Putham Pudhu Kaalai: Sudha Kongara, Gautham Menon, Rajiv Menon, Suhasini Mani Ratnam open up on Amazon Prime's Tamil anthology

In an interview with Firstpost, the filmmakers spoke about their experience of shooting the project within a span of 3 days during the coronavirus lockdown.

Surendhar MK October 19, 2020 08:56:05 IST
Putham Pudhu Kaalai: Sudha Kongara, Gautham Menon, Rajiv Menon, Suhasini Mani Ratnam open up on Amazon Prime's Tamil anthology

Kalidas and Kalyani Priyadarshan in Ilamai Idho Idho | Image from Twitter

Amazon Prime finally stepped into the arena for regional content, and made inroads into the Tamil industry with its Indian anthology film Putham Pudhu Kaalai, which released on 16 October. The five-part anthology has short films helmed by Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Sudha Kongara, Karthik Subbaraj, Rajiv Menon and Gautham Menon, some of the most prominent names from the Tamil film industry.

In an interview with Firstpost, the filmmakers spoke about their experience of shooting the project within a span of 3 days during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sudha directed the first part of the anthology Ilamai Idho Idho, a 30-minute film starring Jayaram, Urvashi, Kalidas Jayaram and Kalyani Priyadarshan. For Sudha, the short was a challenge, she said, "“I’m used to writing long essays and lengthy screenplays. But here, I had to keep it concise and convey the emotions in just 20 pages. I had never visited a film school and shot with a small crew, so it was something that I had to learn as I did it."

Ilamai Idho Idho was entirely shot in cinematographer Niketh Bommi’s house, with a small crew under all safety measures. When she was first approached with the film's story, she knew that Urvashi was the right fit for the main character. "We then looked at options of somebody who would suit the role of a Malayali and was in Chennai and arrived at Jayaram sir. Picking Kalidas was a given, and Kalyani’s inclusion came in after I was very impressed with her performance in Varane Avashyamund.”

Besides Putham Pudhu Kaalai, Sudha Kongara has another project, Soorarai Pottru, set for an 30 October release.

Putham Pudhu Kaalai Sudha Kongara Gautham Menon Rajiv Menon Suhasini Mani Ratnam open up on Amazon Primes Tamil anthology

MS Bhaskar and Ritu Varma in Avalum Naanum/Avarum Naanum | Image from Twitter

While Gautham Menon is awaiting the premiere of another anthology project, Paava Kadhaigal for Netflix, Putham Pudhu Kaalai will be his first release on Amazon Prime. Avalum Naanum/Avarum Naanum, his maiden collaboration with cinematographer PC Sreeram, throws light on the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter. “It was a huge learning experience for me. Even the two brilliant actors that I had in MS Bhaskar and Ritu – I just had to talk the script to them and they gave it to me again on a platter.”

Putham Pudhu Kaalai Sudha Kongara Gautham Menon Rajiv Menon Suhasini Mani Ratnam open up on Amazon Primes Tamil anthology

Shruti Haasan in Coffee, Anyone? | Image from YouTube

Suhasini Mani Ratnam returned to the director’s chair after a long time with her short – Coffee, Anyone? With actors Shruti Haasan, Kaathadi Ramamurthy, Anu Haasan and herself, she told the story of a broken family's reunion. Working on a film for an OTT platform compared to a full-fledged feature was different: “There was no tension or stress. I didn’t have to worry about how different audiences would warm up to my film, as I believe that there is a certain level of understanding amidst the people who watch films on such platforms. This project was like a family reunion of sorts with all my near and dear coming together. I actually wanted my father Charuhaasan to join us too, but he couldn’t make it because of his recent shoulder fracture.”

Putham Pudhu Kaalai Sudha Kongara Gautham Menon Rajiv Menon Suhasini Mani Ratnam open up on Amazon Primes Tamil anthology

A still from Reunion | Image from Twitter

Another interesting film from the anthology is helmed by Rajiv Menon, who, in 2019, impressed audiences with his musical drama Sarvam Thaala Mayam. Featuring Andrea, Leela Samson and Carnatic musician Sikkil Gurucharan, the segment is titled Reunion. Explaining why he chose to cast Sikkil, Menon said, “I had already worked with Sikkhil Gurucharan in Sarvam Thaala Mayam, and was very impressed with the way he had aced the scene in the car with Nedumudi Venu. But I always used to get a feeling that this guy looks like a doctor and not a singer. When I wrote this character of a doctor, I was just looking at all the options and seeing who would fit in. He fulfilled all of my requirements. I feel that the heroism which comes from the actors can sometimes be an impediment for them to play the common man, so I am always looking at a new actor who can project something else. I always look to cast against the grain, starting with Minsara Kanavu. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Speaking about the inspiration behind the film Menon said, “I was reading a lot about COVID-19 and how it has been affecting the work of different people. The entire music industry has been hit hard, right from the people who play nadaswarams to those who sing in bars. The recording industry was already paying less and artists started believing in live gigs. My story is about two people who knew each other previously, moved onto different worlds and then meet each other again.”

Putham Pudhu Kaalai Sudha Kongara Gautham Menon Rajiv Menon Suhasini Mani Ratnam open up on Amazon Primes Tamil anthology

A still from Miracle | Image from YouTube

The anthology’s final film is Miracle, from Karthik Subbaraj, who is retraced his roots as he made his entry into the industry by making short films on the Naalaya Iyakkunar show. Titled Miracle, Karthik’s story is different from the rest and based on a real-life incident that took place in Bobby Simha’s office.

 

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