Pitta Kathalu Cast: Shruti Haasan, Amala Paul, Jagapathi Babu
Pitta Kathalu Directors: Tharun Bhascker, Nandini Reddy, Nag Ashwin, Sankalp Reddy
Pitta Kathalu Stars: 3/5
As an anthology, Pitta Kathalu tells four distinct stories that come with rare sensibilities, at least by the standards of the contrived tropes that Telugu cinema is known for. As against the presumption that it was supposed to be a Telugu-fied Lust Stories, the anthology is anything but. Netflix, for all we know, seems to have commissioned Pitta Kathalu with the intent of taking OTT entertainment (as the Telugu viewers have known it) to the next level while letting the stories, narrated by homegrown mainstream filmmakers, respect the nativity factor.
Nag Ashwin-directed xLife was expected to be the most fabulous of all but it turns out to be just an average one. It tells the story of a futuristic tech genius (played by singer Sanjith Hegde), who has taken four billion people for a ride. Shruti Haasan plays a catalyst in this story. At one level, this segment is a spiritual extension of the Mahanati director’s debut movie, Yevade Subrahmanyam, in which Vijay Deverakonda’s character played a ‘Just f**k ambition and enjoy the little pleasures of life’ philosopher.
If you take the Virtual Reality and sci-fi element of the segment out, xLife is replete with shibboleths such as technology allegedly making the planet less happy.
On the other hand, Nandini Reddy’s Meera is surprisingly well-etched. Meera (Amala Paul) is having to grapple with her abusive husband Vishwa (Jagapathi Babu), who suspects her of having extra-marital affairs. The last leg of the episode holds a twist. Vishwa, who is much older than his wife, is consumed by irrational insecurities and fears, while Meera’s creative instincts (she is a fiction-writer) come kicking in when she has to save herself. Amidst a couple of tastefully-done raunchy moments and a fast-paced interrogation portion, this segment also gives a glimpse into the ways of high-society socialites.
Vishwa, who flaunts his fitness and achievements at the drop of a hat, wants deliverance from the state of self-torment he is in. Besides Jagapathi’s top-notch act, Meera has Amala Paul put in a remarkable act. She shows a range of emotions with ease.
In Ramula, Pelli Choopulu director Tharun Bhascker gets to set his story in a semi-urban set-up, a backdrop stylized by light-on-emotion background music. Ramula (Saanve Megghana) is in love with the son of a political heavyweight in the village. The male lead of the story, played by Abhay Bethiganti, is a clown who sometimes takes himself seriously. Swaroopa (Lakshmi Manchu), a politician who is miffed with entrenched political interests, creates a scandal at the nick of the moment. This is a reasonably engaging story, which is more comical than poignant despite the nature of its climax.
Tharun Bhascker, whose male characters are known to be careless, leaves his mark here with a similar male character.
Pitta Kathalu Twitter Review: Shruti Haasan, Amala Paul starrer gets mixed response from netizens
The one comprehensively disappointing segment is Pinky, helmed by Sankalp Reddy of Ghazi fame. A fiction-writer (Satyadev Kancharana) is suffering from an inferiority complex because his otherwise loving wife (Ashima Nerwal) may well be unwittingly reminding him of his failure. Eesha Rebba plays a woman whose desire may get the better of her.
Pitta Kathalu may not be a game-changer. But in terms of platforming four of mainstream Tollywood’s interesting story-tellers, it seeks to set a new standard for Telugu OTT.