Atharva Murali and Tanya Ravichandran in the lead roles. A Tamil action thriller directed by Sam Anton, it has an undercover cop and his team who set out on a mission to bust a child kidnapping racket. He also has to redeem the reputation of his Alzheimer-affected father, a former policeman who had to retire in a cloud of suspicion.

Sam Anton, who had delivered the solid cop drama 100, teams up with Atharvaa again to give us an almost edge-of-the-seat action thriller with enough hooks to keep the viewer invested. Trigger had good reviews when it released in theatres and did well at the box office too, making it a second successful collaboration between the director and the actor. The action film lands on AHA Tamil.

The Good Boss

If you are a Javier Bardem fan then this one may be for you. Bardem was recently seen as the nastiest villain ever in a James Bond film in Skyfall. He also played the sexy lover to angst ridden Julia Roberts looking for meaning in her life in Eat, Pray, Love.

Bardem plays a charismatic factory owner who meddles in the lives of his employees in The Good Boss. His ultimate aim is to win a prestigious award for business excellence and goes to any extent to make his dream come true. A 2021 Spanish comedy film directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa, the movie is a corporate satire. For those who can afford Apple TV, the upcoming drama series Shantaram, based on the book of the same name by Gregory David Roberts, is streaming. Set in the 1980s, the story revolves around a Fugitive Lin Ford who flees to the challenging city of Bombay, with its own set of  struggles. As Ford tries to come to terms with his life, he falls in love with an enigmatic woman and has to choose between love and freedom.

Glimpses of Chhello Show:

The makers of Last Film Show or Chhello Show, have teamed up with IMDb to offer some unseen excerpts of the film that has been selected as India’s entry for the Oscars. This is to whet your appetite to catch the film in the theatres.

Written, directed and produced by Pan Nalin, this Gujarati film tells the tale of nine-year-old Samay, played by Bhavin Rabari, enthralled by the magic of movies yet struck down by destiny.

According to the director Pan Nalin, “The respect and admiration the movie has amassed across the globe, to the point that it was selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars, warms my heart. The rise of regional cinema is symbolic of India’s leaping progress not just on a national but on a global scale.” Go watch it in the theatres to revel in the evergreen magic of moving images.

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