From crime stories and romcoms to relationship dramas and political thrillers, the Valentine's season in the South opens with a variety of films across genres. Some big announcements have also been made. Here's what you should look out for.
From the day of its announcement to the release of the trailer, the expectations have been sky-high for Drishyam 2. Director Jeethu Joseph, who initially teamed up with Mohanlal to film Raam had to shift gears when the world came to a standstill during the pandemic. The sequel to one of Malayalam cinema's most celebrated thrillers sees the return of its principal cast members — Mohanlal and Meena reprise their characters of George Kutty and Rani along with Ansiba Hassan and Esther as Anju and Anumol — with a few new additions like Murali Gopy. The trailer gives us a glimpse of what to expect, as the film is set a few years after the original. Shot entirely during the lockdown, Drishyam 2 will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on February 19. The cast also includes Siddique and Asha Sharath.
The announcement of this Mammootty-starrer took everyone by surprise. Director Amal Neerad is known for films such as Varathan, Iyobinte Pusthakam and the recently-released Trance, which starred Fahadh Faasil and Nazriya Nazim.
Saajan Bakery Since 1962
Malayalam cinema's association with food has given us some timeless classics. From Aashiq Abu's Salt n Pepper and Lijo Jose Pellissery's Angamaly Diaries to director Jeo Baby's recent hit The Great Indian Kitchen, these films have showcased society with food as its motif. Saajan Bakery explores sibling rivalry through the context of food. Starring Lena and Aju Varghese in the lead, along with Ranjita Menon, Grace Antony, KB Ganesh Kumar and Jaffer Idukki, the film has music by Prashant Pillai and is scheduled for release on February 12.
Debut director Tharun Moorthy's film resembles the hit Netflix series Jamtara, which explores cybercrime. The trailer indicates an intense crime drama involving two engineering graduates who help the police solve cyber crimes such online harassment and cyberstalking. The cast is impressive, and includes Balu Varghese, Vinayakan, Irshad Ali, Shine Tom Chacko, Mamitha Baiju and Dhanya S Ananya. Music is by Jakes Bejoy of Ayyappanum Koshiyum fame, and the film is due for release on February 12.
Quarantine season gave us many anthologies such as Putham Pudhu Kaalai, Unpaused and Paava Kathaigal. Following this is Kutty Story, which includes four short films from four renowned directors (Gautham Vasudev Menon, AL Vijay, Venkat Prabhu and Nalan Kumarasamy). The anthology tells stories of relationships and their complexities, and has very interesting casting choices. The cast includes Vijay Sethupathi, Amala Paul, Varun, Sangeetha, Megha Akash, Sakshi Agarwal, Aditi Balan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Vinoth Kishan, Amitash Pradhan, Robo Shankar, Abhishek Vinod and MJ Shriram. The film is scheduled for theatrical release on February 12.
This Ashok Selvan Tamil/Telugu bilingual is a romantic comedy about a chef with a muscle spasm. The film also features Nithya Menen and Ritu Varma along with Nassar and Telugu comic actor Satya. The film is due for release on February 26. Premam fame Rajesh Murugesan has composed music for the film, written and directed by Ani Sasi.
The trailer cut of Maanadu, starring Simbu, seems to have taken inspiration from Christopher Nolan's Tenet. Director Venkat Prabhu's political thriller seems to be in line with movies such as Nick Of Time and Enemy Of The Stat. Silambarasan plays Abdul Khaaliq, who is on the run from a cop played by SJ Suryah. The film also features Kalyani Priyadarshan, Bharathiraja and S A Chandrasekhar, and has music by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
Telugu star Sai Dharam Tej's sibling Panja Vaisshnav Tej makes his debut as lead along with Krithi Shetty in this film, directed by newcomer Bucchi Babu Sana and co-produced by director Sukumar. Set in the backdrop of Kakinada, Upenna is said to revolve around honour killings. Vijay Sethupathi plays an important character called Raayanam. The film has music by Devi Sri Prasad, and cinematography is handled by Shamdat Sainudeen of Oozham and Street Lights fame.
Acclaimed director Chandra Shekar Yeleti, whose credits include the National award-winning Aithe and Anukokunda Oka Roju, teams up with Nithiin, Rakul Preet Singh and Priya Prakash Varrier. Not much of the plot is revealed in the trailer, but we do know the film is about a chess player on death row. The film is due for release on February 26.
There have been announcements galore in Kannada too. Among them are Hero (Directed by newcomer M Bharath Raj and produced by Rishab Shetty, who plays the lead too. The film was shot entirely during lockdown in a remote location); Avatara Purusha (Starring Sharan Hruday, Ashika Ranganath, Sai Kumar, Sudha Rani and Balaji Manohar, directed by Suni and produced by Pushkara Mallikarjunaiah); bilingual Pogaru (The film has been made in Telugu too and dubbed into Tamil as Semma Thimuru. It is directed by Nanda Kishore and stars Dhruva Sarja, Rashmika Mandanna and, Dhananjay); and Sudeep-starrer Vikrant Rona (The fantasy action adventure is directed by Anup Bhandari and also features Nirup Bhandari and newcomer Neetha Ashok). Besides this, Kiranraj's Rakshit Shetty-starrer Charlie 777 has wrapped up shoot and a release date is expected.