Valentine’s Special: 16 South Indian Movies To Binge On During The Weekend
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Yes, it’s Valentine’s weekend and ‘binge watch’ recommendations are flying around thick and fast. Here’s one more, curated with thought. This time, 16 films drawn from Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam cinema. Some of them are pure romances, others have a hint of comedy and drama, and some reflect the times they are set in. Check them out.

Tamil

Oh My Kadavule (2020)

Director: Ashwath Marimuthu

Streaming On: Zee5

If love follows a predictable path, does it reach a predictable destination? Oh My Kadavule explores the concept of giving a second chance to its male protagonist who believes that there’s a difference between falling in love with your best friend who’s a woman, and a woman you’re crushing on. It’s funny, and even moving, in many places. And Vijay Sethupathi’s lovely cameo greatly adds to the fun element of the rom-com.

 Sillu Karupatti (2019)

Director:  Halitha Shameem

Streaming On: Netflix

Sillu Karupatti is an anthology that is made up of four shorts wherein the principal characters belong to different age groups. Each short film deals with friendship and companionship more than passionate romance. In recent times, there have been many Tamil anthologies (Amazon Prime Video’s Putham Pudhu Kaalai and Netflix’s Paava Kadhaigal to name a few), but this stands the test of time.  

O Kadhal Kanmani (2015)

Director: Mani Ratnam

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

It might be surprising to know that O Kadhal Kanmani, a movie that serves relationship goals, also has haters because of how Mani Ratnam brings together two like-minded folks who detest the idea of marital relationships, but end up getting married anyway after living together for a short period. The filmmaker can’t be faulted for taking the easy way out, as Indians — and many people all over the world — are forced to believe in the bond of marriage through the lens of religion and culture.

Valentine’s Special: 16 South Indian Movies To Binge On During The Weekend

Power Paandi (2017)

Director: Dhanush

Streaming On: Netflix

The past decade has been very fruitful for Dhanush, for he has starred in Bollywood and Hollywood movies and has even ventured into moviemaking. He shows his top-tier skills in Power Paandi where he makes a grey-haired man run after the love of his life as though the senior citizen were an energetic teenager — it’s something  we don’t often see in Tamil films. Can’t older people find companionship in the manner they desire?

Telugu

C/o Kancharapalem (2018)

Director: Venkatesh Maha

Streaming On: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

C/o Kancharapalem is the most heartbreaking and heart-warming film on this list. It makes you wonder about the hardships members of the underprivileged community go through on a daily basis, and also offers you an ending that lifts your spirits. And it beautifully tells you how feminism is not only a subject that needs to be studied and understood, it’s a philosophy that needs to be applied in real life, too.

 Fidaa (2017)

Director: Sekhar Kammula

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

Should women leave their homes to move in with men, who live in other cities or countries, once they get married? What happens to the dreams they carefully nurtured? Sekhar Kammula toys with this theory and comes up with a story of love and jealousy set in today’s world. This is the kind of film you watch when you’re looking for something to comfort you — equivalent to a hot chocolate, or diving into a bowl of Maggi at 2 am.

 Krishna And His Leela (2020)       

Director: Ravikanth Perepu

Streaming On: Netflix & Aha Video.

The entire storyline of Krishna and His Leela can be summed up in a meme. It involves a two-timer and his inability to spill the beans to his girlfriends. Though he imagines himself to be the burden bearer, he’s actually a man-child who doesn’t understand the volatility of relationships. He thinks telling the truth will make him a bad man; hence he continues to date both of them. This is the modern-day version of Intlo Illalu Vantintlo Priyuralu (1996).

Chi La Sow (2018)

Director: Rahul Ravindran

Streaming On: SunNXT

This slow, meditative drama that brings a woman and a man closer over a long night is hilarious and pleasing. Chi La Sow romanticises arranged marriages without addressing the issues of caste and class. It’s blindsided that way, but it tells the unusual story of a woman’s resolve to get married to see her mother — and herself — happy. While it does that, it also gives a ringside view of the stigma and acceptance surrounding mental disorders.

Valentine’s Special: 16 South Indian Movies To Binge On During The Weekend

 Kannada

Dia (2020)

Director: K S Ashoka

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

There’s still a debate going on in social media whether the director of this movie was all right while pulling off that gut-wrenching climax. Usually, in Indian cinema, romantic dramas are all about happy endings, where the protagonists walk hand in hand in the last scene. But Dia turns that trope upside down right at the beginning. First of all, the movie is narrated through a woman’s perspective and, therefore, it is she who has to gather the courage to make the first move.

Valentine’s Special: 16 South Indian Movies To Binge On During The Weekend

Mundina Nildana (2019)

Director: Vinay Bharadwaj

Streaming On: Netflix

Mundina Nildana is a simulacrum of a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown — there are different tipping points that make him feel miserable. If Imtiaz Ali had made this film, he would have spruced up the proceedings with philosophical lines and a devil-may-care attitude. But Bharadwaj, instead, reaches for toned-down expressions that make his characters look like they’ve been borrowed from literary fiction.

 Gaalipata (2008)

Director: Yogaraj Bhat

Streaming On: Disney+Hotstar

Ah, what a joy it is to watch Ganesh, Anant Nag, Rangayana Raghu and Diganth free themselves from the expected notions of a romantic comedy. They do not play friends who belong to the same gang. They rather star as ultra-ordinary characters who possess a fantastic sense of humour. Gaalipata is, perhaps, best watched with a bunch of friends who know how to laugh.

 Katheyondu Shuruvaagide (2018)

Director: Senna Hegde

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

Katheyondu Shuruvaagide, like Oh My Kadavule, is also about second chances, albeit with different people in the mix. If the Tamil film talked about how best friends can become best couples, this turtle-paced drama tells you that love takes a different form as people grow older. Of course, even in one’s twilight years, there needs to be love to hold on to; what’s the point otherwise?

Malayalam

Varane Avashyamund (2020)

Director: Anoop Sathyan

Streaming On: Netflix, SunNxt

When there are conventionally good-looking people in a movie, you root for them (O Kadhal Kanmani is an example). In Varane Avashyamund, likewise, you won’t be able to take your eyes off Dulquer Salmaan and Kalyani Priyadarshan. But the real love story features a middle-aged pair, played by Shobhana and Suresh Gopi. Finally, it is their off-beat tale that pulls you in and keeps you invested.

Halal Love Story (2020)

Director: Zakariya Mohammed

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

Halal Love Story is eerily amusing, and it’s a feat that the Malayalam movie makers achieve on a regular basis. When the members of a conservative Muslim organisation decide to make a film to promote the art form of cinema, they rope in a married couple to make sure their work stays true to life. It’s a silly setup that allows Mohammed to utilise the film-within-a-film narrative perfectly and make the husband understand his mistakes and look beyond his selfish desires.

Kumbalangi Nights (2019)

Director: Madhu C Narayanan

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

One cannot keep mum about the brutish awesomeness that Fahadh Faasil brings to the table for Kumbalangi Nights. He’s the light and darkness of this film — he’s wickedly entertaining and terrifying in turn. Also, the movie digs into a handful of tales of love and redemption. And the town in which it is shot is picturesque. If you’re looking for a place to visit this summer, you know where to go!

 Premam (2015)

Director: Alphonse Puthren

Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar

Valentine’s Special: 16 South Indian Movies To Binge On During The Weekend

Has there been any Indian film since Premam that has a fan base solely for a scene featuring a cake — a red velvet cake to be more accurate? Almost every character in this slice-of-life drama is brilliant. Considering this is a true-blue Malayalam film, it’s odd to see the absence of a typical antagonist here. George (Nivin Pauly) doesn’t face too many troubles from the people around him. The series of unfortunate events in his adulting phase mostly stem from literal and metaphorical accidents. Nevertheless, it ends quite like a Mills and Boon novel.

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